Saturday, July 29, 2006


Carrying a torch, watching it burn. Having an aching heart. Or just heartburn.
Here's a selection of tortured torch songs and love-sick laments. "Do not fall in love, therefore. It will stick to your face." (A line from "Deteriorata").
It could be worse. On Del Shannon's version of "Big Hurt," there's a drum gunshot after "this time the big hurt will end." A bit too grim for this compilation. But there are plenty of old flames and smokey ruins here...
We turn to Julie London for songs of despair, loneliness, anger, and lovelorn lust. Ok, and we have to end with a little touch of vengeance. The first ten are from early in her career, when her whispery voice was best augmented by a simple trio. As she got a little bolder and better, she was more than capable of holding her own with a full band, as you'll hear on the back eight.
The tracks are from seven different albums.
1. The Thrill is Gone
2. Everything Happens to Me
3. Say It Isn't So
4. Gone With the Wind
5. What'll I Do
6. When Your Lover Has Gone
7. Don't Take Your Love From Me
8. Lonely Girl
9. All Alone
10. Mean to Me
11. Don't Smoke in Bed
12. Baby Won't You Please Come Home
13. There Will Never BE Another You
14. Get Set for the Blues
15. About the Blues
16. The Blues is All I Ever Had
17. The End of the World
18. I Wanna be Around

Listen to the ebb and flow of sighs, insensitivity and sorrows. O. Henry once said "Life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating..." And in the next life he became a candy bar. Life is sweet after you're dead.

Who broke your heart?
Keep that Torch Light Burning



A tribute to the clown warrior Spike. Yes, Milligna, the well known typing error. At the time of his passing, he was acknowledged as the Godfather of British comedy, the man whose style could be heard and seen in everything from radio's "Round the Horne" to TV's "Monty Python's Flying Circus." First known as a member of The Goons (the only one of the three who wrote the radio trio's material) he went on to a busy solo career on radio, TV and via best-selling books.

One of the most complex and contradictory of comedians, Spike was the eye of a creative hurricane, capable of surreal jokes, aching poetry, whimsical nonsense and gut-wrenching letters to the local papers. Both manic and depressive, Spike was a Don Quixote who sometimes seemed to enjoy the battle and his victories, and was sometimes the victim of unseen and demonic enemies.

What you'll find here, are some vaudevillian and eccentric numbers written and mostly performed by him (one includes fellow Goons Secombe and Sellers). You know his name, now look up the download! John Lennon loved The Goons, and you might recognize some absurdist touches that later figured into John's more light-hearted numbers. Lennon even wrote a review in the New York Times for the first volume of Goon Show scripts.

Get Gooned on strange comic songs. With no further dew, try to digest this six-pack of strangely Spiked music:
Eeh Ah Oh Ooh
Ning Nang Nong (India Version)
Sewers of the Strand
I'm Walking Backwards for Christmas
I'm Walking Out with a Mountain
Update: SAPRISTI! This one timed-out for inactivity.
Will try and re-up when I get some time. Rapidshare, you great leaping crabs, you!
In the meantime, at least here's a live instant download for...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

GRETA KELLER - She was the Wan

A sweet sorrow will comfort you hearing the voice of Greta Keller (1905-1977). Like viewing a daguerrotype of a beautiful woman, listening to Greta's singing brings a sense of a past that must have been glorious. Too bad you, or she, was born at the wrong time.

Rather than wax melancholic over the wax, discover for yourself the nostalgic niche occupied, perhaps to waning interest, by the interestingly wan Greta Keller. Perhaps it's Keller's lingering German accent that makes her interpretations bittersweet, the tremulous attention she gives toward interpreting the lyrics, or just the aura she presents as a world-weary and aging chanteuse on a dreary tour through smoke-filled nightclubs.

Madame Keller's private life, as her voice suggests, included a variety of traumas. The worst was the murder of her husband David Bacon, apparently while he was patronizing a gay brothel. He was vaguely known at the time for portraying The Masked Marvel in a movie serial. Pregnant at the time of the tragedy, Greta's child arrived stillborn.

In 1940 she opened "Chez Greta" at New York's Algonquin Hotel. Noel Coward, Gertrude Lawrence, Tallulah Bankhead, Greta Garbo, Cole Porter and Maurice Chevalier all toasted her as one of the best. In 1947 she opened a new "Chez Greta" in St. Moritz Switzerland and in 1960 returned to New York for two years at the Waldorf Astoria. She continued to tour the world through the 60's and early 70's, evoking nostalgia and stoking libidos. Her rendition of "Married" can be heard in the 1972 film "Cabaret."

Yes, that's her grave. The floating saucer with Greta's portrait has been added, along with the notes on the grave behind hers. Dietrich was more theatrical, Hildegarde evinced more humor, but the tender Greta Keller has a way with a sad song, and here are some of her most uplifting downers.

These are recordings from the 30's and 40's:

These Foolish Things
I Apologize
Blues In My Heart
All of Me
Just Friends
Did You Mean It?
They Can't Take that Away from Me
Thanks for the Memory
Once in a While
You Leave Me Breathless
So Little Time
Lights Out
Mine Alone
Remember Me
The Very Thought Of You
and even more.
Poignant stuff...and it'll be yours quick-as-Rapidshare. Download Keller...
You Won't Re-gret-a It.

Update: this one died due to Rapidshare's infamous "inactivity" purge in mid-October. But here's one song, at least. Instant gratification and no wait via upload:
They Can't Take That Away From Me (or you)


Martin Briley is often accused of being a misanthrope when not labeled a misogynist. He was always satiric and misunderstood.

Shorthand: cross Moon Martin and Randy Newman. But unlike Moon, Martin's melodies aren't stuck in the 50's. Unlike Randy, Briley has a streamlined (and very British) sense of his own cool.

This song is typical 80's rock, with Briley seeming to compliment his slut-du-jour, all to a frantic masturbatory farfisa-type beat (off). Yeah, yeah, he's the guy in the beret scowling during "You Ain't Worth the Salt in My Tears," one of the first good MTV videos.

On every album (ok, he made 3) there was one viciously up-tempo funny tune. This is from his second album. On his first, the tune was "I Feel like a Milkshake" and it was covered by Peter Tork of The Monkees.

"She has an open mind, she's sweet and kind, but best of all, SHE'S SO FLEXIBLE, she never has to bend to be accessible..."


Sunday, July 09, 2006


"She looked like a swan! So I killed her..."
Think you could get off with that kind of defense? Wait till you hear "Molly Bond."
It's a tragic traditional folk song resuscitated by the Oysterband, longtime Celtic rockers on decades-worth of indie labels.
The story begins with a warning to hunters "that delight in a gun." This hunter made a fatal mistake: "Her apron flew around her. I took her as a swan. And I shot my own darling at the setting of the sun."
"I shot my own darling, and where shall I run?"
What else would he sing after killing a woman thinking she was a huge swan? "Swaneeeee, how I love ya, how I love ya...."
The good news is that a judge might acquit...if the dead woman's ghost visits the courtroom and insists it was all a tragic accident.
Good ol' Celtic spookiness, and a far cry from the more mundane hunting accidents in other songs, such as Johnny Cash's "I Hung My Head."
Ready, aim... DOWNLOAD....or listen on line.


Now nearing 90, and looking the same as he did when he emerged in the late 1950's as cult tv's undead "Cool Ghoul," John Zacherle is a legend. He spliced himself into the old horror movies he was hosting, created a low budget world of support characters (one was pretty much a huge slab of gelatin) and laughed at his own bad horror puns with a cheerful barking yock. He got the cover of "Famous Monsters of Filmland" without making a film (although his records were sold in the back pages), had a novelty hit via "Dinner with Drac" and even covered "Monster Mash." After influencing Vampira, Elvira and dozens of other would-be horror TV hosts he miraculously went from East Coast TV phenom to rock disc jockey on WPLJ in New York. Very cool! That's just the merest thumbnail sketch, because I lost the actual thumb I was typing with! Ha...ha...yock....
Here's a sample of vintage and recent Zach tunes. He may not mean as much if you didn't grow up with him, but let's see if he can put a Sardonicus-grin on the pusses of total strangers.
The lucky 13 download includes "Coolest Little Monster," "Sure Sign of Spring," "Transylvania PTA," "Graverobbing Tonight," "Formaldehyde" and even a cover of Tom Petty's "Zombie Zoo."
"Foam at the mouth via your RABIDshare download, my dear. Ha ha...."