Sunday, February 09, 2020

ORSON BEAN "I ATE THE BALONEY"



For once, Twitter provided some kind of "service." After Orson Bean was killed via two careless Los Angeles cars plowing into him as he was crossing a street, a variety of people tweeted about the vast variety of his work and talent. He touched a lot of people in his 60+ year career. People posted:  


He was Bilbo in the original Hobbit cartoon. I LOVED HIM
He will always be whimsical "Mr. Bevis" from that Twilight Zone episode.
He was on “To Tell the Truth” all the time, he was part of my childhood.
He was on “Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman”
He co-founded the “Laurel and Hardy Sons of the Desert” group
Barbra Streisand said he got her on TV for the first time
He wrote about the Orgone. He founded his own progressive school.
I saw him play Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol”
He was Breitbart’s father-in-law.
He co-starred on Broadway with Jayne Mansfield, that lucky dog!

What a fine Broadway musical comedy actor: "Subways Are For Sleeping" and "Ilya Darling"
Saw him on Carson’s show all the time. Nice guy and such a funny raconteur.

MAD magazine showed him making a paper eucalyptus tree -- he was a good magician!
Fantasy signed two comedians to their label: Lenny Bruce and Orson Bean.

It was gratifying that there were only a few assholes posting photos of Rowan Atkinson.

Orson was a charming, fascinating, intelligent man.  Most know that he was born Dallas Burrows, and he had a somewhat difficult New England childhood. His mother was pretty nuts, a drunk who was simply impossible to live with. The young man had to leave home and work his way through school — and deal with a suicide note that included a line about "my son won't visit me." He lost himself in the fantasy world of radio, comic strips, and magic tricks. He developed a comedy/magic act, and tried out a variety of opening lines. When none got much of a laugh, someone suggested that instead of "Hi, I'm Dallas Burrows..." he try to get the audience on his side by having a funny name. "Roger Duck" didn't get a laugh. "Orson Bean" did. (But not from Orson Welles, who somehow decided that this was some kind of insult, or some kind of attempt to gain fame at the expense of HIS famous first name!)

Orson was very spiritual in his own kooky way, which included the time he sailed a paper plane out his window in New York….and some time after…it wafted BACK through his own window. He felt the odds of this happening were astronomical and there had to be something religious about it. Same deal when he believed he could communicate with a butterfly. Out of the blue, he published "MAIL FOR MIKEY," which expressed his positive view of something beyond the beyond. 


For these reasons, it was especially sad and bewildering about his last moments on this Earth. Only a few months earlier, he was on stage doing his "Scrooge" routine for Mark Steyn's annual variety show (which you can see on YouTube). He had won great reviews for a one-man show of his anecdotes and magic. And only a week ago, he and his wife had finished a limited engagement at the local theater in Venice that they so generously supported. He was sharp as a tack, vivid and vital — and he got clobbered by two fucking idiot L.A. drivers who couldn't pay attention to the road or drive at a safe speed. 

From what I've read, Orson was on his way to that same Venice theater where he'd performed a week earlier. His wife was already waiting for him, and since he was as spry as a 91-year-old could be, she had no worries that she needed to hold hands with him to keep him safe. One expected him to have the grand passing of "surrounded by his wife and family," and going easily over to the other side; not violence. 

I was so impressed by the vitality of his recent stage appearances, I'd even put off writing a letter of congratulations -- why bother the guy, and surely he'd be doing even more shows in the future. 

Orson was so contemporary, he was even a "meme star." Playing Ebenezer Scrooge was something he enjoyed greatly, and he might've been known to more people under 40 for that, than for being Bilbo Baggins or that crusty ol' guy on the "Dr. Quinn" re-runs. On some of those "meme generator" websites, Scrooge was simply referred to as "The Angry Old Man." Pick your own "witty" comment that the geezer might say....



Since this is a music blog, there wasn't all that much to choose from in offering a sample of Orson Bean. "I Ate the Baloney," weak as it is, beats the dated Broadway stuff, such as “Strange Duet” from “Subways are for Sleeping,” or “Po Po Po” from “Ilya Darling” etc.) It shows what charm he could bring to weak material. 



In case anyone actually cares, “I Ate the Baloney” is the actual title on the 1926 sheet music but the song is also known as “The Baloney Song,” “The Three Dreams,” “I Ate the Boloney” and “Piece of Baloney.” On Orson’s album, it’s duly noted as an “old vaudeville song,” and not one of the original bits that made him a surprise hit when he tried stand-up in NYC in the 50's. Orson mentioned to me that while the atmosphere back then was sophisticated and even edgy (the new stars were Nichols and May, Mort Sahl and Shelley Berman), he had "no interest in being dour," and favored light-hearted material and eccentricity. One of his oddest bits was about a sailor arrested for having sex with an ostrich. The shaggy Aussie ostrich story had a typical bounce-off-the-Bean punchline: "Well, if I'd known you'd all make such a fuss, I'd have married the bird!"


"I Ate the Baloney" (which pretty much gives away the punchline) was in the vaudeville tradition of ethnic comedy. The trio vying for the slice were usually portayed as an Irishman, Italian and Jew, or (in Orson's version) two Irishmen and a Jew. While there's some vague antisemitism here, back then, every group got equal abuse. There were dialect comedians making fun of blacks, Italians, Scots, Germans, Poles, and every other spicy citizen diving into the Melting Pot. Over the years, the wiseguy who ate the baloney was often whatever ethnicity the singer was. Dick Nolan, from Newfoundland, recorded a popular vesion about “Two Irishman and a Newfie…” 


The original poem appears in “The Journal of American Folk-Lore” (1921). The sheet music credit goes to Harry Lee, and as “I Ate the Baloney” was popularized in 1926 by dialect comedians Billy Murray and Monroe Silver who handled the Italian, Irish and Jewish lines. The verse by Harry Lee was traditionally sung to the public domain “Pop Goes the Weasel,” which only makes things more annoying. And yet, as always, it works for Orson, who was a most kind, generous and charming man. 

I ATE THE BALONEY - Orson Bean - instant DL or listen online - no idiot Password, Paypal donation demand or spyware from Ydray or other weasels

ROBERT CONRAD, 84 - Hawaiian Eye - "You're Getting to be a Habit with Me"


From my slightly worn (got it second hand) copy of "Hawaiian Eye," below is Robert Conrad (born Conrad Falk, March 1, 1935 – February 8, 2020) singing "You're Getting to be a Habit With Me." 

He got to be a habit with TV fans for decades, basically playing himself in different names or costumes. He was on series after series, the most popular including "Baa Baa Black Sheep" and "Wild Wild West." The vague Chicago accent was always there, as was his particular brand of TV cool, which involved a pugnacious indifference to most everyone. No wonder he once starred in a much-parodied commercial: "Go on, a dare ya to knock this battery off my shoulder." 

He was just what you thought he was. A cocky guy who seemed to enjoy taking down guys taller than he was (he was 5'8"), he was always up for a challenge on the set, including doing his own stunts whenever possible. His brand of self-confidence meant that he didn't throw himself at the ladies; he expected them to either make the first move, or reach for his cock as soon as he cocked his eye. In real life, he was quite a family man, married to his first wife for 25 years (and five children) and then adding three more kids via his second marriage. 

It was an odd trait of most TV heroes of his generation; show a certain "take it or leave it" disdain. Robert Vaughn and Gene Barry almost seemed nauseated by all the fawning and flirting they had to endure. Steve McQueen was more stoic, while Robert Stack and Craig Stevens figured they were the best studs available. It was somewhat rare for a TV cowboy or detective to need to be a "charmer," and rely on wit, personality or the bribe of a classy dinner and champagne on ice. Singing was also not required. Very few of the era's stars bothered to make even one record (Hugh O'Brian,  Edd Byrnes, Gene Barry, etc.) and rarely were invited to do another (Vincent Edwards, Richard Chamberlain, Pernell Roberts...) 

Robert Conrad only had one song on the "Hawaiian Eye" soundtrack. By the time of "Wild Wild West," the guy who sang most often on the show was guest-star Michael Dunn. The theme songs on so many of these shows were pretty terrible, weren't they? Over at Warner Bros., there was almost a formula to them: say the name of the show OVER and OVER, and do it as obnoxiously as possible: "77 Sunset Strip," "Bourbon Street Beat," "Surfside Six," "Hawaiian Eye...." all lousy. 

One of his last series attempts was "A Man Called Sloane" in 1979, and his last major film was "Jingle All the Way" in 1996. Fans still loved him, and the old re-runs, and he turned up with his own talk radio show in 2008, which continued for ten years. For one reason or another — probably "Wild Wild West" for most people, Bob Conrad remains a "habit," even if the song below is just one of those, "say, he sings ok" items. 

You're Getting to be a Habit With Me - instant download, listen on line, no dodgy-creepy websites, no Paypal donation request, no dopey password


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

MONIQUE VAN VOOREN - dead at 92 - "CALL ME AGAIN WHEN YOU’RE IN TOWN"

Va Va Van Vooren....



She was a cuddlesome foreign beauty queen in the 50's and 60's, and then a scary campy vamp in the Warhol 70's and even the cabaret 90's. She was a legend in her own time. Wasn't she? She'd tell you she was.

So would I, but sometimes people say, "How come you have such a THING for these old sex symbol babes? What's so great about Brigitte Bardot, Diana Rigg, Tuesday Weld....uh, as opposed to who? Anne Hathaway, Kim Kardashian or Mo'nique?

Let's talk about an era when women had class, and real tits. Let's talk about a time when there was no pitch-corrected vocals, and even Monique Van Vooren had to show some skills to get a record deal and to perform LIVE IN CABARET in front of a PAYING AUDIENCE.

Monique van Vooren (March 25, 1927 – January 28, 2020). Not to be confused with Mamie Van Doren, Monique Van Vooren was a Brussels-born beauty queen who also made hearts flutter via her ice skating prowess. She was a cool, cool blonde. Mamie's still around, but the ranks are thinning. Another beauty queen, from Denmark, died not too long ago, Greta Thyssen. She was another who parlayed good looks into magazine work and cult films.

I didn't know Monique well, but I do have some memorabilia that I can still look on with some fondness, and now some sadness. Of course any asshole can buy an autographed item on eBay or haunt some D-list comic-con show, pay for a selfie, and then boast, "She is close personal friends of me." But yeah, there's a big difference between PAYING FOR IT and NOT. There's a difference between holding a conversation with a celebrity on even terms, and pestering one at the stage door. But let's get back to Van Vooren.

Monique turned up on stage in the “John Murray Anderson’s Almanac” revue in the mid 50’s, along with Hermoine Gingold and Harry Belafonte. She wasn't just eye-candy; you didn't get on a show like that just for being famous for being famous. She was in the movie “Tarzan and the She-Devil,” and later was briefly in Dean Martin’s “10,000” bedrooms in 1957. She played nightclub dates. Her ability to at least carry a tune led to her solo album for RCA, “Mink in Hi-Fi.”

She was known for wearing expensive and outrageous fur. Back in the day when bombastic babes routinely tried the patience of newspaper reporters with their publicity games, Monique claimed that she was the victim of theft…and was rewarded with a photo op when the police recovered her missing fur. Was it actually stolen or did her publicist grab it and after suitable time, tip the police off to where it had turnd up? Quoth the wire services, Monique got back her

“…$2,500 light champagne mink stole after claiming it in a police station here today. She said she had left it in a restaurant a month ago.” Why, smirking reporters asked, didn’t she realize she'd left her fucking fur behind in the restaurant for anyone to grab? “It must have been a mild night,” Monique purred. She went on to tell reporters that she owned eleven mink coats, and one of them was valued at $8,000.

You’d think she would’ve been a natural for some furrier’s print ad campaign, but I don’t think she ever got the chance. I do recall that she was hired by Smirnoff Vodka, a company that used a lot of celebrities in their magazine ads. 


“Mink In Hi-Fi” has nothing to do with dead animals. Priced high for the cover, not the music, Monique offers up a fairly eclectic collection, sung half in French and half in English, along with a calypso novelty called “My Man is Good,” which is about how she smacked the two-timing jerk in the head. He dead. Perhaps this was inspired by the time she spent having to suffer through Harry Belafonte’s crap when they were both part of the “John Murray Almanac” revue. The song has a male chorus that is so irritating, I didn’t even want to hear it again to make an example of it via download. Instead, you get the poignant “Call Me Again When You’re In Town.”

Hot babe singers almost always end up warbling torch ballads, begging YOU the listener to take her back, romance her the way she needs, kiss her, hold her…whatever. Right, a woman like Monique (or Julie London or whoever you want to name) is sadly pining for…YOU. But that's what sells records (along with a hot album cover).

Skitch Henderson and his orchestra back Monique. His real first name as Lyle.


Li'l Skitch was quite popular at the time. He made albums and was quite visible as the bandleader for “The Tonight Show.” He was notoriously fired by Johnny Carson and his producers. According to “The Music Business and the Monkey Business” by Lynn and Larry Elgart (page 39), “A man from Columbia Records brought vocalists to Skitch’s dressing room for him to audition them. This night, one girl, underage, arrived with her mother. It appeared that Skitch was ready for a different kind of audition. The mother was irate and made a scene. He was let go at once.”

Henderson’s revisionist history: “I very much wanted to start a Pops situation here in New York [aping Arthur Fiedler’s Boston Pops orchestra] and I knew it would never happen as long as I had the security of that paycheck.”  He also claimed he ended on good terms with Carson, who gave him the gift of a rare Bible!

Li'l Skitch was known for stretching the truth. He used to insist that he helped Judy Garland learn “Over the Rainbow.” No biographer of Judy’s seems to agree. He was fired from “The Tonight Show” in 1966, and quickly replaced by Milton DeLugg, with Doc Severinsen ending up getting the permanent assignment. Skitch didn’t start his “New York Pops” orchestra until 1983, long after the scandals had died down…scandals that included a 1974 tax evasion indictment. This involved a bogus $350,000 “puff” on the value of donations he made to a university’s music collection. He insisted he valued everything correctly and had advice from Henry Mancini and Leonard Bernstein. Neither backed up his story. 

But I digress...and I can, because I write what I feel like writing about, and figure people just might want to read a blog instead of going to it because some asshole is offering photo-and-link discographies out of some sense of egotism, bratty civil disobedience, or ignorance of how there are still people in recording studios, record stores and on the road trying to make a living by having people pay for their entertainment.


Ah, Monique. We never did discuss why the "stars" of today are not only untalented and stupid, but insist on shaving their twats. I did have that conversation with another of my vintage sexy-celeb friends, an Award-winning woman far higher up the fame list than Monique. But we'll save that for another time. See, if you do happen to know people instead of just pay 'em to take a selfie with you, they might spontaneous talk to you in a way you'd never dream of. As in, "is it true that all the stars today shave their private parts? Why in the world would they do that..." 

Hmm, I suppose there are geeks out there who would've paid $500 to hear that question put to them by a famous actress. It ain't gonna happen just by giving away all her movies on the Internet somewhere. Do you suppose the assholes who compulsively do their dung-beetle dumps in shoutboxes, forums, or their own pseudo-famous BLOGS, do it because they DON’T know celebrities, AREN’T in the music or film business, NEVER sang or wrote a song, and thus, think that giving shit away makes them cool? When they’re in some armpit town nobody ever heard of, or a shit country like Turkey or Sweden or Holland or Brazil that nobody wants to visit unless they want drugs? Rhetorical question. The assholes that are "having fun" don't have enough brain cells to come up with a rationale, and if they did, it would be just that, a fucking rationale. An excuse.


Along with other eccentrics and exotics, like Hildegarde and Genevieve (no, met Hildegarde once, Genevieve not at all), Monique appeared not only in nightclubs, and variety/talk shows, she was sometimes eye-candy on TV shows. For Monique, that seemed to end around 1968 when she could only manage a cameo on a “Batman” TV episode as “Miss Clean,” with Burgess Meredith starring as The Penguin.

What to do. Retire? Find a new paradigm? Stick a wet finger in the air and check the zeitgeist? In the 70’s, Monique re-invented herself as someone a bit more scary than cuddly, and played the “Queen of Skulls” in “The Decameron” and the Baroness in “Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein.” You can see the difference between Monique ONE and Monique TWO in the autographed photos (which were not SOLD to me by Monique.




The new Monque wore high fashion clothes, a ton of jewels, and sometimes, some other-worldly contact lenses. I’m assuming her three husbands were all well off, and she wasn’t totally relying on summer stock or nightclubs to pay the rent. In 1983 she released a book, which may have taken her years to write and she hoped people would take a look. It was called ‘Night Sanctuary.’ In the 90’s…well, if you’re one of the last of the chanteuses, and gays can’t fawn over Judy or even Hildegarde anymore…there she was, doing the cabaret scene, offering stark songs delivered South of Dietrich and East of that newer keeper of the flame, Ute Lemper.

Give her credit for getting up there and gettin’ it done.

Since attention spans are short, and the wistful spoken introductions sometimes used to open ballads are generally not worth hearing, let’s go right into the actual song…”Call Me Again When You’re in Town.” Stay around, it’s only two minutes or so, and the ending is, under the circumstances, rather poignant. 


HEAR "CALL ME AGAIN..." Monque Van Vooren - instant download or listen on line, no crappy Eurotrash PAY site, no porn ads, no Paypal donation crap.






Thursday, December 19, 2019

Bobby Cole - Dream a Little Dream of Me


Once again, it’s the sad anniversary. 

It was a miserable Christmas for Bobby’s friends, fans and family. Well, most. Some may not have heard the news of his passing yet. One of his friends got something in a major New York paper, and an old acquaintance wrote something up in a freebie give-away paper that was circulated mostly in the East Village. I say old "acquaintance" because in his little tribute, he declared he could never forget Bobby's "sapphire blue eyes." Let's just say the man was color blind, or hadn't seen Bobby in twenty years.

For some, and there’s irony here, Bobby's passing was a sudden realization that despite his flaws, he was a very special guy. Yes, more than once his self-appraisal was a gruff, “ain’t I a pain in the ass?” He was well aware of what his drinking had cost him, and continued to cost him when he’d have his lapses. He knew there were some, including ones he loved most, who shunned him. They were following the A.A. advice of "Let go, and let God," perhaps.

His fretful roomie, the bizarre Karen Leslie Lyttle, once tried to resurrect her acting career (her only famous role was in a Richard Pryor flop, "The Toy") by going out to the coast for auditions. She gave someone else the daunting task of looking in on Bobby, making sure he was taking his pills and not hiding them and binging. There were always some people who never quite gave up on him, or hadn't been disappointed often enough to walk away. There was one very attractive older woman with a famous hubby, who seemed to maintain a discreet affair via brief encounters when she happened to be in town. But I won't digress.

Some, who broke his heart by the angry words they hurled at him, and their silences, are now anxious for any photo or any recording they can find. “Lighting that torch, watching it burn.” I don’t blame ‘em. They had their reasons. Even his nutty roomie would sometimes try and take that vow, and lock him out and call up people and tell them not to take him in; let him sleep in a 24 hour movie theater in Times Square...make pay phone calls...and then walk for miles to that one person who answered the phone and couldn't refuse him. Those who know the Phil Ochs story know how this works. With Phil, even his own brother urged everyone to NOT help Phil by giving him money, a place to stay, or booze. It’s just a tough situation all around. And now, those who turned their backs have re-opened their hearts to his memory. And that’s a good thing.


Now and then, people share their memories on social media, and sometimes a bit more. Sometimes there’s an email or a phone call, and a bit of a surprise: “I know you knew Bobby well...I have a cassette recording...I don’t have a player anymore. Is there some way to get this transferred? Can we get together and have dinner, and talk about him, and can I give you the tapes?” 


There’s a recording of Bobby talking about life, his drinking, and how he wanted to try and get some more things done. It was an impromptu set of remarks between songs and giving a singing lesson to some woman or other. A brief snippet: “….I’ve been drinkin’ for 40 years. I don’t think I had a sane day in 40 years. Because it was all alcoholic thinking. If I wasn’t drunk I was withdrawing. Oh, there was some good times, but there are things I want to do. I want to do things I wanted to do when I was a kid, but I got hung up on the bottle…there’s life goin’ on…”

Yes, he had his demons, ones that sometimes got in the way, both personally and professionally. Like too many creative artists, he had a final project (the “Hole in the Corner Man” album) that he just didn’t want to finish, perhaps for fear of it being rejected. Meanwhile, he earned his money the old-fashioned way, playing and singing in bar-restaurants...a dying profession. There weren't too many places that would pay for live entertainment, as opposed to tips. Bobby did NOT play for tips. He refused to put a tip jar on his piano. The venue had to pay him or he wouldn't be there.

One factor that he had to deal with in his creative work, was the fact that some of the places he played were very noisy.  He could see the expressions of admiration on the ringsiders who were around his piano, but he could also look into the smoke and see dozens more paying no attention, and worse, talking mindlessly and loudly. 

The recording below is, unfortunately, an accurate example of how it sometimes was.  In his private life and in his performing life, sometimes he was taken for granted, unappreciated, or worse, ignored.

Until the Real Thing Comes Along - Dream a Little Dream of Me


ANITA BRYANT - ALL ALONE AM I



    Steve Martin, hosting the Academy Awards, joked: “Stay tuned, at the end of the show, we vote somebody out of show business.” 

     He didn’t know that in only a few years, this would become the obsession of the bird-brains on Twitter. Almost every day, a trending topic is “BOYCOTT…” some store, “FIRE….” some actor,  and demand that somebody “NEVER…” make another film, get another record deal, or write another book.

    One of the pioneering victims of the “you’ll never work in this town again” brand of witch-hunt, was a good looking witch by the name of Anita Bryant. She wasn’t a “Communist,” which you might recall led all-American bully, Sen. Joe McCarthy, to terrorize Hollywood and blacklist (or RED list) a variety of actors, writers and directors. 

     She was just, oh, one of the vast Christian religious fanatics who thought being gay was a mental disorder (and the Catholic Decency people would’ve added Henry Miller books, the movie  “Baby Doll” among others, and being Jewish). You know this bunch? Despite Anita’s banishment, they are STILL active. How about them fine Westboro Baptists picketing cemeteries? PS, other religious groups are even more obnoxious, but since one such group, Muslims, tend to throw gays off buildings, and play with machine guns, bombs, and knives, people try and look the other way.  

       UPDATE, December 31: if you think the problem ended because Anita Bryant was never allowed to sing again, how about Margaret Court? Court, who still sits atop Serena Williams for most all-time Grand Slam wins, is now a Pentecostal pastor at a church in Western Australia. She voices traditional Biblical views of "Adam and Eve." And you know what, it's possible that some psychologists would agree with some of what she's recently said: 

       "Children are making the decision at 7 or 8 years of age to change their sex. No...it’s so wrong at that age because a lot of things are planted in this thought realm at that age, and they start to question ‘what am I’?”   

        "You have got young people taking hormones and having changes, by the time they are 17 they are thinking, 'Now I’m a boy and really I was a girl.” 

     While Preacher Court couches all this by pointing to the Bible,  there are many therapists who do believe that homosexual thoughts are a phase, a part of growing up, and some serious evaluation is needed on what course to take, be it carving into the body, or just saying "wait a while," as you would if your kid wanted to get a tattoo of Taylor Swift or Harry Styles.

     A problem with Court now, and with Bryant several generations ago, is that the message is couched with a dash of religious fanaticism, and this is especially odious when their religion also suggests "turn the other cheek" and have "tolerance." It crosses a line when you start claiming that somebody's behavior is "the devil's work." Or that somebody will "go to hell" or "needs to be saved" just because they have a sex quirk. 

    It’s a thorny, or Crown of Thorns problem: what do you do with somebody who is bigoted or just plain stupid? The fabulous Quakers would “Shun” such people. But not jail or starve them. Just not talk to them, I guess. They could still shop for food, but if the person said, “I’d like a bag of flour. Oh, and how are you today,” all that person would get would be a bag of flour and a dirty look.

    These days, the answer seems to be: fuck their creativity. They are DONE. Usually. Selectively. We still hear Richard Wagner’s music all over the place even if he was a Nazi. Nobody’s banning Morrissey’s music or Roger Water’s Nazi-esque music. Woody Allen? Don’t let him make another movie even if he was NEVER convicted of ANYTHING. Don’t hire touchy-feely Spacey, either. Somehow Jeffrey Tambor was kicked off one TV show, but allowed to act on another. Well, he made a play for a woman who was a tranny, so things DO get confusing. 

       Bryant was an easy target. First off, what's a woman gonna do? When that gay guy (now dead) hit her with a pie, and stood waiting for a cat fight with her, she didn't oblige. She only quipped, "It was a fruit pie." Think that guy would've pied Louis Farrakhan? Isn’t it a bit odd that Louis Farrakhan is still around and preaching? Despite his backward and bigoted views? Oh...he's got nasty looking guys around him who probably have weapons. Back off HIM. But go after the soft target. Anita Bryant. A bit fishy, huh? 



Farrahkan's a total maniac with a dangerous habit of talking violent rhetoric to gullible morons. He's hardly alone in that. The Ayatollah. The various Imams. The jerks on YouTube. The neo-Nazi forums. The various hate groups hiding on Facebook. Did taking down Anita Bryant really do much? Are the Westboro Baptists still picketing cemeteries? Are the Arabs tossing gays off rooftops? Are morons now sensitive and tolerant about ANYTHING, or are they WORSE THAN EVER? 

Bryant? A pie in the face wasn’t enough. Neither was losing her Florida Orange Juice commercial, which was really the only visibility she had, since her style of singing was no longer popular. She ended up divorced, she was hounded everywhere she went, and her “ministry” collapsed. I think it’s still technically around. There’s a website or something, but she’s an old lady now, and she might not even be preaching to a small circle of pews. And yes, peee-uww to her sad, sad notion of intolerance to others. How Christian is THAT? Even if you think gays ARE slightly nuts (or as pervy as people who like to whip each other, wear adult diapers, or sniff feet), live and let live. 

We know, for example, that the odds of a gay teacher molesting students, or encouraging them to be gay, is less than the odds that the local priest might be a pedophile, or the straight female teacher might start giving blowjobs to 14 year-olds.  

All I’m saying is that give Anita Bryant some credit as a singer. When given the right material, she was a good one. Oh, and I think Lenny Bruce would’ve agreed: she was one good-lookin’ shiksa! All-American looks, man. This is what the ideal was. Fuck Doris Day (if you wanted to), what guys really wanted, in Anita’s time, was Anita, and all the other Miss America types. So wholesome. Brunettes — not those slutty blondes like Monroe or Mansfield. You married a BRUNETTE. OK, she might NEVER go down on you, but you could fuck her, right? At least until you had two kids. After that, maybe you’d be in the bathroom with the Sears Catalog underwear pages. But jeez, Anita Bryant. Late 50’s early 60’s. A wholesome jerkoff fantasy like the quaint (at this point) brunettes who appeared topless (sometimes just in a gauzy negligee and NOT topless) in Rogue or The Dude or Gent or Swank. 

At one point, strangely enough, Anita was being aimed at the teen market. I guess Dick Clark had the hots for her.



I guess if Connie Francis could appeal to teens, somebody thought Anita could, too. But really, her hit "Paper Roses" was aimed at an older audience. Not a hipper one; she was not Julie London. Anita didn't sing jazz, she sang more mainstream and gentile…ah, GENTEEL numbers. Gogi Grant? She was Jewish, ya know. So was Dinah Shore. But Anita Bryant was SO Christian…ok, TOO Christian, as it turned out. She definitely lacked the Christian charity to show some tolerance in her jibes about how God didn't make "Adam and Bruce."

But Christian charity is never easy to find. Take the Christian bitch Christ-in Jellybrain. Or whatever her name is. This blond shiksa made it her business to call out the Jew, Al Franken, and force him out of the Senate. He was only one of the better Senators, certainly more articulate and effective than Senator Jellybrain. But she wanted to run for President and she saw witch-hunting Franken as her ticket to ride. Right, stir up a frenzy against Al, because…he TOUCHED the clothed tits of a sleeping bitch, and somebody took a gag photo of it? Ooooh. And this was when he was a comedian, not a senator.

 I’ve had friends who died of AIDS, and who hated Bryant, and I’m not minimizing the hurt she caused in voicing her dumb opinions, but people are still voicing those dumb opinions without her.  We’ve got crackers out there who own guns and have swastikas on their faces and on their homes, and confederate flags flying, and have the fucking arrogance to say “Learn yer history,” because such symbols are NICE and GOOD. They go into black churches and synagogues and kill, kill, kill…showing no mercy to unarmed and harmless old people. 

Freedom of Speech is always tricky. We stand up for it when we agree. SOME magnanimously show their pseudo-scholarship by saying, "I will defend to the death your right to say something I disagree with." But, not really. Because the primitive notion remains: bash the person who said something you didn't like. Judge Wapner said "words are just words," but people get violent over them. Sometimes, it's understandable. The more nasty or racist or stupid the words, the more you want to say "fire that person." Otherwise they get worse.

Who'd want smug Anita to do a whole album pushing not her religion but her anti-human agenda? Something like...


How about this: Cat Yusuf Stevens Salami Giorgio or whatever the fuck he’s calling himself — agreed that a writer should be KILLED because some bearded turd who declared himself God’s messenger said so. WHO? Did you hear it from GOD, Cat? No, you heard it from some phony fuck-o asshole claiming to be God’s messenger, which is no different than some jerk on a soap box in a London park, or Jim Jones or some sex maniac peddling “magic underpants” and the notion that guys should have as many wives as they want and breed as many MORONS as they want. Who the FUCK are you, to declare a man’s life should end, because some scabrous old lunatic who insists HE has a direct line to his INVISIBLE FRIEND, says so? 

And is anyone banning Cat’s irritating music anywhere? No. Anyone finding it a bit hypocritical that this gruff-voiced mucous-toned fuckup is singing “Peace Train” while calling for a writer’s death? Any no-longer-moist menopausal ex-hippie chicks out there NOT still wistfully listening to “Wild World” or “Lisa” and wishing she could give her dried pussy to the ex-Cat? 

Anyway, back to Anita. You know what? Anita was dumb, but she was religious-dumb. Today, we allow religious-dumb to knife people on London Bridge, blow people up in bars and nightclubs, and get let out of jail early and NOT get deported. The Christian nations, UK and USA, are SO understanding of CERTAIN forms of religious bigotry….ones that come from dangerous people who are allowed to spout hate and threaten the big Allah-kaboom. But Anita Bryant? A mere female magpie with a smug holier-than-thou brand of obnoxiousness? She had an opinion. Don't argue with her: destroy her, and keep her destroyed, even her art. Go ahead, sell Manson’s drawings and the Killer Clown’s paintings. But not Anita’s records.

Last week some Christian assholes were screaming “BOYCOTT THE HALLMARK CHANNEL” on Twitter. Why? Hallmark showed an image of a gay wedding, and two lesbians kissing. Christ, how many Christian men have dialed up lesbian porn and seen babes like that licking labes? What hypocrisy, but that’s another word for RELIGION, ain’t it?

“All Alone Am I” showcases just how good Anita Bryant could be. Give her a decent ballad, and don’t have Mitch Miller or some other asshole fuck up the arrangement, and she was fine. “Cold Winter” is also on this blog, and it’s another example of how she stacked up against Patti, Gogi or Doris. Bryant could sometimes sing a number as well as ache-voiced Connie Francis, or the more country-tinged Brenda Lee. At least give her that credit. Put an asterisk on her ass, and yes, point out that she was too sanctimonious and ignorant for her own good, but don’t be stupid. It’s like pretending that awful Harvey Weinstein didn’t produce a lot of sensitive and romantic movies, including films that no other studio would’ve touched. Nothing is black and white except a fucking Oreo. 

Jesus was pretty good about not casting the first stone. He wasn’t big on INTOLERANCE. He wasn’t fighting holy wars, and he wasn’t marrying child brides.  He wasn’t whining “BOYCOTT” every other day. And really, when he was on the cross, he could’ve at least said, “BAN NAILS!” But he was pretty much alone. Some were talking him up, but nobody was taking him down. He was alone.

“All Alone” is Anita Bryant, and over the past decades, she hasn’t shown her face too often. Her website hasn't been updated since 2006. 


All alone is she? Well, her notoriety is still very much with us.“The Loneliest Girl in the World” was staged as a musical in San Diego last year. The 2018 show is a fictionalized account of Tommy (based on Thom Higgins) who goes from being a Bryant fan to ultimately her worst nightmare via the pie attack. (The real Thom Higgins couldn’t make it to the show, having died in 1994). The story of Tommy runs alongside Bryant’s story of losing to Mary Ann Mobley in the Miss America Contest (this is somehow a running joke, with an actress playing Mobley) to becoming an All-American singing star and then a sell-out and a Bible zealot. A reviewer actually felt that the actress playing Bryant turned her into a “relatively sympathetic and definitely multi-dimensional character.” 

There you are, even NOW,  when she’s laying low in Oklahoma, and her “Ministry” website has no store, no current events, and really just a biography of her as reading material, Bryant remains a perfect target for gays looking back in anger, and a convenient symbol of Americana to jeer and throw stones at. Christ, we all know that nothing white is any good, nothing Christian is any good, and any music made by a middle-aged white woman in the 50’s or 60’s should be banned. Statue of Kate Smith? Take that DOWN! It’s all just that simple. 

Nobody’s playing Kate Smith anymore, and really, her version of “God Bless America” was not exactly the highlight of any baseball or hockey game.  But is that right, and is that really an AMERICAN thing to do or more an IRANIAN thing to do? Anita Bryant’s voice was actually much more expressive and pleasant, which includes her take on “Power and the Glory,” as well as the item below. If you actually think that an artist’s creative work might not deserve to be banned for some other belief, especially one that’s based on the same religious principles that are given a free ride most of the time, you too can sing along and mean it: “All Alone Am I.” 


Greta Thunberg, TIME'S "Person of the Year" -- Living Voices: "EVE OF DESTRUCTION"




You heard how the impeached Donald Trump reacted to Greta Thurnberg getting the cover of TIME instead of him, or one of his idiot sons, or his buddy Putin or his buddy Kim? 

He took to Twitter, where he squats most of the day, like a brainless 12 year-old girl, babbling on and on, posting up to 100 lying, bitching, obnoxious, foolish tweets. He wrote:

"Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!"

Chill? Today's fucking news is that Australia is having it's WORST HEAT WAVE IN ITS HISTORY. Last summer, many major cities in Europe broke records for sweltering heat. But hey, if it actually happens to be snowy in December in America, Trumpty Dumpty is convinced he'll stay in one piece, and the massive heatwaves, tornadoes, tsunamis and other shit will just disappear. You know, like polar ice and endangered species. 

MAYBE the problem is that a little girl's voice is too shrill? That the gloom and doom news about climate change is too sour? And that singer Barry McGuire is too GRUFF for listeners who now prefer Boy Band crooners offering beats that sound like popped pimples? 

PERHAPS, what's needed is the lovely LIVING VOICES to sugar coat the message that with violent religious fanatics, rampant incurable diseases, psychos on the street, food resources dwindling, fish becoming harder to find unless farmed in unhealthy tanks, and summer lasting most of the year...we really ARE on the EVE OF DESTRUCTION. 


EVE OF DESTRUCTION sweetened by the LIVING STRINGS - instant download or listen online- no 10 day link bullshit, no Pay to Download crap, no Paypal donation whining

KIKI EBSEN - MISSING BUDDY and NEEDING KICKSTARTER


How bad…is it…in this world where assholes “share” music because they’re just too cheap and nasty to buy it, and piracy is so rampant that record labels and artists can’t literally AFFORD to hunt down and stop every blogger jerk that hides links and re-ups constantly? The ones who have entire discographies on their blogs, and come up with every nitwit excuse for relentlessly making sure nobody EVER has to buy anything but pizza and beer? "I'm having FUN!" "Screw the RIAA!" "I'm giving artists publicity!" Christ, even a hillbilly like Jethro Bodine would know better than THAT.


What it t means is that most singers have to work with indie labels, or sell at their gigs and hope people want a souvenir. They have to be humiliated by tiny checks from Spotify and they must compete with zillions of free music posts on YouTube. If the singer isn’t offering RAP or “boy band” tripe or the kind of rap-pop that Cardi B and Taylor Swift do, it’s time to…GO TO KICKSTARTER.

Even if you have a semi-famous name or connection ("I'm the daughter of JED CLAMPETT aka BARNABY JONES") it doesn't much. This is an era where even Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon have given up, and Steve Miller sighed that there was no point in putting out a new album if it meant pitiful sales figures. Oh, but who cares about THAT when some blogger asshole in Holland, Sweden, Turkey, or some little obscure town a thousand miles from anything that matters, can be a big shot? And get a NICE comment? For somebody else's creativity? Because the blogger can only post an album cover and a link. Or maybe a very stupid joke header about "Neil Old?" 

Over 60, and showing a love of melody, Kiki Ebsen began her career as part of father Buddy Ebsen’s summer “family tour” troupe. On breaks from “Barnaby Jones,” Buddy indulged in his first love, song and dance. With several daughters who could sing and dance, he amused audiences mostly in California with a charming variety show. Kiki (born Nancy) was serious about music and studied classical singing at Cal-Arts (California Institute of the Arts). She was named “Collegiate Entertainer of the Year,” but took an odd detour, playing keyboards with Chicago. After touring for a while with the rock big band, she joined Al Jarreau’s band. She ultimately made her solo debut in 1994, and put out new albums in 2000, 2002, 2005, and 2011. 

 By 2014, she was checking out KICKSTARTER. She had found a bunch of songs (including original tunes written by Buddy) and wanted to put them out, saluting such old time classics as “Tea for Two,” “Laura,” and “You Don’t Know What Love Is.” The album was dubbed the “Scarecrow Sessions,” as it included “If I Only Had a Brain,” which was in “The Wizard Of Oz.” And nearly, so was Buddy Ebsen. The affable song and dance man was originally cast as the Scarecrow. He was shifted to the part of the tin man, but had a terrible reaction to the make-up needed for the part. He was replaced by Jack Haley. (The make-up was also toxic for "Wicked Witch" Margaret Hamilton, who nearly had her face burned off when the green goo all over her reacted to heat.)


 Fortunately for Kiki Ebsen, she had five previous albums, over a decade of touring, and a famous last name to help her raise the $12,000 she felt was needed to get a truly polished, professional recording done. Some might shrug, “Eh, go use Pro Tools. Then we’ll complain about the fake drums after we download it free.” Or, “Why don’t you just give away the CD and make money selling t-shirts?” The truth is that even famous older rock bands have trouble booking a few lousy dates in a City Winery venue in the USA or a dump like Butlins in the UK. Touring and trying to get people to pay for admission and drinks has never been easy, and it’s worse than ever. 


Kiki is currently playing gigs in California with a show called “To Dad With Love: A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen.” Her other project is the aptly named “Kiki Ebsen’s Joni Mitchell Project.” Her latest album (2017) is “Cool Songs” from the Joni catalog. For more information on this great talent, go to her kikiebsen dotcom.  

Below, “Missing You,” which is a co-write from Buddy Ebsen and Zeke Manners. I've never seen Kiki perform live, but I'm sure she's great. As for Buddy Ebsen, let’s just say I have a few memories of him being very generous with his time, and being a kind gentleman. It was his good fortune to be one of the few (Jack Klugman and Dick Van Dyke also come to mind) who managed an enduring hit show late in life, one that was a contrast to previous sitcom fame. His career was an incredibly rich one, from his song and dance days, his work as a Disney co-star, “Beverly Hillbillies,” and “Barnaby Jones,” etc. He loved the sea, and some of his happiest times involved sailing. His words to me, now go back out to his family and his fans: “Fair winds!” (PS, uploading entire albums is not "Fair Use.")

Kiki Ebsen - listen online or download - no passwords, creepy websites with malware or porn ads, no Paypal donation whining, no link to a PAY website so the blogger can steal nickels from the artist







HEY NOW! Saluting KINGSLEY -- as Lame British Bints hop to POPCORN

The Man of the Moog has eclipsed; Gershon Kingsley is gone. Born Götz Gustav Ksinski (October 28, 1922 – December 10, 2019),  he wrote operas, Jewish music, and arranged music for Broadway shows and even wrote film scores. But...butter this: his greatest fame came with "Popcorn." It first appeared on one of his own moog albums (1969) and became truly an international sensation via a cover version in 1972. 

No download on this, because the YouTube video is a must-see. Yes, it's kicky, fashion-conscious "Top of the Pops" bints who're "dancing." You can call it dancing. They seem to have their shoes nailed to the floor, afraid if they actually hop up and down their tampons would slide out. Don't strain yourselves, zombitches:  


Isn't it nice how easy Google makes it for bloggers to access YouTube clips? Oh. That's right. Google OWNS Blogspot and OWNS YouTube. Thats Squid Pro Squat, or whatever. Another nice thing is that YouTube's reinvented all their rules to make sure that they make all the ad money, and almost anyone posting old clips is DEMONETIZED. Accent on the DEMON. But let's get back to Gershon Kingsley. 

He grew up in the tense times when Nazi Germany was fomenting even more deadly pogroms and anti-Semitism than the other neighboring countries from Poland to Russia and back. Though his mother was Catholic, there was no way he would be spared from persecution in Berlin. With increasing violence against Jews all around him, and only fifteen, he journeyed to Israel (then called Palestine) and lived on a kibbutz. He would not see the rest of his family for eight years…when they all ended up in America.

Kingsley’s first success came in California, after he was rejected by Juilliard. He attended the LA Conservatory of Music (now Cal Arts) and worked as a synagogue organist. He arranged and conducted summer stock productions in California, and in 1955 came to New York where there was more opportunities for theater work. He was soon arranging and directing music for Broadway and off-Broadway shows, from “The Entertainer” (1958) to Ernest In Love (1960).  He was musical director for Joffrey Ballet productions, and “The World of Kurt Weill” with Lotte Lenya. 1964 was a busy year, as he was musical director for two productions, “Josephine Baker” and “The Cradle will Rock.”  In 1966 he became a staff arranger at Vanguard Records. He soon had his own deal at Vanguard for his innovative pop-moog work with Jacques Perrey. He was switched on: 


Kingsley founded the First Moog Quartet, appearing on an Arthur Fielder “Evening at Pops” show. Unfortunately “Concerto Moogo” performed on that show, was never released on disc. I was fortunate to have a reel-to-reel copy of it, but I have no idea what happened to it. I contacted Gershon's website a year ago, asking if the item would ever be uploaded to soundcloud (the website has done this for a lot of his work) and of course, got no reply. Webmasters rarely respond to anything that involves forming a coherent sentence, and certainly nothing that won't bring them money. ("I'll build your website...answering or forwarding emails is extra!") Oh, some webmasters will offer a form reply "thanks for your interest. Your suggestion/question will be evaluated." Perhaps one day "Concerto Moogo" as performed by the quartet and Boston Pops will surface. It does exist.

There was only one First Moog Quartet album, and curiously, "Concerto Moogo" wasn't on it.  Vanguard released two Perrey-Kingsley items, “The In Sound from Way Out” (1966) and “Kaleidoscopic Vibrations” (1969).  In 1970 he released his own album,  “Music to Moog By.” More royalties turned up when Walt Disney theme parks adopted some of his compositions, and a catchy melody was adopted as the theme for the “Joker’s Wild” TV quiz show. Kingsley also wrote music for TV commercials, which was very lucrative and also won him a few industry Clio awards. He scored the film “Sam’s Song” in 1969 (along with “Silent Night, Bloody Night” in 1972 and “Sugar Cookies” in 1973).

He didn’t neglect “serious” music, composing religious music, “song cycles,” “new age” electronic music, and even opera, including “Tierra,” which had its premiere in Germany. Another opera, “Raoul,” told the story of Raoul Wallenberg and premiered in 2004. Of course, the world still loves its “Popcorn,” which Kingsley first recorded in 1969, and the group Hot Butter made a hit in 1972...and cover versions have been popping for decades since. Oh, one more thing...just in time for Chanukah, here's a download of THREE HEBREW PRAYERS. Shalom, Gershon.

THREE HEBREW PRAYERS by GERSHON KINGSLEY

Monday, December 09, 2019

DUMB BLONDES - DEAD OR ALIVE “SHELL AND THE CRUSH”


    Dumb blondes: sexy, alternately giddy and morose, seemingly incapable of pronouncing certain words of the English language, thoroughly capable of blowjobs IF they’ve had a nice dinner or good seats at a show…they are eternally fascinating. 

    Not to imply that Shell who once fronted “Shell and the Crush” was dumb. Perhaps she just played it that way, like Goldie Hawn. I've met Goldie, and she's genuinely cheerful, but far from dumb!


    Back around the time Cyndi Lauper’s anthem “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” arrived, record labels were scurrying to find equally trashy, flighty, idiotic and erotic punk chicks to promote. Warners had an e.p. on “Shell and the Crush,” featuring the babe wearing a typical easy trash-and-vaudeville outfit. The opening girls-just-wanna-have-fun song? “Popular Girl.”


    Why it didn’t become a hit, I have no idea. One dopey flash-in-the-pants cheap-twat song from Lauper was enough? Really? Who can EVER get enough?? 




    Shell (that’s short for Michelle) had the sultry-snotty delivery down perfectly, her dialect typical of what you’d hear in any East Village used clothing store where chicks spend hours and hours holding skirts up to themselves while their boyfriends try to refrain from saying, "You look best wearing nothing at all." 


    As shell sings it, “Girl” is pronounced “Gehl” (rhymes with smell.) Like any pogo punk who would hop up and down because she has no idea how to dance, when she sings “go crazy” she has to pitch that itchy last word higher than what you’d get if you kicked Joe Besser in the balls: “Cray-ZEE!” 


    Another adorable quirk: she somehow can’t rhyme “with the crowd.” and “On the town.” Town is pronounced tyeeOWn. Oh, she was ahead of her time. Now idiot Millennial bitches say "Thank you" by pronouncing it "think yow."  Gotta love it, that self-absorbed self-entitled girly-girl behavior.   


    Is it any wonder I kept this gem all these decades after Warners' publicity department mailed it to me? So what happened to SHELL after her rock dreams of stardom got CRUSHED?


    The attractive singer got work as an actress and made a fortune via lingerie sales. Then she died of kidney failure before she reached fifty. 


    Ohio-born Michelle Kepler (October 5, 1958-February 1, 2008) first broke into show business in Chattanooga, Tennessee, her teen beauty getting her roles in “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” (hey, did she play the part that required topless nudity?) and “The Sound of Music” (no topless nudity). 


    After her Warners ep, she apparently divided her time between marriage and divorce (first husband, 1985-1991, second husband, 1993-2000) and building up her clothing business, promoted via the Home Shopping Network.  She claimed that her “Lacy Afternoon” line of robes, shoes, blouses and jewelry and perfume netted her 20 million dollars. Or grossed. Well, I really don’t know how gross the perfume may have been. This was one of her mildly spiced items:





    Her fame as an entrepeneur was matched, at least for a while, by television fame. Shell played nurse Amy Vining on the long-running soap opera “General Hospital,” concluding her work there in 2002. She seemed to concentrate on her business career after that, living her last six years in Portland, Oregon. 




    Shell's gone (unless you believe in "The Ghost in the Shell) but there’s probably a lot of bedroom action still going on involving “Lacy Afternoon” bedwear. Hopefully, some of the foreplay includes a play of “POPULAR GIRL.” 


"POPULAR GIRL" - no premium account weaselry, no password, no Paypal donation request, no dodgy website full of malware and porn 

DUMB BLONDES DEAD OR ALIVE - Nina Gordon “NOW I CAN DIE”


Skipping a generation from Michelle Kepler, here’s Nina Rachel Gordon Shapiro (November 14, 1967)  who was toddling at the same time another Jewish blonde with an adorable dumb streak, Goldie Hawn, was becoming a star on “Laugh-In.” Nina got her first taste of fame in 1992, long after “Shell and the Crush” was (minor) history, and after Julie Brown’s parody song “‘Cause I’m a Blonde” and Ellen Foley’s cover of “Stupid Girl.” 

Nina and a friend put together Veruca Salt, an alt-rock band that got some buzz with Nina’s self-penned single “Seether.” Six years later, the band split up, and in 2000, Nina released her first solo album. 

Unlike Cyndi Lauper, who splashed with an effervescent novelty single before drowning in the soda-gone-flat ballad ’True Colors,” Nina did the reverse. Her first single was a ballad, the smoothly over-produced “"Tonight and the Rest of My Life.” Demonstrating a restraint Whitney Houston would never know, Nina tempered the car-alarm ah-ee-ah, and made some serious cash when the song turned up on soundtracks of femme-favorite films “The Notebook” and “Chocolat.” 

Everyone knows, if you don’t follow up your hit with another hit, you’re suddenly a has-been. Nina’s choice for her next single was the brilliantly stupid “Now I Can Die.” In the video, she starts out ON HER KNEES in front of our (unseen, male P.O.V. like porn) hero. She spends the rest of the vid grinning like an imbecile, pulling her pants back on, and wandering around caca-California like the ultimate girly-girl on a sugar high.  



Unlike brunettes or redheads, the allure of the blonde is almost always tied to her gullibility. If she isn’t a total idiot, she’s easily duped. Think about Marilyn Monroe not realizing Tony Curtis was a man in drag. Jayne Mansfield was even more of a boob. Following in the tradition, and singing this song as if she actually meant it and it’s not a parody, Nina raves about a rich crossdresser who is so cool he has his own ringtone on his phone. This is impressive? To a blonde, yes.

For being with this guy for probably no longer than a hamster's lifespan, she's raving about knowing the meaning of life...and being ready to DIE.  How…dumb…IS SHE?

Let’s just say that Elvis Costello probably was not talking about a blonde when he penned the immortal couplet: “"I said I'm so happy that I could die / She said drop dead and left with another guy.”  Here, not thinking this cad would probably be leaving her for next year's model, Nina confides:

He takes me everywhere
He goes and he goes everywhere
He likes to try on all my clothes
But not my underwear….
He gives me everything
He's got and he's got everything
He calls me on the phone a lot
He's got a special ring


As another stung man, Joe Jackson once sang, “Is she really going out with HIM? But that’s the dumb blonde for you. 

While misshapen fools like Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson are heartbroken, the dumb blonde goes out with some total asshole because he’s rich, because he’s one I.Q. point higher than the chick, or for other pointless and superficial reasons like having a cool car, enjoying travel, or showing a bogus “feminine side.” Whatever. Lah dee dah.  

Nina, who was as old as Jesus when this song came out (33) sings it like a moonstruck 17 year-old. (Oh, make it 18. We have to be PC here.) Burbling like she's totally gaga, she chirps:  

Yeah he really loves me
Sweethearts and turtledoves me


Turtledoves? In the 21st century? It gets sillier. Her ultimate epiphany: “I am the girl. And he is the guy.”  

That’s right, all you women of the 70’s and 80’s who fought for equality. At the start of the 21st century, chicks are proving Darwin was wrong. Our Nina ain’t a MS, and she’s not in misery; she’s happy to be the GIRL. That’s another aspect we love about dumb blondes (or any stupid girl); the willingness to NOT be a woman, but to remain a GIRL.

You might remember the dumb blonde in the musical version of “Little Shop of Horrors.” Unlike the charming brunette in the original film, the dumb blonde gets repeatedly slapped and abused by her sadistic dentist-boyfriend. “I’m sorry doctor, sorry doctor, sorry doctor- OWWWW!” Nina isn’t quite so dumb, but her idea of a catch is a guy who simply isn't overtly misogynistic toward her:

And he never hates me
Just wants to levitate me


Gosh, who wouldn't love a guy who doesn't openly hate you? Low self-esteem, anyone?

Just how this guy “levitates” Nina, we aren’t told, but who knows, he might like to take her on roller coaster rides. He might buy her platform shoes. He might allow her to get on top which she thinks is a sign of letting her have control but HE knows is just a ploy so he doesn’t have to do any work.

The kicker for this fantastic song (I know I'm giving it a LOT of space here!) is Nina’s naive notion that this asshole is the be-all and end-all. He’s shown her is special ring phone, he’s worn her clothes, he’s shown off his fancy car:

He opened up my eyes
I understand everything
And now I can die


Now it’s time for her to get serious and confidential. Seriously. S’riously. Rilly. She actually punctuates her nitwicity with a hooting owlet cry of “WOOOO." Um, like, she just said she's ready to die but, er, uh...

I'm not trying to say
That I don't want to live
'cause I do...
But if tomorrow my number should be called
I won't be sad
I won't feel bad at all
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    

This song would not be nearly so entertaining if Nina wasn't being so gum-chewing chick-let sincere. There was a vague element of humor in Cyndi's idiot "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," (especially when you know the song was written by a man), but THIS thing is intended to appeal to POV-loving porn-loving males fantasizing about a JAP that Frank Zappa would've liked to screw. It was also supposed to be a chatty Cathy confession to pillow-fighting bubble-headed school girls of every possible hair color. WOOOOOO!

This song never fails to make me smile when I play it. I even got a smile off the name of her publishing company: Celestial Snail.  Is that a chick or what? She names her publishing company after one of the lowliest forms of life, but one that somehow (with the right GUY snail) can be CELESTIAL. Ever know a hippie chick who couldn’t complete a sentence without the word “cosmic” being in it? Things haven’t changed. Not really. Only the slang. Ahhh, celestial! How awesome!

While “Tonight and the Rest of My Life” was a modest hit and got picked up for inclusion in sappy movies, Nina’s album didn’t reach the all-important Billboard Top 100. It ONLY sold about a quarter million copies, which had Warner Bros. feeling edgy about how edgy or how soft and squishy she was. She kept busy with club dates and songwriting, but the follow-up album got delayed for one reason or another, and the YEARS went by. A YEAR in the record business is more like a DECADE. You can imagine how many record producers were hired and fired, and how many radio stations and record stores closed up in the time between her 2000 album and her 2006 follow-up, “Bleeding Heart Graffiti.”

It’s possible some might rue the reverse-Lauper strategy of having a morose romantic hit song and THEN coming up with a teenage party tune, but in THIS ill world, we salute her for following her instincts, and essentially putting out a second tune, rolling the dice, and realizing, “and now my career can die.” PS, she’s still married to the same guy for quite a long time now, and surely, he gives her everything.

You know the websites where you can transform a YouTube video's soundtrack into an mp3 file, so I haven't done it for you. (Call me Grinch.)

Mistletoe Mustache and more from cute blonde PRISCILLA PARIS and the PARIS SISTERS


By December 1st, a lot of stores are IMPOSSIBLE to shop in, due to the OVERKILL of shitty CHRISTMAS MUSIC. I mean, SHITTY CHRISTMAS MUSIC. Isn't almost ALL of it shitty?

From Mariah Carey to Paul McCartney, singers seem to crawl up their sooty chimneys to haul out what they THINK is wonderfully cute. It's actually more like coal. More like SHIT.

You can forgive a dead fat moron like Burl Ives because "Holy Jolly Christmas" was sung at a time when the country was sappy. There were "families" back then, and everyone sat around singing rotten crap like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Things improved only slightly when "Jingle Bell Rock" arrived, but the tendency to be idiotic never left, and even the late (December 8th was the 39th anniversary) Mr. Lennon had to inflict "Happy Christmas" on it, with an all-too-familiar melody, dumb rhymes (year and fear) and Yoko trying everyone's patience.

Now that we're in the 20th Century, Christmas music is...FREE. We have idiots happily tossing entire Christmas discographies on their blogs, in forums, in secret little shoutboxes, and anywhere else. What says Christmas more than stealing holiday music? What would Jesus do? I doubt he'd say, "Thanks, Dude, you're a real SHARER, and I'm gonna LOVE playing this all Christmas day! God Bless the Internet!"

One of the dumbest excuses pinhead bloggers offer is "fair use" and "review purposes." Really? Have you noticed a film reviewer giving you a link so you can download the movie? Gosh, why is THAT? At best, you show a clip.

And here, at best, the idea is to give a few samples so you can discover an artist and then buy something. If the artist is dead, the record store owner isn't. 

Continuing our theme of blondes, here's the Paris Sisters and "The Man with the Mistletoe Mustache." You can bet that at this blog, in a concession to season's gratings, would only offer an interesting-but-annoying little Christmas obscurity.

The Paris Sisters, who had a Top Ten hit in 1961, don't deserve to be as forgotten as they are. Priscilla, and older siblings Albeth and Sherrell, literally followed in the Andrews Sisters footsteps back in 1954. Their aggressive stage mother arranged a backstage meeting when the trio came to town. Patty, Maxene and Laverne actually liked the young girls and gave 'em a break…an on-stage chance to sing along with them on their hit 'Rum and Coca Cola," a plagiarized tune that would eventually be the subject of legal action.

The Paris Sisters signed with Decca that year and issued "Ooh La La." They turned up on the Imperial label in 1957, still imitating the sassy close-harmony stylings of both the Andrews and the McGuire sisters as well as The Chordettes.

It was when they signed with Gregmark in 1961, label owner Lester Sill and one of his top producers (a fellow by the name of Phil Spector) transformed the trio. If you'll pardon the term, the "zeitgeist" at the time was sugar pop; soft and sweet groups such as The Fleetwoods and the Dixie Cups would be topping the charts. The Paris Sisters scored a Top Five with "I Love How You Love Me," (music by Barry Mann, lyrics not yet by Cynthia Weil), and also did well in 1962 with the singles "He Knows I Love Him Too Much" and "What Am I to Do," also produced by Spector…who soon got involved with several more girl groups, leaving the Paris Sisters behind. (Phil's birthday comes up December 26th…get him a cake with a file in it).

As pop underwent radical change in the mid-60's, smart producers were mixing messages into the mush…exemplified by the subversive "Along Comes Mary" from The Association and the overt "Give a Damn" from Spanky and Our Gang. There still seemed hope for the Paris Sisters, now on Reprise, and working with former Spector arranger Jack Nitzsche. Their 1966 album "Sing Everything Under the Sun" remains an unsung classic of the waning girl group era, featuring several original compositions by Priscilla that stand comfortably alongside contributions from Goffin and King (Some of Your Lovin') Bacharach and David ("Long After Tonight is All Over") and Mann and Weil ("See That Boy"). The album had their smart re-working of "It's My Party," transformed from Lesley Gore's squealing angst, to vulnerable, wide-eyed baby doll heartbreak. Your download below does have "It's My Party," but rather than the obvious early hits, also includes two rarities: both sides of a GNP Crescendo single "Stand Naked Clown," backed with "The Ugliest Girl in Town."

"Stand Naked Clown" is just bizarre for its time, and even for now. The latter was the theme song for a short-lived TV show starring Peter Kastner about a guy who invades the kicky British fashion scene in drag. It pre-dates Lady Gaga by a generation. Kastner couldn't live it down and faded into Canadian obscurity.

Call it Diana Ross syndrome, or just common sense; Priscilla went solo in 1967. The age of the singer-songwriter had arrived, and she had enough original material for the appropriately titled "Priscilla Sings Herself." Writing to what she perceived to be her true vocal talents, there was a marked shift away from breathy intimacy and the world of Claudine Longet or Astrud Gilberto. Instead of fluff and easy listening, there was the moody "Stone is Very Very Cold" and the bombastic "message" tune "He Owns the World," two tracks that seemed to be Priscilla's bid for entering the territory of Dusty Springfield and Shirley Bassey. Hey…Dusty and Shirley didn't write their own music and lyrics…these hold up, too. But…the album didn't get the attention it deserved.

Her next album switched styles again; the Pat Boone-ish concept album "Priscilla Sings Billy." Yes, they spelled Billie Holiday's name wrong and offered middle-of-the-road interpretations of Lady Day. It didn't thrill purists who loved the original's weary jazz lilt and boozy phrasing, and it had no appeal to pop fans who didn't want to hear Gershwin's "I Loves You Porgy." The middle aged white audience had no idea who she was, so would've only bought that kind of album if it was from Rosemary Clooney or Doris Day.

After her 1978 comeback attempt, "Love Is…" Priscilla suffered an accident resulting in partial facial paralysis, sidelining her music career for a number of years. By the 1990s Priscilla was again playing the occasional Parisian club date, and in the spring of 2002 she returned to the U.S. for a proposed Paris Sisters reunion concert. Sadly, nothing quite worked out for her and her sisters, and she died just two years later, on March 5, 2004, from injuries suffered in a fall at her home. She was 59. Last year, an excellent compilation album was released on the Paris Sisters featuring a lot of rarities, and "Under the Sun" has been given a Japanese CD pressing.

Your download file feature five tracks: It's My Party, Stand Naked Clown, Stone is Very Very Cold, The Man with the Mistletoe Mustache, The Ugliest Girl in Town. For those with bandwidth problems, or dodgy wi-fi, there's a one-off separate file for "He Owns the World," which you can own in less than a few minutes.

FIVE FROM PRISCILLA PARIS / PARIS SISTERS: Five Tracks including the rare GNP single
Priscilla Paris He Owns the World

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

JULIE LONDON - "WHAT THE FUCK KEY ARE WE IN?"


The queen of the record cover girls was and is Julie London, the former Nancy Peck.

A bombastic beauty, she was coaxed into becoming a singer,  fortunately finding, as Rudy Vallee and Bing Crosby did, that an intimate delivery could be a remedy to not having a powerful voice. She chose songs that effectively masked her shortcomings, and paved the way for Rebecca Paris, Astrud Gilberto and Claudine Longet.

Just about EVERY album Julie made had a cover that made the vinyl a bonus. In the days when men's magazines were pretty tame, and some didn't even have nudity, Julie's pictures were a delight. They still are. The first one even made it seem like she was totally nude:



Julie indeed appeared in magazines, with ESQUIRE offering a "wet t-shirt" variation...a soaking wet dress. She began making movies, too.



Following an amicable divorce from Jack Webb, Julie married Bobby Troup, and being a musician, he was able to guide her  musical career. For a while, Julie wasn't taken that seriously as a singer. She was a record cover girl. But gradually, with her film work helping, as well as the excellent arrangements Bobby supervised, some critics realized she was deceptively good at what she did. Still, her record label made sure that each album was eye-catching. One of the best is "Round Midnight," which you might try to find in a record store. If you can find a record store. The originally pressing used some kind of special process that made the gold of her tight pants and pillow actually shimmer. Move it back and forth in your trembling hands, and you might start moving something else back and forth.



In middle age, long after her record career and film work had simmered, Julie had an unexpected second career when Jack Webb cast her for his TV show "Emergency" (1972-1978). A few years later, and the fad for "lounge" and retro-music saw an increased interest in her out of print vinyl. While these are still preferable as eye candy (and some have been re-issued on expensive designer vinyl for the in crowd) her albums are also available on 2-for-1 CDs.

A long time smoker, Julie had a debilitating stroke in 1995, and spent her last days in a wheelchair, passing on October 18, 2000. Her husband Bobby Troup had died the previous year, leaving the stoic star to be cared for by her daughter and professional help. One thing people remarked on back then, was how tough she was, compared to her sex kitten image. Indeed, she was a "broad" in the best sense of the word...the way Lauren Bacall and Ava Gardner referred to themselves. She could curse like a sailor, and in this outtake from an early recording session, she amusingly does.

I Can't Stand It! SHIT! listen online or download. No password, Paypal request, or creepy malware-porn website involved.

Ouch: PUNCH AND JUDY LOVE from TONY BENNETT - or has it been banned?


For many, a beloved childhood memory is "Punch and Judy." Whether in book form, or a live show, this was an early example of hilarious comic violence. Mr. Punch was a kind of like Marty Feldman with W.C. Fields' mean streak. He took great delight in kicking dogs, being mean to babies, insulting his wife, and bashing policemen.

Judy: "Where's the child?"
Punch: "I tossed him out the window. I thought you'd catch him." 

Usually a "Punch and Judy Show" as seen at a British seaside resort, was no worse than a Three Stooges short. For kids, it was just a lot of silliness, with puppets hitting each other over the head and causing no real damage. Compare it with the traumas kids suffer today, when they go to a movie and it's prone to have bloody violence, and the TV news will have worse. And yet...you guessed it...the Punch and Judy puppeteers have lost work over the years. Typical of the hassle: 



“Punch and Judy Love” is a peculiar B-side Tony Bennett recorded well over 60 years ago (September 24, 1954). It's the work of Philadelphia's Bob Merrill who also wrote “How Much is That Doggie In the Window,” “Mambo Italiano” and “If I’d Known You Were Coming I’d Have Baked a Cake.” Oh yes, he also penned the irritating “Honeycomb,” a hit for Jimmie Rodgers. With a resume like that, you expect the worst. At best, he wrote the sweet and sappy "Love Makes the World Go Round" (the hit song in the now-obscure musical “Carnival,” originally sung by Anna Maria Alberghetti.)

Bob Merrill doesn't seem to know much about "Punch and Judy," as the lyrics that Tony Bennett brays in that naggy voice of his, are pretty mild:

It’s a Punch and Judy love you hand me


Kiss and run, touch and go.
Like a Punch and Judy show

And I do whatever you command me

For I must have your kiss or I’ll die
Though a Punch and Judy show is fun, dear


Pay a dime and you’ll learn

Every time the tables turn
Are you smart to break my heart and run, dear
?

You may cry when the curtain goes down
.
That’s the danger of 
Punch and Judy love

Punch and Judy shows may not outlive Tony Bennett! And yes, Tony is STILL performing. If you were over 90, would YOU go through the misery of flying out to obscure towns in Indiana for a few gigs? Tony Bennett would.  


Tony was at The Victory Theater in lovely Evansville, Indiana on November 1st, and the Embassy Theater in charming Fort Wayne, Indiana. It's one thing to visit Chicago, Vegas, Los Angeles, or other places where you might have old friends to see, and tourist attraction sights and museums to view. But...Evansvile, Indiana? Really, Tony? 


A little more sane is Tony's next stop: Florida for dates on November 30th and December 3, 5 and 8. Go ahead, shout out a request for "Punch and Judy Love."

PUNCH AND JUDY LOVE - listen online or download - No creepy Eurotrash website with porn pix, malware or spyware. No password. No whine about wanting a Paypal tip