Saturday, April 29, 2006


Racially incorrect, obsessively fond of burps, and totally driven by a desire to "depreciate" good music, Spike Jones had some novelty 78rpm hits. For a while. He even had his own radio show and TV series. Briefly. Very briefly. His film career is basically the hard to find "Fireman Save My Child" (1954) an Abbott & Costello movie ultimately made by Hugh O'Brian and Buddy Hackett and re-worked to also star Jones (but not Barbara Walters).
Now regarded as a comic genius, his RCA sides consistently in print for 60 years, Jones got laughs doing everything from setting fire to a woman ("My Old Flame") to blowing raspberries at Hitler ("Der Fuehrer's Face"). His touring show gave audiences a chance to roar over clothing louder than the music and a never-ending parade of goofy sight gags involving pants falling down and midgets running around.
Never quite respected in his lifetime for his ill winds and sickly strings, Spike and his "City Slickers" may have gotten a bit further than more Opry-esque artists like the Hoosier Hot-Shots, but remained a "novelty act," one best known for recordings in the late 40's.
Slogging into the 60's, road-warrior Jones grimly declared that rock music was beyond satire. He had low-selling albums on Verve and Liberty, and the brilliant "Spike Jones in Stereo" concept album didn't impress anyone either. He even tried to "go straight" with "His New Band." As The Beatles burned up the charts Spike smoked himself into an early grave. He was 54. He died on May 1st, 1965.
A new generation might know Spike Jonze better than the original, and have no idea who "Chloe" was (or that this song was even a parody), but many still treasure the breathtaking bravado of "the band that played for fun," led by a square-headed Cagney look-alike who could chew gum and conduct music at the same time, often bouncing his baton off the floor and back into his fist.

Since the RCA stuff is easy to find, here are some "trannies" to give a better idea of Spike's live sound. Transcription discs and radio moments show off Spike's big band as well as his cheerfully grotesque sensibilities, which included ethnic stereotypes during wartime.
By the Beautiful Sea
Horsey Keep Your tail Up
Oh By Jingo
Red Wing
Der Fuehrer's Face
Never Hit Your Grandma with a Shovel
You're a Sap, Mr. Jap
Pack Up Your Troubles
Down in Jungle Town
Come Josephine in my Flying Machine

Spike Jones Trannies HERE

RON NAGLE -Mystery Trend- DUROCS

The three phases of Ron Nagle's negligibly-appreciated rock career are zipped for your inspection.
The Mystery Trend? They were one of many West Coast groups exploring hard rock and psych. How to compete with the Alarm Clocks, Peanut Butter and Airplanes and Prunes out there? Good question. Cashing in on that trend remained a mystery to these guys. Nagle wrote most of the music and lyrics, but didn't sing nearly enough.
The thickly annotated CD booklet delves into the history of this elusive group while the disc itself contains just about everything the boozin' bloozin' band did (which until now, was mostly unreleased). You get 21 tracks on the CD. 2 are zipped here as samples.
Ron Nagle his own self.
Somehow he got a solo deal with WB. Somehow the now-legendary Jack Nitzsche produced it and Ry Cooder played on it (on two tracks I posted some months ago, still archived). Truly ill art-work and tepidly trepidatious reviews didn't help Ron join Randy Newman and Van Dyke Parks on the "let's keep putting more of the guy's albums out till something happens" list at Warner.
Stereo Review opined, "Nagle's hard-edged voice (like Neil Young's) is not really pleasant to listen to...The songs are really the album's strongest point, a couple of them rather political without being propagandistic, and most of them with sharp insights." But..."this sort of thing has been done before and better, of course, by Gary Wright and Dennis Linde to take two extremes." The reviewer went on to complain about the "muddy" sound.
Included in the zip is a ballad showcasing Ron's "not really pleasant" voice straining over the pathos as "Frank's Store" burns to the ground. This artful slice of mundane life documents a poor dumb soul and the worthless dump that was all he had.
"Family Style" is a stumbling romp about mother picking up coins with her vagina, mysterious Uncle Frank (not Jimmy Kimmel's Uncle Frank), and a brother stepping on a parakeet. It's just your typical dysfunctional family. Remember, this is 1970! No wonder people thought the guy was ill and left him and his LP "Bad Rice" alone.
Ron Nagle traded his rice for popcorn. He started producing sound effects for movies. A March 23, 1977 newspaper review for "The Sorcerer" noted the sounds of "the buzzing of honey bees, the squealing of pigs in a slaughterhouse and a girl's stomach rumbles were recorded by rock composer Ron Nagle...Director Billy Friedkin asked Nagle to do the work after he had such happy returns from another film for which Nagle did special effects, 'The Exorcist.'"
A few years later, Nagle and a cohort gave rock one last try and became "The Durocs," taking their name from a species of (chauvanist?) pig known for large genitalia. (No kidding, this is even mentioned in the Capitol press release).The samples (side one's five tracks) should help you decide whether to add DUROCS to your want list as you cruise the bargain bins. Sorry, I burned the CD a long time ago, didn't write the track titles down, and can't find the album in my sty. I did nose around but all I got was a stye in my eye. And God knows the truffles I've seen.
The last Durocs track is a cover of Gene Pitney's "It Hurts To Be In Love" which they give the wall-of-ham full-boar treatment.
Give the duo points for opening the album with pig grunts and an opening track referencing themselves and how the gals should go "hog wild" for 'em. Perhaps one day Nagle's solo "Bad Rice" will be get a CD release with a suitably commercial cover. Probably not this one:

Nine-ish Nagles
Update: the link has died of old age.


RON NAGLE 61 Clay w/ Ry Cooder
RON NAGLE Marijuana Hell w/ Ry Cooder

Wednesday, April 19, 2006



Some find "celebrities who sing" awfully funny.
Don't laugh at Honor Blackman. First of all, she'll beat the crap out of you. Even now. Second, when she recorded her lone album in late 1964, "Everything I've Got," she acknowledged in the liner notes that she was not a professional singer, was asked to give it a try (coming off her James Bond film fame) and so, what the fuck (I'm not quoting exactly) she did.
And she did good. Mostly.

No surprise that her most effective tracks were more spoken than sung, most notably a fierce and passionate reading of Charles Aznavour's venomously sulky "Tomorrow Is My Turn."

Like an actress working in Broadway musicals rather than a professional singer working in nightclubs (Gwen Verdon, Angela Lansbury and Chita Rivera would all be in that latter category) Honor Blackman puts over a tune with panache if not pitch-perfection. Show tunes with strong lyrics and a mild octave range shimmered under her sultry breath. Less successful, but kind of cute, is her attempt at pop via "World Without Love."
As Gomez Addams used to say: "That's FRENCH!" And so one must say "Merci" rather than "Mercy!" when this gutsy woman chose to take a shot at "C'est Droll," c'est seriously.
Here's fascinating Honor Blackman, who puts a bit of a thrill in the ill category of celebrity cash-in singing albums. Your four tracks in the zip file:
To Keep My Love Alive (murderous black humor from Broadway)
C'Est Drole (half spoken, half sad)
Tomorrow Is My Turn (easily the best version of this Aznavour grunt)
World Without Love (please...lock me away...)

Here's 4 From Galore

TOWN WITHOUT PITY - 8 Cover Versions

The bump and grind melody was sleazy, and the overwrought lyrics almost burlesque, a barely relevant tune stuck into a movie about a gang started by Gomer Pyle's Sgt. Carter (Frank Sutton) and ended with a guilt-ridden Robert Blake covering the nude body.

The tune is gruesomely fascinating...a song full of self-pity but also raging "like tigers in a cage," a number begging for mercy while the music struts and slinks with a brazen beat. Despite Gene Pitney's brilliant original performance (where most of the lyrics about eager lips and living on a granite planet were as smeared as lipstick on a collar) many have been drawn to cover it.

The music is just that powerful, and the message that dramatic. In the film, towards the end, the reason for the title is finally evident. This IS a town without pity, showing a cruel "she was asking for it, he was an idiot" attitude toward the hapless couple that were fumbling around with their hormones until interrupted by four American soldiers. But mostly the movie is not about the town or the angst of the victims, but about the trial of the soldiers (as defended by Kirk Douglas).

With a life of its own (the film struggled to get a DVD release) the song "Town Without Pity" has a much more rabid following, and here, the multiplying rabbits include
The punkish DICKIES
The doo-wop NYLONS
A big band try from BRIAN SETZER
Slow balladeering by MATHILDE SANTING
A female in heat take from MANDY BARNETT
A strange, almost off key shot by JAMES CHANCE...and 2 more.

Here's a Pitiless Eight Pack

Update November 2011: You can sing the damn song's a Karaoke version, upped individually:

Here's a KARAOKE - TOWN WITHOUT PITY ...version without Pitney

Sunday, April 09, 2006


It was a year ago this month (April 25th) that Hasil Adkins died at the age of 67. "NO MORE HOT DOGS."

While he recorded much semi-normal rockabilly garage stuff, it's "No More Hot Dogs" that earns him a spot in the Ill Folks Hall of Fame. With maniac laughter Hasil sings about cutting the head off some rockafilly so she can't eat no more hot dogs. You get the idea that just up the road from Adkins was Ed Gein.

A one-man band, Hasil (pronounced Hassle, but called "Haze" by his friends) seemed to live on the cheap, tour on the cheap, and like many a genius savant, got cult status rather than a generous paycheck.

Manic stuff, rockabilly get a whole lotta doo-dahs zipped for your download:

"NO MORE HOT DOGS" and 15 other wild songs from HASIL ADKINS


This six-pack salute to Gene Pitney covers some of his more sublime weirdness, since you can get his teenage Frankie Laine ("The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance") and brilliant East Coast chipmunk Orbison ("Half Heaven Half Heartbreak") elsewhere.

I'm giving you Gene's GERMAN version of "Town Without Pity." At the time of release critics actually complained about the awful theme song played on the juke box. Now it's the nicest thing about a movie in which Kirk Douglas announces "I think I have to throw up."

"Mecca." With wonderful wacky Middle-East backing, Gene tells us that any place his hottie calls home is MECCA. Bet she wasn't wearing a BURKA. It's still a pretty ill idea for a song, isn't it? Try: "Any place my baby the Beth-Israel Synagogue!" Too bad Gene didn't record for "Decca." The possibilities....

"24 Hours From Tulsa" isn't ill? It is, if you have a dirty mind. Gene is flirting with some bimbo; he wants to find someplace to eat. "...And she showed me where." I rest my case.

"E Quando Vedrai La Mia Ragazza, Lei Me Aspetta, I Tuoi Anni Piu Belli, Amici Mei" are Gene singing in Italian. What fun! Like Orbison, he was appreciated far more in Europe and so he often sang in foreign languages. As for "Donna Means Heartbreak" well, she "ran around like there was no tomorrow." That's sluttier than Mad Donna in the 80's. Why, at midnight she sat on a fire hydrant and sank all the way down. Dig the marimba somberly letting us know Donna esta baja. Y una puta. Gene's singles always had inventive orchestrations.

Since you'll want a true rarity, here's a 1959 single done by "Jamie and Gene" (Jamie was Ginny could've been Ginny and Gene but that's too cute). The song is "Classical Rock and Roll," a silly attempt to bridge the generation gap by saying Beethoven and Co. had some value.

Here in tribute to a nice guy who stayed married to his school sweetie, and stayed based in Connecticut, is the odd side of Gene, a man with a voice so unique you sometimes wondered what speed your turntable was set at. The New York Post's headline was: "Town without Pitney," but you shouldn't be without some.

A pack o' Pitney

Saturday, April 01, 2006


"I Can Keep My Panties Dry" could not be sung by Fergie... the lead singer with the Black-Eyed Peas. She pea'd herself on stage one drunken night.

As to WHO is singing this dopey song...if you're asking me, you're out of luck. But if you're downloading, urine luck! Maybe it's this golden girl...
She's a protege of P. Didy. Is her name Messie Hind or Potti Page or Old Yeller? If you actually know where this came from (the song, I mean) leave a wet spot in the comment section.

This is not an April Fool's joke, it's from some kiddie album designed to make potty-time and toilet training less of a trauma. But having an adult singing about her dry panties could make somebody else's get moist.

These days, most babes on Spring Break don't bother keeping dry. They put on diapers and just chug down the booze.

We've come a long way from Leslie Gore and "It's my Potty and I'll Dry If I Want To."

In fact for some, the whole concept of "panties" is ancient history.

I know, this little 30 second pisher could've been handled via streaming audio...or a rapiddle share...