Tuesday, May 29, 2007

ILLFOLKS MASHES SIFAKAS & KEANE




The mournful strains of Tom Chaplin (Keane's lead singer) had me thinking about the sifaka, who also wails what could be a cry for help or just a mating call. I thought it might be interesting to add sifakas and other lemurs to Keane's best loved song.
The idea wasn't to be funny or disrespectful, it was just an experiment in sound.
"Sifaka" is pronounced with a "sh' and without the "a" as: "SHI-FOCK" (especially by William Hung). Madagascar natives gave the creature its name based on one of the animal's shouts.
All the percussive accents on "Everybody Changes" are real animal calls. Aye aye! (Yes, the sound of the exotic aye-aye is in there, too.)
If you download just ONE song today...this really shouldn't be it.

EVERYBODY CHANGES INTO LEMURS Instant Download or Listen on Line.

MAY 29th: GARY BROOKER TURNS 62


On this day, at Hackney Hospital, 230 Homerton High Street, a whiter shade of pale emerged into the world. The Brookers named him Gary. A few decades later, he was known for a smash hit song that began, "We skipped the light fandango..." and after four decades, well, that's still what he's known for.

But Gary Brooker has done much more.

He's written the music(lyrics by Keith Reid) to some of the greatest R&B, Blues and Classical rock songs ever recorded, ranging from the crunching "Simple Sister" to the exotic "Conquistador" to the ambitious "Grand Hotel." He's been welcomed into Ringo Starr's All-Star Band and Bill Wyman's "Poor Boys," played on Eric Clapton albums and sung "Limelight" with the Alan Parsons Project. He's issued four solo albums (the first produced by George Martin). He's also been in movies from Madonna's "Evita" to the George Harrison Tribute (singing "Old Brown Shoe"). He began his career as lead singer of The Paramounts and is, of course, the enduring voice of Procol Harum.


Procol's next single after their "A Whiter Shade of Pale" debut, was "Homburg." While it didn't became a worldwide hit, it has fascinating lyrics (Gary once declared the song was about anti-semitism) and a typically melancholy yet heroic melody. Here's a version of it as performed live in Hamburg in 2003.
HOMBURG in HAMBURG 2003
And here's a full Procol Harum concert from HELL, Norway!
Live
Procol Concert

ROSTROPOVICH , A CELLIST WITH PLUCK


He didn't just play the cello. Mstislav Rostropovich crusaded for human rights, was a supporter of Soviet-era dissidents, and lived to play his soaring music at the crumbling Berlin Wall. It was a moment of profound musical and political history.
The maestro (who earned praise as a conductor as well as a cellist) lived in Paris, but when his intestinal cancer was beyond hope of a cure, he was allowed to return home to Russia. And if you've given up hope and are about to die, Russia's the place for it.
On February 6th, the musician was visited in the hospital by Vladimir Putin, who never quite made it to the bedside of Alexander Litvinenko. And, unusual for anyone getting a Putin visit, Rostropovich actually improved enough to publicly mark his 80th birthday on March 27th.
"I feel myself the happiest man in the world," he told his admirers. "I will be even more happy if this evening will be pleasant for you." He died a month later, April 27th, 2007.
While I probably have more albums by Jacqueline Du Pre and Ofra Harnoy (the latter due to horny album covers) "Slava" (as his friends called him) was, by pretty much unanimous decree, the heir to Pablo Casals. If you heard his cello on a particular piece of music, it could make you weep. And if you had his cello on a particular piece of your foot, it could make you cry out loud.
Bach's cello suites were divided into five or six parts (uh, sort of like tracks on an album) and might include a bouree (you'll remember the term from your Jethro Tull albums) or a prelude (you'll remember the term from having taken 'ludes). Your sample is the gigue from Cello Suite #5 In C Minor.
This is just the Illfolks way of saying, "We'll miss you, Slava."

GIGUE Instant Download or Listen on Line.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

THE COCKROACH THAT ATE CINCINNATI



By request posted in the comments (of the butt song compilation!) here's the classic bug-a-boo novelty by Rose and the Arrangements. Since Jerry Springer was once the mayor of Cincinnati, he's in charge of trying to save the town. In other words, Ill Folks didn't have a lotta time to ambitiously Photoshop a roach chomping the Fifth Third Bank Building like it was a Snickers bar.
Please, Roach, don't go crawling over to West 6th street...spare the ZaZou Grill & Pub!

The Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati

19 BUTT SONGS


Paul Simon: "Write a song about the moon."
(Yes, click the photo and it gets BIGGER).
If you're behind on tushy tunes, then download this, and you'll be rear-ended with all kinds of spanking hot hits. It's ass good ass it gets.
The earliest number here is "The Biggest Aspidistra in the World," which was considered quite naughty 70 years ago, even when done by "Our Gracie" Fields. Also vintage, is "Everybody Loves My Fanny" by little Benny Bell, who also wrote many a freilach. In fact, he was so well known for klezmer-type music that he had to give up the smut. His Orthodox Jewish audience strongly disapproved when they asked for Benny Bell tunes at the local store and saw some risque titles! Yes, that includes his Dr. Demento classic "Shaving Cream."
As always, in the interest of broadening your musical education, all styles of music are included here. There's country, prog-rock, techno-disco and of course some rude rap via 2 Live Crew, Sir Mix-A-Lot, the Lords of Acid, and the appropriately named Juvenile. Pick your favorite ass stuff, and flush the rest.

1. Fat Bottomed Girls (pro version)
2. Fat Bottomed Girls (American Idol version)
3. Thong Song (female remix)
4. Thong Song (beautifully mashed with "Billie Jean")
5. Please Don't Wear That Thong (novelty)
6. I Like Big Butts
7. I Like Small Butts (novelty)
8. Spank My Booty
9. Back That Ass Up
10. Face Down Ass Up
11. Shake That Ass, Bitch
12. Put Your Ass In the Air (techno-disco)
13. Girl You Stank, Wash Your Ass
14. She's Got a Butt Bigger... (country)
15. Rectum of Edmund Fitzgerald (Lightfoot parody)
16. Everybody Wants My Fanny (novelty)
17. Bertha Butt Boogie (novelty)
18. Fuckin' In the Butt (country)
19. The Biggest Aspidistra In the World
Assuming You Want To... 19 BUTT SONGS

Harry Chapin Parody: CATS IN THE KETTLE


Harry Chapin wrote good songs. Chinese food is safe 'n tasty. Cats are great.
So why do a parody about 'em? Oh, why not. Manic Larry Baker's "Cats in the Kettle" is short and sweet (and sour). A little tasteless, a little un-PC, but it doesn't really harm Harry, cats, or the reputation of Chinese kitchens.
With novelty songs, often taped off the radio or just tossed on P2P sites, the credit gets lost, or worse, ends up tagged as Weird Al Yankovic or Anonymous. The song was written by Aaron Wilburn and performed by "Manic Larry Baker."
YOUR TAKE-OUT ORDER. Instant download. No code words or porn ads.

BATMAN MEDLEY


HOLY BAT-MEDLEY! AN ILLFOLKS 6-MINUTE MONTAGE

During the brief, but (CRASH, POW) frantic "Batmania" craze, cash-in novelty tunes drove fans batty.
Bearing in mind that a novelty tune can lose it's novelty even halfway through, here's an Ill folks montage that gives you a smooth sampling of: Adam West's overly bouncy "Miranda," a bit of Burgess "The Penguin" Meredith in a musical narration about his nemesis, and then Jan and Dean who washed up onto shore for "The Joker is Wild." It segues into the real Joker in a bit of dialogue from the show.
This bops and echoes into Cesar Romero seriously giving a "Thought for Today."
Holy Attention Deficit Disorder! See if you can last the six minutes! Not "seven minutes." You know what Irving Wallace figured was a much better way of spending seven minutes.
Batty Ill folks! Instant download or listen on line. Bat-fan montage!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

MARLENE DIETRICH BLOWIN' FOR BOB DYLAN


Look at the pix (most every photo on the blog will enlarge and open in a new window if you click it) and see the similarities between the icons. I con only imagine what Bob's reaction was, when the first of the three Marlenas (Jakob counted up all of them) sang his song. Here, plucked from the blind eye of an indifferent past, converted from the original vinyl by ILLFOLKS, is the forgotten moment that melded woman and man, German and Jew, movie star and rock star. Why don't more people know about this version? The answer, my friend...

BLOWIN' IN DIE VIND No porn ads. No code games. Instant download or listen on line.

ZOLA DIES...another flattened Platter


Halle Berry played her in a movie. But you didn't see it, did you? You also don't remember her singing any hits for The Platters. And admit it, up till this moment you had no idea who Zola Taylor is or was.
Sadder than Zola's obscure death last week is the slim number of tunes where you can hear her sing lead. On most of the greatest hits The Platters recorded, you might not even realize they were a quintet and not a quartet, and a female was among them. "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," "Only You," "The Great Pretender," "Magic Touch" and "Twilight Time" all featured a male lead. "He's Mine," offered below, was one of the very few rockin' numbers with Zola singing lead, and...no...with a Miss, the Platters didn't have a hit.
The song's a good example of Zola's capabilities, and if she'd been in a different group, and had different material, her death may have been bigger news.
If you think she sounds a bit like an energetic Frankie Lymon, then you might as well see the 1998 movie "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" in which three women (including Halle as Zola) claim to have married him and deserve his estate. Obviously Zola was one of the women who failed to impress a judge with her claim.
With Zola gone, only one member of The Platters survives.
ZOLA He's MINE No porn ads. No code games. Instant download or listen on line.

FAREWELL to Nova Scotia, Already!




You get TWELVE versions of "Farewell to Nova Scotia." That's a long goodbye!
The singer mentions three brothers are already dead but, it's off to war, singing... "Farewell to Nova Scotia, you sea-bound coast! Let your mountains dark and dreary be!"
And it leaves you wondering...
When was Nova Scotia at war? Did they have a Lox vs Salmon battle with Israel? Did they cross the sea to fight, uh, Old Scotia?
As usual with many folk songs on this continent, the origins are actually to be found in the United Kingdom. The original poem, "The Soldier's Adieu" dates from 1808, and was written by Scotland's Robert Tannahill. In part:


I grieve to leave my comrades dear,
I mourn to leave my native shore,
To leave my aged parents here,
And the bonnie lass whom I adore....

The trumpet calls to War's alarms,
The rattling drum forbids my stay;
Ah! Nancy, bless thy soldier's arms,
For ere morn I will be far away.

Adieu! dear Scotland's sea-beat coast!
Ye misty vales and mountains blue!
When on the heaving ocean tost,
I'll cast a wishful look to you.


Apparently when Canada took part in World War I, this old folk song was re-written by some Scottish immigrants now going off to join the Allies in Europe. Or, with the fishing industry quite dangerous, Nova Scotia fishermen simply adapted the song as a heroic ballad that applied to anyone shoving off on a leaky boat.
In 1933 folklorist Dr. Helen Creighton collected it, and placed it in an anthology, but as "The Nova Scotia Song" it languished until the folk boom of the late 50's. By the 60's, when war protesters tended to flea to Canada rather than fight, Catherine McKinnon's version became a standard. (Aye, women's liberation...she sings in the first person and war's now an equal opportunity!) It's been recorded dozens of times since, elevating the dutiful Canadian sailor to legendary status.
Your download has the Irish Rovers, Stomping Tom, the Wicked Tinkers and other gobs, salts and worthies, but some unexpected versions, like the lilting dirge from the grand Rita McNeil, and an alarming version by a ghostly 13 year-old girl who sounds like she didn't survive the Wreck of the Hesperus.

As far as war songs go, this is one of the few that balances patriotism with fear, and a willingness to fight with a sense of dread. While the opening line mentions birds are singing on every tree, the singer realizes "there's no rest for me." He leaves behind the ominous site of mountains, and "grieves to leave" parents, friends and a lover. The odds of living aren't that great: "I had three brothers, and they're at rest. Their arms are folded on their chests." But this "poor simple sailor" has no choice but to be brave and wonder if it's all worth it; "Will you ever heave a sigh and a wish for me?"
The music is based on "Good Night and Joy Be With Ye" which appeared in the old book "Gow's Repository of the Dance Music of Scotland." That might explain why the tune doesn't quite match the grim lyrics. Most singers create a lively, optimistic jig of a hazardous mission.
Nova Scotia is a great tourist town and anyone visiting is not going to be saying "Farewell" without having heard somebody singing this song in a pub, tavern, or on the Bay of Fundy.

12 Times! FAREWELL TO NOVA SCOTIA, ALREADY!
UPDATE: this one died due to lack of interest. So...what more futile an idea could there be than re-up? Especially with Rapidshare? Up again, July 2008. If it dies, that'll be it. Farewell!
NEW:
12 Times! FAREWELL TO NOVA SCOTIA, RE-UPPED to a better and more patient service