Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Herman Hupfeld - Not a One Shot Wonder AS TIME GOES BY - “Sing Something Simple”

     Here's a multi-part salute to HERMAN HUPFELD, who died before we were born (February 1, 1894-June 8, 1951). 

    You must remember this: Herman Hupfeld was NOT a one shot wonder. 

    Yes, he's best known for the enduring ballad "As Time Goes By." Still, if you have an interest in older music, you'll find plenty of amusing and surprisingly upbeat numbers in his catalog. Back in 1931-1933, most radio stations were playing a lot of his stuff and Broadway producers welcomed his contributions. These tunes were recorded by the most popular big bands of the day, from  Paul Whiteman in America to Ambrose in England.

    Hupfeld's most famous song  “As Time Goes By,” first appeared, as did most of his work, in a Broadway show. “Everybody’s Welcome” was the 1931 stage production that needed some extra material. There was comedy from the Ritz Brothers, a cute leading lady named Harriette Lake (who would eventually change her name to Ann Sothern), and room for a good romantic ballad for the show's star, the now-forgotten Frances Williams. The song wasn't that popular at the time. No record company raced to sign Ms. Williams to sing it. One of the few who did record it back then was Rudy Vallee, but it took the Bogart movie to turn that song into an enduring standard.

      In the meantime, Herman Hupfeld, born in Montclair, New Jersey and living there (and he'd die there), came across the Hudson River to come across with fodder for more shows. Some of the material was topical (about The Depression) or addressed other timely issues. In “Sing Something Simple,” Herman offered a Hup 2, 3,4 on the problem of modern jazz tunes:

    “Songs they write today, must be solved, they’re too involved!
    Oh what a mental strain: it takes a week or more to master one refrain.
    The subjects and complicated words with minor thirds: oh what an awful jam.
    Who cares about the love life of a clam?” 

    Just where Herman got that LAST line from, I have no idea. Somebody wrote about the love life of a clam? Maybe it was the risque Dwight Fiske? No, he wrote "Ida the Wayward Sturgeon." “Three Little Fishies” was a novelty hit about fish who “swam and swam all over the dam,” but they didn’t encounter a clam. That song was a hit about seven years after Herman's tune. “Do the Clam” from Elvis Presley was even later. And so was Cher with “Gypsies Clams and Thieves.” But I could be wrong about that. 

      Below are a few versions released back in the days of 78's. Whether this long play album has Herman's song, or a different song using the same title really doesn't matter does it? It sure brightens up this entry. 

      Some folks out there appreciate the kind of bouncy ditties that turned up in Betty Boop cartoons, and are featured in Busby Berkeley musicals. Herman Hupfeld's songbook is full of them, and for fans of fun 78's, you'll find several more in the  posts below that also pay tribute to the man from Montclair. Herman brought a lot of amusement to a lot of people, even if he may not have had such a happy time of it himself.

      Author Aljean Harmetz, who wrote a book on the making of Casablanca, speculated, “He may never have been in love. In fact he may never have had any adventures at all except the ones he composed. Even his World War I service consisted of playing in a Navy band a few hundred miles from home. Herman Hupfeld was born in Montclair, New Jersey in 1894 and died there, on the same street, in 1951.”  A simple life. 


SING SOMETHING SIMPLE - Fred Rich (instant download or listen online) No annoying egocentric Passwords

Herman Hupfeld - Moonlight and Love Songs OR "Moonlight and Pretzels"

      The graves of Herman Hupfeld and his mother. 

     The man who wrote about “moonlight and love songs never out of date,” wrote some songs for the forgotten “Moonlight and Pretzels.” Neither song (download links below) is particularly "out of date," especially if you enjoy nostalgic razzmatazz and fetchingly catchy pop-jazz.

    Written at the height of The Depression, 1933, the cheerful “I’ve Gotta Get Up and Go To Work” is sung by Dick Robertson, who is obviously grateful to have a job:

     “A lucky guy just getting by…oh such is life, my darling wife I’m doing it all for you. I’ll phone at noon, I’ll see you soon….the time’s not far away when every man will say: I have a job, so help me Bob, I gotta get up and go to work!”

    Compare that to glum Paul Simon nearly 40 years later: “Tomorrow’s gonna be another working day and I’m trying to get some rest.” Yeah, Mr. “we lived so well so long” was in a different space than Hupfeld, who was cheerleading people to be positive and thankful for what they had. 

     The Depression was an excuse for people to want music FREEEEE, but many were glad to pay for a boost in their spirits. Back then you could walk into a record store and come out with hopes and dreams. There was also a lively business in sheet music, and pianist-singers were employed in department stores to entice people with the latest tunes.

    Your second download from "Moonlight and Pretzels" features Ramona Davies. She asks “Are You Making Any Money?”  Being a practical female, that’s ALL she wants to know. Davies, featured with the Paul Whiteman orchestra, was usually listed simply as RAMONA. If Ray Davies ever wants to re-issue “Out of the Wardrobe” or really sell a “hey are you gay can you come out and play” lyric, he could use the “Ramona Davies” name. 

      As usual for these 78 rpm tunes, there’s a lot of music (we go 1:30 minutes) before there’s any lyrics. And the lyrics? Do they make a lot of sense? Not a lot: “You make love dandy, you make swell molasses candy, but honey are you makin’ any money, that’s all I want to know!”  

    The best things in life are free, as another Depression-era song goes. If not free (moonlight), pretty cheap (pretzels). While many were out of work, Hupfeld was knocking out songs. That doesn't mean he was out all night enjoying himself, and hobbing his nob with stage stars.  

     Hupfeld seemed to lead a rather dull and cloistered life at home in Montclair, New Jersey. His mother’s house was within a pretzel’s throw. One distant relative recalled that he had a drinking problem, which may have had to do with his problems being either asexual or gay. Michael Feinstein says the latter: 

    “There was a big divide back then between performers and songwriters that were gay. Most of the songwriters were in the closet. People knew that Cole Porter was gay but he never spoke of it and was married. There were many songwriters who were gay such as Herman Hupfeld who wrote "As Time Goes By." Many people did not want it to impact their careers. But then there were people at MGM like Conrad Salinger, who was film composer that was so outrageously flamboyant but he didn't care what people thought because his job was secure and he was extraordinarily talented. For performers it was very much hidden.”

    Hupfeld’s mother out-lived him by several years but as you see from the photo above, they remain side by side for eternity, as they did back in Montclair, New Jersey.


ARE YOU MAKING ANY MONEY (gosh, buy it IF you like it) - Ramona (not Ray) DAVIES

Gay Wack-Off Herman Hupfeld sings about GOOPY GEER

    Our salute continues. In the early 1930’s, Herman Hupfield was in his late 30’s. It was the peek of his creativity. 

        Most of the songs he wrote were for Broadway revues. An exception seems to be the 1932 novelty “Goopy Geer,” which turns up in a “Merrie Melodies” cartoon by that name. As seen above, and festooned through the entry, the novelty short featured the best piano playing you’ll see from a four-fingered dog. 

    Title character Goopy is cheered by other animals as he enters what had to be a very progressive nightclub. They probably only had a few restrooms despite all the different varieties of wildlife the place attracted. Maybe there weren't any elephants, as they might object to Goopy pounding the ivories of a relative. 

    Animator Rudolf Ising’s creation was in theaters in April of 1932. In June and July, two more cartoons featured Goopy: “Moonlight For Two” and “The Queen Was in the Parlor.” At that point, he was sent to the pound and euthanized. Or maybe put out to stud. Take your choice. 

    You get TWO versions of the song. One of them is by Mr. Hupfeld, a rare waxing for the introverted songwriter. He wasn’t a stage performer, and didn't appear in nightclubs where he could promote his work, so record companies weren’t too interested. His singing is quite professional.

    The other version is from British big band leader Ambrose. The opening here, which may have inspired the Paul Daniels “not a lot” catch-phrase, has a fellow enthusing about the great new pianist Goopy Geer: 

    “Oh Mr. Ambrose, do you like this boy’s playing?” “Not much.” 

    In comes Goopy to dazzle. As the vocalist enthuses: “Some day he’ll pack the Albert Hall!” (In Hupfeld's American version it's "Carnegie Hall"). Mr. Ambrose, adapting a line from an old Moran and Mack punchline, mutters, “I wouldn’t like that if it was good.” This version tosses in a few references to everything from “Il Trovatore” to “Three Blind Mice.”

    Hupfeld’s “Goopy Geer” was the A-side of his lone single. The B-side is b-side the point…because it’s not here. It’s “Down the Old Back Road” and Herman, being a gay bachelor, may have had a double meaning to that one. 

GOOPY GEAR, sung by the lad himself, HERMAN HUPFELD

The British GOOPY GEER via AMBROSE - As always, NO passwords, dodgy Putinville servers, or bratty requests for Paypal donations

Un-depressed HERMAN HUPFELD: “Let’s Put Out The Lights And Go To Sleep”

     The salute to the lesser known works of Herman "As Time Goes By" Hupfeld continues with more of his attempts to lighten up the Depression era. They say that misery helps produce creativity, and it may be so in Herman's case. Almost all of his most interesting songs seem to be written in the four years after the stock market crash. He seemed to have less luck in the 1940's.

    It’s important to remember that artists usually reflect their times. A knowledge of sociology works hand in hand with musicology.  Many believe The Beatles’ bright, new innocent tunes like “I Want to Hold Your Hand” were embraced by America because it was still reeling from the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It’s possible there would not have been a British invasion if bullets hadn’t invaded JFK.   

    Likewise, the bouncy tunes Hupfeld wrote for a variety of Broadway shows, were a musical tonic for people trying to escape their gloom and have hope for better days. While sad songs say so much, and several dire songs reflected the times, such as “Brother Can You Spare a Dime,” most people purged their melancholy with light hearted ditties.  

    The lyrics for this song are scant, but suggest that it’s best not to swell on worry:

     “No more company to keep. No more papers left to read. What to do about it? Let’s put out the lights and go to sleep. No more anything to drink. Leave those dishes in the sink. What to do about it? Let’s put out the lights and go to sleep….No more money in the bank. No cute baby we can spank. What do do about it? Let’s put out the lights and go to sleep.” 

    Today the economy for singers and songwriters is pretty depressing. The same fuckwits who probably deny climate change, deny that giving away thousands of albums a day in forums and blogs is hurtful to the economy of artists, record labels,  record stores, etc.) The same king pests who’d rather pollute a lake with a speedboat’s noise and gasoline, are the ones who gratify their ego by smirking, “Anything you want, I gots me 200 GB of music on the computer so ask nice and I will reward you." With so much given away free, few need to buy anything. This appeals to turd-heads in third rate countries who simply want to get back at high-living people in the USA and UK.  The other "sharers" are often sociopaths who give away music, films, books, games, etc. because it's illegal and it gives them a thrill. And they haven't the guts to shoplift a pack of chewing gum in the real world. 

    "Let's Put Out the Lights..." was recorded with a female vocal in America (Ramona Davies in front of Paul Whiteman’s orchestra) and a male vocal in England (Sam Browne fronting Syd Lipton’s orchestra.) Sam Browne is no relation to British female vocalist Sam Brown, who blew the roof off the dumb when she sang “Horse to the Water” at the George Harrison tribute concert in 2002. 

     Yes, as John Marley could've told you, most anything gruesome can be forgotten if you just turn out the lights and go to sleep.

GO TO SLEEP with Syd Lipton's Orchestra and Sam Browne's vocals
GO TO SLEEP with Paul Whiteman's Orchestra and Ramona Davies' vocals

HEPCAT HERMAN HUPFELD - “When Yuba Plays the Rhumba on the Tuba”

    In the era before calling a business involved “Press one for English, press two para Espanol,” and before there was a Taco Bell on every street corner, Latino culture was considered exotic and amusing. Periodically Carmen Miranda, Desi Arnaz or some similar performer would get American hips swaying to the latest dance craze from Cuba or South America or Florida, the hell-hot low class dickhead-filled state that looks like a drooping penis (a Top 10 item: “Miami Beach Rhumba.”).

    Yes, the search for new rhythms didn’t begin when Paul Simon got into his thimble and paddled over to South Africa and then rode a dragonfly to Brazil. It didn’t start when black rap artists began to steal the white man’s shitty disco music or “sample” copyrighted music effects using the Japanese man’s Yamaha technology. 

    Herman’s novelty take on the rhumba craze not only offers up a ridiculous instrument for such frisky music, but takes an uncomplimentary view on Yuba: “His name was Yuba. He was homely, he was dumb…just a big ambitious bum…ba doopa doopa doopa…” Doopa doopa, he was homelier than an oompa loompa. 

     This wasn’t the first and wasn’t the last comical Latin number. We duly note Vic Mizzy’s “He’s a Latin from Staten Island” and Eli Basse’s “Since Chana Came Back from Havana.” Maybe these will turn up on this blog of less renown someday…instead of a few dozen more Neil Young bootlegs for the pinheads who already own ten 2TB drives full of ‘em but need them ALL. 

    Over here, the point isn’t to feed the piggies who grow obese on 1gb downloads of slop they’ll never even listen to, it’s to savor and respect unusual music and musicians. Rather than "album cover and link" from some Croatian dunce who barely knows the English word for download, the idea is to give some background on the life and times of the artists and reward the inquiring real music fans who don't settle for tapioca in their ears courtesy of James Last or Windham Hill.

    Advanced students of the Kay Kyser Kollege of Musical Knowledge may already know this tune thanks to covers by such well known names as The Mills Brothers and Spike Jones. Naturally, more obscure versions are below. First, we have the reliable but mostly UK-known Ambrose and his Orchestra, and second, amusing four part harmonies by The Revelers, who were: James Melton (tenor), Lewis James (tenor), Elliott Shaw (baritone), and Wilfred Glenn (bass). 

YUBA via AMBROSE -- no egocentric PASSWORD and no spyware-server from Putinvillle 

YUBA via THE REVELERS - no bratty chide about a PAYPAL donation.  


    In September of 1933, Hupfeld’s “weirdest music” was accompanied by jungle lyrics about…the Everglades! Huh? There were savages in the Everglades back then? As opposed to idiot meth-addicted lobster-skinned white trash? 

    “There’s a crazy celebration every night…you hear the weirdest music…it really is a fascinating sight…hear that savage serenade down there in the Everglades. Bum-a-diddy-bum bum-a-diddy bum…they play tunes that have no name. All their music sounds the same. Bum-a-diddy Bum-a-diddy  Bum-a-diddy  Bum-a-diddy Bum-a-diddy  Bum-a-diddy bum…” 

    And a moment of truth: “We’re no different, goodness knows, from those dusky belles and beaus…” 

    The hip Hupster sold this novelty song to Earl Carroll for a Broadway extravaganza. Carroll, like Florenz Ziegfeld, was noted for variety shows that featured “scantily clad” dancers whooping it up to hot jazz. Or silly jazz, the kind you’d see in old cartoons where farm animals sway, roll their eyes, and loll their tongues.  

    “Murder at the Vanities” was something new for the duke called Earl. Carroll billed it as a “New Dramatic Mystery Comedy.”   The pimpresario hoped to vary his usual reliance on female flesh and novelty songs bt having an actual story line. Inspector Ellery (not a queen) played by James Rennie periodically stalked around investigating suspects (most of whom paused for a song). One likely criminal was Siebenkase played by Bela Lugosi, who was back on Broadway after filming Tod Browning’s  “Dracula.” Yep, Fred Astaire wasn't the only one who could hum "I'm puttin' on my top hat..." 

    Another suspect: Sonya Sonya, played by Olga Baclanova, who had recently played the evil “Cleopatra” in Tod Browning’s “Freaks.” And yet another suspect: Vila, played by Villi Milli, who may have been the grandmother of one of the guys in Milli Vanilli. Another suspect, Madame Tanqueray was played by Jean Adair, who would turn up as one of the dotty but dangerous Brewster sisters in “Arsenic and Old Lace.” 

    The show opened on September 8th, 1933 at the Majestic Theatre (which really was and IS pretty huge and majestic) and lasted into the following year. The songs were written by a bunch of freelancers.  Lyricist Paul Francis Webster worked with John L. Loeb,  lyricist Ned Washington worked with Victor Young, lyricist Raymond Klages worked with Jesse Greer or Lou Alter,  and our gay mama’s boy from New Jersey created HIS songs all by himself. 

    “Savage Serenade” as unlikely as it may seem, was the bombastic “grand finale” number for the show, performed by the forgotten Una Vilon and a whole lotta chorus girls. Una Vilon, one of many a possible villain in the production, did not appear in any Broadway show before or after “Murder at the Vanities.” The others in the cast were lucky their careers weren’t permanently damaged.

    The New Yorker called the plot “mysterious to the point of being almost unintelligible…even the members of the cast (couldn’t) tell you exactly who killed whom or why.” The critics seemed equally unimpressed with the music, which was why the film version offered seven new songs from the team of Johnston and Coslow, including “Sweet Marihuana” and the enduring “Cocktails for Two.” The result is fondly appreciated. The Leonard Maltin Movie Guide calls it “the smuttiest Hollywood musical ever made…filled with near-nudity and risque dialogue.”  Hotcha! 

       George Olsen's bunch of savage musicians covered "Savage Serenade." It's a shame that no record label preserved Lugosi's singing in this legendary show.

SAVAGE SERENADE - listen or download, no dodgy Iron Curtain company server, NO bratty Paypal TIP JAR requests  

Saturday, June 09, 2018


    In 1963, Eydie Gorme had a hit with “Blame it On the Bossa Nova,” a cutie from the prolific Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. She covered the song in Spanish, too. She was a Sephardic Jew who had an early career as a United Nations interpreter.  She often covered songs in foreign languages, but…

    The ANSWER version of the song came from Jackie Mason. This oddity happened because a) Allan Sherman was a big Jewish novelty star singing in a very plain voice, and b) Mason was a hot stand-up in 1963. His career stalled on October 18th, 1964, when he allegedly gave the finger on "The Ed Sullivan Show."  

     The show was running long. Off camera, Ed signaled to Mason that he had to wrap it up. He held up two fingers. Jackie, distracted by this, and annoyed that he had to stop when he was doing so well, made Ed's gesture a part of his act. The crowd roared as Jackie ad-libbed about being given the finger. Jackie gave the two fingers back…and dirty-minded Ed was furious. He thought he only saw a middle finger. It was a “you’ll never work again” moment. It took a long time before Ed grudgingly had Mason back, and Jackie's career recovered. 

    Not dirty like Lenny Bruce, not nearly as political as Mort Sahl, Mason was and is an abrasive wiseguy and a comic truth-teller. A catch-phrase is “Let’s be honest,” and though his act is known for Jew vs Gentile gags, he always fired at multiple targets. He probably ad-libbed “Don’t Blame The Bossa Nova” in a few minutes. The parody version is credited to Mann-Weil, but it’s doubtful those two actually wrote Jackie’s ridiculous lines. 

    Jackie Mason, born Jacov Maza, became a rabbi like his father and three of his brothers. The City College grad had his own congregation, but his comical sermons and humorous way with dealing with every day ironies in life had people suggesting he could be a stand-up comic. 

    In 1955 he began to hone his craft in the Catskill resorts of upstate New York (the “Borscht Belt” as it was called). About five years later he got a major break via The Steve Allen Show. His 1962 album for Verve (who had Sahl, Shelley Berman and Jonathan Winters) was titled “I’m the Greatest Comedian in the World But Nobody Knows It Yet.” 

    Not as “edgy” as Mort Sahl, Mason was edgy enough to get criticism and more. He told some jokes on Frank Sinatra. Why, Jackie asked, did Frank have the “sickness” of needing to go to bed with so many women? Conquest? Yes, it makes more sense than conquering a mountain. But…but…one night he got his face punched and an order: “Lay off the Sinatra jokes.” Was this bit of thuggery directly ordered by Frank, or just some violence from “well-meaning” fans of Sinatra? 

    Mason was invited back on Sullivan’s show twice in 1968 and twice in 1969, the year he made his Broadway debut in “A Teaspoon Every Four Hours,” a mild sitcom-styled play. It was notable for two things. First, it had 97 preview performances (a record that lasted till 2010 when the Spiderman musical needed twice that many to work out the bugs). Second, Jackie’s co-star was the amazingly buxom Lee Meredith (who had a vivid scene in “The Producers” as Bialystock’s secretary). Jackie came out and did some stand-up after the curtain,  to help put the audience in a better mood as they left the theater. Word of mouth still wasn’t too positive, critics were cranky, and the show closed after one official performance.

    Jackie’s attempt at a film career failed as well, although the indie “The Stoolie” (1974) was actually a pretty good movie. Two years later, director John Avildsen scored with another indie movie about an underdog loser, “Rocky.”  Fast forward about 15 tough years, and stand-up was a hot topic, with Richard Pryor, Robin Williams and others doing one-man shows. To the surprise of many, Jackie took his to Broadway and became bigger than he ever was. He would create several sequel shows over the next ten years; fans could buy a 2 CD-R set of each one in the lobby.

    Mason has turned from Democrat to Republican, and the 21st century hasn't been kind to him or his peers. Mort Sahl hasn't been welcomed as a talk show guest since David Letterman had him on...once. Mort streams shows from a tiny theater in Mill Valley, and Jackie tried reaching fans via YouTube. He still performs in Florida and in some clubs in New York and New Jersey.

      A book on Mort Sahl was ridiculously titled “Last Comic Standing.” While Mort is older than Jackie Mason and Bob Newhart, he isn't really still standing. He hobbles out holding a cane, and quickly sits to do an hour of anecdotes. Mason IS still standing when he takes the stage, and yes, still getting big laughs. 

    Happy Birthday, Jackie.   

DON'T BLAME THE BOSSA NOVA - Jackie Mason Instant Download or Listen on Line...no creepy visit to a "buy a premium account, see creepy ads, suffer a slow download" site, no Zinfart passwords, no Paypal tip jar request


    You know Ray Davies? BOTH of them? 

    For some reason, the idiotic music world allows more than one person to use a famous name. There are two or three singers named “Bobby Cole” and a pair of “Andy Pratt”s and it can be confusing and annoying when a fan accidentally buys something that just ain’t the right person.

        Of course some dunces get confused even if the spelling is DIFFERENT. I recall a pudgy jerk at a record show avidly grabbing up a bunch of  Jean Shepard singles. The happy record dealer took the $20 bill and complimented the geek: “You’re a big fan of good country music!” The geek was shocked. He wanted his money back! HE thought he was buying Jean Shepherd, the cult radio host/comedian. You mean “If Teardrops Were Silver,” “Seven Lonely Days,” “Poor Sweet Baby” and “I’ll Do Anything it Takes to Stay With You” aren’t comedy routines??? 

    In the film world, similar names aren’t allowed. That’s why an actor named James Stewart changed his name to Stewart Granger. There already was a James Stewart, and even though it was the man’s real name, too bad. Either use a middle initial or name, or something else entirely.  

    I wonder how often some Kinks fan was momentarily excited, and then irritated, to discover a “Ray Davies” item he had never heard of was…NOT the REAL Ray Davies. Band leader Ray Davies often released albums under the name “The Ray Davies Orchestra,” but there’s been some confusion. 

    Ray Davies did not usually stick his mug on the cover of his albums, so it was possible for a drunk Kinks fan (so many of those) to throw down a fiver and then throw up. One of the few albums with Ray on the cover is pictured above, though it's NOT the same album as the download below. For any Kinks fan wondering what “Ray Davies” the band leader is like, this is your chance.

    He’s one of those “easy listening” guys, similar to James Last and Mantovani, that appeal to cheese-eared Europeans who hear “Moon River,” and start to wet their adult diapers. I do understand that there are people out there who drink Coca Cola like it’s vintage wine, and insist Cotswold is not nearly as good as Cheez Whiz. But…”easy listening?” WHAT the FUCK is so difficult about LISTENING? You sit your big fat body in a chair, that’s all. Is that HARD?

    In the old days, the term was synonymous with “relaxing” or “mellow” Muzak. You heard it in elevators and the dentist’s office…anywhere that required an aural tranquilizer for mind control. People actually bought Melachrino and Liberace and the rest, because some forlorn Willy Loman wanted to hear something soothing and numbing, after a hard day of work…and to drown out the sound of wifey’s telephone calls, the kids chattering, and the washing machine vibrating. I get it. But it gets ridiculous when this stuff is rapturously collected as if it’s worth anything. It’s a bit much to find people sobbing as they give away “soft jazz” from Klemmer or Klugh, or the mindlessly cheerful crap from Claude Bolling, or the squishy sludge from Windham Hill.  As Woody Allen once noted, “I don’t like to be MELLOW, because then I’ll RIPEN AND ROT.” 

    A big thing with senile Eurotrash morons is for their “easy listening” music to have a BEAT to it, so they can tap their canes against the linoleum. You’ve seen the embarrassing spectacle of old people the leaden feet “dancing” on a cruise to nowhere? You can bet that if it isn’t to a Les Elgart “Hooked on Swing” or James Last album, it’s to something ripe from the Ray Davies Orchestra.  

    Below, an example of making classical music “easy listening” for some, but, oddly enough, uneasy listening for anyone who knows the difference between paintings and wallpaper, copyright and theft, Italian food and Olive Garden, Croatia and America, Hitler and Roosevelt or shit and shinola.  

    Ray Davies’ “easy listening” version of Paganini’s Caprice #24 does NOT use violins, even though Paganini wrote for his instrument and was a virtuoso. The melody is given to the brass section. How…snazzy! 

Ray Davies - instant download or listen on line. No arrogant "Gimme Paypal Tips or I stop giving you goodies" shit, no ego passwords, no dodgy malware from Putin-smelling servers


    Who would be the sweet-voiced equivalent to Ms. Chuen? Connie Francis, maybe? Helen Shapiro perhaps? Actually, Wong has her own adorable timbre.

    I found a bunch of Chuen’s records in Chinatown years ago. As I often do, I bought the albums for the cover, for the gamble, and because they were unusual. She had a sweet face, so very likely, a sweet voice. Also, to quote the Knight who says Ni, they were “not too expensive.” The idea of supporting record stores, thrift shops and gift emporiums seemed like a good idea, too. Who wants to just stay home in a windmill downloading stolen music like some gaseous cloud of coagulated dirt?

    Real fans of music don't point to 10 4TB drives full of shit they'll never hear or appreciate, just brag about OWNING. They have inquiring minds. They want to experience new styles of music. They don't just go around the Net crying, "Anybody got every James Barclay Harvest, I'm too cheap to buy any" or "Gosh, I need another 50 Neil Young bootlegs to go with the 50 I still haven't bothered to hear." At least here, on this blog, we have real music fans who will download and concentrate on a sample song, and then make a decision on whether it's worth buying. None of that "if you like it buy it" shit.

    When I BOUGHT a bunch of Chuen albums I didn't know anything about her. I still don’t know much. I know she’s also known as Huang Xiao Jun, and her records seem to be mainly pressed in Malaysia, probably late 60’s and early 70’s. She released over a dozen of them, each with the same “Golden Voice” title and just a different number. Your download is from Volume 12. 

    Did you know that when the “People’s Republic of China” was created in 1949, Mao and his pals considered pop music no better than pornography? It was effectively outlawed. No “papa ooo mow mow” for Mao! And nothing from Asian artists no matter how sweetly they sang. “Minyue” national patriotic music was what the people were supposed to hear.

    “Mandopop” and “Cantopop” (representing the popular Mandarin and Cantonese languages) was largely sold out of Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. All my Wong Shiau Chuen records seem to have been made in Malaysia. Asian language pop music in the 60’s and most of the 70’s was not made in China, where “The China Record Corporation” dominated the vinyl market and dictated who would get to be on the label.

    Deng Xiaoping allowed for a change in the backward policy of China in 1978, and imports from Hong Kong were allowed into the country. I’m not sure at what stage of Chuen’s career this may have been, or how much longer she continued singing. Her backing group was The Stylers, who recorded dozens and dozens of albums, both their own instrumentals, and in support of singers including Rita Chao, Kok Peng Keen, Sakura Teng, Lena Lim and Jenny Tseng. John Teo and Randy Lee were the leaders in the quintet, with other members being replaced now and then.

    Below, a very evocative minor key ballad. I have no idea what the title is, as the label and the back cover don’t even use Roman characters or phonetics. It’s all symbols. I simply call it…”Track Two.” 

Instant Download or Listen Online (no "buy a premium account from us anti-Americans") no ego PASSWORD and no greed-brat Paypal Donation Button


    In the world of country music, a guy named “Curly” was more likely to actually have curly, wavy hair than be bald. That was the deal for “Curly” Putman, songwriter of “Green Green Grass of Home,” and of steel guitar session man Harold Chalker (October 22, 1931 – April 30, 1998).

    Both guys had trouble getting record deals; they were better known for what they could do behind the scenes. There were so many singers around, Curly Putman’s fine but not too distinctive stylings failed to find an audience. As for Chalker, was there really a big market for entire pedal steel albums? Evidently not.  Two or three albums on either would take a long time to find, especially now that so few record stores are left standing. 

    In the 50’s and 60’s, Chalker played in a number of bands, and had a steady gig in Las Vegas with Hank Penny’s group. For a while, he had a reputation for being erratic. Hank Thompson famously recalled that Curly would sometimes miss a note, and give out with a shout of ‘SHIT!” Hank said that Curly might “bear down and play the best you ever saw” for an important gig, but on some routine night on the road, “hell, every other song he’d mess it up.” 

        Curly moved to Nashville for lucrative session work (back when recording studios were prospering and there was no such thing as Pro Tools).  His first solo album was “Big Hits on Big Steel” for Columbia in 1966. It wasn’t a big hit, but he remained in high demand for a variety of artists from rockabilly types (Bill Haley), to country stars (Ray Price, Willie Nelson) to even mainstream performers (he’s on “The Boxer” by Paul Simon). He was in the band that backed all the performers on “Hee Haw,” a show that ran on network TV and in syndication for 18 years. 

    Curly did do a pedal steel cover of Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” but let’s go with something mainstream but a little more upbeat for your download sample:
CAN'T BUY ME LOVE - no stupid egocentric PASSWORDS, no obnoxious demand for Paypal donations, instant download or listen online from a non-Putin company

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

William Frawley - "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now"

For a generation of TV-watchers, William Frawley was always a comical old cuss, first as Fred Mertz on "I Love Lucy," and later as Bub on "My Three Sons," a role he played until he was too feeble and nap-prone to continue. He was dropped in favor of slow-burn vaudevillian William Demarest, and he dropped dead, age 79, walking home from a movie.

Frawley played squinty, raspy, cynical characters in movies for years. What you saw was the man himself, a hard-drinking tough guy with just enough grouchy humor to make him tolerable. Desi Arnaz warned him that everyone knew his reputation, and if he showed up drunk, he'd be bounced off "I Love Lucy." 

The only thing that was more scary than being bounced off "Lucy" was being on Lucy's friend Ethel Mertz. With typical ego, he thought that Vivian Vance was too shapeless and frumpy to play his wife. Vance, who like Audrey Meadows, could glam up and look quite presentable, could deal with playing a dowdy housewife but had openly expressed her qualms about playing opposite a man way too old for her.

If anyone asked you if you thought that Fred and Ethel still had sex, your reply, ala Ricky Ricardo, would've been, "No I dunt." Ethel's dunt was not a sight you wanted to ponder, and, to use a Kenneth Williams euphemism, that went double for Fred's cordwangle. 

Frawley's new-found TV fame led to a record deal, and an album on Dot (the record label of semi-singers Wink Martindale and Walter Brennan) was titled  "William Frawley Sings the Old Ones." Well, it wouldn't be "William Frawley Fucks the Old Ones," or even kisses the old ones, as the tune below would tend to prove. Wearing a striped vaudevillian jacket and a straw hat on the cover, he promised grand nostalgia. 

"I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now" might have had Bill thinking back to his lone marriage, which ended in divorce in 1927. His wife was the latter half of "Frawley and Louise," who toured the vaudeville circuit. Frawley had been getting silent film roles, and that was good enough over the next decades. He supported Bing Crosby ("Going My Way"), grumped in "Miracle on 34th Street," and "Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man" among others. He was even in Charlie Chaplin's "Monsieur Verdoux." So while Louise faded into obscurity, bachelor Bill was a Hollywood personality.

On "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now" and the others, Frawley's hokey tenor is suited to the rotten songs. He's ALMOST as awful as an aging Rudy Vallee would've been with the same material. But every now and then, Bill's "inner Mertz" comes through, and here, the tender whiffenpoofing gives way to a sneering, dark and bitter recitation: "I wonder who's kissing her now. Kinda wonder who's teaching her how. And I wonder who's looking into her eyes...breathing sighs...telling her LIES!" Then he flips back into singing wistfully, backed by a male choir. 

Wish he'd covered "Babalu," or the actual "I Love Lucy" theme, but this is quite memorable for all the wrong reasons. 

FRAWLEY SINGS and GROUSES - listen online or download - no wait time, egocentric passwords, or requests for donations

Saturday, May 19, 2018


A salute to Peggy Lee, born Norma Egstrom on May 26, 1920. (She swooped the planet on January 21, 2002). 

Also being saluted, Elizabeth Montgomery, who died of colorectal cancer on May 18th, 1995. It's possible that if she'd had a colonoscopy or other check-up, her problem could have been caught and corrected, and she'd still be with us. She was born April 15, 1933.

Many vintage TV themes had lyrics so that idiots could instantly figure out what the show was about.  The "premise" TV theme was used to explain the Clampetts becoming "The Beverly Hillbillies," Mr. and Mrs. Douglas moving to "Green Acres," and how the castaways got to "Gilligan's Island." The "introductory" TV theme simply explained "Bat Masterson," "Wyatt Earp," "Maverick" and "Paladin." Some shows didn't require much in the way of lyrics. One theme song merely had a sexy gal saying..."It's Burke's Law." 

Fans have discovered that there ARE lyrics to some TV shows with well known instrumental themes, including "Bonanza," "Hawaii 5-0," and yes..."Bewitched." But you'll find out about the latter with just a finger twitch...

Twitch and hear BEWITCHED...online or via download. No greedhead Paypal donation request, no egocentric Password, no buy-a-premium-account weasel shit from Rapidgator  


    Rose Marie became a Twitter sensation in the last year of her life.

    The reason she went on Twitter was to promote a documentary on her life — which was more than some vanity piece on an actress most people vaguely know was a child star on radio, and a brassy co-star on “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” The film, “Wait For Your Laugh,”  is an excellently done, often fascinating and moving piece of work. In a rare example of networking actually working, she built up a huge following and saw sell-out crowds at her film screenings. Though in a wheelchair, the self-described “old broad” was her lively, raucous self, fielding audience questions along with the famous friends on stage with her, Dick Van Dyke and Carl Reiner. 

    After her death, Rose’s daughter kept up the Twittering, and pushed the DVD release to #1 in the documentary category.  Since the torrent monkeys tend to be Eurotrash who want to give away the latest Marvel super-hero shit, none of the “freedom of speech is giving away movies” bunch carved into the profits via bootleg downloads. Then again, Rose Marie’s audience is mostly made up of older people who’d say “torrent? You mean my adult diaper is leaking? How am I supposed to notice?”  Cleverly, the DVD includes a lot of bonus material so that those who saw the movie in its brief selected theater run have plenty of reason to buy the package. What, color footage on the set of the Van Dyke series…and on the set when she made her dramatic TV debut on “Gunsmoke?” Great! 

    The documentary underlines that “Baby Rose Marie” was not just a child star.  She was a BIG child star, in the Shirley Temple category, only her dominance was on radio and on stage, not in films. People flocked to see this pint-sized girl belt songs like Durante, and some thought she was a midget in disguise. Although her creepy father took ALL the money, Rose didn’t care because she simply loved to perform and enjoyed the attention…which included doting Al Capone. 

    “The mob” was always very good to Rose Marie, and she admitted it. Bugsy Siegel began building up Las Vegas from nothing…and yes, chose Rose Marie to be a major attraction. Since she was more of a talent than a looker, the gangsters didn’t demand she sleep her way to top billing. She would’ve probably smacked ‘em if they tried. She only had eyes for a trumpet player who, despite threats from her father, married her, gave her a memorable honeymoon, and become the love…and heartbreak of her life. He died of a rare blood disease when she was at the height of her fame on “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” 

     From “Baby Rose Marie” to a bombastic Las Vegas entertainer, to the co-star of the Phil Silvers “Top Banana” musical, Rose Marie already had an incredible ride before she played the Selma Diamond-inspired female comedy writer Sally Rogers. Nobody could’ve sparked the show better, not even laid-back Selma. Rose Marie later co-starred on “The Doris Day Show” and  teamed with Rosemary Clooney, Helen O’Connell and Margaret Whiting for sold out tours when so many others from that era couldn’t get a booking at all. 

    One thing Rose Marie didn’t have was a recording career like her friend Jimmy Durante. She guested on a few tracks of Morey Amsterdam’s indie album, “Funny You Should Ask,” and put out an album of comedy and songs when the Van Dyke show was topping the ratings....

      Rose Marie Mazzetta (August 15, 1923-December 28, 2017). Below is the audio from a film performance done in 1952. “My Mama Says No No” may have been inspired by “Yes My Darling Daughter,” which had been a hit for Dinah Shore among others. Only instead of mama weirdly saying “yes” to an anxious daughter’s first forays into dating and sex, THIS mama is saying NO! Well, didn’t Rose save herself for her wedding night? YES. 

MAMA SAYS NO NO... to dopey links from spyware sites, to jerk-ass PASSWORDS or Paypal tip jar requests. Listen online or download free. 

Wednesday, May 09, 2018


    Here’s to Pat Boone, who, today, departed on what will probably be his last pilgrimage to The Holy Land. He will be arm and arm with his friend Rabbi Eckstein, leading fans through the sites of Israel treasured by both Christians and Jews. 

    While anti-Semites think that Israel is only of interest to the Jews, and that the Middle East would be better off if Israel was “blown off the map,” many supporters of Israel are Christian. They want to be able to walk in Christ’s footsteps in Israel…and bathe in the River Jordan afterward.  

    Although not known for writing songs, it was Pat Boone who wrote the lyrics to “Exodus.” After the movie came out, he was listening to the soundtrack theme and thought…there should be words to this. His divine inspiration for the opening chords: “This land is mine. God gave this land to me.”  He wrote down the rest within a half an hour. Yes, the Jewish composer Ernest Gold wrote the music, but the Christian Pat Boone wrote the words (Boone wears both a cross and a Star of David). Years later, a Jewish museum requested that when the time was right for him, Pat would donate the original manuscript of his words. Pat was more than glad to comply, but he let the museum know: “I wrote the lyrics on the back of a Christmas card.”  

    You’d assume that this blog would happily ridicule Pat Boone as a limp fish in a barrel of milk. Thing is, Pat Boone never pretended to be anything but a whitebread middle-American who liked to sing pleasant melodies. If the song was a little hot (oh, say, Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti”) Pat poured milk on it. That’s what his fans wanted, and that’s what most of America wanted at the time. His version of the song and Richard’s version were both in the Top 20 at the same time, but were played on different radio stations. It wasn’t segregation; it was the simple fact that there were few “crossover” singers or songs back then. Morons who say Boone was “racist” should listen to Rev. Jesse Jackson, who said Boone’s covers helped the cause.

    Frankie Laine and Louis Prima were whites who could sound black, and Johnny Mathis and Nat “King” Cole were blacks who sounded easy-going, if not white. Of all the media, including movies and TV, music was the most progressive in allowing blacks to participate. Everyone bought records by Cab Calloway or Louis Armstrong or Billie Holiday. Was Pat Boone covering them all, or other white artists? 

    Is anyone puking because Nat “King” Cole sang something as white and sappy as “Mona Lisa?” Should revisionist Black Panthers be protesting him as an Uncle Tom because he happened to like and thrive on “middle of the road” white-style music? On music Pat Boone could’ve performed? Then why the reverse racism bullshit. The race card is too easy to play on Pat Boone. To his credit Boone never lost his cool despite the slams about him “stealing” from the blacks. Let’s also remember that Boone was actually a rival to Elvis Presley…and that his “lame” style of music attracted as many bobby soxers to his singles as to Presley’s. 

    Once The Beatles arrived, Boone and his milk pack (including Paul Anka, Bobby Rydell, Bobby Darin, Fabian, etc.) disappeared. He became a young guy on the oldies circuit, and sang the same repertoire as Andy Williams and other pleasant fellows.  The white bread style that sold millions of albums for Mantovani and Melachrino went moldy. The conservative views of Pat Boone and Anita Bryant became increasingly out of touch with a majority of Americans, although “easy listening” music still had a home in Las Vegas and in Branson, Missouri. 

    Boone finally returned to the charts when he put together a jokey lounge album of heavy metal songs. This time, it was his fans, not his enemies, who were appalled. They hated the album, hated him wearing leather and fake tattoos, and thought he was nuts. Actually it was just Pat Boone being Pat Boone. 

      A few years later he put out an album of R&B duets with top soul and R&B contemporaries. Yes, despite the reverse racists screaming “he bad,” and “he stole da black music,” Boone had just about every famous name black performer singing with him. They got it. Differ with his views on abortion, Trump, whatever, and like or dislike his music (I don’t play his “Greatest Hits” — anymore than I listen to Kostelanetz or James Last) but don’t diss da Boone! Sis Boone? Bah! 

    Do you know what Netanyahu calls him? “Speedy.” That’s because the leader of Israel is a fan of Pat’s dopey “Speedy Gonzalez” novelty hit. Who knows, Netanyahu might also, like so many white people, sing a Four Tops or Supremes song while driving along, or in the shower. He’s allowed. Boone’s allowed. “It’s all permitted.” Whites know they aren’t sounding like Levi Stubbs or Stevie Wonder or Smokey Robinson, but they enjoy it anyway. That’s a GOOD thing. There are also blacks who enjoy singing opera and country songs. Whites shouldn’t tell them they can’t, and neither should blacks. Sing along to whatever you want, and enjoy your fantasies.

    “This song is mine. God didn’t give this song to me…I bought the sheet music in a store. Nothing on the sheet music mentions that I can’t sing it unless I’m of the same race as the composer….” 

EXODUS -- via a download that won't take 10 days.


    As soon as rock and roll became popular, exploitation movies were grinded out with every finger-snapper from Bill Haley to Jimmy Clanton singing their hits. To be current, even movie soundtracks exploded with the dangerous, delinquent sound of roaring saxes and pounding drums. 

    Just as the leather-clad creeps in “Blackboard Jungle” broke a teacher’s prize jazz 78’s, microphones were broken in sound studios as middle-of-the-road composers tried to hep up their scores. Soon, craven movie moguls were using rock songs as movie themes, to get publicity, airplay, and kids into the theaters. "Town Without Pity," for example, was almost a ridiculous parody of teen tragedy songs, but it worked thanks to Gene Pitney, and had people coming in to see a pretty depressing film about a teen gang rape.

     A few years earlier, the melodic Alex North offered the raunchy “Hey Eula” for the Tennessee Williams drama “The Long Hot Summer” in 1958. Perhaps "Town Without Pity" owes a slight debt to this early version of hormonal bop. The object of the attention in his film: Lee Remick, who was almost as much of a “baby doll” as another Tennessee Williams favorite, Carroll Baker.

    Rushing to get their platters to the disc jockeys and the juke boxes, Sil Austin and Marty Wilson (and the Strat-o-Lites) each offered bombastic versions of "Hey! Eula," loaded with bump and grind. You get both of those below, as well as the Alex North original soundtrack take. 

     Not too many people cared that there were words (by old-timer Sammy Cahn). One who did, was the legendary British writer-comedian Barry Cryer. It's on the flip-side of his notorious cover version of “Purple People Eater.” And guess what, Cryer’s a good wailer! Just why he didn’t end up recording more rave-ups, silly or straight, well, “I’m sorry, I haven’t a clue.” 

    There have not been too many songs immortalizing the name “Eula,” which seems to nestle between the extremes of “Beulah” and “Ulalume.” Beulah is a well known Southern name most often associated with black women, notably the big fat maid played by Louise Beavers on her own early sitcom. Yes, before Diahann Carroll’s “Julia,” here was a TV show starring a black woman. But the PC brigade doesn’t want anyone to remember it because she played a domestic. 

      On the other side, there’s “Ulalume,” which is best known as the name of dead woman immortalized in a grim poem by Edgar A. Poe. He also wrote "Eulalie," another variation on the cognomen. Ah, yes, I know, I digress. And so I end this "Eula" eulogy. So just dig the download, as the hepsters say. You know, “Dig!” “Enjoy! “DL!” “Cheers!” Only here, those dopey phrases are despised, and so is the phrase “and please donate via my Paypal Tip Jar, so I can get paid while the artists don't." Nah, that's really criminal and "without pity."

"Barry, you start. Give us EULA with Lyrics." BARRY CRYER

Alex North Soundtrack Version



MAURANE - starts her comeback and dies at 57

There’s more rain…tears in the eyes of all fans of the great Maurane.  She performed over the weekend for the FIRST TIME in two years…and then was found dead. 

Maurane, qui avait interrompu sa carrière en 2016 à cause de problèmes aux cordes vocales….oh, pardon MOI. Sapristi! Maurane, the Belgian singing star whose career came to a halt in 2016 due to vocal cord issues, only recently returned to the stage. She told her Facebook faithful that she was planning a new album covering the music of Jacque Brel (another Belgie) and planned on a tour in 2019. Over the weekend, she performed her first concert, posting to her fans, “Today, I officially set foot on a stage after more than two years of absence. I will not tell you in what state I am …” 

She was found dead on Monday evening, May 7th, at her home in Schaerbeek, which is outside of Brussels. There was nothing to suggest anything but natural causes, but an autopsy will be performed.

Born Claudine Luypaerts, she appeared in “Starmania” and had her first hit single, ‘Danser’ in 1986. She sang in French, rather than brutal German or repulsive Dutch, which had many thinking she was actually from France.

She did share the stage with many of the great French singers of the era, including Michel Berger and France Gall, and sang a duet with Canada's beautiful Lara Fabian in 2003. Lara wrote: "I'm sitting here in my little white office in Montreal, I do not want to realize you're gone, I can not. I tell myself that you are going to call and shout at me, because we do not see enough…” 

Maurane made about a dozen albums, and was part of the jury of the television show "Nouvelle Star"  in 2012 and 2013. In 2014 she released (the current word would be “dropped”) the album “Overture.” Some time after that, the vocal cord problem kicked in. And after she solved it, she kicked off. As Ringo would tell you, “tomorrow never knows.”

Below is one of Maurane’s most beloved hits, which translates as “On a Bach Prelude.” You’ll instantly recognize the opening notes, which have echoed in so many concert halls, and bounced off the walls of so many elevators when converted into “easy listening” pap. The notes were even copped by Mr. Fisher, for a glittering surprise appearance on “Repent Walpurgis,” an instrumental on the first album by Boko Harum, the rock group that has turned rogue. 

We can see Maurane on YouTube, and we can enjoy her albums. But there could have been so much more, and she could have been thrilling audiences for another dozen years. This star who began in the 80’s, could have lived into her 80’s enjoying life and the benefits befitting someone who shared her talent with the world. Instead, we can only say the recordings are immortal. Maurane: November 12, 1960-May 7, 2018.

Tish, that's FRENCH! "Sur un prélude de Bach" - no Zinfart password, no wheedling parasitic request for a "tip" via Paypal

Eileen - These Boots Are Made for Walkin' IN FRENCH, How does that GRAB YOU?

Happy Birthday to EILEEN, the lady in the sunglasses.

    We turn from the sad death of Maurane…to look ahead in celebrating the birthday of Eileen Goldsen-Chamussy. Simply called EILEEN in France, she had hits well before the simply named MAURANE did. Ms. Goldsen is probably best remembered as “the French Nancy Sinatra,” which is a bit hard to do when you’re actually born in America. 

     As previously mentioned on the blog, Eileen was born in New York, the daughter of a music publisher. She taught French in Los Angeles and came to Paris in the early 60's. She seemed to specialize in doing French cover versions of American folk tunes and pop hits. While some vocalists routinely did their own phonetic versions for the French, Italian and German markets (notably Lesley Gore and Petula Clark) others didn't bother. 

      When Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots are Made for Walkin'" stomped all over the charts, it was blonde Eileen who offered up the French take. And very well, merci. In fact, record companies being what they are (greedy), it was thought: why not have Eileen actually cover Nancy Sinatra in English, too? Why not siphon off some of the bucks by having Eileen's version of a Nancy hit, in English, available in the stores? "How Does that Grab You, Darlin'?" 

       Back in the day, it was very common in England and in Europe for a quick cover version to battle the original, and since the cover version was from homegrown talent, available for in-store promotions and TV appearances, it often worked out very well. It also helped if the cover-singer could compete. Eileen technically was a better singer than Nancy Sinatra, but you still have to give the edge to Nancy when it comes to attitude. Nancy's slightly flat and desultory style made her put-downs even more sexy. (Or to quote a Jim Carroll song line, "The more she denies 'em, the more they demand her.") 

        Eileen still runs her "French Fried" music company in France, and is clearly enjoying the good life. Born May 16th, 1941...Joyeux Anniversaire.

BOOTS in FRENCH - listen or download - no egocentric Passwords, no sleazy requests for Paypal donations

HOW DOES THAT GRAB YOU DARLIN' - you listen or download without being sent to a click here and get spyware trick-link

A Farty Frog in the Wind - Une Grenouille Dans Le Vent from EILEEN

What do we have here? Sort of a French variation on Old MacDonald? Only here it would be "Old MacDonald had some gas...here a fart, here a quack.." 

As a banjo starts to pick out what the French figured was a classic American folk song (and who knows, maybe it is), Eileen and her silly French backup singers sing while froggy fart noises and ducky quacks pop up in the background.

Did American Eileen figure to become an authentic "frog" in France by doing this GRENOUILLE song? Possible! Some years later, Veronique Sanson, the French pop-rock legend, tried to crack the American market by singing about being a "Full Tilt Frog." (No, Americans didn't care, nor were they impressed she was married to Stephen Stills at the time.) 

“Une Grenouille Dans Le Vent” is an ill oddity you should have in your collection. As Humphrey Lyttleton might explain if he was alive, it has Eileen's vocals which have the smooth charm of a swanny whistle, while the frog noises create a startling counterpoint like a raspy kazoo. "Une Grenouille" of course means "A Frog." “Dans Le Vent” is “without a Dutch asshole.” No, no, I could be wrong about that....

Listen online or download - NO Zippy "update your spyware" links or obnoxious Paypal Tip Jar requests

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Eileen: "The M.T.A. Song" Boston novelty sung in French

    Here’s something peculiar for you: a folk song about the Boston underground…sung in French. Why would the French care? And what could they make of a schmuck named Charlie who can’t simply get off a train? And what about his even more ridiculous wife, who throws him sandwiches when she could easily toss one with a few coins in it so he can pay the fare? 

    One of the lousy things about travel is that you generally have no idea how to get around. Unless you take a cab and don’t mind being stiffed all the time and driven the longest way possible, you’re stuck with mass transit. Most every city has its own infuriating rules. Coins allowed? NOT allowed? Do you have to wait on a line and get a TICKET? I haven't been in France in a while, but the last time, I recall some odd business about getting a pass with a photo ID on it. I don't remember if I used the pass itself or had to buy individual  tickets for every subway (metro) or bus ride.

    The gimmick with the Boston system at the time (and maybe even now) is fare zones. I haven't been in Boston in a long time. I do recall their "underground" as being pretty dinky. I think at least you could actually take an easy commute from Logan Airport into mid-town or even Cambridge.

      Still, a tourist is going to be wondering, "is that ticket good for getting on and off anywhere? Must I pay more the further along I go? If you’re just queer for trains, can you ride it all day back and forth, looking out the window or up the skirts of passengers? Should someone tell you not to look up the skirts of passengers if you’re in Scotland?

       In the song, poor Charlie didn’t anticipate a fare increase and was short a nickel. Har har. Did he ever return? No, he never returned, and his fate is still unlearned! 

    Will Holt was a nice man, and I enjoyed talking to him about some aspects of his career. I think he considered “The MTA Song” one of his lesser achievements. It was amusing that it became such a hit, but he put lyrics to better music (coming up with “Lemon Tree” for example) and this was just a novelty. He figured his enduring achievements were in the musicals he wrote for the stage. (Most of YOU know this thing and "Lemon Tree" most of all). The inspiration for this was a jingle blaring from a truck, being played in the streets to promote a local politician. Holt re-wrote it, recorded it…and it didn’t exactly reach the Top 10. The Kingston Trio covered it, and changed the name of the local politician to the fictional “George O’Brien.” The exuberant trio had a hit. 

    So why not see if it could roll in other countries, too? The singer here is EILEEN. She’s better known as a Nancy Sinatra impersonator (in France, at least) but she took on a variety of American tunes to Frenchify. An interesting thing about her is that she is proof that it’s who you know…but also if you know other languages. Eileen’s father Michael Goldsen founded Criterion Music. (Yeah, yeah, you wonder who losted it. Ha ha.) Born in New York, a language teacher in Los Angeles, she taught French, and was asked to translate some of the popular folk songs of the day into that language. 

    In 1963 the teacher journeyed to Paris, married over there, and managed to get a record deal offering her specialty of being able to sing perfectly in two languages, and knowing the cultures of both. She did both an English cover version of Nancy Sinatra songs and foreign language variations. Since she learned a bit about the music biz from her father, it’s not much of a surprise that after her brief days as a singing idol ended, she started her own music publishing firm, French Fried Music. She still lives in France. 

Hop aboard: Le Métro De Boston (M.T.A. The Boston Subway Song) download or listen online

DICKIE GOODMAN Boris Karloff Monster Mash into A HARD DAY’S NIGHT

    Dickie Goodman’s birthday is today (April 19, 1934) but he’s not around to make jokes about it. Let’s not dwell on his self-inflicted ending (November 6, 1989) . For many decades, he did his best to cheer up people with ridiculous “break-in” novelty singles and, now and then, peculiar “concept” albums that involved his own singing skills.

    One of the first artists to challenge copyright rules on “sampling,” Goodman and his then-partner Bill Buchanan offered up an indie single called “The Flying Saucer” in 1956, which, love it or detest it, involved using fragments of popular songs as punchlines. Goodman’s main schtick was the fake news interview, his voice a kind of Jewish version of Walter Winchell. 

    Billboard charged “The Flying Saucer” at #3 and while he would never get to #1, Goodman kept on going and going, with, eventually an entire set of Walter Winchell singles…all keyed to Winchell’s role as narrator of TV’s “The Untouchables.” These were: “The Touchables,” “The Touchables in Brooklyn” and “Santa and the Touchables,” which all landed in the Top 100. 

    Goodman did try to break away from sampling now and then.  “Russian Bandstand” was a “what if American Bandstand was broadcast in Communist Russia” notion, and issued as “Spencer and Spencer” with new partner Mickey Shorr). 

    One of his early non-break-in albums was “My Son the Joke.” Along with Stan Ross, who put out a similar album of Jewish novelty tunes, the idea was to grab off some of the sales Allan Sherman was enjoying. Figuring that sex sells, and that doity Jewish comedy (ala Belle Barth and Pearl Williams) would not be something Sherman would ever try, Dickie offered up songs on everything from menstruation (“Red River Sally”) to “Harry’s Jockstrap,” an overt twist on Sherman’s “Sarah Jackman.” 

    Below is “Balling my Zelda,” typical of that album. Dickie didn’t grab all the same public domain folk songs that Allan used. “Balling my Zelda” is of course based on “Waltzing Matilda,” which Sherman never quite got around to messing with. Allan’s “My Zelda” is based on the Harry Belafonte calypso hit “Matilda.” 

    Through the 60’s and 70’s, almost any hot news subject or movie got a cash-in tweak from Dickie Goodman. This included the Nixon slam “Watergrate,” a novelty single on the “Energy Crisis” and when the movie “Jaws” was a hit, there he was, doing “Mr. Jaws.” A few years later, out came “Kong,” keyed to a remake of “King Kong.” All of this stuff got into the Billboard Top 100 in the 70’s, and “Mr. Jaws” actually hit #4, his best showing in nearly 20 years.  

    Apparently in 1980 Dickie recorded “The Monster Album,” which was obviously ill-timed to any current trend. I would’ve thought he recorded it back in 1964, when it would’ve been a fairly fresh and commercial idea. That’s when the craze for monster comedy peaked. It grew with “Monster Rally” on RCA and “Spike Jones in Stereo” on Warners, led to Bobby “Boris" Pickett's huge hit “Monster Mash” for Garpax. Below, “A Hard Days Night” done with the Karloff narration style that made Bobby “Boris” Pickett a star. 

    Thanks to Rhino, which specialized in promoting a lot of offbeat novelty stuff, Goodman was finally off his indie labels (such as Wacko), and hoping for a return to glory. No, “Return of the Jedi Returns” in 1983 did not do it for him, and by 1987, he was back to financing his own singles and releasing “Safe Sex Report” via Goodname, which he thought was a good name. Debts and depression overcame him, age 55, and it just wasn’t very funny. 

    A few years later, and nostalgic Demento-types were hunting up every 45 rpm single on all his bizarre indie labels from Luniverse to Rainy Wednesday, with some 78's fetching big eBay bucks. CDs, authorized or not, began to offer cleaned up, good quality versions of those manic old break-in numbers. His son Jon was instrumental in pushing for Dickie’s fair share of fame and honors as a pioneer of novelty singles.  While much of what Dickie did is now dated, and most people don’t get all the break-in recognition humor references, there are still a lot of people out there who are in his groove. And they wish he was around to hear a heartfelt “Happy Birthday, you wacko.”

Hard Days Night - Karloff Style - download or listen online - no Zinfart passwords no misdrection links no Russian yaddiyadda

Allan Sherman going dirty? BALLING MY ZELDA


Here's a little tribute the the lady with the big, big voice, born April 19, 1940. The great GENYA RAVAN. 

Ravan (pronounced "Raven") sounded like a "black bird," and her version of "Bird" starts softly, with a beautiful gospel touch, before rising into a crescendo of emotion. I told her I thought she was the real deal, and that Janis Joplin was just a "high wind." Genya did not choose to agree or disagree. She was, to paraphrase Dylan being a "diplomat." She kept mum and stroked her siamese cat. No, really. She had it on her shoulder for a while. Another was wandering around her apartment. 

If you want to know more about Genya's amazing life and times (and see pix from her men's magazine days) get her autobiography.
I've always believed Genya to be one of the greatest female vocalists of all time. Just listen to what she does with that BIRD ON THE WIRE. 

Bird on the Wire - listen on line or download

No capcha codes, no pop up ads, no moronic egocentric Zinfart passwords.

I Do The ROCK - get no Pulitzer Prize - birthday man TIM CURRY

    Here’s a live version of “I Do De Rock” from Tim Curry, born April 19, 1940. Back when he was touring in support of this song and others on his solo albums, he told me that he was very serious about having a career in rock. He wasn’t just trying to make a buck off his rock star cult status from “Rocky Horror.” He liked, appreciated and wanted to be a part of ROCK, more than movies. (PS, in person the mild-mannered fellow was nothing like Frank-N-Furter.) 

    Maybe he loved the rock too much; for many listeners his first album's tracks were a bewildering mix of rock and pop genres, including a strut (“Birds of a Feather”), a stomp (“Wake Nicodemus”), cabaret balladry (“Alan”), oldies bombast (“Anyone Who had a Heart”) and the obligatory Beatles cover (“I Will”). When he had the chance to trade on “Rocky Horror” he didn’t. His cover of “All I Want” (by Joni Mitchell) has a line, “bop till I drop in some jukebox dive.” That was his substitution for Joni’s original “rip my stockings in some jukebox dive.” That’s how much he did NOT want to carry over his crossdressing image...which probably disappointed the "Rocky" cult. 

    The next album, still hoping for a big rock audience, had some punchier rock, with Dick Wagner one of the co-producers. Alice Cooper could’ve sung some of the rock-angst-roll numbers (“Hide This Face” “Right on the Money”).  Tim had another Joni cover, rocking up “Cold Blue Steel,” and even a campy bit of comedy in “Charge It” (about trendy shopping).  As for “I Do The Rock,” it was reggae rock…with a dash of parody (one would assume...he co-wrote it). And he brought all this, and more, to his tours, but like everyone from Jim Carroll to Warren Zevon, he was a critics’ darling, seemed to have manic fans, but the cult was actually small. Small clubs, small sales. And soon he was back to making movies.  

    You do de rock…and you don’t always get de respect. Have you noticed that rockers get real stupid when talking about their art form? Maybe that's why classical and jazz have always been taken more seriously as an art form. Classical and jazz tend to appeal to people with expensive tastes, and you wear a suit to a concert and buy state-of-the-art stereo equipment. Rock? Not so much. Consider the truly moronic anthem “I Love Rock and Roll.” How about the dimwitted and jeering “I Know It’s ONLY Rock and Roll (But I Like It).” You can throw in witless song titles like “Rock and Roll Never Forgets.” Maybe this is why doing de rock NEVER got anyone a Pulitzer. Not The Beatles. Not Dylan. Not Paul Simon. Not Joni Mitchell. Not Leonard Cohen. NOBODY. 

    The Pultizer Prize for music, for the past 70 years, has ONLY been awarded to  CLASSICAL and JAZZ. Until a weird exception last week. 

    The irony is this: can any reasonable music lover name a worthwhile piece of classical music composed later than World War II? No. Prokofiev was the last gasp. Can anyone name a challenging piece of modern jazz that isn’t a discordant shit-mess? Miles was the last gasp, and nothing past the Vietnam War. So who was winning the Pulitzer Prize classical music honors from 1945 onward, with the spice of some jazz victories now and then? Go ahead and Google and you’ll find hideous classical from Roger Sessions and numbing jazz from Wynton Marsalis. You won’t find experimental works that you can stand for more than five minutes. 

    What about experimental works such as “Revolution #9” by The Beatles? What about those Frank Zappa albums which he orchestrated with fanatical care? You can be experimental…even unlistenable…in other categories besides CLASSICAL and JAZZ, can’t you? Not according to the Pulitzer Prize committee. But last week Kendrick Lamar could’ve sung, “I DO DE PULITZER.”

    Why this happened, who knows. Nobody dares to complain, either, the way they did when Bob Dylan got the Nobel Prize after 50 solid years of great, challenging, artistic music in many genres, and classic songs everyone knows and loves. “Damn” is the name of his album, and my reaction to his fucking Pulitzer. His brand of rap is being taken way too seriously, which certainly has to piss off Jay-Z and Kanye and even Cardi B. Sapristi, Roger Waters’ brown-shirts must be wondering, “What about THE WALL?” I mean, how obnoxious do you have to be before the Pulitzer people take notice? And let’s not ask why “Sgt. Pepper” or “Tommy” or various “classical rock” concoctions and hybrids 

(“Preservation Act I and 2” by The Kinks) never made it. I could add Jethro Tull’s discs but that would be living in the past. The fact is, the present belongs to some pretty bad music, and we can add Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Adele, Taylor Swift, Coldplay, and almost all of today’s “faves” to the stinking stew. But let’s return to our spicy bit of Curry. 

    “I Do The Rock” didn’t get nominated for a Grammy for “Best Comedy Performance,” and Curry’s stuff, when vinyl died and CD took over, barely made it to one “Best of” that was quickly remaindered. Do the ROCK, and you do not get de respect or de Pulitzer Prize. Funny, Lamar’s album might also be the FIRST Pulitzer Prize winning music you can actually find via piracy downloads for free. In this case, it’s worth every penny you spent. 

I Do the ROCK from the Bottom Line in NYC - no dopey passwords or "your Adobe is out of date download spyware" game

Monday, April 09, 2018

April 9, 2018 - TOM LEHRER is 90

What a surprise. TOM LEHRER was trending on TWITTER today...not because he died, but because it's his 90th birthday. 

Lehrer was a pioneer of "sick" comedy back in the early 50's, and his work is, happily, as disturbing now as it was then. And just as funny. A bit more disturbing is that there will not be another like him, and the odds of independent singers of ANY type having fame and success continues to shrink like the polar ice cap. 

Tom Lehrer had some places to play. He didn't pay to play. He was good, so he got some bookings. The audience was response was good. He decided to pay somebody to record his songs. He decided to pay somebody to press some albums. He sold his albums at his gigs and by mail. He got reviewed not by blogs, but by REAL columnists who mattered. When his albums sold out, he printed more, and then got a deal with Reprise. 

What's the alternative now? A budding Tom Lehrer tosses his files on Spotify and YouTube? He "networks" on Facebook with a million others? If he's "lucky" he makes a few pennies in royalties before self-entitled hipsters start giving away his work? When Tom Lehrer started, he didn't have self-entitled egotists and parasites copying his songs and either demanding "tip jar" payments or "nice comments" to give it away. ("Copyright remains with the artist. And, by the way, copyright IS copy WRONG. Har har. Pirates, if you LIKE it, buy it. Maybe. Nah.") Yeah, some gas bags, losers and senile fools like to pretend they're in show biz by giving shit away. They will never meet Lehrer, or any other performer, so they won't be in a position to say, "Hey, I am a real fan, I gave away all your music via Fuckheadshare! I got some nice comments, too! Owwww....."

An irony with Tom Lehrer is that he always had a day job, and he preferred teaching to performing. Not everybody is a natural ham, and Tom didn't even bother to put his picture on his album covers. He told me that after he got his laughs in nightclubs, and on a few TV shows, that was enough. Another factor was that his main interest was in parodying music genres. Eventually, he ran out of them. He destroyed folk, waltz, lullabye, tango, march, country, ragtime, etc. As The Beatles and rock became popular, he slipped into Academia and stayed there.

He had modest tastes and a professor's salary was fine. Besides, a professor gets a pension. How fortunate he wasn't like hundreds of others who thought, "I'll just keep singing and touring, and I'll always have my health, and always have royalties coming in for my music..."

Lured out of retirement once in a while, he recorded some whimsical stuff for Public Television (including "LY" and "Silent E" for the kiddies). He also recorded "Chanukah in Santa Monica" for his people, most of whom unaware of his Jewish heritage. He left the field to Weird Al who switched words on rock songs. Rock didn't interest Tom. In fact, he told me that folk rock wasn't interesting to him either. His parody "Folk Song Army" was, he said, aimed squarely at a certain folkie popular in 1965, named Phil Ochs. You might recall Tom's realist final line to that song: "Ready, Aim, Sing!" Maybe Phil would've been amused and even complimented, knowing it was he, not Dylan, that pissed Tom off the most!

Tom, like most everyone who has recorded, and actually been IN the business, is aware that just as songs don't really change the world, nobody can change the attitude of the dopey Dutch, the sleazy Swedes, the creepy Communists in Croatia and Russia, the jerks in Germany, the tiny-dicks in South America or the ladyboy fuckers in Asia who regularly throw entire discographies around by the torrent, offer goody bags on their blogs, and are happy Santas who want a "nice" comment or a "Paypal tip" for giving away music. Irony that it's not really the Americans or the Brits who give away the American and British music as much as the world's least hip people in the world's shittiest lamest countries. What can be said when "We like FREE" says it all. Fuck the record companies, record stores, music studios, artists and the dwindling venues, too. Stay home and download it ALL.

No, there's no discography of Lehrer here, no "sure, buddy, you got it" response to any "please upload every Tom Lehrer song, best regards." The question: what should be a sample for the uninitiated, or those who need a reminder? From the reminder, hopefully there will be the desire to actually buy the boxed set, or a few of the CDs that eBay sellers are now desperately pricing at only a few bucks. Tom was beyond having a good "batting average" on his records. He was more like an MMA fighter. Find his first 30 songs, and you can say he's maybe 24-4-2, with 24 ko's 4 ordinary draws, and maybe two clinkers. That's impressive.

 Unlike Weird Al, Tom Lehrer had a brilliant ability to mimic genres. His "Masochism Tango" is a great tango. His "Vatican Rag" is great ragtime. The lyrics were almost always delightedly evil. The best way to make fun of sentimental waltzes, love songs, college drinking songs etc. was to make the lyrics as sick as possible. And this was before Lenny Bruce. This was when sick humor was confined to some fringe magazines that often had girlie pix in them, and cartoons with captions like, "Drink your soup before it clots." Tom sang about boy scouts pimping their sisters, pigeons being poisoned in the park, and the comforts of "powdered happiness" courtesy of a dope peddler. His march song was for his cause: "Smut...and nothing but!" Equal to Cole Porter, Lehrer's rhymes were witty and unexpected ("try and hide" with "cyanide") and he'd drop classical and pop in-jokes into the melodies, too. So, which song...hmm....

Since it’s his 90th Birthday, he’d probably not say “HAPPY” birthday, and instead hope that when he goes, everyone else goes, too. Nuclear disaster is STILL on the table, after all. So down below, the choice is “We Will All Go Together When We Go,” which is an example of just about everything Tom Lehrer did so brilliantly. You'll hear an original melody AND clever rhymes (including some internals -- wait for "funeral" sneaking into "sooner or later..."). A true musician, he changes tempo (and works in a fine pun on "Down By the Old Mill Stream.") Most of all he's on target with his chosen weapon for the kill: brutal satire. 

Tom Lehrer