Friday, August 29, 2008

BOOBS - The Bob Dildyn Theme Hour

Bouncing back with yet another hour of amusing musing and music, the reclusive Bob Dildyn has a fresh podcast, and it's about BOOBS.
If you've heard the previous volumes, on CUNT and SHIT, then you know what to expect. This show's a bit lighter than the others, with Bob in a more buoyant mood. The topic of tits inspires enthusiasm...especially when the special guest is JOAN BAEZ.
Sort of. The Baez interview, like previous ones with Leonard Cohen, Madonna and Paul Simon seems to involve splicing the celeb's voice to answer unlikely questions. Ms. Baez, you didn't really say such rude things...did you?
It's hard to keep track of the titles...some are full tracks, a few are excerpts, but definitely in the mix are: My Boobs are OK, Itty Bitty Titties, Titties and Beer, Ass and Titties, Bounce Your Boobies, Mama's Got Her Boobs Out, Knockers Up and Boobs.
Plus some guy lecturing about breastfeeding, a Britney Spears parody "Make My Boobies One More Size," a milk commercial from The Cowsills, and the Bob Dildyn original lyric "Double D Cup Hooters" (the melody seems suspiciously similar to one from the original Bob).

And the girl in the photos? Why, Adriana Lima, of course, who starred with Dylan in that infamous Victoria's Secret commercial a few years ago.
PS, look for Bob Dylan "Tell Tale Signs Bootleg 8" in stores and on line next month. If there's any similarity to the hours from Bob Dildyn, it's that the collection is a confusing hodge-podge of released, unreleased and live tracks put together in a way that only makes sense to Bob himself.
BOOBS (PART ONE, Half hour)
BOOBS (PART TWO, Half hour)
Not a Bob Dylan Theme Hour...a big bold podcast from BOB DILDYN.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Babes Sing IN FRENCH!

Here's a lot of French-singing ladies from Canada, France and Europe. It's a pretty smooth and lush collection. No distracting ye-ye girls, no punque babes, not even the gurgling trill of's mostly an assortment of oddities and lovely obscurities. And most all qualify for the illfolks blog because they may be hugely famous in French-speaking nations, but are mostly unknown to English-speakers. All will sound fine, however, played through Japanese speakers, German speakers, or whatever your set-up happens to be...

1. Carole Laure. Nyuk, a Canuck. "Save The Last Dance for Me" in French. This sexy actress began recording in the 70's, so her albums aren't ancient volumes of forgotten Laure.
2. Francine Laine. Not named after Frankie. Have you ever had a French girl talking urgently and emotionally to you? Me neither. This may fulfill your fantasies: "Moi Sensuelle." Your imagination may be better than the real lyrics.
3. Annie Villeneuve. "Tomber a l'eau." I was drawn to any song with "Tomber" in it, till I learned it has nothing to do with tombs. Catchy power pop from a Canadian who'll make you want to go over the border.
4. Julie. Why go by one name? It makes an Internet search impossible. I found this on a compilation lp of French hits. "Maria Magdalene" may be a religious tune but it has a nice bossa nova rhythm to it. It also has a timeless quality. Meaning, I don't know when it was recorded.
5. Marie LaForet. "Marie Douceur (Paint it Black)." In the 60's she was a stunner, the kind you'd buy just for the album cover. And yes, she could sing, too.
6. Nicole Rieu. "Have You Never Been Mellow" in French? "Me Maison Au Bord de L'eau"
7. Dalida sang in many languages, often in French. The selected tune, a polished Abba-esque commercial pop piece, will get you bouncing your baguette. The song is "Mourir su scene." I was surprised at how catchy-happy the song was, since I thought "Mourir" might have to do with mourning, or being morbid in some way. OK, she died too young; that's morbid.
8. Jane Birkin. "Le Sex Shop." She joins Serge Gainsbourg again. You know their more obvious and orgasmic hit single (which is on the blog in the Bardot version, elsewhere). This one ended a film's humorous if slightly melancholy look at a guy's brief entry into the skin trade.
9. Zizi Jeanmaire. A legendary old broad. This is a Serge Gainsbourg song nastily called "Merde a l'amour," and it's sung in a vaudevillian way. You can just imagine the visual, a cakewalk on a street full of dog poop. Or am I romanticizing?
10. Maurane. No, that isn't a weather forecast, that's this Belgium star's name. "Prelude de Bach" takes the familiar tune into lush territory (ie, a saloon where you'll drink and sob imagining your own sad translation).
11. Monique Gaube. "To Sir With Love" in French. You'd take a French lesson from this teacher.
12. Christien Pilzer. "Dracula." This was 40 years ago. Why she was singing about le vampire is probably a buried secret by now.
13. France Gall. "Resiste." Do you have the gall to resist a woman who is such a credit to France?
14. Veronique Sanson. "Longue Distance." Like Carly or Joni was here in the 70's and 80's, Vero was a superstar in France during those decades, and is still a legend. Her great melodies were spiced with Island rhythms at times. In America she's vaguely known as "wasn't she married to Stephen Stills? Mom of Chris?"
15. Sandrine Kiberlain. "Le quotid." This heartbreaker also starred in the cult film "Monsieur Hire" as, what else, a heartbreaker. The film's moody, erotic and depressing. Her songs are mostly erotic.
16. Mylene Farmer. "L'amour n'est rien." She took her last name as an homage to Frances Farmer. She's written a song about Edgar A. Poe. Her videos are strange, erotic, and often gothic. I could write endlessly about her, with a pen dipped in blood. She's sometimes foolishly called "the Madonna of France" for her popularity, outrage, and flirtations with dance music.
17. Francoise Hardy. "Tant de belles choses." The trifecta of French pop superstars
would be Francoise, Veronique and Mylene over the past 40 years. They overlap, and if you're listening or watching them, you'd overlap, too.
18. Julie Zenatti. "Toutes Les Couleurs." We end with some sweet French pastry.

Various ladies could be here, including Lara Fabian, Zazie, Nathalie Cordonne, Alizee, the duo of Lily Margot, Vanessa Paradis, etc. C'est la vie.

That's FRENCH! Via Rapidshare

UPDATE: Sorry, Rapidshare scuttled this because it hadn't been downloaded in 60 days. It was re-upped once, but not a second time. Zut!

Still available: the sprightly Dalida pop tune:
Instant Download or listen on line.

Carry a Torch...with Julie London

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").
We turn to Julie London for songs of ill-met star-crossed love, despair, loneliness, anger, and lovelorn lust. 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

12 "HIGHWAYMAN" Robbery Songs

The image of "The Highwayman" is romantic, largely because of the Alfred Noyes poem (most sucessfully mated to music by Phil Ochs). In reality, most highwaymen were just robbing hoods. Anyone riding by was "fair game" to them, and that led to the formation of the Horse Patrol in 1805.
The year before, William Brennan was hanged. The Irish highwayman is still one of the most famous of his profession, a romantic figure before the arrival of his rivals Jesse James in America, or Ned Kelly in Australia.
Brennan may have been one of the few to practice "sharity," since the earliest broadside ballads about him (circa the 1820's) paint him as a hero, a rebel targeting British nobility and the RIAA (Royal Idiots and Aristocrats). "He robbed from the rich, and gave it to the poor," is a line from "Brennan on the Moor."
When the actual Brennan died, it was without much fanfare or notoriety...or a catchy melody. As the song about him grew in popularity over the years, few could actually state where he was born (probably Kilmurry) or why he became an outlaw. Some said that he joined the army where he rebelled against its discipline and deserted. Others said he was already a crook and stole a watch from a foppish officer and had to flee after the crime was discovered.
It's up to the Clancy Brothers to give an authentic, and brief version of "Brennan on the Moor." Other versions go on for stanza after stanza, filled with his exploits.

Also here, in two versions (one male, one female) is "The Newry Highwayman." The other highwaymen are not named, but their personalities, exploits and attitudes are vividly brought to musical life by: Blue Cheer, the Brotherhood of Man and Tinsley Ellis.
The choice here for a musical setting of the Noyes poem is not the least bit noisy; it's Loreena McKennitt. She's not the only blonde on the bill, though. You also get "The Highwayman" as sung and described by Stevie Nicks. And yes, that odd song about reincarnation, whether it's a criminal or a damn builder, is on this download too, "The Highwayman" by Jimmy Webb and performed by The Highwaymen.
One of the most famous phrases in all of crime belongs to the highwayman: "Stand and Deliver!" That bold demand yields two very different songs, one from Wishbone Ash and the other from Adam Ant.
It would've been an unlucky 13 to include "Dennis Moore," the Monty Python song about the man who stole from the rich...but largely confined himself to pilfering lupins. "Lupins??"
Stand & Deliver! 12 Highwayman Songs Folder

Saturday, August 09, 2008


You get 9 versions of it.
It's a song you know pretty well.
Even if you don't know what it's about!
Most people figure it's some kind of protest song.
Maybe a cheer about a home town.
Something to do with a type of dance?
Take a few guesses, and read on.
One thing most everyone agrees on, is that if you hear it too often, it's one of the most annoying songs of all times, especially as sung by white idiots who want the vicarious thrill of doing something Latino without getting an infection.
The worst of the 9 versions here is just such an example, as the usually tasteful Pete Seeger (sometimes credited as co-author) offers a most enthusiastically rotten rendition, with ludicrous over-pronunciations which include stereotypical Latino high-pitched ha-ha's and enough gutteral emphasis to hurl loogies out to the back row. It's enough to make you reach for the Alka-Salsa.
Ironically a black version might well be worse than this white one, thanks to the obnoxious rap of Wyclef Jean. Laconic, sullenly cool rhyme-dictionary dribblings about some Hispanic piece of ass bump and grind all over a torpid version of the actual tune. At least the rap part makes it somewhat clear what the song is about.
It's about a chick.
The song is actually no more profound than "The Girl from Ipanema."
José Fernández wrote his first set of lyrics about a girl from Guantanamo (a "Guantanamera") back in 1929. It was just your typical, "That girl's hot, she could care less about me" deal, and later, a chorus was added to it, which is where all the idiots in the room shout "Guajira Guantanamera," like they're about to kill somebody. All they're really doing is admiring how the woman moves. "Guajira" is a Cuban rhythm. Herminio Garcia wrote the chorus but never got a co-write credit, having pushed it all the way to the Cuban Supreme Court in 1993. Sometimes the song is co-credited to Pete Seeger, instead. He did popularize and arrange it for American audiences.
And no credit to Jose Marti, whose poem was used for the lyrics. Here's the translation for "Guantanamera," which is basically just as overbaked and pretentious as any similar plaint from Neil Diamond:
"I am a sincere man from where the palm tree grows. And before dying I want
to share the verses of my soul. My verse is light green and it is flaming crimson. My verse is a wounded deer who seeks refuge on the mountain..."
Yeah, get over it, amigo. The chick could care less.
"And for the cruel one who would tear out this heart with which I live. I do not cultivate nettles nor thistles. I cultivate a white rose."
There's something vaguely political and typically Cuban about the last stanza: "With the poor people of the earth I want to share my fate. The brook of the mountains gives me more pleasure than the sea."
Not some kind of political freedom rant, or a call to join and fight the good fight, it's just about a girl from Gitmo who is saying no. Almost as disappointing as when you learned that "La Cucaracha" was about a cockroach, and "La Bamba" was just babble nonsense to dance to.
Your download? There's a live performance from Pete Seeger in front of a mostly Latino audience. To Pete's credit, los hombres seem flattered by Seeger's outrageous accent. Perhaps they were glad he at least tried; the other folkie on the bill, ill folks legend Phil Ochs, demurred from singing in Spanish and offered instead his sincere "Bracero" in English. Plus: Los Lobos, Jose Feliciano, Joan Baez, Celia Cruz, Perez Prado, Nana Mouskouri, an instrumental from the London All Stars Steel Orchestra, and a bizarre Latino-rap thing from Wyclef Jean, who has a chorus singing the real lyrics while he embellishes things with oh-so-cool rap. He remembers a chick: "Yo...I axed her what's her name she said Guantanamera, remind me of a ol' Latin song my uncle used to play on a 45 when he used ta be alive..." Nice. "Mulatto, shook her hips like Delgado...hey yo standin' at da bar wid a Cuban cigar..."


"Hasta Siempre" CHE GUEVARA

Over the years, while idiot girl scouts, overenthused folkies, and other sweaty detritus were shouting "Guantanemera" at cozy suburban hootenannies, or jumping up and down while Ritchie Valens sang "La Bamba," others were somberly listening to "Hasta Siempre," a song about Che Guevara, who in 1967 was executed in Bolivia. In the past 40 years it's had many cover versions. Cuban songwriter Carlos Puebla's song was always big in Latin countries, but probably the song didn't get much attention in Europe until Nathalie Cardone's 1999 version (complete with rock video). She recently issued a new take on it, which was issued on a CD as a bonus track to her first single in nine years, "Yo Soy Rebelde." A 2003 version by the Buena Vista Social Club removed Fidel Castro from the last line, changing "Y con Fidel" to "Y con Cuba."
While history now presents a view of Che and a view of Fidel that is less than glamorous, among many it's still very hip and cool to think of Guevara as that darkly handsome revolutionary who, if he did anything wrong, did it for the right reasons. The song literally translates as "Until Always," an idiomatic way of saying "now and forever." Basically the lyrics are mundane platitudes of devotion, but the strong minor key melody gives it power:
"We learned to love...Commandante Che Guevara...Your glorious and strong hand fires at history...You come burning the winds with spring suns to plant your flag with the light of your smile. Your revolutionary love leads you to a new undertaking where they are awaiting the firmness of your liberating arm. We will carry on as we did along with you. And with Fidel we say to you: Until Always, Commandante!"
You get five versions of "Hasta Siempre." There's Oscar Chavez, Francesco Guccini & Nomadi, Soledad Bravo, Nathalie Cardone and Victor Jara. The last two names may be familar to you. The song was on Cardone's only album (1999) which was produced by Laurent Boutonnat, best known for his work with Mylene Farmer. And Victor Jara was the famous folk singer and martyr from Chile, a beloved compatriot of Phil Ochs (for whom this blog is obscurely named) who was tortured and killed for performing one protest song too many.

Para Comprender...LA BAMBA

A catchy dance tune, and a racial stereotype for those who think Mexicans are loud and babbling and prone to screaming "arriba" and other strange words, "La Bamba" was a big hit as sung by Ritchie Valens (Valenzuela), who had a shortened name and a shortened life, dying in the infamous February 3, 1959 plane crash that took away Buddy Holly and "Big Bopper" J.P. Richardson.
Ritchie's slurred-up raved-up delivery of the lyrics didn't exactly help the average kid taking Spanish 101 understand what the hell he was singing, but lyrics to a dance tune aren't too important. A loose translation: "If you want to dance La Bamba, you gotta be a little 'crazy.'" Or wild. The rest of the lines are pretty much "get up, get going" and do it "faster." At one point he sings "I'm not a sailor, I'm a captain."
Now that usted comprende las palabras de "La Bamba," it's time to hear Valens and three different cover versions. There's Las Lobos for a fresh stereo take, The Chipmunks to accentuate how incomprehensible the words are, and a live version from Belle Perez, who not only presents the femme side, but is the only one who actually sings the words clearly.
So go ahead, do "La Bamba" (the song, not that guy in Conan O'Brien's band). Come to think of it, this is one of the rare dance tunes that didn't give a clue on how to dance. Some songs were nothing BUT instructions ("Ballin' the Jack") and other songs, if you didn't know how to do the twist, mashed potato, Freddie or swim, the singer would tell you or everyone in the room would be doing the same thing. Just how you properly do "la bamba," is a question maybe only Elaine Benes could answer.

HAZARD: Pancreatic Cancer stops Escalator of Life

He was born Robert Rimato, not Robert Hazard, was most famous for a song he didn't sing, and instead of a promising "New Wave" RCA artist he ended up an indie troubador playing C&W in small clubs. A strange, interesting life he had...and there were hints it was going to end too soon.
On Robert's "My Space" page he wrote: "A heartfelt thank you to all my fans and friends who have been so supportive to my music and the direction I have taken over the past few years. I have been truly blessed as a performer and a songwriter to have you with me on this wonderful journey. Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances beyond my control I have been forced to cancel the rest of my summer tour schedule. We will pick up again in the Fall."
He was optimistic about his chances, but he died August 5th after surgery for pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer seems to be one hell of a popular killer these days. It's fast and it's usual lethal.
I met Robert Hazard back in his new wave days, and ironically I didn't think he'd be big because he had a kind of Lyle Lovett appearance, well before Lyle made it popular. Though publicity pix made him seem fairly dangerous, he was tall, rangy, with kind of wild hair and a long nose, more an awkward Lovett than the combo of David Bowie and Joe Jackson that his label hoped he'd be (and which you can hear on his semi-hit "Escalator of Life.") That song was quirky, with its simultaneous embrace of disco, the deliberately strained vocals, and a simultaneous disdain for trendy idiot acolytes (a nice put-down of jeans-legend Gloria Vanderbilt in the midst of the echo chamber yips). But...he followed it with an indifferent album "Wings of Fire" in 1984. He disappeared, while a certain song he penned, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," became Cyndi Lauper's big hit.
“The royalties from ‘Girls’ allowed me to survive. In the ‘90s I had a band called The Hombres, but we never recorded.” Lucky in a way, Hazard had his hit in the pre-download era, so he actually did see decent royalties coming in. Even so, he and his wife had a day job, running an antiques store.
The quiet life changed around the turn of the century, when Hazard started performing as a singer-songwriter. If anything, the rural New York environment, certainly upstate in Woodstock and Saugerties, was friendly to "older" performers, from Levon Helm to Eric Anderson, and Robert found himself recording indie country albums: The Seventh Lake (2003) and Blue Mountain (2004). The latter, typical for a fairly unknown C&W artist, was made on a frugal budget: "“I made that for about $1.98. Everything was one take. The songs were written, I laid ‘em down and it was done.”
You can hear his change from New Wave Bowie to another country-tinged singer-songwriter on the road, via the two downloads, "Escalator of Life" from his first ep, and "Blood on my Hands" from his last album, last year's "Troubador."
Robert was setting up tour-dates for the Fall, anticipating a few months of recuperation, and then a return to those low-paying gigs that really test a musician's stamina and desire.
October 4, 2008 - DELMARVA FOLK FESTIVAL - Clayton, Delaware
October 24, 2008 - BURLAP AND BEAN COFFEE - Newtown Square, Pennsylvania
October 31, 2008 - TIN ANGEL - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
November 1, 2008 - HURDY GURDY FOLK MUSIC CLUB - Fairlawn, New Jersey
November, 7 2008 - BARNSTORMERS THEATRE- Ridley Park, Pennsylvania
Those dates will never happen. Somebody else will be singing in those venues on those nights. Somebody who most likely will hawk an indie CD after the show, sigh about shitty mp3 sales on eMusic, and pray that one song breaks through on the radio like "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," so that making music for a living could be less of a struggle and a little more fun.