Thursday, September 19, 2019

Say, that "TITANIC" is in a "SHOCKING STATE" these days! Let SAILOR sing...

Talk about a SILLY headline...here's THE GUARDIAN complaining about how "shocking" it is to find The Titanic looking like a WRECK.



Yes, this is from a BRITISH newspaper website.  They're shocked, SHOCKED, that after 100 years in salt water, the WRECKED TITANIC doesn't look so good!

I love the Brits, but they do have a tendency to wear the bowler hat just a little too tight while they sip the sherry:

"Such a kerfuffle. Why can't something be done? Imagine, a wrecked ship is deteriorating! Surely, something can be done about it. Where's Christopher Chope? Oh, taking upskirt photos. Jolly good luck to him, then. Where's Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sex? Off spending taxpayer money? We love them. Well, even so, this is rather shocking, what? Some diver should go down there with a can of polish or something."

The comical problem of complaining about the deterioration of a wrecked ship had me....

....remembering the ABBA-esque song "Danger on the Titanic" performed by the obscure group SAILOR. 

In the late 70's, many tried to copy ABBA's cheesy harmonies and fizzy enthusisasm. This quartet has more than a dab of Abba, and they drag in some aspects of Queen as well, in this No-themian rhapsody. The result makes the Titanic's winter horror quite summer campy. 

The lyrics by Philip Pickett pluck some gamey strings of wordplay: "I'm drowning in my salty tears…Don't leave me drowning with tears in my wine. Just when I found you we hit an iceberg. It's man overboard!" 

Predictably, "Titanic" rhymes with "panic." 

Was it a dream? Is a ghost doing the singing? Maybe so:

"We danced the tango as the waves crashed down upon the dance floor.
We carried on, 'cause this was our favorite song." 


Then they began to do "The Swim." Look elsewhere for a download of Harry Chapin's "Dance Band on the Titanic." Here, on the blog of less renown....

SAILOR sings about THE TITANIC! Instant download or listen on line

"Lift Up Your Hearts" and remember the ebullience and humor of the late PHYLLIS NEWMAN


        The last time I saw Phyllis Newman, she had breathing tubes in her nose. She was being interviewed by some local news channel while seated at a cheap (no costumes) off-Broadway revival of "Subways are for Sleeping." 

          Despite her obvious poor health (the woman did manage a comeback from cancer surgery years ago), she answered questions about her early days on Broadway, and gave her opinion on the current production. She said the young cast did a very good job and had her blessings. 

          As for blessings, Barbra Streisand probably is still cursing under her breath about what happened some 50 years ago.  In a Tony Award shocker, Streisand in "On a Clear Day..." LOST the award for best new talent to young Phyllis in "Subways are for Sleeping." You can bet that even today, she might grumble a Seinfeld-like cry of "NEWMAN!" 

          Phyllis died a few days ago, at the age of 86. 

          No, this isn't a blog that covers the Broadway sound too often. Still, Newman was an ebullient performer who many remember fondly from not only "Subways are for Sleeping," but "The Apple Tree," "Prisoner of Second Avenue," and her own one-woman show "Madwoman of Central Park West." They'll also tell you that her husband was the great Adolph Green (who wrote musicals not with Phyllis, but with Betty Comden). I never saw Newman on Broadway but I did catch up with "Madwoman" recently thanks to a blurry YouTube upload of the TV version done by PBS. There's a parody number in it mocking the world of feminist anthems, and it demonstrates her great talent and versatility.

          For those more prone to tuning in the TV rather than prancing down the aisle at a Broadway theater, Newman was a presence on TV quiz shows such as "To Tell the Truth" and "What's My Line," and on the edgy "That Was the Week That Was" variety series. She played a Russian spy on "Amos Burke Secret Agent," and had a number of similar credits.

          Like many Broadway actresses (including Chita Rivera, Georgia Brown and Angela Lansbury), Newman was rarely given a real shot at solo recordings. That field was dominated by the likes of Peggy Lee, Rosemary Clooney and the rest of the nightclub professionals. Still, when she did get a chance in front of a studio microphone she didn't disappoint. Songs such as "Clouds" or "Those Were the Days" or "Your Mother Should Know" were easily within her range of both key and credibility.  

          Below, the bittersweet nostalgia of "Your Mother Should Know." Like "I'm Henry the 8th" the second verse is same as the first... 

YOUR MOTHER SHOULD KNOW that this is a DOWNLOAD or LISTEN ON LINE link. No password, no detour to a dumb porn site 

MARSHA MALAMET - "On records selling 25 million copies worldwide" THAT'S WHO

In case you haven't checked her out on Facebook, Marsha Malamet changed her profile photo a while ago: 



It's been many a "Coney Island Winter" since she made her debut solo album for Decca. She was 21, and she sang art-pop in a voice that even Kate Bush would say was a LITTLE BIT HIGH. 

She looks a bit happier than she did on the photo inside her album's fold-out: 


 I still remember buying that record. Not that it did Marsha any good. There was a record shop that sort of "fenced" review copies of albums that the local disc jockeys didn't or couldn't play. The very obscure stuff was a dollar, sometimes two for a dollar. For an inquiring music mind, this was indeed a bargain. If an artist was signed to a major label, how bad could the music be? Maybe the artist was just too adventurous for mainstream tastes, but perfect for a small circle of oddballs. Maybe the artist had a bad manager or simply fell through the cracks.

That day, I picked up an album by Nanette Natal because she looked pretty cool and was on Vanguard, and for the two-fer, I added Marsha Malamet because "Coney Island Winter" reminded me of the play "The Goodbye People" (which took place on Coney Island in winter) and she had such a delicious name. Marshmallow? Malamars? Hmmmm.

Below, the rather stunning track that is STILL pretty good, if you take Kate Bush and turn left to Brooklyn, and show the influences of "big moment in the spotlight" Broadway ballads, little girl lost Carole King piano playing, and a segue into"MacArthur Park" symphonic flourish. 

What happened to Marsha? Apparently not all that comfortable on stage, she did play some venues to support the record, but ended up writing songs for others. As her eponymous dotcom tells everyone,  "Marsha’s songs have been recorded by Barbra Streisand, Faith Hill, Luther Vandross, Jessica Simpson, Meatloaf, Diana Ross, Hugh Jackman, Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle, Barbara Cook, Judy Collins, Lea Salonga, and Sheena Easton and many others. Marsha’s top ten international hit single, I Am Blessed, sung by the UK’s pop group, Eternal, moved the Pope to invite them to perform the song at the Vatican..." 

"For the first New York AIDS WALK, her song “Love Don’t Need A Reason”, written with Peter Allen and Michael Callen, was selected as it’s theme song. Since then, many AIDS WALK’s across the country, have used the song in their opening ceremonies. Marsha has sung it at many of them. To date, there have been over 35 recordings of the song..." 

Sometimes it helps to be "openly gay," especially in the entertainment world in the 21st Century, and as Seinfeld would say, "there's nothing wrong with that." If it helps people know the music of Marsha Malamet, fine. And that includes her very quirky high-strung solo album. With much salt water under the Koch-Queensboro bridge, and a lot of winters gone, the singer-songwriter-loving Japanese compiled a CD of some of her demos, and released it as her second solo album, "You Asked Me To Write You A Love Song."

Windy City Times ("The Voice of Chicago's Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Trans and Queer Community") duly noted that four co-writes by Malamet appear on "Dangerous Man," an album by Jason Gould. It was produced by Quincy Jones for Qwest Records.  Gould was the vocalist on "Amazing," a song co-written by Marsha and used over the credits of "Scrooge and Marley," a 2012 GAY version of "A Christmas Carol" produced by Sam I Am Films in Chicago. If you're connected in the gay community, which gets a lot of grant money and Art Council funding, you can do well even in this era of low royalties and "we want it free."
 

In the song below, the plucky Brooklynite with cabaret sensibilities, ventures forth into the cold (it's Coney Island in winter) world. There will be heartaches, there will be moments of doubt and dare, but hey, there MIGHT be 25 million records out there with your songwriting credit on them! 

TIM EVANS WAS EXECUTED -- "CHRISTIE WAS THE MURDERER, AND THE JUDGE AND JURY TOO"



One more example of the power of music: "Go Down Ye Murderers" by Ewan MacColl, also known as "The Ballad of Tim Evans." 

Arguably the injustice in the case (the man was executed for a crime he did not commit) was brought to the public's attention by a song. Protest songs didn't start with Bob Dylan, they have always been part of the broadside world and the folk tradition. 

While the Christie case got some notoriety at the time, it was the enduring ballad from MacColl, covered by many artists, that kept the case in the public's mind. His song did not focus on Christie, the way the media focused on him (and as the media focused on John Gacy or Ed Gein or Charles Manson). The song didn't focus on the victims either. MacColl's attention was drawn to Tim Evans, who was hanged before the real killer was revealed. In fact, Christie testified against Evans at the trial.

John Christie managed to kill a number of prostitutes, his wife, and an upstairs neighbor (Mrs. Evans, who was seeking his help with an abortion) but he managed to elude detection...until a new tenant at 10 Rillington Place discovered a hidden body. More bodies were found. 10 Rillington Place became such a notorious address that the building was torn down and the street re-named. 

Under the title "The Ballad of Tim Evans," Americans heard the song via Judy Collins. The Ivy League Trio got there first, but nobody seems to remember them. Over the years, many others have recorded the song as a reminder of how final Capitol Punishment can be. Indeed, many rightly believe that unless it's a very obvious case with total proof, or involving a career criminal, it might be wise to settle for life in prison (which is also cruel and unusual). If it's some bastard who kills his family, or murders and rapes, or kills just to cover up a chump change robbery...hell, fry 'em and be quick about it. 

"10 Rillington Place" was a book by Ludovic Kennedy, which became a grim movie (with perennial victim John Hurt as Tim Evans). It was re-made in England recently as a 3-part TV drama. Several TV documentaries have chronicled John Christie, and if you have a morbid interest in the case,  Kennedy's excellent book is easy to find. There's also the more recent "John Christie of Rillington Place" by Jonathan Oates, which isn't quite as vivid a read, but offers extra details on the case. You can avoid the idiot book that insists that the address housed TWO killers by coincidence. In this scenario, Christie didn't seize the opportunity to perform an abortion (and kill and rape and pretend the procedure just went wrong). Instead, Evans somehow went nuts over the impending second child, and killed both wife and child. 

Christie, amused by his celebrity, and his new status as a dangerous man and not just a mild-looking middle-aged weasel, vacillated between admitting to ALL the killings and just SOME of them. Knowing how people feel about child murderers, he insisted he didn't kill the Evans child. Above, the story as it appeared in the digest-sized PEOPLE WEEKLY (no relation to the current gossip mag called PEOPLE). Below, the Karan Casey version of the song,

THE BALLAD OF TIM EVANS - instant download or listen on line. No bogus link taking you to a porn site or pay site

JIMMIE RODGERS - Happy Birthday and TROUBLED TIMES




Jimmie Rodgers turned 86 on September 18th. Also turning 86, Robert Blake and Fred Willard! There was something odd going on back on September 18th, 1933.
 
It's a miracle that Rodgers survived into his 80's, considering the near-fatal beating he endured after moving from Roulette Records to A&M. Like Phil Ochs, Jimmie chose to switch to A&M in order to explore new and adventurous styles in music. Unfortunately for Jimmie, the label he left was a bit vindictive. Unlike Jac Holzman at Elektra, Morris Levy at Roulette had deep ties to organized crime, and was a thug of near Meyer Lansky proportions. 

At the time, nobody was too sure why Jimmie was followed along the highway, pulled over by apparently bogus cops, and beaten. All kinds of lurid theories were offered. At this point, and thanks to Tommy James' autobiography which outed Levy as a dangerous man, it's apparent that a "hit" was ordered. Roulette was known to not pay royalties and to even issue bootleg-type records that the artists never authorized for release, including tapes of live comedy shows and even audio from TV variety shows. Threats were routine over there. 

Jimmie had moved away from light hits such as "Honeycomb" to more profound material reflecting the late 60's, including "Child of Clay." He was covering middle of the road hipness ("Windmills of Your Mind") as well as the new wave of singer songwriters. He sang Leonard's "Suzanne," and Joni's "Both Sides Now."

But after the attack, the handsome singer lost vital months to rehab, and the affects of his near-fatal beating haunted him and hindered him. "Troubled Times" was the appropriate name of the "lost" album A&M released after "Child of Clay." Other cuts include "Woman Crying" and "The Good Times Are Gone." Rodgers, still suffering relapses and health issues, emerged with his own Honeycomb Family Theater in Branson, did the oldies circuit now and then, turned up at some memorabilia shows, and when his voice was just too shaky, he would do lip sync for his devoted fans, and sign copies of his book and his albums after the show. 

He showed a lot of determination to get through the years. Never lose optimism, even if the reality is that there were troubled times and violence in the 60's, and even more of it now.  PS, also below, you can hear Jimmie's nostalgic and somewhat grim "When I Was The Leader of the Band," performed live for some of his friends.

TROUBLED TIMES by Jimmie Rodgers - no ego password, no link-within-link hoops, no malware
  
LEADER OF THE BAND - no password, no link to a dodgy porn-gif website, no Dutch lunacy

Monday, September 09, 2019

Sinead O'Connor the Martyr, now singing Prince again: Whatever Gets You Through the Crazy

You remember Yusuf Islam. Is that his name? Is that whose name? Some Georgio guy? Is that how it's spelled? Oh, you know, CAT STEVENS. 

People stopped buying his music, around the time he was saying that if a crazy old bastard in Iran thought a harmless writer should be killed, then he should be killed. That Rushdie to Judgment deal. 

Once the money wasn't coming in, the name came back. "Hey, it's ME. It's CAT STEVENS." 

We're all happy that Sinead O'Connor, the one who ripped up the Pope's picture, the one who called white people repulsive...is BACK SINGING "Nothing Compares 2 U." Even if nothing compares to Allah. Let's not be cynical and say that she's in need of money and some good publicity.

All is forgiven. What's a little blasphemy about the Catholics, or white people in general? It was the "crazy" talking. The vapors. 

You remember her tweets from a year or so ago?

"What I'm about to say is something so racist I never thought my soul could ever feel it.
But truly I never wanna spend time with white people again (if that's what non-muslims are called). Not for one moment, for any reason. They are disgusting."

That's ALL white people. You might call it White-o-phobia, but there's no such thing. Islamophobia is what's important in the world. Certainly not anti-Semitism, as nobody cares much about the Jews. Why should they? You think Jews are going to blow up a nightclub? Back to Sinead. 

Seriously, we were worried about her when a few months ago, reports had her going from the frying pan into the fire. I mean, she wasn't in Ireland, she was in....NEW JERSEY.

We don't want the woman sitting in a motel in New Jersey threatening to kill herself. People were desperate to find her because so many people sit in a motel in New Jersey threatening to kill themselves. 

Ah, here we go. Sinead in her lovely bright red nun's habit..er...hijab. Oddjob. Whatever: 



She performed on "The Late Late Show" in Ireland. Not to be confused with "The Late Late Show" in America, which is actually on every weeknight, and has actual viewers. 

The host of the show, trying very hard to be inoffensive, supporting, kind, and nice...and clearly not wanting to get his shirt ripped in half or a bomb shoved down his pants, politely asked Sinead how the new Allah thing was going. Sinead, a model of logic and coherence, said, approximately: 

“Ireland was a very oppressed country, religiously speaking. Everybody was miserable, nobody was getting any joy in God. Whatever the church were teaching, they weren’t happy either. Whatever they were telling you God said, it makes no sense, because everybody’s miserable…"

She's speaking for the entire oppressed country of Ireland, apparently. That was Sinead growing up in Ireland. At the same time of course, in Iran or Iraq or Egypt or Syria or wherever...women like Sinead were delirious with joy. They liked not driving a car. They liked being put into forced marriages after their clits were circumcised. Most of all they liked the fantastic MUSIC they were hearing. Oh yes, and they liked that anybody gay was thrown off a roof and Christian churches were being burned, along with Christians. 

Say, you can't burn churches in Ireland and make people happy. Sinead claims that over the course of her crazy life, she dabbled in other religions, but...maybe she didn't hear much about Islam till ISIS came along? Till a French magazine office was blown apart? Till a disco was bombed to shit? Till people running in the Boston marathon were crippled? Who knows. Oh, right, she does:

"I left Islam last because I had so much prejudice about Islam. I read just Chapter 2 alone of the Koran and I realized oh my God, I’m home. I’m a Muslim all my life and I didn’t realize it…it’s a way of thinking…you could almost be a Muslim without actually officially being a Muslim. It’s a head set…." 

There you are. It's a head case. In case you think the woman has got it together and is firmly a Muslim, allow her to hedge:

"There are things I identify with and things I don’t identify with, but I really really felt oh my God, I’m home…Holy God I’m home…(the hijab) I wear when I feel like wearing it. I don’t know, there’s no rules…I’m not required to wear a hijab…I was born into Christianity…what I like about Islam is I get to keep Christianity and I get to keep Judaism, which are both two religions I love and studied…I used to wear a Crucifix…(in a hijab) people don’t recognize me…it’s cool…” 

Cool. There you are. She can still enjoy aspects of Christians and Jews, and she can take or leave the hijab. Except you know how very severe religions are. Let's take the shi'ites and the sunni. Same religion? Nope. There are subtle differences and they are worth killing over. Same as in Nigeria where Procol Haram or whoever they are, figure they aren't raping and killing black women if they're Christian. Being Christian means they are no longer human. Something like that. 

The Boko bunch aren't like Sinead, who is now Muslim but insists she also represents the best parts of Christianity AND Judaism. Maybe even Druidism, depending on whether she ever walks a dog and lets it pee on a tree.

That stuff about saying how DISGUSTING white people are. Please forgive her, for she knows not what she says when she is periodically out of her mind: 

"As regards to remarks I made while angry and unwell, about white people… they were not true at the time and they are not true now." Believe it because she tweeted it. She's like Trump. Believe in the tweets, and don't wonder if a follow-up tweet may contradict it. 




“I was triggered as a result of islamophobia dumped on me. I apologize for hurt caused. That was one of many crazy tweets lord knows.” 


She doesn't mention who dumped Islamophobia on her. Maybe somebody who wanted to see an Ariana Grande concert and got her leg blown off. The good news is that it's not likely to happen when you go to see a Sinead O'Connor concert, so go ahead. It'll make up for NOT having bought her last album, the one with some pretty good songs on it like "Reason with Me." No, seriously. A good, dark song and it was ACTUALLY titled "Reason with Me." It's about a junkie:

"I stole your laptop and I took your TV. I sold your granny's rosary for 50p." 

That's the way it is with a junkie. They will do anything when they're nuts. And changing their name won't help. Will it? As for Sinead O'Connor...pardon...she's Sadaqat Shuhada. Shuhada is Arabic for "martyr" and Sadaqat means "truth" in Urdu. 

I'm not fluent in Urdu. I'm not even fluent in Erykah Badu. Say, she changed her name to THAT, and was born Erica Wright. We'll get to that when she turns up on "The Late Late Show" in Ireland. 




CREEPY BACHARACH #1: “TWO HOUR HONEYMOON” - Paul Hampton



Why the long face, Burt? Is it because you recognize that you look a bit like Paul Hampton and Jeffrey Epstein? 

Epstein died before he could cover some Burt tunes, like "Do You Know a 3-Way in San Jose," "What the world needs now is love...with 14 year-olds," or maybe "Always Pubic Hair to Remind Me." 

Meanwhile, Paul Hampton can't live down the astonishing "Two Hour Honeymoon," which was a pretty obvious attempt to tap into the "Teen Angel" market of disaster tunes. In fact, it arrived (or rather, crashed) in 1960, well before that look-out, look-out masterpiece, "Leader of the Pack." So give credit for the first song to have skidding sound effects. 

In all fairness, Burt is only responsible for the music. The perp behind the sicko lyrics is the performer himself, Paul Hampton. Hampton at the time was not only involved in the music world, he was an actor, notably in "Senior Prom," (which co-starred comic James Komack and had a brief role for Moe of the 3 Stooges). 


As you see, or squint, the single was "arranged and conducted by Burt F. Bacharach." He was responsible for adding cricket noises to denote the desolate area in which the crash occurred.
He chose the slimy noir sax in the background, one that recalls the Mike Hammer theme song “Harlem Nocturne." This was the era when cynical narrators (including Lee Marvin on "M Squad") described life's miseries while cool jazz played in the background.

People who say “that’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard, bwaa  haaa haa,” are generally dimwits or limp-wrists. If something is terrible, it’s terrible. That’s all. There’s nothing funny about it. What makes songs like “Tell Laura I Love Her” or “Dead Man’s Curve” fun is that they are not only sincere in their dementia, but turn tragedy into art. Somehow.

The problem with Paul Hampton is that his choked-up sniveling is so unpleasant one doesn't feel sorry for him at all. Within a minute, you wish he'd hurry up and drop dead. Usually, you like to savor the agony (as in the gore connoisseur favorite “DOA” by Bloodrock). At least, if the singer is martyrd and woebegone, like Mark Dinning on "Teen Angel," you feel for him even if you have trouble hiding an amused grin. 

Hampton is over-acting as he lies in the wreckage, grumbling that the timing is so lousy and it's his honeymoon, and that his surviving wife should get on with her life. Imagine if the narrator was a hard-luck country star like Jim Reeves or even Jimmy Dean? How about if it was Don Ameche as John Bickerson?


Burt is still with us at 91, and so is Hampton, at 82.  His schizoid career includes singing (not narrating) the peppy theme song for “My Mother the Car,” and for writing the classic “Sea of Heartbreak,” which has had many cover versions, including the pairing of Rosanne Cash and Bruce Springsteen. Hampton's last album was back in 1974 for Ray Stevens’ bathos-loaded Barnaby Records label, and his last film appearances were in 1992 and 1993 (“Waxwork II” and “The Thing Called Love”).  

You'll not be laughing about it being "one of the worst things" you've heard but such a knee-slapper. It IS an experience, though. You might even want to play it a second time, or send this link to some friends, just to shake 'em up. After that, the honeymoon's over. 

TWO HOUR HONEYMOON - instant download or listen online, no passwords or porn ads



CREEPY BACHARACH #2 “Feelin’ No Pain” - Paul Evans


The guy looks like he's feelin' no pain, right? He might soon be feeling like he's gonna throw up, but that sound effect would only add to the fun of this oom-pah rock waltz. Yes, before the bombastic Tom Jones and "What's New Pussycat," here's Paul Evans, putting on a happy face as he does a tipsy dance. Maybe later on, his high will wear off and he'll drip the tears of a clown, and some piss down his pants leg. 

Burt Bacharach's lyricist for “Feelin’ No Pain” is the usually reliable Bob Hilliard, the guy who co-wrote the hilarious yet passionate “Tower of Strength” (Gene McDaniel) and “Any Day Now” (which had a fine cover version from Judy Henske.). 

We can't say Hilliard is an un-sung genius. His lyrics have been sung very often. With music by Mort Garson, Hilliard gave us “Our Day Will Come.” With music by David Mann, Hilliard penned “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning." With Phil Springer, he came up with “Moonlight Gambler” for Frankie Laine. And with Lee Pockriss, he knocked off the too-cute novelty “Seven Little Girls (Sitting in the Back Seat),” sung by this very same (but sober) Paul Evans.

Bob Hilliard either was sought after by every composer, or he couldn’t get along with any composer too long. Either way, he is long gone (he died in 1971 at the age of 53). "Feelin' No Pain" remains, if not for your amusement, then the same shock diversion as looking at car accident pictures and skank model wardrobe malfunctions in the London Daily Mail. 


Some campy limp-wrists chortle about things that are “so BAD they’re GOOD.” No, they’re NOT.  It's just a symptom of cruelty to snicker on the sidelines and make fun of somebody trying their best and being sincere about it. Or as Shatner would put it, “never was talkin’ about still trying.”
  
No way should you be laughing and enjoying “Feelin’ No Pain.” It’s here to CAUSE pain. Like a car accident, the point might be to see what went wrong and what could've saved it. Evans is no Tom Jones, so his voice can't fight the bombast of the band. He lacks the pathos of an Anthony Newley so you don't feel sorry for the guy who may know what kind of fool he is. 

Then again, this was a B-side, so sometimes you take a swing and you miss, and back then, nobody really expected a B-side to be any good anyway. 

It's cruel fun, sometimes, to laugh and give thumbs down to some utter idiot on one of Simon Cowell's "Got Talent" shows. Somebody comes out, unprepared and tone deaf, and deserves the boos. But here, professional musicians are at work, and if they've struck out, well, we don't laugh when a baseball player strikes out, either. We feel something, though. Which is better than feeling nothing at all, or worse, being a craven campy idiot hooting and knee-slapping because it's "the WORST!" 

Of historical note; the arrangement here is one of the first in attempted pop-hitdom, or pop hit dumb, to use a tack piano. Go ahead and say it: it’s tacky.





FEELIN' NO PAIN - no pain in the ass password, no pesty porn ad download server, no spyware




The late KYLIE RAE HARRIS died on the road. “I’d Rather Be Lonely”


At 30, with a 6 year-old daughter at home, Kylie Rae Harris had to step up the pace. She was already "old" by the standards of today. Consider that Miley Cyrus is 26, and has had years of twirking and sticking her tongue out. 30? Kylie hardly even recorded.

With the guidance of management and a record label, she could’ve turned “I’d Rather Be Lonely” from a good 4:30 song into a 3:30 hit. Just tweak it a bit, girl. Take it down a key, strengthen the hook, and add the right guitar and "beats." But that kind of thing takes money, and thanks to piracy, and people wanting everything FREE, there's not much money around for artists anymore. 

Piracy is people saying "I love music," and then disrespecting it by throwing it around. "Here, have some. Have a discography. Whatever you want, I can find it and post it. That makes me so cool, no?" Piracy also involves saying "I'm sharing!" No, you're not. You didn't buy it, you downloaded "from the original uploader." Sharing? You'll walk down the length of the train if somebody is reading your newspaper over your shoulder. Sharing is giving half your dessert to the person across the table, and you wouldn't even do that for your mother. 

So here's Kylie Rae Harris, being told "the music should be free, make money by touring." Yeah? Where? Night after night booking yourself somewhere that takes hours to get to? Who is paying for the gas and the motel and the food? With people staying home to listen to their stolen music or play video games or whatever, who is going out and paying a cover charge to hear an unknown, or even some old-timer?

Kylie loved music, and enough people liked it to give her some hope. She put out an album and went out on the road again. She asked herself: “for how long? Is there a future in this?" How often can she leave her daughter and play low-paying gigs in small towns and in bars stinking of beer? Kyle wrote a song called “Twenty Years from Now.” She sang, “God I hope I’m still around…” 

On YouTube, recorded live at some MusicFest, it's gotten 280,000 views since it was posted in 2016. The royalty for ALL those views might pay the rent — for a month. The other eleven months? Stay on the road or give up. 


Some retired asshole, using a free blog and getting a government check (to use for buying cheese and beer and action figure toys) wants "nice comments" for sitting on his ass with nothing better to do, and uploading free music for other cheapskates to "enjoy." Yeah. "Nice comments" is what the asshole wants, and whether he's a Dutch douche, a Swedish meatball, or a Croatian scrotum-face, he can translate "Thanks!" No problem. 

When Kylie was killed, some people left comments on this YouTube video, comments she will never see. Some comments, well, hopefully her friends and relatives and her daughter won't have to see, because people can not only be stupid, they can be cruel.

GOD called up a new Beautiful voice. Prayers for her family and friends. Kylie is in good hands. RIP
Nice singing voice..Sad to hear her passing.R.I.P. Kylie..My, condolences goes out to her family & friends.
She had a pretty voice so sad rip.
Kylie is in good hands. RIP
A Beautiful Angel For God ! You,ll live Forever in Heaven Kylie
Godspeed, Kylie. May the Lord bless your little girl and the rest of your family.
RIP beautiful angel. God bless your family and friends
So young, so beautiful and left us ... were their songs as eternal memories !!
What about the innocent 16 year old girl she killed?????
So beautiful.. Life is so fleeting.. We love you Kiley!
"Kylie Rea Harris". God bless and RIP
Kylie Harris is a pig that killed a child if there is a hell hope she suffers there.
KRHs amazing voice will be missed but she flies with the Angels....
RIP Sweet Angel
You went home, your heavenly home.


Kylie Rae was told of the dangers of drinking and driving, but what was the alternative? Stay home? Get a day job and just upload stuff and get a few YouTube pennies? Accept that music piracy is part of today's insane morality, which includes indifference to climate change and gun control, and an ever more overbearing sense of self-entitlement? 

She was on the road, had a little too much to drink, and somehow clipped the car in front of her and veered into oncoming traffic. A girl who never heard of Kylie Rae Harris may have only caught a glimpse of the singer before the crash. Kylie may not have not seen the driver at all in the reflection of her own headlights. Both girls were dead on the road.

Yes, some of the greats in C&W, from Patsy Cline to Johnny Horton, died in crashes. The difference is that back then, it was up to them if they toured or not. It was possible to make a decent living just from writing or performing a hit song and getting radio play and juke box play and royalties from copies sold in record stores. Some artists of that vintage didn't die in a crash, but simply had a heart attack alone in a hotel room in some obscure town, needing to keep touring because the royalty checks stopped coming. They stopped coming when people decided to start blogging: "Here's a complete discography. Come back tomorrow. More stuff! Enjoy! I like MUSIC!"

ALMA COGAN - the giggle laugh and squeak girl - Early Bacharach: KEEP ME IN MIND

I was flipping through a bunch of old magazines stacked in the closet (and I really should've gotten down off the shelf and into a chair).  In a 1955 issue of "London Life," there was a very nice picture of Alma Cogan: 


Remember when a songstress didn't show her crotch or stick out her tongue? When the attention might focus on her smile and on her face? 

Born in the dismal Whitechapel section of London (made famous by Jack the Ripper), she was Jewish, but assimilated quite well, even attending St Joseph's Convent School, mostly because it was a good school. 

When she was in 20, she began to appear on radio, and her singing style had her variously described as "the girl with the giggle in her voice," or chuckle or laugh. A music writer named Dominic Salerno, who prefers the nom-de-snark of Serene Dominic, amended this: "In fact, Cogan's voice had a frequent squeak to it that some listeners might liken more to a fingernail agasint a chalkboard than a laughing kewpie doll." Not my favorite put-down from Dominic. I prefer a line about a singer who he said needed "a huddle with her vocal coach" to find the right key. 

The giggle was spontaneous in one of her early hits, "If I Had a Golden Umbrella" (1953). She kept it and modified it, using it a bit like the hitch you hear in the baby-doll vocals of Gwen Verdon, or the more pronounced yodel-yip of Ethel Merman. With those women, it may have involved trying to sing and breathe at the same time, or generate more power for a high note.  A similar quirk can be heard sometimes with Jimmy Webb, who can't expel without a huff. Singing the word "maniac" (which doesn't come up too often in lyrics) he turns it into "mainy-hack," to get it out. Hah! 

In 1955, Burt Bacharach put music to lyrics by Jack Wolf: "Keep Me In Mind." Wolf's more famous lyric is "I'm a Fool to Want You," but this piece did fairly well for Patti Page, and across the pond, for Alma Cogan. This little trifle was enough encouragement to keep Burt experimenting with different lyricists and pushing toward a full-time career as a songwriter. 

As for Cogan, she was now a full-time singing star, and would soon be joined by another Jewish-British songbird, Helen Shapiro, in scoring hit singles. Alma's musical style started with covers of material sung in America by Teresa Brewer, Patti Page and others. When Beatlemania hit, her Connie Francis-type personality seemed a bit old school, enough for John Lennon to aim some of his sharp wit in her direction. When he actually met Cogan, he fell for her. At least, for a while. One of his many heartbreaks was when Alma died of ovarian cancer at 34. 

Quite a few still carry a torch for the girl with the giggle in her voice.  

"Keep Me In Mind" - no password, no pay Rapidgator link, no creepy porn ads, or sulky demand for nice comments

Thursday, August 29, 2019

FUNERAL MARCH FOR A MAISONETTE - Lol Mason on “HEARTACHE AVENUE”




The fantasy image is Lol Mason, looking back at himself when he was the leader of The Maisonettes. They had a hit with "Heartache Avenue." The heartache is that on July 31st, a few weeks after a kidney transplant operation, he died of a heart attack. He was 69. 

Some fondly remember Lol's first band, City Boy.  He was the lyricist for most of their most eccentric and humorous songs, but their lone hit "5-7-0-5" didn't feature him as lead singer. That honor went to a newcomer to the band, drummer Roy Ward. So, technically Mason's greatest success was as the leader of his own Maisonettes. 

His wife Kathryn recalled, “He was known as The Headmaster in The Maisonettes. He was a total professional, it was extraordinary the way he managed it. It was a serious job and he said he was a ‘benign dictatorship." 

He wrote all the lyrics. The music was from guitarist Mark Tibenham. The band's drummer was Nick Parry. 

Kathryn Mason recalls that the classy-looking band members weren't above a bit of low game-playing: "The Maisonettes were in the South of France on a promotional tour and were with one of the reps from the record company. Lol could tell this guy hadn’t done his homework, and didn’t know anything about them.

"Lol just looked at Nick and ordered the most expensive things on the menu, the most expensive champagne...The guy’s whole budget was blown in one sitting."



Lol Mason was perhaps an unlikely lead singer-star, as was another British gent who favored jazz-tinged rock, Gerry Rafferty. In person, Lol was what you might expect from a satiric and sometimes dark songwriter: a little distant at first, a bit shy perhaps, but a lot of fun. When he was in City Boy, he was the one who offered up the often biting introductions to the songs. A show broadcast on radio from Boston, had him mocking the rocky plane ride into town. He dedicated the first song "to the pilot. We hope he sobers up." Also mocking the habit of entertainers playing to the town in which they are temporarily staying, Lol pointed downward. He told the Boston audience, "look! Red socks!"

The combination of Realist humor and satire appear in the video for "Heartache Avenue," where the supposedly lonely Lol happens to have a pair of butt-shaking babes close by. Doing a "Cool for Cats" bunch of hip-thrusts, and cooing a few lines as well, the girls were Carla Mendoca and Elisa Richards. Oh, hello, ladies: 


The Maisonettes did have a follow-up single, "Where I Stand," not the catchiest tune. Despite some campy visuals for the video, it didn't show off Lol as the rock world's most charismatic leading man. 




 The song managed to sneak into the Top 30 in the UK, but Laurence Edward Mason's group disbanded with just one album to their credit. He went on to write radio scripts and write songs for others. A few turned up on Sam Fox albums. He didn't seem to mind being out of the spotlight, which had involved with the stresses of promotion, performing, and prying royalties from unwilling corporations. 

Was he ever tempted to make a comeback? How about "The New Maisonettes?" There actually was a video shot for "Perfect Girlfriend," but no single or album was released.  How amusing, the perfect girlfriend who can't stand up for falling down: 


Lol Mason's lyrics were always sharp, and often darkly droll. Another lost song is "My Inspiration (Good Enough for Me)" hoisted to YouTube by Mark Tibenham, the music-maker of The Maisonettes.

She takes a tenner from the table full of cash.
God only knows what I was thinking….
But where’s the harm done, there’s no blood upon the floor
I will survive and so will she…
My reputation is preceding me these days....
A wicked tongue with an eccentric turn of phrase...

So this old man came rolling home again tonight
You should’ve seem him slalom down the street
And when they dig up his old bones what will they find?
Hollow legs and two left feet. 




How about the old-time strippers on that video? (NOW you decide to watch...) 

Let's have another lost Lol classic. Check out his lyrics on "Love and Be Damned."

“Such sweet pain dancing on razor blades
Grown up games for children to play
So it’s hand to hand and the blows still land
I’ll give up the fight, thank God that I’m with you tonight….
Nothing’s perfect and nobody’s looking for paradise
It’s a bitch of a world and it’s hard making plans
But there’s something about you that I’ll always recognize
So love and be damned…." 




Fans of City Boy who created tribute forums or websites, longed for some remarks from Mason. His wife admitted to reporters that Lol "gained the most enjoyment from his time with The Maisonettes." Steve Broughton likewise ignored the good-natured fans hoping for some interview quotes or answers to trivia questions. Reached for comment after Lol's death, Steve said: "Lol was the brother I never had. When I reluctantly left City Boy, I only played one more show ever. That was all it took for me to realise that it was no fun, that it was cold and pointless without my brilliant best friend and co-conspirator by my side." Although Steve chose to live in New York, he did sometimes get back to the U.K., and reconnect with Lol in Birmingham.


One more Mason-Tibenham gem: "Midnight Man." 



As for THE HIT, yes, “Heartache Avenue” remains one of the better songs of the 80’s. The music and performance reflect a cynical half-hearted glam (Lol Mason dresed up in a white suit and white fedora). The beat might have helped some zombie shuffle around on the dance floor, wondering if any woman was going to come close. "Heartache Avenue" did get play in discos, didn't it? 

Mason and Tiberman experimented further with music that was beyond rock, disco or jazz. How about "Still Waters Run Deep," a smooth soul song performed by Ruby Turner? It may have been the B-side to one of her singles, but that's b-side the point. It's an A-1 number. From a 1988 TV performance: 



"Heartache Avenue" remains one of the best you'll find as you search for "Heartbreak Hotel" and wander on the streets of sorrow that earlier singers stumbled and trudged through: "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," "Lonely Street," "Heartache Street" (by the Four Coins in 1958), and yes, there was even a previous "Heartache Avenue." Connie Hall sang about it, and  Mercury thought it had a chance: “Tonight he’ll promise things…he’s gonna tell me how that he’s been cheated to. Ain’t nothin’ ever gonna be all right, so I’ll just make believe tonight. Tomorrow I’ll be back on Heartache Avenue!”  
 

I was thinking about Lol Mason when I walked outside the other day. Thinking about his passing made every street a Heartache Avenue.

Ronnie Deauville - he would've been 94 on August 28th

It's a sad story: he had a golden voice. Then he needed an iron lung. Wheelchair-bound, he was promoted by everyone from Jerry Lewis to Ralph Edwards, but the rigors of touring were too much. He remained a beloved member of his family, one who didn't dwell on his misfortunes. And for some discerning record collectors, his music is still beautiful and enduring, right up there with guys who had a more natural career arc, such as Vic Damone. 




The words "crooner" and "gutsy" rarely cross, but they do in the case of star-crossed Ronnie Deauville. Ronnie's "Smoke Dreams" album has one of the most iconic images in the world of "lounge erotic" album covers. Not long after its release, Deauville actually standing and singing was a dream, not reality.

He was born Henry Deauville (August 28, 1925). His mother Marie was an actress and his sister Sheryl also tried show biz (notably playing a hooker role in "Irma La Douce"). Ronnie became the star of the family, the big band singer for orchestras led by Glenn Gray, Tex Beneke and ultimately Ray Anthony. “Sentimental Me” was a hit in 1950 and “Be My Love” made the charts in 1951. The Ray Anthony "Capitol Collectors Series" CD features Ronnie on "Nevertheless," "Can Anyone Explain," and "Autumn Leaves."

Following all those singles, it was time to go long-play. 1956 was the year "Smoke Dreams" came out. But it was also the year that his dreams went up in smoke. In September of 1956 a car veered into his path, and the impact threw him out of his vehicle and into the street. How could it get worse? While recuperating in the hospital, he was diagnosed with polio. He spent a year in an iron lung.

Paralyzed from the neck down, he fought back, and miraculously regained enough breath control to sing again. For TV appearances, an ordinary chair was substituted for his wheelchair, as in an artfully done TV rendition of "Aloha 'oe," where romantic Ronnie is viewed in a sailor cap, seemingly in a cabin on board a boat, sitting at the port hole, dreaming of Hawaiian dancers (double-exposed as nostalgic visions in his mind). Blogger "Dr. Chilled Air" uploaded this to YouTube:



Jerry Lewis helped Ronnie get attention from disc jockeys. Deauville's record label sent out a special single, with Ronnie singing a song, and Jerry on the flip side, talking about this great talent: "December 27th on my TV show Ronnie is going to make his first major singing appearance on television since he was stricken with clinical polio. All the boys at this station are going to cooperate with over 3,000 radio stations throughout the country when, for the first time in the history of radio, on December 28th, and throughout the day, they will play Ronnie's new Era recording. We're doing this as a special tribute to a courageous guy and a wonderful singer..."

On November 6, 1957 Ralph Edwards told his story on "This Is Your Life." Here's the opening scene. Please watch. It's something you won't forget: 


Ronnie's 1959 album for Imperial featured a big close-up of the handsome star on the cover. It would be his last album. "Romance with Ronnie" offered such songs as "Tormented," "Blame Your Eyes," and "Dream Girl." On his smooth cover of "Unchained Melody," he was able to hit the challenging high notes with ease. 

Ronnie did some song-dubbing for movie stars and eventually retired to Florida with his wife and children. He passed away from cancer on Christmas Eve, 1990. His sister has a Facebook page for him, and he stays in the hearts of hundreds upon hundreds who never had a chance to see him perform, or to meet him, but are touched deeply by the sound of his voice. 

Ronnie Deauville sings the classic "LAURA" - instant download, or listen on line.

JERRY YESTER: ASHES HAVE TURNED and the Lovin' Spoonful offender has been sentenced


"He must be high on something" someone said
Though it never made The New York Times
In The Daily News, the caption read

"Save the life of my child!" 

Well...it didn't make the Daily News either. Or Rolling Stone. But it was big news on the website for the local Harrison, Arkansas newspaper. That's where Jerry was downloading, and apparently uploading, the child porn.

"Save the life of my child," could start with the parents:  well, that's all right mama, but you could save lives yourself by NOT taking nude pix of the kiddies and putting them on the Net. Right? 

Where does child porn come from? It comes, to a great degree, from parents exploiting their kids for profit. 

Mama, if you didn't have a litter of puppies and not be able to keep track of them, maybe your 12 or 14 year-old would not have been viewed by Mr. Yester. But let's only blame Jerry: 



Not being as rich and famous as Pete from The Who, Jerry couldn’t get away with “oh, it was research.” '

The question, since he was busted over a year ago (check his name on this blog for that story) was how long it would take for the wheel of justice to run him over. While he waited, banned from playing sappy music with Lovin’ Spoonful at county fairs, he turned up in a few local venues including a hotel. Here's Jerry along with Catherine Reed, performing in Eureka Springs, Arkansas back on November 15, 2018:  




Catherine starts off singing Paul Simon ("Kathy's Song" and "Slip Slidin' Away"), the latter starting off with some chicken impressions and laughs. Don't expect a Judy Henske here, just a smooth-voiced, affable folkie. 

There's slight irony when Jerry Yester is given a microphone for a duet on a song by Simon and Garfunkel's beloved Everly Brothers: "Bye Bye Love, Bye Bye Happiness. Hello Loneliness. I think I'm gonna cry." 

Hello loneliness: last month, a judge officially sent 74 year-old Jerry away for two years. Compare that with a hedge fund weasel named Epstein (now deceased) who also got busted in the Deep South, but had enough money to plea get away with ONE count of “soliciting an underage prostitute.” He got 13 months. He didn’t download, he fucked. Not only did he get a lighter sentence than Jerry Yester, he spent most of each day OUT of his cell, playing unsupervised games. 

Downloading underage porn IS a serious crime. It’s not victimless. It’s not just pictures. Those pictures came from somewhere, and some criminal types took them and profited from them. Some deranged parents may have been involved, too, pocketing the money for meth. Epstein had procurers hunting for 13-14 year old girls that the PARENTS allowed to be taken and used. Polanski, you might remember, found that "model" thanks to her mama.

Some idiots say "why spoil our fun, it's just pictures," but these aren't snapshots from a nudist magazine (ps, eBay bans nudist magazines due to pedophile interest). The young people in these images, certainly ones that aren’t mere poses, run the risk of being both emotionally and physically damaged. But let’s take a look at THIS: 



Here’s a maniac who got NO jail time for what amounts to obscene SCAT behavior. You feed your kids shit? Really? 

By the time the cops found out (they were busy checking on Internet porn downloaders?) the two kids were gaunt, emaciated, and half the weight of normal children their age. NO jail time for her; she just has to stay away from those kids now. Did she sashay out of court with a shit-eating grin?    

What a two-year sentence for Jerry Yester accomplishes, I’m not sure. That he’ll spend a few years risking getting beaten up for being a pedo? Maybe he's an "example" and some dirty old men will be scared about downloading. It would be nice to think so, but people like this have addict-personalities and can't stay away. Some might only do something worse, like pull an Aqualung and hang around a playground.

Yester’s career is already ruined, and when you’re kicked out of a group that doesn’t have John Sebastian and has few original members, and plays shit like “What a Day for a Day Dream,” you’ve sunk very, very low. He’s probably close to bankruptcy, considering how little royalties artists get thanks to download piracy and the official robbery from low-paying pricks like Spotify and YouTube. 

No, I have never met Jerry Yester. Judy Henske and Craig Doerge, yes. While social (disease) media would tell you that Yester's fame is drifting into Lovin' Spoonful, Jerry's real accomplishments are in songwriting, and in the two albums he made with Judy: "Farewell Aldebaran" and "Rosebud" (the latter being the name of the group they formed, which included Craig Doerge, who would replace Jerry as Judy's husband. No hard feelings...a few years ago, Judy and Jerry sang together to promote the re-issue of "Farewell Aldebaran.").

Below, pre-dating Jerry and Judy's folk-psych return to albums (via Frank Zappa's Straight label), here's a solo single from Jerry on ABC-Dunhill. "Ashes Have Turned" is credited to Judy Henske Yester - Jerry Yester,. (The flip side is not something they wrote). If you listen to it a few times it might just become catchy. You might even think, “Hmm, they could’ve resurrected this and stuck it on the "Rosebud" album, as its lush yet slightly sour harmonies aren't too different from “Le Soleil” and a few other tracks. 

Concluding the Paul Simon theme that has run through this entry, think about this line of his: "I wasn't such a Johnny Ace fan but I felt bad just the same." You don't have to be a Jerry Yester fan to feel bad about how twisted things can get when there's a strange, compelling and forbidden psychological need. 

ASHES HAVE TURNED - Jerry Yester, lyrics by Judy Henske - download, listen on line, no passwords, no sleazy foreign download service, no porn ads or malware

NANCY HOLLOWAY was 86 - I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND (sung in French)



   One of the more unusual “ye ye girls” in France was a black woman from Cleveland.  Born Nancy Brown (December 11, 1932-August 28, 2019) she married a guy named Holloway, but only the last name lasted. As Nancy Holloway, she made her way to New York City, taking day jobs and working as a dancer when she got lucky. Via Club Harlem, she joined the “Beige Beauties,” a group created by black impresario Larry Steele, who also had the “Sepia Revue” and the “Smart Affairs” touring group. The latter played everywhere from Las Vegas to Australia.  Steele was one of the big managers specializing in black entertainment, and at one time or another, his roster included Cab Calloway, Sarah Vaughan, Freda Payne, Lou Rawls and Billy Daniels.  

    Holloway found welcome venues in France, where Josephine Baker had been a success. Paris audiences adored American jazz, and with far more solo opportunities for a singer who had some dance moves, Holloway worked up a set of tunes and premiered at the Mars Club in 1954. She also played the local Blue Note, and toured Germany. She reached the big time playing The Moulin Rouge in 1959, and earning the attention of “The King” himself, who was in Germany at the time, drafted into the Army.  


    In 1961, years with help from  actor André Pousse,she was making films, appearing on TV and had a record deal. To say she was a sensation would be an understatement. She made her film debut in “Ballade Pour Un Voyou” in 1963 and opened her own “Chez Nancy Holloway” nightclub. She could sing and she could move. Here’s the DUM DUM TWIST:  



The French loved it when Nancy sang American tunes in their language, and from big band and R&B (French language versions of “Big Noise from Winnetka” and “Hit The Road Jack”) she moved into the popular “ye ye” territory, covering Dionne Warwick’s “Don’t Make Me Over,” the wistful Brian Hyland end-of-summer ballad “Sealed with a Kiss,” and eventually Beatles hits, which appeared on her 1964 album “Bye Bye” on French Decca. 

With tastes changing in the late 60’s, Nancy not only moved on to stronger rock material, but even was allowed to sing in English. She did a very nice swingin’ take on The Doors classic “Light My Fire.” For a few complete albums, it’s vaguely possible that the usual suspects will offer downloads — the “English as a Second Language” assholes. These "album cover and a link" (or maybe adding "R.I.P." or something they stole off AllLMusic) are mostly in Brazil, Turkey, Sweden, Holland and other countries that don't have rock music of their own anyone wants.  They just want to pretend they're in show biz, get some undeserved applause, or just “have fun.”  Yes, at the literal expense of artists, record store owners, and anyone else who isn't retired or retarded and is trying to earn a living from legal and creative music-making.

    The fun part of Holloway’s career was when she was in her late 20’s and 30’s. Her eight films were made between 1963 and 1971, and most of her hit songs were in that era, too. Tragedy struck in 1969 when her six month-old daughter drowned in a bathtub accident. She semi-retired for a while, unsure of what direction to take as middle-age and changing music styles added to her miseries.  "Je suis la seule responsable de ma carrière en dents de scie. J'ai commis de graves erreurs... J'étais un peu comme une cigale qui chantait en toute insouciance,” she said. She’d made some mistakes over the years, but she wasn’t blaming a manager or an agent; she was responsible for her own decisions. She poetically likened herself to a “little cicada,” singing but not really being fully aware of what was going on around her. 


    Broadening her outlook, Nancy began to tour the world. In the late 70’s and into the 80’s, she performed in Bombay, Singapore, India, and a variety of African countries including Chad and The Ivory Coast. She also worked for AIDS charities in the 80’s, and was still a big name despite a lack of new hits. CDs re-packaged her old classics, and around 2006, she was performing nostalgia tours with a variety of European stars including beloved veteran entertainers Richard Anthony, Demis Roussos and Franck Alamo. She also was still a big attraction at some local Parisian nightclubs, with audiences loving her mix of ballads and the upbeat tunes she popularized in the 60’s. 

Here's  her vintage version of  I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND: “Je Veux Prendre Ta Main.” 


Download or listen on line - no passwords, no links to dodgy sites run by slime, no spyware

Monday, August 19, 2019

Remembering YOU -- Carroll O'Connor, born in August

Carroll O'Connor would've celebrated another birthday, August 2nd.

But...Aw Jeez, Edith...John Carroll O'Connor, born August 2, 1924, died way back on June 21st, 2001. These days, when people talk about a CLASSIC SITCOM, they mean "Friends" or "Big Bang Theory." Anyone even remember "All in the Family?" Are any stations actually running what was then a controversial and is now a very UN-PC show? 

Back in the day, "All in the Family" was the #1 show and it made a star out of an obscure character actor, one who actually DIDN'T talk with a New Yawk accent. O'Connor admitted that he cobbled the Archie Bunker voice with a little help from listening to Jimmy Cagney and Jackie Gleason. After several years, O'Connor seemed to tire of being identified with Archie, and tried to remind people that he was an ACTOR, not a personality. 

One thing that helped was when he added lyrics to Roger Kellaway's "All in the Family" end theme, and performed it as the dapper Irishman he actually was. The opening sentiment: "Gotta feeling it's all over now, all over now, we're through. And tomorrow I'll be lonesome remembering you..."

Here, all dressed up in a tux, something Archie Bunker never owned, he sings "Remembering You." 



Fortunately for O'Connor, after he milked the show for constant wage hikes, and ultimately got his own solo "Archie Bunker's Place," he was able to move on to a completely new character, the Southern sheriff on "In the Heat of the Night." Nobody seemed to find it jarring that a Southern accent was sliding out of Archie Bunker's mouth. That's how good of an actor he was.

Back when there was such a thing as vinyl, and no such thing as piracy, two "All in the Family" soundtrack albums arrived in stores, and O'Connor issued his own album, "Remembering You," which was mainly a collection of 30's hits with spoken introductions for each song.  And if you're nostalgic for the ragtime piano instrumental version, it was committed to vinyl a few times...here by Ray Coniff and his band. 


The Association's "WINDY" was really a man. Songwriter Ruthann Friedman sang about him first

The Association didn't write "Windy." 

It took one woman to do what five guys couldn't. 

Bronx-born Ruthann Friedman ( July 6, 1944) wrote the song. She was living on the West Coast, hanging out with a bunch of other singer-songwriters, and actually knocked this hippy-dippy ballad out in less than a half hour at David Crosby's house.

Unfortunately her version seemed like just another singer/songwriter ballad. It took the production values of The Association, and a sex change, to make it memorable. It also required Van Dyke Parks, who was a friend of both Ruthann and The Association, and was able to get her song over to them.

Here's the original and genial "WINDY" from Ruthann: 




"Who's reaching out to capture a moment?" that doesn't sound like a GUY does it? 

"And Windy has wings to fly above the clouds!" that DEFINITELY doesn't sound like a guy. Unless he's living in West Hollywood. "Smilin' at everybody he sees." Especially other guys?  

Two years after The Association hit the charts with the song, Reprise took a chance on Ruthann becoming another Joni Mitchell. The album "Constant Companion" was the companion for...not too many college chicks bringing their luggage and record player to the campus. Well, the first album on Reprise from Van Dyke Parks suffered the same fate. After a while, Ruthann gave up show biz, got a "real job," and raised two kids. Thirty years later, circa 2006, she found an indie label willing to re-issue her album, and she began to gig again. Van Dyke Parks produced a new single for her in 2011 on a sleepy indie label called Ether. A new CD, "Chinatown," was released on the Wolfgang label in 2013.

Looking a bit like a less nasty Judge Judy (and most anyone, male or female, would qualify), here's Ruthann performing her most famous song for an audience at McCabes in 2012:



HOW BOB DYLAN ENDED WARREN ZEVON’S FIRST CAREER. Sort of. Not intentionally.


A very young Warren Zevon lucked out. He and his girlflriend played some songs at a party, a bigwig happened to be there, and it was: "Hey, you'd be good for White Whale, which is the record label The Turtles are on. They could use you two. I'm talking to you, friend, and lover." 

Well no, it wasn't Friend and Lover, and it wasn't Cymbal and Clinger ("Mr. Bass Man" novelty guy Johnny Cymbal trying to be relevant.). The new duo was christened LYME AND CYBELLE. Zevon, who was favoring green clothing at the time, was Stephen Lyme. 

The team actually did pretty well with their first single but...they chose a Bob Dylan cover for their follow-up. Their version of "If You Gotta Go, Go Now" (White Whale WW 23) was considered a bit too RUDE for AM radio, and that was it. Warren's next move was a solo album which didn't go anywhere, although a song on it was covered by a soul singer for the "Midnight Cowboy" soundtrack.

Fast forward to just before Warren died of mesothelioma at the age of 56. He came full circle and covered Bob Dylan's "Knocking on Heaven's Door." Yes, Warren was darkly ironic to the end. Bob Dylan had once wandered into a Zevon recording session just to check the man out. This surprised and flattered Warren, who was almost speechless. "What are you up to Bob," Warren managed to say. "Travelin'" replied Bob, who, as Warren discovered, "was not much for small talk."

As a small favor, Bob played harmonica on a Zevon track. After Warren died, Bob paid tribute, performing some Zevon songs in live concert, which was quite an honor. Usually a Dylan show is all Dylan songs, but when you write as well as Warren, exceptions can be made.


Hey JUDE LAW don't make it bad -- Put your clothes BACK ON. "HEY JUDE" ala Peter Lorre and Easy Ray Conniff

It doesn't just happen to women. Not in our bi-bi bisexual gay pride #metoo era. Why shouldn't GUYS have to nude scenes in films? "Come on, sir, take 'em off, or we'll hire somebody else..."

Hey, JUDE...



The buzz for some horrible new movie is that...JUDE LAW has a nude scene. Who Jude? He's stil around? And he can't get a job without degrading himself? JUDE, AWWWWW. 

IF I'M BEING HONEST, the film will fail despite the nudity. It's not about a Marvel hero, has nothing to do with slavery in America, and doesn't have 90 solid minutes of car chases. Tarantino is not the director. "Nah, I'll wait till it's a free download on Demonoid..." 

First, a deliberately insane rendition courtesy of Paul Frees, the legend who voiced Ludwig Von Drake, Boris Badenov, the Pillsbury Doughboy and much much more. He told me he liked being "behind the scenes," but made a rare exception for a "pet project" of his...an album where he sang modern songs as classic film stars.

On "Paul Frees and the Poster People," he imagined Ed Wynn singing "Up Up and Away" and Clark Gable doing "By the Time I Get to Phoenix." I asked Jimmy Webb what he thought of this, and Jimmy said, "I never heard of it." "You mean you didn't have to approve it first? MGM never sent you a copy of Paul's record as a courtesy?" (laughing) "No."

Paul's album got a bit strange when he imagined Bela Lugosi singing "The Games People Play," and went downright nutty when he had Peter Lorre singing "Hey Jude." Both Peter Lorre and Paul Frees were Jewish, which might explain the ad-lib, "Why do I call you Jude when your name is Seymour??" (Irony: when the song first came out, McCartney had to field an angry phone call to the Apple office. A Jewish man was outraged at the anti-Semitism of the song. Paul had to explain that although "Jude" was used by Germans during the War for their campaign to wipe out the Chosen People, HIS song was referencing a name popular in England among Christians."

Back when the song was taken seriously, "Hey Jude" was covered by a ton of middle-of-the-road performers including Bing Crosby, The Lettermen, The Living Voices, Jane Morgan, Shirley Bassey, Petula Clark, and the Ray Conniff singers. Among dozens of others. And, no, I'm name-dropping them only because they covered the song. I never met any of 'em. 

Your sample of this type of cringeworthy cover is the Ray Conniff version. “Has anyone ever done a GOOD version of Hey Jude” was an actual topic at the Steve Hoffman forum years ago. The general consensus was nah. Nah. Nah. Nah-na Nah na. 

You're the only girl I ever met named Linda Lou
Maybe that's the reason that I'm so in love with you…
And you're the only girl I ever met who hates "Hey Jude"
Maybe that's the reason that I'm so in love with you


You know the song. “Rockin’ Girls” by Sparks. I remember talking to those guys back when the song came out. Do I remember what we talked about for a half hour? Not really. It was a long time ago. I could go get the transcript, but THIS entry is really for people who HATE “Hey Jude” and not those who like Sparks. 

No question, "Hey Jude" remains, thanks to its endless ending, one of the most feared songs at any McCartney concert. His inane scat-singing might shock people awake after enduring the now-monotonous melody, but it only confirms that this one really hasn't survived the test of time too well. Even Julian Lennon is probably sick of it. We do admire some of the brilliant lyrical imagery though.  But let's explode a myth: “the movement you need is on your shoulder” isn’t a reference to pigeon shit. 

PAUL FREES sings HEY JUDE as PETER LORRE - no shitty Ydray Yadi download, no malware, no porn ads or passwords 

EASY listening: HEY JUDE from RAY CONNIFF - no password, no demand for you to LIKE this post, no stinky demand that you pay for a premium account 

Friday, August 09, 2019

ABBEY ROAD 50th ANNIVERSARY: 4 CD's NOBODY REALLY NEEDS AND FEW WILL ACTUALLY BUY

It was a GREAT DAY, August 8th. It wasn't swelteringly hot in London, so people could forget about climate change. No burqa-wearing terrorists were driving people off London Bridge and howling about Allah. And with the enthusiasm of watching four lame-ass impersonators walk across a street, there wasn't even a murmur of "What'll be with Brexit?" 

Hooray, it was a day to go back fifty fucking years and pretend the world hasn't changed. 



The world HAS changed. And forever, not for better. Two of the Beatles are even gone, and few record stores have remained. In other words, where WILL you buy this fucking 4 CD box set? Oh, from AMAZON and not in the real world? And will YOU PERSONALLY be buying it, or getting a torrent download from Demonoid, or a link from some brain-dead asshole in Holland, Sweden or Croatia for whom English is a second language and UK and USA economy not a concern? 

What's changed musically is that DRAKE now has broken most of the chart records and sales records The Beatles owned. And if they haven't, oh, Whitney Houston did. Or Lady Gaga. Or Madonna. Or it'll happen the next time Adele opens her fat yap, or the next time Viley Virus sticks out her ugly tongue, winks, twerks, and lets a cough-load out of her mouth, anus and vagina at the same time.

A bit too vivid? 

Even with Paul Krassner gone, it's possible to be a REALIST. This set will only be bought by a few thousand aging die-hards who think their hearses have luggage racks. They'll insist that Giles Martin has somehow breathed new life into the remixes (or argue that he didn't) and, after a while, wonder why alternate takes just aren't THAT interesting. 

As for the Millennials and anyone under 40, how do you even explain "classic rock" or why they should care about "Abbey Road?" That's like the previous generation trying to insist that Big Band Music was the hippest thing and "You really should listen to my Glenn Miller records, and the Dorsey Brothers. My god, BIG BANDS and not just a few idiots playing guitar!" 

Times change. It takes determination NOT to change with the times, or to cheer the event of yesterday (when people gazed at imposters on Abbey Road and thought their troubles were far away).  Reports in the papers included interviews with pea-brains who actually boasted about flying in from halfway around the world JUST to stand on a street and insist "Abbey Road" is a great album (it was) and rock and roll will never die (it's terminal, just like the planet) and that they were delirious with joy just to be a part of it (they are idiots). 

FACT: "Abbey Road" was, like every Beatles album, astonishing at the time. If you grew up with it, it's still nice to listen to once in a while. But after 50 years, and hundreds and hundreds of plays, not every track still holds up, and the percentage of duds is much higher than on "Sgt. Pepper" or "Revolver," right? Right. 

 There are 17 tracks on “Abbey Road” and that includes the scraps of filler that formed the so-called “medley" on side two. Fact: it was a hash of odds and ends and unfinished tunes that worked for anyone with a low attention span.  Why they didn’t just pull out rejects such as “Not Guilty” or “Teddy Boy,” who knows. At least "Mary Jane" wasn't on there. 

Time to take a look at what still shines on, and what we usually skip when we can get our wrinkly fingers on the remote control....

1.    “Come Together” remains a mess. A good mess (not a "hot mess" as the flamboyant gays love to say). Lennon, who often scorned Macca for not polishing or concentrating on his lyrics, tosses everything into this, and most of it is gibberish. Still, after 50 years the music is still cool rockin' blues and the song is so good that even without Beatles production, it's enjoyable. Lots of cover versions around. Hell, even some chick with an acoustic guitar and a fake blues delivery can do well with it. Hello, Jilly Riley (and show a little more boob next time, and ditch the hat): 




2.    “Something” was so pretty even the crooners of the day covered it. Why not, George actually uses the word “woos," which was corny even when sung by a stripe-suited banjo-playing vaudevillian in 1913. Hare-Hare-Harrison's spiritual guitar makes it less of a load of treacle. “I don’t want to leave her now. You know I believe and how.” Gosh, the man’s couplets were a rival to McKuen, huh?

3.     “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” is probably the most hated song on the album, so it’s defended here. It’s the ILL FOLKS blog, after all. Macca is often chided for writing childish melodies, Music Hall nonsense and nursery-level lyrics. Well, “Obla Di Obla Da” to YOU all. The fact is, this is a VERY sick song. There’s a sly suggestion, that studying metaphysical or pataphysical science still can’t prepare one for the surprises in life, like senseless murder.  Just why our ever-smiling Paulie took such joy in writing about killings, we may never know. His own vague helter-skelter explanation:


    "'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' is analogy for when something goes wrong out of the blue, as it so often does, as I was beginning to find out at that time in my life. I wanted something symbolic of that, so to me it was some fictitious character called Maxwell with a silver hammer. I don't know why it was silver, it just sounded better than Maxwell's hammer. It was needed for scanning. We still use that expression now when something unexpected happens….In the past I may have written tongue-in-cheek, like 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer', and dealt with matters of fate in a kind of comical, parody manner. It just so happens in this batch of songs I would look at these subjects and thought it was good for writing. If it's good enough to take to your psychiatrist, it's good enough to make a song of."

For the record, Paul’s band mates ALL hated the song. John “hated it,” mostly for the same reason Ringo disliked it. They had to do too many takes. Ringo called it “the worst session ever…the worst track we ever had to record. It went on for fucking weeks.” George was the snarkiest:  "Sometimes Paul would make us do these really fruity songs. I mean, my God, 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' was so fruity.” 

Let's break up the text with a few more YOUTUBE items. "Mona Lisa Twins" not only offer a kind of idiot retro 20’s version of the song, but make SURE it’s almost unbearable by actually having “Maxwell” appear in the guise of a fucking CLOWN MIME. More revealing costumes, girls, and shoot the mime. 



There are Beatles outtakes of the song that are even more annoying than the finished product. Perhaps there will be five of them on the fabulous 4 CD Box set. But for lameness, there's the Steve Martin cover, which was actually produced by George Martin. 

Martin, who managed to get the best out of Peter Sellers and the Goons, couldn’t seem to get a damn thing out of Steve Martin. Most of it is recited rather than sung, and not in his “wild and crazy” style. Steve did a decent job with the dentist song in “Little Shop of Horrors” a few years later, but here, he doesn't seem to know how to handle the camp or black humor of Macca's ditty. 


 

Lastly,  if we take this song as merely a vicarious naughty-schoolboy ditty about wishing to murder various enemies, and having idiot girls cheer about it ("Maxwell must go free") then it wouldn't be a surprise if the 4 CD set gets banned for encouraging school shootings. Hell, if "Helter Skelter" was considered an evil track, what about this? Oooooh....

4- 5   “Oh Darling” is just a brainless rave-up and “Octopus’s Garden” would’ve been an embarrassment on a Muppets album. Again, we enjoyed these, to some degree or other, for nearly 50 years. That's a good run for what Millennials would call audio diarrhea.

6.    “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” is the longest track, a seven minute exercise in obsession. It moves from a Lennon experiment in minimalist lyrics to a monstrous, literally heavy musical monster-stomp. You can easily imagine somebody fucking Adele to this track. It remains great. But try explaining it to some high school dick who is into rap or a high school twat who loves Taylor Swift. Rock is dead, but you can shake the house, grandpa, by playing this one LOUD.


7-8     Two dreary tracks; “Here Comes the Sun” is just about the weakest example of sunshine music you’ll find. “Good Day Sunshine” it is not. “Here comes the sun. And I say it’s all right.” Thanks, George, for another toss-away couplet. And people complained about Macca? PS, if the sun came and you DIDN’T think it was all right, what the fuck could you do about it? 

As for “Because,” we have “Because the world is round it turns me on,” which shows that taking a lot of drugs can be a bad thing. What still saves it on repeat listenings, even after 50 years, is the unusual Beatles harmonies. Guys, you need not keep gasping about the fucking Everly Brothers. You out-numbered them and this is damn good. Lennon claimed the melody was “Moonlight Sonata” played backwards by Yoko. Or something like that. "Yoko helped The Beatles." Tattoo that on your tush. 

9.    “You Never Give Me Your Money” is still lively, juxtaposing a wistful complaint with Elvis swagger. You might almost think this song has a message. Oh the magic feeling. Know where to go?

10   “Sun King” is wearisome drivel.  It just is. It was always a patience-trying track. In fact it was annoying in two languages. 


11-12-13   The medley of unfinished songs all remind me of “Maggie May” on “Let it Be.” Meaning: “Where’s the rest of it?” The answer is these were songs with one good image and nowhere to take it. “She came in through the bathroom window" didn’t yield a good song to go with it. (Unlike Dylan’s “Please crawl out your window…”). So all Macca could do was scrambled-egg more lyrics and then toss this clip-on-tie onto the clown suit inhabited by twin freaks Polythene Pam and Mean Mr. Mustard. Both songs have Lennon picking up and tossing away Judy and Punch after a brief examination and put-down on each. 

14-15-16   Sort of paired together, these snippets ALMOST seem to make sense. You may be fitfully unaware or apathetic in your “Golden Slumbers” but boy, you’re gonna “Carry That Weight.” Then it's time to shake your head and do a rave-up, and it even inspires Ringo to do that “drum solo." I know it was ridiculed at the time, and some still laugh at it, but it remains the only drum solo that most of you can easily do yourselves. Catchy, isn't it? 

Caveat. Not EVERYBODY can do that simple drum solo. It CAN be fucked up. Proof?  


Just why amateurs feel compelled to put their embarrassing videos on YouTube for EVERYONE to cringe at...

The nice two minute rock riff of "The End" ends with that grandiose, oh-so-profound “And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.” That explains everything. 

Perhaps the 4 CD set will have a few surprises "Purple Chick" and a hundred other bootleggers have missed. MAYBE there's a take of "Sun King" that doesn't suck like a sea-sick eel. More likely, the outtakes will be as dismal a revelation as “Suicide,” the song that was merely a brief snippet on McCartney’s first solo album and then got a disappointing official release on the re-issue.


Will the 4 CD box set have several two-minute rehearsals takes on "Her Majesty?" Half a minute as an impudent little closer on "Abbey Road" was cute enough.

Irony: “Her Majesty” is STILL alive while half The Beatles are dead. And she still doesn’t have a lot to say.