Sunday, December 09, 2018

OBSCURE CHIPMUNK SONG COVER - Christmas Don’t Be Late - PAUL SHERMAN


      Back in the 50's and early 60's, a mild form of piracy was the "cover song." Somebody has a hit, and some weasel, usually on an indie label, tries a sound-alike version to divert sales. "The Chipmunk Song" was such a smash hit, Paul Sherman covered it, even though it had to take time to mess around with the speeded-up vocals of his faux-chipmunks.

      "The Chipmunk Song" was a masterpiece in a way; a novelty that captured the greed of snot-gargling high-pitched incomprehensible brats...but made it lovable and funny by turning them into cartoony chipmunks. The brats sing about how they can't wait to get their toys ("Me, I want a hooooola-hoooop") and one of them is too obnoxious to care if he's on key ("Alvin!") 

       In the original, the parental voice of "David Seville" was supplied by the song's actual creator, Ross Bagdasarian (Sherman's version doesn't quite spell his name correctly). Ross's previous novelty hits included the noxious "Come Onna My House" (creepily sung by Rosemary Clooney in dialect) and, just a half a year earlier, "Witch Doctor," where speeded-up vocals included an infectious nonsense-word chorus most people knew by heart "Ooo eeeh, oooh ah ah...ting tang walla walla bing bang..." 

      Paul Sherman? A fan of novelty songs, Paul was dubbed "The Clown Prince of Rock and Roll" when he DJ'd at WINS, along Murray The K and Stan Z. Burns. He joined the station in 1943, well before it became the hot spot on the dial for teen music fans. Born July 10, 1916 in Brooklyn, Paul, like most of the WINS crew, grew up a fan of Big Band music and hipster jazz. Murray the K called his show a "swingin' soiree," which was hardly a hip term his teen audience could relate to. When he was hanging with The Beatles, he was twice their age and wearing a pretty silly-looking hipster hat. When he first tried novelty singles, he chose to cover The  Treniers' "Out the Bushes," with dated slang terms like "fan it" mixed in. 

       40-something Sherman, a graduate of Queens College, worked with Dickie Goodman on the 1958 novelty "Santa and the Satellite," released on the Luniverse label. It was clumsily credited as "A Buchanan and Goodman prod. with Paul Sherman." The same year, he went over to Baton, a small label run by Sol Rabinowitz, and created his "Chipmunk Song" cover. Baton was best known for R&B singles, having had a hit with its very first release, "A Thousand Stars" by The Rivileers. Rabinowitz had walked the song into the local black music station, WWRL, and managed to get DJ Tommy "Dr. Jive" Smalls to play it. 

       No such luck happened with Paul Sherman's single, which wasn't fast enough to exploit The Chipmunks' success. "The Chipmunk Song"  arrived in November of 1958 and climbed to the top of the charts by Christmas. The album “Let’s All Sing with the Chipmunks” was quickly recorded in December of 1958 and included  “Alvin’s Harmonica” which was released in February of 1959, as the follow-up single. It nearly reached #1 as well, landing at #3. Paul's single, "The Chipmunk Song" b/w "Alvin's Harmonica," probably came...and went...around February or March. 

        Paul didn't become a WINS dj with clout until around 1962, when he replaced Bob Lewis as a weekend music spinner. It doesn't seem that he tried to push another novelty song even when he had more power. Murray the K, by comparison, dubbed himself "The Lone Twister" and played his own record (also called "The Lone Twister" and released by Atlantic) without telling listeners it was him. 

       In 1965, WINS was sold to Westinghouse Broadcasting, and one day the music died. The beloved rock and roll station ceded to Cousin Brucie's WABC, and to the WMCA "Good Guys," and became "all news." Some fans couldn't believe it. WHO would keep the dial on a news channel all day? People did. People also turned it on periodically for the weather, sports or traffic info. The need for such a station was almost immediately justified by the notorious New York City blackout in November. Transistor radios were all tuned to all-news WINS. Paul Sherman had been retained by the station, and easily transitioned into his new job. In fact, Paul became part of the news in 1974 when Joey Gallo (yes, immortalized via a Bob Dylan song) was shot. The killer wanted to surrender, and avoid being "accidentally" gunned down by police. His lawyer called on...Paul Sherman at WINS for help. 

       Sherman retired after 38 years at WINS, and retired to Florida where he died only two years later, at the age of 66. 

       Today, few kids "want a plane that loops the loop" or a hula hoop. They'd rather have a drone and some drugs. Still, around this time of year, "The Chipmunk Song" returns as a nostalgia item. The speeded-up vocals still mimic the high-pitched, snot-nosed whining of actual children. Yes, kids STILL are incomprehensible at that age. Some things never change. 

PAUL SHERMAN'S VERSION of THE CHIPMUNK SONG - instant download, listen on line. No hidden links to creepy re-direct websites. No Paypal donation requests. No egocentric passwords.

"THIS CHRISTMAS" with THE REFUGEES


    “This Christmas” is a gift from The Refugees, and like so many Christmas presents, it's being re-gifted. In this case, to YOU. It’s being sent with this dick of a caveat: “If you like Darlene Love’s “Christmas: Baby Please Come Home” or “Jingle Bell Rock,” you might find their intensely cheerful harmonizing intensely cheerful!


    If you can't take more than 15 seconds of this thing, that's ok, as long as you get the idea that this trio is talented and that their try at Christmas immortality is no worse than John or Paul's solo offerings. They, and so many others, were inspired to do something commercial and create a Christmas tune like ones they loved when they were kids. You wouldn't listen to "Wonderful Christmastime" and think the guy incapable of writing "Yesterday." The Refugees mostly offer rock that fits on the shelf with any good country-tinged rock. I bought an autographed CD from their website, as I did with Bryndle, a similar group of solo artists who came together to form a kind of modest super-group. 


   Bryndle, which featured the late Kenny Edwards, also included Wendy Waldman. She's now in The Refugees. She's recorded many a solo album, and her songs have been covered by a lot of artists from Vanessa Williams (“Save the Best for Last”) to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (“Fishin’ in the Dark”). Her father, Fred Steiner, wrote the “Perry Mason” TV theme.  

     Deborah Holland was the lead singer for Animal Logic, which included Stanley Clarke and Stewart Copeland. She issued four solo albums, but found steady work as a Professor of Music at Cal State. She enjoys the on-again off-again touring and recording that being in The Refugees provides. 

      As mentioned on another blog entry years ago, many of the best known Christmas songs were written by Jews. It's a sick irony that some asshole firing bullets in a synagogue in Pittsburgh and screaming that all Jews must die, probably spent every December sobbing over "White Christmas" and giggling over "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" and other songs written by those awful-awful Jews. Two of the Refugees singing "This Christmas" are Jewish. 

    The third member is the former Cindy Bullens, who was always a rougher rocker than the other two. She adds some edge to the sweet tendences of Wendy and Deborah. Bullens has been mentioned several times on this blog. Quite simply, “Somewhere Between Heaven and Earth” (1999) is the greatest concept album by a solo artist since ‘Blood on the Tracks.’ I have an autographed pressing on her Blue Lobster label, but happily Artemis (Zevon's label) picked up and re-released it. Now known as Cydney Bullens, next year should feature his first solo album under his new name. 


    And so this is Christmas, and what have you done? Avoided the awful songs piped into stores…including the ones from John and Paul? And you're thankful most of John and Paul's stuff has nothing to do with Christmas? Thanks Refugees, for creating a typical upbeat radio-friendly tune...and for offering a lot more variety on the CDs. Their gift of “This Christmas" is indeed a gift, as it's downloadable from therefugees' website). While there, check out their store, and the brand new CD with all those NON-Christmas songs.


THIS CHRISTMAS - The Refugees - listen online or download. No ego passwords, Paypal demands or creepy sites re-directing you to Spywareland 

CHANUKAH, POPCORN, WEIRD SOUNDS: Gershon Kingsley



    Yes, it’s the dreaded holiday season. As the sage says, “It's the most wonderful time of the year…if you’re twelve.” If you’re OVER twelve, it’s probably just a lot of stress. 

    There aren’t too many shopping days till Christmas. Chanukah? It’s going on right now. Your Chanukah present isn’t a somber cover of “Kol Nidre,” and most certainly not one of the terrible “Chanukah Oh Chanukah” songs that tried and failed to nudge “Frosty the Snowman” off the charts. Nor is it something self-deprecatingly bit of novelty from Adam Sandler or Tom “Chanukah in Santa Monica”  Lehrer. It’s “Three Hebrew Prayers,” which is more reformed than orthodox. It shows the artist's influences, which seem to include Afro-Cuban jazz, experimental classical, semi-traditional choral (of the “Carmina Burana” Carl Orff variety perhaps) as well as Semitic melody. 


    It’s the work of the former Goetz Gustav Ksinski, who was born in Germany, October 28, 1922. When the Nazis came to power, Goetz went to the only secure homeland for Jews: Palestine. The 16 year-old farmer (he worked on a kibbutz) taught himself piano, and was soon getting gigs with jazz bands in Jerusalem. (Yes, jazz bands in Jerusalem!) 


    Like the fictional “Hey Now” announcer on “The Larry Sanders Show,” Ksinski adopted a more American last name: KINGSLEY. He played organ in various California synagogues, and graduated from the LA Conservatory of Music. He appeared as an accordionist in the 1953 film “The Juggler.” The major concert halls were on the East Coast, and remarkably, within a few years, Kingsley was the musical director for Laurence Olivier’s hit “The Entertainer,” and for Josephine Baker's solo shows. He provided the music on productions of “Porgy & Bess” and others, winning Tony and Obie nominations. For TV, he worked with Lotte Lenya for a special, “The World of Kurt Weill.” 


    In his spare time, he wrote a lot of religious music, some of it, as John Rutter was doing in the church, was pretty hip. However, for those who aren't too keen on odd choral work and experiments melding jazz and opera and the kitchen sink, you'll find Kingsley's better known ELECTRONIC POP stuff here:  


 https://soundcloud.com/gershon-kingsley

    Mr. Kingsley is generously streaming a wide variety of his experimental and quirky electronic work. He’s one of the rare musicians who uses Bandcamp without a pitch for money, and with no interest in a record deal. He’s put out plenty of records, starting in 1966.

    That was the year Vanguard released (now it's called "dropped") “The In Sound from Way Out,” an upbeat moog exercise that featured Jacques Perrey. “Kaleidoscopic Vibrations” and “Music to Moog By” followed, and in 1970 Kingsley created the “First Moog Quartet.” They made history by performing synthesized music live at Carnegie Hall. The reaction was…not great. Experimental electronic classical music also baffled most critics (Morton Subotnik's "Silver Apples of the Moon" was released by Nonesuch circa 1967). Moog music would succeed more as a novelty, with Walter Carlos "switching on" Bach, and in 1972, Kingsley skipping up the charts with “Popcorn.” 


    Kingsley's "The In Sound" album amused me but my appreciation for him deepened when his "First Moog Quartet" appeared on a WGBH-produced public television broadcast. It was hosted by Arthur Fiedler, of all people. The Boston Pops conductor's series was pretty mainstream in its musical guests, but the maestro knew something was happening, and commissioned a work for his full orchestra. I remember it well: “Concerto Moogo.” For some reason, it’s not been recorded on vinyl or CD. The soundtrack from the TV show lays in a vault at WBGH in Boston.


    Kingsley created a musical logo for WGBH which they still use, and did well when various TV commercials needed snazzy zappy electronic plops and fizzes to call attention to their products. He wrote TV themes in England and Germany, and in the 80’s when synth rock was something new, The Master recorded on the Relativity Theory record label. Into the 90’s the eccentric and eclectic composer offered “Cristobol,” a musical based on the 500th anniversary of Columbus allegedly discovering America, and then “Tierra,” an opera performed in Germany. “Voices from the Shadow,” with lyrics on the Holocaust, was first performed at Lincoln Center in 1998. Ten years later, and another opera appeared, “Raoul,” about the Schindler-esque Raoul Wallenberg. 


    Today, many of Kingsley’s blips and bops have been stolen…er…sampled…by hip hop acts. His own “Popcorn” was been covered and re-covered and was re-done via Grand Royal, the label run by the Beastie Boys. As late as 2015, Kingsley was adding tracks to his Bandcamp page. Here's wishing a happy Chanukah to Gershon Kingsley, who has created a vast array of sumptuous music...and who has to know that a lot of Christmas trees are being decorated to the sound of "Popcorn." 


Three Hebrew Prayers - download or listen online. No ego passwords, no creepy Russian cloud server, no re-directs 

Russian Bandstand - Spencer & Spencer and Yadi Yada


Funny thing, if some novelty songwriter, or their estate, objects to having an entire album tossed around the Internet...the reaction is serious. As in: "Why don't they like SHARING? Why ruin our FUN in enjoying their comic music free? Capitalism is fucked up and copyright is copywrong. Comrade. Good thing they can't touch us if we use Russian websites and servers! Har har! Can you stop us? NYET!" 

As we see from the headlines, nothing stops Russia and its pals...North Korea, China, Syria, or Russia's hemorrhoid, Croatia. At best, play nice, give aid, keep trading with them (but let's BDS Israel, says Peter Gabriel). ALEXANDER LITVINENKO? Who? The list of famous and ordinary people who have been killed not only in Putin-controlled countries, but in “free” countries, is a long, long list. So would be a list of jailings, pogroms and beatings meted out to a variety of creative people. PUSSY RIOT, anyone? The days of the Gulag are far from over. Ukraine, home to many powerful boxers and MMA fighters, trembles as Putin sniffs hungrily at its borders. 

Back in 1959 Spencer & Spencer gave radio listeners an idea of what would happen if music was controlled the Russian way. Dick Clark's "American Bandstand" was turned into "Russian Bandstand," and yes, Comrade, a song could be a bullet up the charts, or an artist could get a bullet in the head. 

The humor was a bit dark, but many comedians were having problems finding something nice to say about the guy running Russia, Nikita the K. He was the guy who pulled off his shoe and banged it on a table at the U.N., and frankly warned, "We'll Bury You." Over at the Hungri i, when Nikita the K had announced he would come to the USA and wanted to tour Disneyland, Mort Sahl simply said, “I don’t think that Red killer should be here.” He was surprised to be in the minority on this point. 

Now, nearly 60 years later, and we simply accept the atrocities of Putin and his pals Kim and Assad and the others. Like hapless artists who have their fans re-upping files or using Russian servers, people in the free world shrug and say, "Nothing we can do. We can yelp a protest and look weak, or ignore this shit and try to make the best of it." Instead of saying NO to the Putin mentality, the rest of the world elects people just like him. So the guy in America and the guy in Saudi Arabia ignore protests over a slain journalist. 

As those who've downloaded the entire Paul Simon discography might note, one track shrugs off depression with the message "Have a good time." Living well is the best revenge, especially if the money you save on music can go toward buying drugs or booze. In fact, a good time can be a preoccupation with downloading just for the sake of downloading, and if the Russians toss some spyware or malware in the download or it comes through via an ad on a dodgy website, at least you're not gonna die from it, like ALEXANDER LITVINENKO. 

Spencer and Spencer was the name used by Mickey Schorr and Dickie Goodman for a few novelty tracks in 1959. Previously, Dickie Goodman’s singles were credited to Buchanan and Goodman and his partner was Bill Buchanan. It’s possible Dickie didn’t want it to seem like he had a permanent new partner, but it’s also possible that since the new combo traded more in gags and less in “break-ins,” it would raised DJ expectations and disappointed everyone to put the needle on the groove and NOT hear questions answered with cut up versions of pop tunes. After the Schorr teaming, Dickie went solo for decades of "break-in" singles, some becoming hits. They've all been gathered on compilation CDs sold (but, strangely, not tossed onto Russian servers for everyone's enjoyment) by his son Jon. 

There's probably a Russian server hosting somebody who is giving away the entire Goodman discography, and some fans squealing in shoutboxes, "Thank God for Russia!"

RUSSIAN BANDSTAND - listen on line or download, no spyware, porn ads or egocentric passwords

Monday, November 19, 2018

PAUL FREES Charlie Chan's The Beatles: RET IT BE


The amusing good news in the music world is that The Beatles are back on the charts. The re-issued re-mixed "WHITE ALBUM" (with digitized outtakes) has reached the Top Ten. It's not that much of a surprise, considering it's getting close to Christmas and a lot of people buy anything (even Ringo and Yoko albums) for their collections. 

It's easy to boast about an mp3/FLAC/wav collection of shit you downloaded off forums and shoutboxes and torrents and will never even listen to. But to PAY for music? To display it on a shelf and respect it? That's rare. At this moment, while assholes are downloading entire discographies of Slade and Whitesnake and begging some stranger to help them complete their Windham Hill and James Last collections, real music fans bought and are savoring the nuances of great music. They are actually listening, carefully, to outtakes on even a lesser Lennon item like "Cry Baby Cry." They're marveling at the sound of "Inner Light" or "Lady Madonna" before the vocals were laid down. 

Over at this, the Blog of Less Renown, there's ZERO interest in fucking over musicians, record labels or music sellers by giving away entire discographies. There's ZERO interest in the juvenile, piggie game of "sharing" as long as there's a PAYPAL donation payoff. Quality over quantity. You can chow down on an entire box of Dunkin Donuts till you have diverticulitis up your fat ass, or you can have one beautiful, healthful, fragrant kumquat. And here's that kumquat....

"LET IT BE" from Paul Frees. Paul made a fortune from his incredible talents in voiceovers. He narrated serious movies. He voiced gruff Boris Badenov and Ludwig Von Drake, and ridiculously high-voiced Poppin Fresh, the Pillsbury Doughboy. He began his career as an impressionist and once starred, all by himself, in a radio show in which he did ALL the voices. He dubbed Tony Curtis's female voice for "Some Like it Hot" and added background voices (half an Italian restaurant). 

This tidbit was, for a long, long time, a well-kept secret. Although I was very good at picking out Paul's voices (yeah, including John and George on those "Beatles" TV cartoons), I had NO idea about the Doughboy until he told me, or "Josephine" in "Some Like it Hot." Now, it's a bit easy to hear Paul when you watch the movie, but not very, because he was very good at this unusual higher pitch. It probably would've ruined the fun if Tony Curtis had admitted to being voice doubled at the time. But what if he'd been nominated for an Oscar and won? 

Toward the end of Tony's life, Paul Frees fans had spilled the beans on the Internet, and he grudgingly gave Paul ONE paragraph (page 194) of "The Making of Some Like It Hot," which came out almost posthumously: "(Director Billy Wilder) thought my Josephine voice had recorded too low; the other characters would have been suspicious of me. So he hired Paul Frees, who was a wonderfully verstaile actor with an amazing variety of voices, and he dubbed all the lines I'd spoken in falsetto. As if that wasn't enough Paul also dubbed a couple of lines for Tito Vuolo, the funeral director. Billy didn't like Tito's voice. It sounded too New York and not enough Chicago, I guess." (PS, it's entirely possible the Frees paragraph and Vuolo trivia was inserted by Tony's co-writer, who needed to pad out the slim book with every quote and fact he could find).

Paul told me he preferred to stay behind the scenes, but as a "hobby," he acted in films. A "pet project" of his was to do an album of stars singing popular songs. He walked into a studio, ad-libbed, goofed around, and it was done very quickly. 

Some tracks are inspired (W.C. Fields' "Mama Told Me Not to Come") and even qualify as a classic cover. I was surprised to learn that Jimmy Webb had no idea that Paul recorded "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" as Clark Gable. "No, they don't ask before doing cover versions," he told me, and artists and labels aren't obligated to send the finished result. I thought somebody at MGM might be proud enough to send Jimmy a copy of Paul's album, or that some "rights" organization might dutifully send a tape, documenting the usage. Silly me.

As for "Let It Be," it's easily the most endearingly stupid and un-PC cut on the album. Neither Warner Oland nor Sidney Toler adopted a ridiculous Chinese accent like this, but after you've heard the song thousands of times, "Let it Be" sort of deserves it. (Paul's other tediously beloved song, "Hey Jude" was nicely destroyed by Paul as Peter Lorre!) 

As The Beatles proved yet again, and as even Paul Frees can prove, it can be quality, not quantity. It would be nice if a listener isn't an idiot, doesn't have ADD, and understands that creative people should be able to earn money from music and not just companies manufacturing external hard drives. A sample song that inspires somebody to buy...that's still what Capitalism and morality is about. Too bad jerks in armpit countries in Europe, and morons for whom English is a second language, don't understand this, but then again, some of their best beggars ("please, can you give me, in FLAC...what I could get on eBay for almost nothing") are in the UK and USA.

Sit back and spend time listening to music, really listening, not just downloading shit from blog idiots and forum denizens who are sad, lonely, egocentric assholes who need strangers to "like" them. Downloads really can't buy 'em love. 

RET IT BE! "Let it Be" listen online, download - no dodgy download site run by a criminal, no password

Friday, November 09, 2018

TIM CURRY - not at Joni's 75th Birthday - ALL I WANT...is youth and health

The good news was that the recent 75th Birthday tribute to Joni Mitchell actually included Joni Mitchell. The bad news...she was not quoted, and needed some help just standing on the stage to acknowledge the applause.

The usual suspects turn up to sing at events like this. James Taylor was there, with his familiar crooked and demented smile. But my favorite interpreter of Joni Mitchell was not on stage. Tim Curry's situation is slightly more difficult than Joni's. He can do interviews, sign photos for memorabilia appearances, and turn up at some events, but...he wasn't doing one of his tasty cover versions for the Joni show.


Yes, it's been a while since the 70's when Joni made arguably her best album ("Hissing of Summer Lawns" -- you'd expect a vote for "Blue" on this peculiar blog?) It's been almost as long since Tim Curry launched a solo career in the wake of his "Rocky Horror" fame, got a 3 album deal from A&M, and performed at The Old Waldorf.

Your download below, of "All I Really Want," comes from The Old Waldorf show. With his bombastic trombone-raucous voice, and campy sense of humor, he stomps all over what was originally a cutesy number strummed by an earnest folkie. I suppose for some, the real surprise in Tim's version is that he didn't nod to his "Sweet Transvestite" and keep the gender references in Joni's song.

When I interviewed him, back when the album was new,  he admitted that he changed "Rip my stockings (in some jukebox dive)" to "bop till I drop" to present himself as a solo artist and not a fictional character. I've interviewed stars who either stay in character, or ARE characters. Amanda Lear would be a vivid example. But Tim betrayed not a hint of flamboyance, and didn't even sport a Mick Jagger or Warren Beatty apricot nylon scarf. He was dressed conservatively in black slacks and a white shirt, with a skinny tie hanging undone around an open collar.

As for his interest in covering Bonnie Miss Mitchell (Bon Joni), Tim admitted, "I found a certain sense of self in her songs." His phrasing on the chorus of this song: "All I really really want our love to do, is to bring out the best in ME. And in you, too." But the red-blooded Tim changed "I want to knit you a sweater" to "I want a hand up your sweater."

While Jagger may yet go out on tour, and we are still seeing Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan attract huge crowds, time is passing. Paul Simon, Joan Baez, Elton John and KISS are all indicating that fans better see 'em NOW, because another tour is unlikely. And others...such as Joni and Tim, have not recorded albums in many years, and fans are just happy when they choose not to be totally reclusive.

Joni and Tim both have impressive credits that, more impressive, are still fresh and rewarding every time you experience them. Here's Tim, bringing out the best in himself…and entertaining you, too.

Tim Curry doing Joni Mitchell Live: All I Really Want

ILL-USTRATED SONGS #47 - EXPERIENCE THE THRILL OF BLUE TITS



    As we head toward December, it’s entirely possible that on a cold day, a woman foolishly walking outside without a jacket might find herself with blue tits. She might even emit a squeal but it won't likely be melodious! 

    Spike Milligan recalled on a winter’s day, the sight of “a blue tit who pecked open the cap of a milk carton left at the doorstep. It was a cold day, and the milk was frozen, and the blue tit skated around and around on the milk!” (OK, it was one of those moments where the audience was a little confused by Spike's sense of whimsy.) 

    He didn’t mention if the tit sang a song. Back in the old days, BC, (Before Clarinets), primitive people considered the sounds of nature to be their music. They slept to the sound of crickets and woke to the alarm clock noise of the cicadas. They especially enjoyed how horny birds put on concerts for each other. People heard larks. They quoted ravens. They laughed with the kookaburras.

    Does the average dolt today know the different bird calls? Or care? "Bird Call" and "Sounds of Nature" CDs don't sell too well, and nobody even offers them free in forums. No, it’s more important to go to a blog shoutbox and bleat, “Anybody got a discography of Whitesnake??” Frankly, any noise a bird makes beats anything by Ted Nugent. I'd rather listen to a woodpecker than a peckerwood.

    Below, a brief example of the Blue Tit. It’s a reminder that the best things in life are free, not because you can steal them with a download, but because you’re in the real world and paying attention.

THE BLUE TIT (The RED TWAT is Ed Sheeran. None of his shit HERE) Download or listen online


FANNY WALKED THE EARTH - Now, mostly Pirates & Assholes! Here's new FANNY music



Did you know FANNY put out a comeback album? Over SIX months ago? I didn’t. That's what happens when there's no more radio disc jockeys and no more rock magazines, and idiot fat-cats like the RIAA claim "streaming" is the answer. People are drowning in the streams. Few can find the tasty salmon trying to make it upstream. The stream is polluted by rap, crap, and so many amateur assholes placing their shit on Spotify, that FANNY, among so many others, has gotten nowhere. No building of momentum. Nothing. Of course, even if they DID have thousands streaming their music, they'd somehow only get some pennies. 

Let's take a look at what a typical song on their new album has done via streaming on YouTube all these many months: 



Huh? Barely two dozen people listened, free? Maybe the way to encourage our favorite older musicians to make new albums...is to BUY THEM. To RESPECT THEM. How do we make the music great again? We do what made America great: BUY. It's that simple. America was built on capitalism, not giving everything away thanks to dung beetle morons in shoutboxes and vainglorious lonely fools needing a nice comment on a blog, and certainly not forums and torrents run by English-as-Second-Language pirates and thieves hiding in Eurotrash countries beyond the reach of copyright law. 

(Parenthetically, you should know that YouTube is run by the Big Brothers of GOOGLE. YouTube ain't giving the girls ONE PENNY for a streaming song that only gets 28 or 280 or 2800 plays. In fact, powerful YouTube recently DEMONETIZED thousand of uploaders. Why? Because they CAN. Uploaders who had 50,000 or even 100,000 subscribers were cut loose. YouTube has NO phone support, ignores emails, and doesn't have a moderator to answer questions in the YouTube forum.)

While it's true that some of our favorites make music that recalls a line in Randy Newman's "I'm Dead But I Don't Know It," many still can create and perform a good song. Certainly, the chosen track on Fanny's new album (we'd call it a "single" if there was such a thing anymore) is up to the standard of what they did decades ago. Very catchy. While they aren't a quartet (Nicky Barclay has retained her chosen obscurity), The Millington sisters are still gettin' it done, abetted by Brie Howard Darling, vocalist and drummer (replacing Alice DeBuhr). No keyboardist, as Nicky was irreplaceable. Brie was in the band before it morphed into Fanny and signed with Reprise, and returned when the group managed one last contract via Casablanca. 

Unlike Nicky Barclay, The Millingtons made several solo albums over the years. The last time they made a CD, I bought an autographed copy via their website. I know that most people can't really afford to "support" a lot of bands, but most should do what they can within their budget.

There was a limited number of signed copies on the "Fanny Walked the Earth" website, but I didn't buy one. I didn't know the website existed. That's a problem with relying on social media (which is so glutted with crackpots and spam). With so many people on Facebook shouting about their Kickstarter campaign, or begging people to drive hundreds of miles to an obscure gig, or visit the new, re-tooled website to check out the new album...it's just impossible to spend so much time paying attention to it all.

We all knew when the big "Blood on the Tracks" 6 CD set was about to "DROP" or The Beatles White Album 6 CD set or the "Imagine" 6 CD set...but who knew FANNY was back, was apparently re-named FANNY WALKED THE EARTH, and had a new album? And those that did know...what did they do except maybe go to a forum or shoutbox and mewl, "Anyone got the new FANNY album in FLAC?" Yeah, they wanted to take a load of FANNY, take a load for FREE. Not many have been "LURED AWAY" from their compulsive need to have dozens of 4TB drives full of shit they'll never hear, to even take a listen to ONE track of the new CD. Below, one track....

LURED AWAY...listen online or download...and the band gets as much of a royalty as they would from the YouTube post. None.

SWEET DREAMS are made of A CAPPELLA?


Once in a while, you can still listen to "Sweet Dreams," with its sci-fi synths and spooky Annie Lennox vocals, and imagine some pretty kinky fantasies. 

Then there's a capella. What exactly was the college glee club SLAC trying to do here? Give a listen. It's free. 

"Din din din din din din din!" No, it’s not some brats asking for supper. And it's not exactly an homage to grandpa's Doo-Wop collection to hear: "Digga digga down! Da da daaaa!"

Darwin was wrong. After the genius of Stradivarius making a violin, and craftsmen inventing the kalimba and then the piano and organ, and Sax making a saxophone...SOME twisted and backward people (not ISIS) think musical instruments are a BAD THING.

Usually, a cappella is a bad thing. Like Sinead O'Connor singing some dreary four minute dirge by herself. (OH, wait a minute, did she join the twisted and backward people of ISIS?) 

Rarely is a cappella actually pleasant or stimulating. How long can anyone listen to a barbershop quartet? The Persuasions were an exception...but not really for more than a song or two. The Mills Brothers' "Tiger Rag" was a novelty, and so were some of those dopey Doo Wop street corner things...most of which did include at least a guitar and bass. 

Fortunately, just as people like Vegemite, once the acquired taste leads to addiction, SOME people, slightly embarrassed, sneak a King's Singers album through the checkout, or, in dark glasses, buy a ticket to a show. 

Just why so many colleges have an a cappella group may be a tradition that goes back to "The Whiffenpoof Song." The women in these groups are whiffens, and the men are poofs. Below, cut yourself some SLAC....one cut from one of MANY CD-R releases from SLAC. 

SWEET DREAMS done in A CAPPELLA - instant download or listen online. No passwords, Paypal tip whines or shitty DL servers in Putinville





ILL-USTRATED SONGS #46 - HONKY TONK WOMAN - Ted Heath


    For a while, “Easy Listening” was a popular music category. The idea was to dumb down music, and make it “soft” for fat-heads. The most glaring examples were in the 60’s, when The Hollyridge Strings, The Living Voices and others sought to cut John Lennon’s throat and tamp down Ringo’s drums to sweeten Beatles music. Guys like Ted Heath polished up the Rolling Stones. "Easy Listening" is like picking your nose and eating it…but dipping it in honey first. 

    Oddly enough, the REVERSE is going on today. The idea in music is to be as abrasive and annoying as possible. Melody? FUCK melody. Let’s have nothing but BEATS and RAP. A few weeks ago Graham Norton breathlessly introduced UK audiences to an androgyne "boy band" from South Korea who ridiculously strutted around like black rappers, holding their mikes askew, and bellowing over beats. They probably learned from Taylor Swift, who likewise has incorporated rap and monotonous lyrics. "Look what you made me do," 21st Century monsters. Taylor even hardened her make-up to be more like, oh, Cardi or Nicki or some other zombie streetwalker.  And yes, Holliday WAS on the cover of Cosmo, and the caption on the lower right IS real.

    We are literally SEEING a new sub-standard in beauty. At one time, the phrase for an attractive woman was “easy on the eyes.” Now? Take a look at the freakish Kim Kardashian, with her distorted lips and callipygian butt. She’s led the way in making UGLY the new BEAUTIFUL. At one time, sex symbols were cute and friendly (remember Barbara Eden?) or showed intelligence (ah, Diana Rigg). Now?

    Now, sexy women ain't "easy on the eyes." Watch Miley Cyrus stick out her tongue while in pedo-mode of short hair and flat chest. How about how ridiculous Lady Gaga wore sick fashions to become a success? Is it an improvemenet that along with anorexic toothpicks, we've been subjected to whorey Hindenbergs? A creature named Tess Holliday is just the latest in the “don’t fat shame me” parade of nauseating flabbitches…the list including Adele, Amy Schumer and Rebel Wilson. Maybe it's a plot to turn men homosexual. Where's a fuckable-looking female star now? 

    While Mick Jagger sang about a “Honky Tonk Woman,” who the fuck did he wanna fuck? Marianne Faithful, that’s who. A traditional beauty. He looked to Bianca, and Anita Pallenberg, and typical model Jerry Hall. Rolling Stones music may have been raunchy, but you didn't find freaks of nature when it came to some girls Mick was banging to a rock beat. Meanwhile the businessman with the wife and kids back home, was putting on “Easy Listening” music in the hotel room while licking the twat a prostitute too ugly for even Hugh Grant to pay for. 

    Ugly is the new beautiful, just as "Easy Listening" from a Ted Heath or James Last attempts to beautify hard, nasty rock. 

Ted Heath - HONKY TONK WOMAN - no ego passwords, no bratty demands for Paypal tips, no creepy cloud service trying to trick you into downloading spyware

Monday, October 29, 2018

"COLD PITTSBURGH MORNING" - Sammy Walker





There have been some cold mornings in America. It's Fall, after all. There's frost on the pumpkins some nights, and some days, the dawning gray is persistent and clouds keep the warming sun away. 

It seems that most every day, the cold is accompanied by the chilling reminders of the new age of intolerance, self-entitlement, selfishness and stupidity. A few days ago, in Pittsburgh, it was another machine-gun slaughter of innocent people by a paranoid gun-nut.

This morning, a defiant jerk named TORBA is spinning why his website of hate is a GOOD thing, and how "Freedom of Speech" won't be defeated. 



Torba thinks his site hasn't inspired maniacs to do everything from trolling online to murder. Maybe it's just an inconvenient truth that he can ignore. It doesn't prevent him from smirking at his bank account, or considering himself famous. Like Assange hiding in self-righteous exile to avoid rape and theft charges, this guy wraps himself up in "Freedom of Speech" and fights hard...so he can continue to MAKE MONEY.

This forum-father's definition of "Freedom of Speech" would say it's ok to yell "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater, to shout insults at the handicapped (it would do them good to get some reality), or to declare anyone who thinks the Holocaust never happened is "entitled" to their opinion of fake-news fact. No gray areas. Like, it was ok when YOUR immigrant grandparents came to America, NOT ok for anyone else's now. Come on, let's go to a cemetery and scream "God Hates Fags" while a patriotic hetero soldier is being buried. Makes sense. Freedom of Speech. FUN, too.

Hell, this guy is just a more lethal version of the assholes who think "Freedom of Speech" means giving away entire discographies and filmographies and bibliographies and TV shows on torrents and blogs because, er, uh, people in show biz are all millionaires including owners of book shops and record stores, and copyright is copy WRONG. You name the shit, somebody's gonna say it doesn't stink. But it does. 

Morons should be shunned, and called MORONS, and not given places online where they get sympathy and encouragement from even DUMBER MORONS.

Get real. These morons do it for fame. Give away enough shit in a shoutbox or in a forum and you can pretend you're a star. You get some stranger to shout "awesome!" or "we're not worthy" when you post discographies on everybody EXCEPT the artists YOU want people to buy. PS, if you dropped dead tomorrow, you MIGHT get a "R.I.P." followed by "here's somebody ELSE giving shit away. Been to THIS blog yet?"

Some morons do it for Paypal tips. Like: "Give me money so I can buy shit. My record store guy loves me. So do YOU. You don't have to buy from YOUR record guy and 50, 100 copies that could be sold aren't sold thanks to ME. So love me, love me, love me, I'm a music fan. Your hero."

Back to the more lethal versions of self-entitled sociopath. Assange did it for the money and fame. The jerks like Mark David Chapman mistake being infamous for being famous. The vainglorious bastard who killed eleven unarmed old Jews in a synagogue announced to his redneck retards on social media, "I'm going in!" Like this gun nut with his automatic weapon and his collection of glocks was a hero. Like Dylann Roof, his target was not a bunch of well-armed religious fanatics (like ISIS) but unarmed people quietly engaged in humble worship. 

It was a cold Pittsburgh morning recently, and things haven't really warmed up, unless you mean the wispy flames on the candles held by concerned citizens of all races and colors who gathered at the synagogue to pay their respects. Their number is dwarfed by the madding crowd of bigots who have a President who openly supports them and declares the mob includes plenty of "nice" people. 

Sammy Walker's song bleakly sketches the contrast between an old woman dying alone in poverty, and not far away, a crowd screaming in hysteria for the Steelers to win a game. Oh, and not take a knee because they're playing the REDSKINS, a team that refuses to change a blatantly racist name because the minority they abuse is not likely to set off bombs or riot. The Native Americans were pushed off their land. The Jews? Pushed off every bit of land in the world, and now, with the help of Peter Gabriel, Roger Waters and Patti Smith, told the tiny sandbox they call a homeland should be taken away from them, too. Holocaust denial is still popular, so who knows, maybe social media maniacs will declare the synagogue murders never happened. 

A bit of GOOD news here is that the Pittsburgh Steelers actually acknowledged the great tragedy in their town. It's not just the worst attack on Jews in America, it's another ugly and permanent scar on a country that once believed a Jewish woman's poem that graces the Statue of Liberty.

Sammy Walker hasn't made an album in a long, long time, and hasn't gigged in a long, long time. Part of the reason is piracy. The record business collapsed thanks to music assassins happily playing Santa, hipster, blogfather and basement anarchist in giving all the music away. Self righteous, all of them. Lots of excuses for their stealing and their sociopathic brattiness. The bottom line is they are as clueless as bigots, and just as lonely, too. People who do this are pathetic outsiders who will settle for a "nice" comment from a stranger, maybe a Paypal donations, or just the twisted notion of being "famous."

Sammy Walker, in an interview with Kasper Nijsen, tried to find some kind of silver lining in the dark cloud: "Without the internet and the new technologies, no one would be listening to my songs at all..." Which is the attitude of the pirates, and morons like Dave Marsh. Piracy is GOOD because people get free music and the artists get...er, uh, fame. They might even be famous enough to have a few hundred Facebook friends or Twitter followers who'll go to GoFundMe to pay the hospital bills Medicare doesn't pay. Oops, not enough to pay the bills. Oh well. Sell t-shirts.

The Pittsburgh morning that had the news about the synagogue murders? Already it's fading from memory. Anyone remember the killings in San Bernardino? Anyone still think about Charlie Hebdo? We all know the drill. Hear the news. Turn the perp into a star ("Why did he do it, let's hear ALL about him...."). Take a glance at the faces of the victims. Write "RIP" on social media somewhere. Wash your hands and rinse and repeat. And don't listen TOO closely to song lyrics that say "imagine...NO RELIGION...a brotherhood of man..."

Sammy Walker: "Sometimes it seems a lot of people have forgotten to listen to the words to songs. I mean, the general listening public. I don’t know how many people today can still sit and listen to the words and contemplate what they’re hearing. But there’s always the exceptions, of course, who are influenced by that kind of music and do listen to music where the words are a big part of the song." 

Listen to "Cold Pittsburgh Morning," and "IMAGINE" that the dead lady here is named Bernice Simon. She's one of the elderly women murdered by a 40-something nobody who probably has jerked off to Natalie Portman, Winona Ryder, Mila Kunis, Gal Gadot and Scarlet Johannson, without thinking Jewish genocide against them.

Sammy Walker's written songs that many critics consider right up there with the best of  Bob Dylan,  Phil Ochs and Leonard Cohen. All three, Jewish.

Sammy Walker your download of "Cold Pittsburgh Morning " 

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Phil Ochs CHORDS OF FAME and the Rock and Roll HALL OF SHAME

Well, well, today's nominations came out. Guess who was NOT nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in that fabulous city of musical greatness, CLEVELAND.

Phil Ochs. Warren Zevon. A whole bunch of people who should be in there. You can make up your own list.


It's still such a farce to even realize the Hall of Fame IS in Cleveland. Not New York City home of the Brill Building and dozens upon dozens of great people, from Paul Simon and Carole King and others born in NYC, to John Lennon who adopted the town as his own. Chicago would've been a good choice. Los Angeles. Motown. Nah. Fuckin' CLEVELAND. 

Today, John Lennon's birthday, you'll find below Phil playing "Chords of Fame" for him. John was very interested in the American folk tradition, and how melodies were adapted and freshened with new lyrics. Phil was talking about "Joe Hill," and how the melody was ased on "John Hardy" and "Tom Joad."

Phil, you may recall, was on the bill at Lennon's "John Sinclair Rally," performing "Here's to the State of Richard Nixon." In a hotel room, an eager Mr. Lennon  tried to calm an awed, and stuttery Phil Ochs, who became relaxed enough to launch into that enduring gem, "Chords of Fame." 

Today, the nominees for the idiotic "Rock and Roll Hall of Shame" were announced. While not as embarrassing as last year's bunch, it did include some people who are NOT "Rock and Roll" at all. Of course, one of them was chosen by several newspapers as the headline choice: 


That asshole, with his hat on backwards, and no guitar in his hand, yapping and yapping and rapping and rapping, is a "ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME" nominee? In the immortal words of Pontius Pilate, "JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!"

The nominees: Def Leppard, Devo, Janet Jackson, John Prine, Kraftwerk, LL Cool J, MC5, Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Roxy Music, Stevie Nicks, The Cure, Todd Rundgren, Rufus & Chaka Kahn, and The Zombies

Who do you think will make the cut? As we have several generations with short memories, you can bet that the most classic rock group, The Zombies, will NOT get in. They failed last time, after all. All they're known for is "Time of the Season," and if Boko Haram hasn't made it, the unsightly bunch who had a hit with a "Whiter Shade" of something or other, forget THIS group. Even though both are still touring.

It's interesting to see John Prine in there. Singer/songwriter. Folkie. Hasn't remotely the number of famous songs of either Ochs or Zevon. He should be proud to have been nominated, but that's likely as far as it goes. 

Some of the more ridiculous nominees: L.L. Asshole, Janet Jerkson, and Chunka Con, NONE of whom are really "Rock and Roll." Just how a mediocre headbanger bunch of unoriginals as Def Leppard were even CONSIDERED is beyond belief. 

"Don't. Don't. Don't...don't play the Hall of Shame sham." Meaning, don't spend too much time predicting who the winners will be. Are YOU ever going to go to Cleveland to see some uninhabited costume and mute guitars behind glass?

 John Lennon listens to Phil Ochs sing Chords of Fame

October 9th - John Lennon's birthday and...an Eleanor McEvoy song

There's been a flurry of activity this year, for John Lennon fans.


A museum in Liverpool has staged a vivid exhibit of memorabilia, and there's been a re-issue of the movie "Imagine," and also a huge box-set version of the album complete with a book and a ton of out-takes.


October 9th is John's birthday. It's also the title of a song by Eleanor McEvoy:"Last Seen October 9th." The song isn't usually in her set list. It's pretty grim. In fact, she usually performs it only on October 9th. 

Over a decade ago, I was in the audience, on October 9th, at her show.  By way of preface, expecting her song title for an answer, she asked the audience, "Anyone know what day this is?" 

From my ringside seat, I answered, "Yes...John Lennon's birthday." 

"Is it? Really. I didn't know that..." 

The song is about a person gone missing, not someone assassinated, but the effect is the same. The song, in its quiet, sober, somber simplicity, says a lot about life's fragility and the emptiness that goes with loss.  





 OCTOBER 9th Listen on line, no pop-ups, porn ads or wait time.

October 9th - Rufus Griswold defames Edgar Poe


You can trace literary assassination in America, to the Rev. Rufus Griswold, and a piece he published anonymously in the New York Daily Tribune on October 9th, 1849. 


Griswold was a rival of Edgar A. Poe (as Poe's byline usually read). Poe was known as much for his fiery, influential magazine editing as anything else. He recklessly made enemies with his severe and witty comments on matters of the day, much of it directed at rival writers. Griswold published compilations of those he considered the best American poets, and resented it when Poe disparaged some of the choices. Griswold had included Poe, probably as much to stay on Poe's good side as to acknowledge that Poe was indeed one of the country's finest talents. 

Griswold probably burned with malice when a poetess Poe praised in a magazine, was more taken with that and the handsome poet, than with the compliment of being in a Griswold anthology.

It was all a secret hatred. Griswold was a true weasel, and didn't publicly feud with Poe and risk being ripped to pieces by someone known to be cutting and witty. Griswold, after all, was better known for compiling collections, not for his writing.


Poe was so sure that Griswold was a friend and admirer, he named him his literary executor. Griswold executed Poe in the anonymous obit, but dared not expose that it was the work of the very man Poe had entrusted with his life's work. Griswold's black portrait of Poe as a nasty drunk would be taken as fact, even as several biographers over the years pointedly refuted much of Griswold's charges. As executor, Griswold tightened the purse strings on any money coming in from Poe's published work. Poe's starving mother-in-law, Maria Clemm, had to beg Griswold over and over for a few coins, or a few copies of Poe's books that she could sell.

Here's how Griswold opened his obituary on Poe, who at age 40, was found in a Baltimore street after several days of exposure and delirium, and was too far gone to linger more than a few days in hospital:

"EDGAR ALLAN POE is dead. He died in Baltimore the day before yesterday. This announcement will startle many, but few will be grieved by it. The poet was well known, personally or by reputation, in all this country; he had readers in England, and in several of the states of Continental Europe; but he had few or no friends..."

Griswold then threw in a plug for himself, noting that any biographical material in the obit was from "Griswold’s “Poets and Poetry of America,” from which a considerable portion of the facts in this notice are derived." Yes, the weasel had made sure to include Poe in the anthology, so as not to get Edgar angry with him, but now was his revenge.

Like Poe, Griswold was a major flirt with the poetesses of his day, but the results were more erratic than erotic. He was married three times, which was quite unusual for that era. The last divorce was very messy, and somehow involved technical issues that affected his latest marriage. This was circa 1853, four years after he defamed Poe. His bride was so disgusted by the charges brought up when the divorce was re-affirmed, she left Griswold. His hellfire wasn't over. A gas leak burned him and his home, but he recovered. This was followed by his 15 year-old daughter Emily nearly left for dead when she was trapped on a train that careened into a river. She was pulled from the waters and placed with dozens of dead bodies. Ultimately, someone noticed she was still breathing.  The following year, Griswold died of tuberculosis. He was only 42.

Thus, the pendulum swings wildly, and for some, Griswold's long history of creepy activity, culminating in the Poe obituary, led to his ultimate horrors in the last few years of his life. 


The last gasp from The Ivy League Trio, a concept lp called "Folk Songs from the World of Edgar Allan Poe," included their colorful version of "The Pit and the Pendulum." It arrived not long after Vincent Price and Roger Corman began their series of Poe-inspired films, including "House of Usher" and, yes, "The Pit and the Pendulum."

The trio had been signed to Decca's Coral label, and given a chance with two albums that included vivid cover versions of recent folk songs ("The Ballad of Tim Evans" and "The Ballad of Springhill (Springhill Mining Disaster)." For Reprise, Ronn Langford replaced Bev Galloway as the bass voice, and they re-wrote and re-arranged the material they were given, to create a critically praised, if low-selling release.

Two of the three singers on the album survive: Langford's had a lucrative career in the world of car racing, and Bob Hider is known for his skilled photography. "Pit and the Pendulum" combines lusty folk balladry with over-the-top guignol as one might expect (and even demand).

IVY LEAGUE TRIO PIT AND THE THE PENDULUM

Jerry Yester - Admits to the Pedo Material

Pretty weird to see the reaction to Jerry Yester admitting that he did have child porn on his computer, and that he'd been dabbling in such imagery for several years.

Since his main claim to fame is being in the post-successful Lovin' Spoonful, some people have left comments on social media about how they "can't listen to that music again."

Is that such a bad thing? Outside of "Summer in the City" they were a pretty dippie bunch of hippies. And if you can't separate music from the people who make it, you might not be much of an adult.


Jerry was in several groups when he was young and not, uh, nostalgic for childhood. These included The New Christy Minstrels and the Modern Folk Quartet. Arguably either group produced music a little more challenging than the Poon Full. Er, Spoonful. PS, how many straight, upright and decent people did NOT find something lurid in the term "Lovin' Spoonful?" The same bunch that don't know how the band 10CC got its name?

While Jerry did play piano on "Do You Believe in Magic," he didn't actually join the Spoonful until Zal Yanovsky was replaced. The band limped along for another year and broke up in 1969. It was then, that Yester reached his artistic height with "Farewell Aldebaran," produced written and performed with his wife, the legendary Judy Henske. Buoyed by the critical (but not commercial) success of the album, Jerry and Judy formed a band called Rosebud, and issued another album.

Also in Rosebud was arguably one of the most brilliant of session keyboard players, Craig Doerge. Eventually, Jerry and Judy were divorced. Judy married Craig, and they've been together ever since. Yester worked as a producer, saw The Modern Folk Quartet briefly come back together, and eventually joined the reformed Lovin' Spoonful in 1991. Just about a year ago (October 7, 1917) he was arrested. Pedo porn was found on his computer. He was kicked out of the Spoonful, which was still touring at the time. Now, a year later, he awaits sentencing. He's 75, out of work, and the question is whether a few years in jail would be just for him or a warning to others.

Meanwhile, below, a pensive track from "Farewell Aldebaran" with Jerry on lead vocal. It's a moody look at old age and death, a subject that might've had something to do with Jerry's sudden interest in the absolute reverse.

HENSKE YESTER
One More Time    Instant download or listen on line. No Zinfart passwords, links for bogus out-of-date Flash downloads, malware or spyware anywhere.

 


THE EVE OF DESTRUCTION soothed by THE LIVING VOICES (of Ethel Gabriel)

Amazing: a gloomy climate change headline bounced Kardashian's butt off the vital front page of a news site:


Not to worry. 

The "terrifying climate change warning" scare headline isn't the top story. Who believes it, anyway? 

President Orange Man once declared that when he uses his hair spray, it "disappears into the air," and doesn't seem to do any damage to that precious (if not fictitious) ozone layer in the sky. Republicans in general don't believe in climate change, evolution, or disqualifying a Supreme Court candidate who gets as emotional as a six year-old with alternating sniffles and tantrums. The most quotable thing Kavanaugh has ever said in his life: "I like BEER." 

Shrug off the gloom and doom and be soothed by some "EASY LISTENING" music. 



    “Back in the day” the “silent majority” had an answer to Hiroshima,  fallout shelters and music interrupted by emergency broadcasting system “tests” on the radio. They turned it all off, slapped some EASY LISTENING on the phonograph set with the teakwood needle, and sipped Jack Daniels (country) or Dewar's or J&B (city). In fact, EASY LISTENING could sweeten anything sour, even "Eve of Destruction," which you'll hear below covered by some middle-aged denture-wearing ninnies. 

    What, an entire soothing album of protest songs gone toothless? Sure. The album was just another in an endless series of budget RCA Camden albums intent on making “living” a little “easier.” Most any genre of music could be rendered into aural oatmeal and easily digested by the “Living Strings” and “Living Voices” in the living room. While most of these albums concentrated on Christmas music, standards, show tunes and watered down classical music, nothing was safe, not even Bob Dylan and P.F. Sloan. As an “easy listening” choice, it lends a macabre reality to Tom Lehrer’s line, “we will all fry together when we fry.”

    Would it surprise you to learn that the idyllic life of Ethel Gabriel, inventor of “The Living Voices” and “The Living Strings” ended badly? She lost her husband, her affluent lifestyle, her gold records, her savings, and has ended up in a small room in an upstate New York home. It’s a sad fate for a woman that isn’t even known to feminists, despite being credited as the first female record producer. After starting her musical career with an unlikely instrument choice (the trombone) and fronting a dance band, she worked for RCA. She was one of the executives who went out to Tennessee to scout a refugee from Sun Records with the unlikely name of Elvis Presley. 

     Ethel reached a pinnacle in the 60’s when she helmed RCA’s budget Camden label (named after a mediocre town in New Jersey). She not only re-issued everything from Perry Como to Homer & Jethro, but became the label’s combo of Mantovani and Mitch Miller, signing or supervising all kinds of lame releases by the Boston Pops, pianist Peter Nero, and a vast array of flaccid bandleaders including Hugo Winterhalter, George Melachrino and Henri Rene. Her big singing stars were gooey voiced Roger Whitaker and the Ames Brothers. She also was in charge of the never-ending and constantly expanding “Living” albums (was that title inspired by the Playtex “Living Bra?” that would soon include “The Living Brass,” “The Living Guitars,” and so many others.  RCA was delighted that some albums Ethel produced actually won Grammy awards and were certified Gold. 

    Ethel prospered through the 60’s and even the 70’s. She made a fortune from selling Muzak to middle-aged zombies, cloth-eared wimps and crying Dutchmen, who all sighed over how EASY the listening was. But…interest in the inane world of musical tranquilizers waned. Instrumentals such as “Stranger on the Shore” and “Alley Cat” from Acker Bilk and Bent Fabric gave way to The Beatles, and   Henry Mancini’s “Moon River” and Paul Mauriat’s “Love is Blue” were eclipsed by grunge rockers such as Mick Jagger and Eric Burdon. Past the 70’s, melodic Broadway shows began, in all candor, to ebb. Sondheim offered “Send in the Clowns” but was soon exploring discord with “Sweeney Todd” and “Assassins.”  Few hit songs were coming from movies (the “Godfather Waltz” was a rare exception). The people who wrote hit songs for Sinatra were dead, and Frank wasn’t feeling so good himself.  A last gasp in the late 70’s and early 80’s was when big bands (Les Elgart in particular) and unlikely geezers like Ethel Merman and Cab Calloway, rode their old hits into the discos of the world. 

    By 1984, Ethel Gabriel had pretty much done the “Living Strings” to death. What next? She was persuaded to invest her life savings, a quarter of a million dollars, in starting up “Global Entertainment.” Her advisor was a guy named Robert Anderson, who had been Secretary of the U.S. Treasure under Eisenhower. Either he was senile, or a crafty old bastard. Probably the latter, since he eventually did time for bank fraud. Either way, the company failed, and the 60-something Ethel faced an uncertain future. A lot of her possessions, including her framed Gold Record awards, were sold at auction. She became a widow and had no children to help her. In 2013, at the age of 91, she briefly made the news when a fan discovered her living at the Rochester Presbyterian Home, and gave her a grand gift by spending some money to make a Gold Record replica of one of her long-sold triumphs:



     Thus, a happy ending, of sorts. She no doubt can also take comfort in knowing there are hundreds of blogs that give away "Living Strings" music and Elvis and everything else on RCA. What would she do with the royalty money anyway? Eat less spam and government cheese? 

      Born in 1921, she’s lived to see 9/11 and ISIS and climate change, and predictions that we are, indeed on the “Eve of Destruction.” What do you do about it? Growl like Barry McGuire? Nah, you just croon the tune like the “Living Voices” do, until you stop living.

LIVING VOICES "Eve of Destruction" - no weird foreign download site, no pop-ups, no "update your Flash" spyware games, no dopey PASSWORD, no whine for Paypal donations

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

KATHY'S SONG - the pick for sensitive singer-songwriters breaking in


As Paul Simon slip slides away, having contributed to the official bio "The Life," issued a weird new album covering old obscure songs, and taken his last tour, we look back at what Art Garfunkel considered his best song: "Kathy's Song." 

You've heard it sung in every park in the summer, strummed and bleated by some guy or girl trying to get some attention. It's almost a rite of passage to sit in some smelly coffee house, cross-legged, a candle nearby, and put on a glum face as, with closed eyes, the first words come out: "I hear the drizzle of the rain..." 

Most people listening, wish for the sound of silence. But "Kathy's Song" remains, ahead of "Wild World" and "Fire and Rain," the best number to say: "I'm here, I'm emotional, I'm serious about my singing and my art, and most of all, I really want to get laid." 

If you do have talent, like Sarah Jarosz, you can hook people with this familiar song into listening to your own originals, and you can end up with a Grammy or two! 

 The song is a traditional ode, a classic love ballad professing eternal devotion. It's a love that will last. The reality is that both Paul Simon and Kathy Chiddy had much longer relationships with others. Paul would get married three times (Kathy was not one of the wives). Kathy has been in a relationship with somebody else for 40 years. 

Paul was so nuts for her, that ala “Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” who put HIS girlfriend Suze Rotolo on an album cover, he chose to add her to the front of the “Paul Simon Songbook.” How idyllic. 


 The truth seems to be rather mundane. The puppy love was there for a while, but, let’s quote another Simon, this one named Carly: 


She said, "I know he'll never leave me
I never felt it deep inside like this before"
It was good to see her, believe me
But I couldn't stand to hear this anymore


         Kathy probably did say something like that to her friends. She just couldn't express it as brilliantly as Paul Simon. Paul's poetic take, soaring into the regions of myth, make it tough for people to accept the truth: undying love and almost painfully intense devotion sometimes aren't enough. Love affairs can be hot and then cool. Those looking for for "the story behind the song" don't want to know that an artist's poetic song isn't totally based in reality. The Paul and Kathy relationship was no different than a million college romances or even high school romances where the couple vowed to be together forever, and sealed it with a kiss tasting of Burger King fries. 


       The many biographers of Paul Simon have been unable to get anything fantastic out of Paul about Kathy, and Kathy, perhaps bewildered by all the attention to what was just a first love that didn't last, figures that it's better to say nothing than to shrug, "Hey, I've been with another guy for 40 years." In "Paul Simon: The Life," the author merely writes: “Kathy first heard it on a tape Simon made of the song in New York. Garfunkel would refer to “Kathy’s Song” decades later as his favorite Paul Simon composition.” Ah. Thanks. This is  the definitive biography, folks.

      In 1963, 18 year-old Kathy was a folk fan and got a dream job selling tickets at the Railway Inn folk club, in Brentwood, Essex. She saw Paul there, but it was the following year that the shy girl, no groupie, got introduced to him by a mutual friend. As he would later do with his first wife Peggy ("Peg" in the song lyrics) and with Carrie Fisher (the two "one and one-half wandering Jews" of "Hearts and Bones") Paul found a muse in Kathy, and name-checked her in title of one song, and in the lyric of another. "Kathy's Song" was on the solo album he made in England. He sang it well, but eventually, like "Bridge Over Troubled Water," he gave it to Artie as a solo.

    Nobody can touch Garfunkel on “Kathy’s Song,” since his synagogue-trained voice, so often called “angelic,” conjures up the images of spirituality in Paul's lyric.


    On this blog of less renown, the choice of singer is, of course, a woman. Since both "Wide World" and "Fire and Rain" more obviously are songs by men sung to women, "Kathy's Song," despite the title, is the best choice for women because there's actually no gender in the lyrics:

And so you see I have come to doubt
All that I once held as true
I stand alone without beliefs
The only truth I know is you
And as I watch the drops of rain
Weave their weary paths and die
I know that I am like the rain
There but for the grace of you go I

       
    It's interesting that women could sing those lines at all. About men? Really? Those ripe, almost 18th century lyrics of almost-religious devotion???


    You can't imagine Edie Brickell singing that to Paul Simon. Yoko singing it to John. Linda to Paul. Sally Field to Burt Reynolds. Goldie Hawn to Bill Hudson. Tammy Wynette to George Jones. Nancy Sinatra to Lee Hazlewood. No woman would sing “there but for the grace of you go I" to a guy. Think about Sonny singing “the only truth I know is you" to Cher. Yeah. But not Cher singing that to Sonny! 

    Women who sing the song either just like the song and WISH they could find a guy for whom the lyrics would have some meaning, OR...having had their fill of guys in puffy shirts tied with string instead of buttons, who ask them to get into bondage games, they've gone to the other side, and are singing this song to another woman. 


    Sarah Jarosz, recorded “Kathy’s Song” as part of a 5-track  EP, “Live at the Troubadour” on August 9, 2012. It was released (today we say “dropped”) the following year.  Her supporting musicians on the album are Alex Hargreaves and Nathaniel Smith. The Troubadour, which hosted such legends as Phil Ochs and Joni Mitchell, remains an important credit for any folksinger to have. 


    The Texas-born folkie and Americana/roots singer issued two studio albums before this live one, and two studio albums since. The first, “Song Up in Her Head” (2009) was #1 on the Roots chart, and a cut from it was Grammy nominated for “Best Country Instrumental Performance.” And guess what, her latest, “Undercurrent,” also hit #1 on the Roots chart and was Top 10 on the Folk chart as well. All her albums are on the Sugar Hill label. 


    “Undercurrent” also won her the “Best Folk Album” Grammy, and the cut “House of Mercy” got her a “Best American Roots Performance” Grammy. You didn’t know that, because the Grammy show isn't about "diversity," it's about Beyonce and Jay-Z, and it's about rappers, and it's about prap -- the pop tarts who rap-sing their lyrics, like CardiB and Taylor "Look What You Made Me Do" Swift. The diversity of classical, jazz, roots and country aren't celebrated on the Grammy broadcast and awards in these and other categories are barely even mentioned. 


      Who is considered a sensitive singer-songwriter these days? Sam Smith? Darwin was wrong. And nothing by Sheeran, Adele, Taylor, Sam, or Kanye, Beyonce or Jay-Z will ever be as good as...

KATHY'S SONG - listen or download, no dodgy websites re-directing you, no ego Passwords, no Paypal tip nagging 

KATHY CHITTY...mentioned in "AMERICA" oom pah pah DAVID BOWIE


Do you suppose Kathy is feeling a tad old...hearing the news that her boyfriend from the 60's is in his 70's and on a retirement tour? That he put out a strangely senile new album in which he basically re-sang some of his weakest and most obscure songs claiming that the arrangements were now different and better than the original, when some were hardly different at all? When some were not even listenable in their new incarnations?

Maybe she actually doesn't think about the little guy that much. Maybe she thinks too much about other things besides "Think Too Much." Ya think? I think she may think, "When is another obnoxious photographer from the London Daily Fail going to come out here to an obscure part of Wales, and take another unflattering photo of me? Why pick on ME when there's momentarily no wardrobe malfunction on a Kardashian and no Hadid exposing underboob?" 

It's possible that if Kathy took a long distance call and answered some questions, the new official (Paul cooperated) bio would answer any questions morbidly curious people have about her, and she would no longer be a mystery woman who has something to hide. Hmm, but then she wouldn't be a rock Mona Lisa would she, an inscrutable presence forever fascinating.  

Actually, "Paul Simon: THE LIFE" doesn't put a lid on any of the questions and controversies in the great man's life. He doesn't analyze songs (even ones that have baffled people for years, like "Me and Julio") or even give a few clues on strange turns of a phrase (he smiled and told Bob Costas once that "The cross is in the ballpark" had nothing to do with the Pope at Yankee Stadium, but didn't feel like adding that "in the ballpark" is just a phrase that means, "possible."  

No, Paul doesn’t really delve into the wearisome bickerings with Artie. No, Paul chooses not to explain how he and his third wife Edie ended up facing a judge in an embarrassing case of marital fighting. And NO, there's not much on the youthful first serious love affair that yielded some memorable songs.

“The Life” offers a few second-hand quotes about Kathy via a a couple she knew back then, the McCauslands. Lynne McCausland doesn’t say much: “Kathy was lovely, very gentle, very shy and quiet. Paul had his quiet and shy side, so they fit each other perfectly.” 

 Paul Simon, on a memorable SNL show, admitted that people come up to him and say “you take yourself SO seriously...” In “The Life,” his relationship with Kathy is taken so seriously that it becomes silly. While the woman refuses to talk, it turns out there's ONE THING she wanted to be in the book: the exact month she and Paul met. THAT is important: 


 “Contrary to repeated reports over the years that they met during Simon’s first trip to England in 1963 (Simon recalled simply seeing her taking tickets on the stops of the Brentwood Folk Club at the that time), they met formally in April 1964. Simon was performing at the White Swan in Romford when Dave McCausland introduced him to Kathy, a shy eighteen-year-old with long, brown hair. The date was supplied by someone close to Kathy, someone who - with both Kathy’s confirmation and permission - wanted to finally set the record straight.” 


Does that make your day? Will the month of April mean something different to you know? April, come she will? He glimpsed her in 1963, but was introduced to her in 1964. The taciturn Mr. Simon, who supposedly spent weeks and weeks being grilled by his biographer only remarks: “It felt like love at first sight. I had never felt that. It was just chemistry.” Anything else? “They may not have said anything more than hello that first night, Simon remembers, but they spent time together the next night, when she and a few other Brentwood folk fans went with him to the Troubadour club in central London, where he sang three songs.” 

Hey, the song about her says it all. There but for the grace of her go him.     

The London Daily Fail, having snapped a Chitty, didn't offer much real information other than "the 68 year-old grandmother" leads a "humdrum life...in a quiet Welsh-speaking village...in a small, detached three-bedoom house on a quiet cul-de-sac, and catches a bus each day to her job as an administrator for a technical college, where she has worked for 25 years." That's more than "The Life" tells us about her.

"The Life" doesn't quote the guy who has had a 40 year relationship with her, Kenneth Harrison. Journeying to that "remote mountain village in North Wales," the London Daily Fail reporter at least got him to admit that they have three children, and used to live in Essex. And that Kathy's fame as a muse was never amusing to her: ‘She wasn’t very comfortable with it. We’re very good friends with Mr Simon and there’s never been a rift. I was there. I was part of that crowd as the second person to meet Paul Simon when he came to Britain in 1963. "America" is the one song which we’ll never escape from because it’s a song about America losing its way.’

  
It is an irony, then, that David Bowie chose to sing "America" when thousands of Americans had just lost their way...staggering from the smoke and debris at the office buildings in which they worked at 9/11.

The song was an odd choice, as "America" is more about alienation and ennui with the American dream. Paul wrote "each town looks the same to me" about touring, but in this song, it seems like this young couple may have some moments that are light-hearted (making fun of fellow passengers) but in the end, it's "toss me a cigarette..." and read some magazines, and these famous lines: 

“Kathy I’m lost, I said, though I knew she was sleeping. I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why…”  People looking for recollections of a passionate romance between Paul and Kathy get the sound of silence, because like most anyone's puppy love, the end came because immature people eventually drift apart and find new interests, and if they remain they would only endure everyday monotony, ennui and empty yearnings. 

From “The Life” we learn…little: “In “America,” the narrator’s companion is a young woman named Kathy, which, understandably, led fans to assume that he and Kathy Chitty had taken a trip together during her visit in 1966, but there was no Simon-Kathy bus trip, Simon said. The images in the song were based on his own travels.” It’s always a little dicey, and ridiculous, to try and navigate between an artist’s fantasies and intellectual creativity, and his reality. Why be so eager to think that “America” is a journal song, and not a work of fiction?
         

They met in England, Paul had to come back to America, he later returned, and things just drifted. No big quotes from Paul or from Kathy. On page 237: “While on break, he flew to London to see if he and Kathy could figure out a way to make their lives compatible…he and Kathy acknowledged what had been apparent to them both for some time: their lives had simply drifted apart.” No quote from Kathy, of course. The author apparently couldn’t get Paul to comment further, so relies on a previous quote pried out of him by somebody else: “There was no big drama in our breakup,” Simon said years later. “I don’t remember ever having an argument with Kathy.” 

 Too bad, porn lovers, there will probably never be a graphic description of Chitty bang-bang, and how unseemly it would be to even imagine Paul Simon in the role of passionate lover. They were just a cute couple for a year or two. That's what the cover of "Paul Simon Songbook" shows you, doesn't it? She's just an old flame.

  
 Speaking of flame, the smoke was probably still in the air, and part of the core of the WTC was still glowing orange when David Bowie joined a bunch of superstars for a “Concert for New York City.” As Tom Lehrer might cynically declare, what better way of solving problems than to fire some songs at it? “Ready, aim, SING!” Some of the stars in attendance were only there because it would be good publicity.  Others sang weird defiant new songs (McCartney’s peculiar “FREEDOM”) or sing weirdly inappropriate oldies (McCartney again, doing “I’m Down.”  

 Why is the famous David Bowie on this blog of less renown? This blog of obscure performers? Because his cover of "America" was deemed by some to be inappropriate if not weird. For some reason known only to Sergeant Pepper’s ghost, Bowie sang the song with an oom-pah-pah waltzing tempo. Some androgynes in the band fluted it along with Ferris wheel wind toots. 


What was anyone expecting? A morbid twist on ground zero by re-writing "Ground control to Major Tom?" New lyrics for "Suffer a Jet City?" No, it was good enough that he was there, being a New Yorker, even if his choice of song was odd, and the arrangement odder. Who doesn’t adore Bowie, and the vocal styles that are sort of an anemic version of Anthony Newley? The Brit decided to come live in New York, and when disaster came, he sang for "America." 



DAVID BOWIE sings AMERICA - instant download or listen online. No Paypal tip whining, no grinning emoji of brattiness, no taking you to a freak site that will put spyware on you, tell you your FLASH is out of date, or re-direct you to hell.

Getting EMOTIONAL about PATTI DAHLSTROM



A check of Amazon reveals...what...Patti Dahlstrom's CD is now a $40 collectors item? Is that good news or bad news? 

It would seem like good news. If a re-issue on Patti's CD is sold out, it means there's a market for a second pressing. There's a market for releasing ALL FOUR of Patti's albums and giving them fresh, perfect CD treatment, complete with booklets. There ARE people out there who like quality sound, and who want to read a booklet and find out more about the artist and the songs. 

According to Rolling Stone, the best-selling category is no longer rock, it's rap. Second best is probably prap -- the pop-rap crap from Taylor "Look What You Made Me Do" Swift, Cardi-B and the rest of the stale tarts. Still, if rock fans can buy up the print run on a Dahlstrom album, it sends a message. PS, it would be nice if people not in the business, and with no knowledge of how it works, would stop giving away whole albums thinking it does no damage. It fucks up supply and demand, to put it politely, and can prevent rare vinyl from turning into digital CD with bonus tracks. And it can take money out of the hands of deserving artists, too.

There's a generous TWENTY songs on this re-issue:



1. Emotion (1973)
2. He Did Me Wrong, But He Did It Right (1975)
3. Sending My Good Thoughts To You (1975)
4. Get Along, Handsome (1972)
5. This Isn’t An Ordinary Love Song (1972)
6. Without Love (1976)
7. And I Never Did (1972)
8. Changing Minds (1976)
9. Give Him Time (1973)
10. Ollabelle And Slim (1972)
11. Cleveland Snow (1973)
12. Comfortable (1972)
13. Wait Like A Lady 1972)
14. For Everybody’s Sake (1973)
15. I’m Letting Go (1972)
16. Innate (1973)
17. One Afternoon (1976)
18. Rider (1972)
19. The Way I Am (1973)
20. What If (1972)


It's hard to find fault with the choices. They've included the darkly poignant ballad "For Everybody's Sake." You'll find good advice on the tender "Give Him Time" and the sassier "Wait Like a Lady." Everyone can enjoy the erotic "He Did Me Wrong, But He Did it Right," (still best in her version, though it's been covered by some very fine ladies). Also here, the elegantly wistful "And I Never Did," and two songs demonstrating the Texas girl's true grit, "Olabelle and Slim" and the moody masterpiece "Rider." Gotta love her down-home lyrics on "Emotion," mated to the exquisite French star Veronique Sanson's melody "Amoureuse."

One missing song is "If You Want it Easy." So...by way of a sample, and since it's unavailable otherwise, you'll find it below.

Some would say "but it's easy to offer the entire album. It's out of print." Yes, but if you want it THAT easy, then you're not an adult. Sure, we all "like it free," to quote Puzo (no, not Mario, the forum making money off everyone else's creativity.) "Sharing" with some of your friends is one thing. Giving away entire discographies to strangers is stealing. No rationalization about it. Look at how few record stores there are. It's galling that few vintage artists from the 70's can get into a studio and make new music without begging on Kickstarter and making it a vanity album to sell on a website or at a few gigs. Artists deserve dignity. Royalties. Respect. 

People who aren't in the business, aren't creative, aren't owners of record stores, aren't trying to make a living from music, and aren't even able to speak English because it's a second language, decide "piracy is good publicity," "artists should give away music and sell t-shirts at gigs" and "here's an album and a link to feed MY ego; I'm retired with nothing else to do but act like I'm in show biz and own music that I give away because I'm so lovable."

The inconvenient truth is that it wasn't exactly easy to get a record deal when Patti Dahlstrom was starting out. Now, thanks to ProTools, "everybody's in show biz" and everybody puts out albums and it's almost impossible for a new artist to get noticed amid the huge volume on Spotify and YouTube. 

"If You Want It Easy" is on the "Your Place or Mine" album. For those who aren't sure that true love travels on a gravel road, here's the smooth advice of Ms. Dahlstrom: "If You Want It Easy you don't want love." The album includes "Louisiana," a co-write with the well known typing error Al Staehely. As she often does, Patti shines a light in the darkness and comes up with something positive, like the line "The only chance of holding on is letting go within."

It's nice that the unique, original, and different (or, to use her unique Texas drawling pronunciation of it, "diff-a-rawnt") Patti Dahlstrom did get a Rev-ola revival re-issue. Hopefully they, Cherry Red or Omnivore will bring it back or offer a box set of all four of her albums. Patti's in the U.K. so, to use a stupid slang word, it would be ace if she's invited to the offices of ACE so they can plan a re-issue with her own album notes and recollections. How about a combo CD set and autobiography? 
 IF YOU WANT IT EASY (instant download or listen online. No dopey ego password, no dodgy spyware-malware crap, no  pop-ups or sending you suddenly to a spam page).