Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ill-Ustrated Songs #13 Tiptoe to the Gas Pumps


Once upon a time, there was a gas shortage.
There were long lines, rationing, and nobody to cheer us up except Tiny Tim! He issued a single, even though vinyl is made from fossil fuel, and tried his plucky best to get the creepy sheiks and the manipulative oil companies to give us all a break.
Alas, there is no Tiny Tim to help us today. And gas prices continue to soar. No Tiny Tim and high gas prices. What a world, what a world.
Yes, like most everyone else, I can say that I did meet Tiny Tim, and he was indeed a kindly and pleasant fellow. Sincere but not "on" when he wasn't working, when I told him that I actually bought a copy of "Bring Back Those Rockabye Baby Days," he was flattered but didn't blow kisses. He was, after all, not quite the same guy you saw on "The Tonight Show" in real life.
Today there's plenty of gas...you don't have to tiptoe to the pumps. But you might crawl from the ATM having to withdraw so much to pay for it.

TIP TOE TO THE GAS PUMPS Listen on line or free download. No pop ups, code words or loser ads for dating services or pheromone sprays.

A Dozen ANGELS OF THE MORNING


When premarital sex was still a very troubling "sin," this tune turned up, just a hot skip and a hump away from "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow." Progress: THIS girl thinks she can have a devilishly good time all night and still be an "angel of the morning."
Especially since a man wrote this: Chip Taylor, offering an alibi for chippies.
Saintly martyr Merilee's Rush to judge her one-night-stand:
"There's no need to take a stand for it was I who chose to start. I see no reason to take me home. I'm old enough to face the dawn...Just call me angel of the morning...Then slowly turn away from me."
Even Humphrey Bogart couldn't follow that instruction without busting a gut laughing. "You're good, angel, very good. Now I'll slowly turn away, and you can leave...and I'll change the sheets..."
More from this sanctimonious slut:
"If morning's echo says we've sinned. Well, it was what I wanted now. And if we're victims of the night. I won't be blinded by the light. Just call me angel of the morning."
Can I just call you a cab and sleep an extra hour?

"A pretty dirge, is like a melody..." Share a load with:
Chrissie Hynde
Merilee Rush (original and re-make)
Joya Landis
Barbara Jones
Skeeter Davis
P.P. Arnold
Shaggy
Juice Newton, etc. etc.
The song ends with this:
"I wont beg you stay with me. Through the tears! Of the days! Of the years!"
OK, bitch, bye!
Get lucky. Download the ANGELS

Update November 2011: A few songs have been re-upped individually. Percy Faith wasn't in the original download:

NINA SIMONE
PERCY FAITH

25 versions of Windmills of Your Mind

Ever have a tune keep playing over and over in your brain?
That's 'cause...there are WINDMILLS in your mind. Really. And they respond especially well to catchy kitsch.
Seemingly put together as a homework assignment for Similes 101, "Windmills of Your Mind" offered spooky psychedelia via the French version of Mancini, Mr. Michel Legrand, and English words supplied by middle-aged hack lyricists Alan & Marilyn Bergman. They toss snowballs down a mountain and think the world is "like an apple whirling silently in space."


First line sets our theme:
ROUND.
The lyrics get so numbing Jazz singer Carmen Lundy mistakenly sings of a "clock whose hands are SLEEPING" past the minutes of its face.
The song seems to be saying that as endless as the world is, life isn't and love isn't.
Actual lyric variation: you have a choice of "when you knew that it was over you were suddenly aware that the autumn leaves were turning to the color of her hair," OR, "when you knew that it was over in the autumn of goodbyes, for the moment you could not recall the color of his eyes." The latter is represented here by Ms Lefeber.
Years ago, comedian Frank Fay made a living satirizing the lyrics of pop tunes like "Tea for Two." It's a cruel trick. A cheap trick. So we'll surrender any further impulse to insult a song that keeps saying "like" over and over, and mentioning "things that are round" like a bad game of $25,000 Pyramid.
Fact is, the song's circles and spirals and wheels are kind of mesmerizing, they are "words that jangle in your head" (a nod to Bob's Tambourine Man perhaps). Like some Dylan tunes, notably "Lenny Bruce," there are some good lines jammed against bad ones. In Bob's case, in that song, it was "they stamped him and they labeled him, like they do with pants and shirts" followed by the good "he fought a war on a battlefield where every victory hurts." Here, a cliche about lovers leaving footprints in the sand is followed by: "Is the sound of distant drumming just the fingers of your hand?" Not too shabby. There are also some effective and eerie images: "Like a tunnel that you follow to a tunnel of its own..." or "Like a door that keeps revolving in a half-forgotten dream." Like, you gotta like that.
Like, listen for yourself. Over and over.

You get 25 different versions (five are French, known as Les Moulins de mon Coeur) including Legrand, Frida Boccara, Dorothy Ashby, Mathilde Santing, Paul Muriat, James Galway and of special interest, the top 10:
1. Psychedelic and slow: Vanilla Fudge
2. Eerie border colic: Baja Marimba Band
3. Oliver Twists: Trinity Boys Choir
4. Disco Dizziness: Sally Anne Marsh
5. A gargle of goo: Jim Nabors
6. Swanky swinging: Judith Lefeber
7. Vintage French Fluff: Vicky Leandros
8. Scat with Scuffy Grapelli-style Violin: Carmen Lundy
9. Accapella Angst: The Lettermen
10. How Elton Might've Done It: Jose Feliciano

Go Dutch: Here's the WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ill-Ustrated Songs #12 LAURIE/STRANGE THINGS HAPPEN - Dickey Lee



Here's one of the great teen-death songs, a campfire horror tale set to music. Unusual for any Top 40 hit, this was one continuous story, evolving through three minutes to the punchline. Like any good anecdote, it was fun to re-tell, or to hear again and again.

It's similar to "One Step Beyond" anecdotes...like the one about the girl who is scared a maniac is on the loose, asks her boyfriend to go outside and investigate...and then is petrified by a scratching noise at her front door. When it finally stops, she cautiously opens the door...to see her boyfriend with an ax in his head, his fingernail worn out from trying to scratch at the door for help.
Or...variations on "Just Beyond the Cemetery," (told by Boris Karloff on "Tales of the Frightened,") in which a motorist is helped by a girl who then vanishes as if she was a ghost. The idea with horror quickies is to leave the listener momentarily shaken, if not stirred.
Dickey Lee "told it" well, his adenoids at just the right level of innocence and cringe. It's hard not to sound dorky while singing the word "sweater," and his song's character is quite a sympathetic fool, missing obvious clues ("an angel of a girl.")
Dickey Lipscomb (born September 21, 1936 in Memphis) had a regional hit in 1957 called "Dream Boy" on the Tampa label. In 1962 he ironically covered "Tell Laura I Love Her" on the album "Patches" (as if THAT suicide song wasn't enough). In May, 1965 "Laurie" peaked at #14 and led to another album...this one larded with cover-songs with girls' names in them: Nadine, Marie, Annie, Gina, etc. Dickey vanished, then reappeared on RCA with seven C&W albums (1971-76). Dickey's biggest hit was a song he wrote for George Jones: “She Thinks I Still Care." More recently (ok, ten years ago) he co-wrote the Tracy Byrd hit "Keeper of the Stars."
Lastly from Mr. Lee: "My advice to any would be songwriters: If you kind of want to do it forget it or do it as a hobby. If you really want to do it you will know because outside of your family (in most cases) you will sacrifice everything it takes to hang in there. My first BMI check was for 69 cents and I cashed it because I needed the money!"

Laurie "Strange Things Happen" Instant Download or Listen on Line. No pop-ups, codes or porn ads

JO STAFFORD & DARLENE EDWARDS Die the Same Day


In a remarkable coincidence, Jo Stafford, the first pop star to sell 25 million records, died on July 16th, the same day as comic singers Darlene Edwards and Cinderella G. Stump!
All right. Same person. 90 years old.
Since the illfolks blog tilts toward the odd, let's just briefly sketch some basics on the woman's MOR side. Jo Stafford was similar to Patti Page, Doris Day, or Rosemary Clooney, but less well known now because she didn't make hit movies or photogenic album covers, and retired fairly young.
Jo was the only female member of the annoying "Pied Pipers," a quartet that backed Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra, and Johnny Mercer. They tended toward ooky crooning or way too hearty chorusing. She moved on, but kept their style, as a soloist, another reason she's not popular with the retro or lounge crowd. Her 40's music suffers from big band cliches including dated, lumbering swing beats and middle aged men backing her in the chorus. Things like "Watcha Know Joe" are unendurable, in the same league as thrift shop Mitch Miller albums. Novelty hits like "Shrimp Boats" just sink. Today's listener has to really pick and choose through a greatest hits collection or later (1960's "Jo + Jazz") albums to find songs that do her justice.
Rosemary Clooney described Jo's voice best: "beautiful, pure, straightforward, no artifice, matchless intonation, instantly recognizable. Those things describe the woman too."
A few times Jo took a serendipitous dippy detour from straight tunes to dopey ditties.
In 1947, Jo noticed Red Ingle rehearsing a parody of "Temptation." She was so amused, she asked if she could sing it. The girl hired for the session was paid off and Jo took over, recording as "Cinderella G. Stump." The song became a Top 10 hit.
In 1957, Jo had some free time left over at the recording studio and goofed around with some deliberate off-key singing. She was urged to make a comedy album, and as "Darlene Edwards" (with husband Paul Weston on piano as Jonathan, the pianist with two left hands) issued some "so bad it's funny" discs. Jo's queasy "I Love Paris" was a notable fracture (a song also butchered by Leona Anderson on her "Music to Suffer By" album). Following The Cherry Sisters and Florence Foster Jenkins, two notorious examples of strange vocalizing, the Edwards' success revived the genre and led to "Morris" Garner's ham-fisted lp parody of Errol Garner, and pooped pop albums from Sam Chalpin and Mrs. Miller among others. Of course guys like Homer & Jethro went out of tune deliberately for a laugh, too: "Gimme an E flat." "You know I can't play an E flat." "Then gimme an E, and I'll flatten it out m'self!"
Folks who hate pop standards still chuckle at the way the duo warped 'em. Back in 1961 "Jonathan and Darlene Edwards in Paris" netted a Grammy for Best Comedy Album. Ironically, Jo Stafford never won one for straight singing. The Edwards' bent take on "Carioca" was used in "The Kentucky Fried Movie."
In 1977, the duo un-retired for a single, "Stayin' Alive" b/w "I am Woman." Paul Weston died in 1996. He and Jo were able to get the rights back to much of their back catalog (straight and humorous) for their own Corinthian label, and re-issues serve as a legacy to the artists and income for their children.
Your trio of samples highlight Jo's humor: the hillbilly song with Red Ingle, a sample of vintage Darlene, and her comeback shot at The Bee Gees.
TIM-TAYSHUN Instant Download
I LOVE PARIS No Pop-Ups
STAYIN' ALIVE No Porn Ads

LES CRANE : Desiderata to Deteriorata


A man of many footnotes, Les Crane's odd credits include promoting if not inventing the "Top 40" (when he was a DJ at KRLA) and giving "The Mamas and the Papas" their name. Opposite Johnny Carson, Les popularized "confrontational TV," where audience members could ask questions and issues were debated. Everyone from Malcolm X to George Wallace did his show, and even Bob Dylan showed up. While most subsequent hosts in the genre were right-wing (from Joe Pyne to Rush Limbaugh) Crane was so emphatically on the left that he got a mention in Phil Ochs' "Love Me I'm a Liberal," thusly:

"The people of old Mississippi should all hang their heads in shame
I can't understand how their minds work. What's the matter don't they watch Les Crane?"


In 1971 he scored a Top Ten Grammy-winning hit with the spoken word "Desiderata," using a familiar style used by another DJ, Wink Martindale, on many an inspirational single a decade earlier (search for Wink on this blog). "Desiderata" was not some uplifting cosmic babble from an old public domain tome, but a bit of drivel from Max Ehrmann, who died in 1945...and his estate was delighted to collect on Crane's recording. Proof of Crane's mastery of psychic calm, was his ability to stay married to Tina Louise for more than a week.

In the 80's Les slipped behind the scenes into the lucrative world of Silicon Valley, becoming a big shot at Software Toolworks, the company behind the 3D "Chessmaster" and the home computer version of "Pong." The company's name was later changed to Mindscape. Of his hit tune, he admitted, "I can't listen to it now without gagging." He was amused by the parody "Deteriorata" performed on the National Lampoon "Radio Dinner" album by veteran announcer Norman Rose and backing vocalist Melissa Manchester.

"Deteriorata" dated references: "your dog is finally getting enough cheese" references a Gaines Burger (with cheese) dog food commercial of the day, and "Remember the Pueblo" was a slogan after the U.S.S. Pueblo was seized by North Korea as a spy ship. For too long, the crew was held hostage. North Korea never did return The Pueblo, remember? Believing that less is more, and acknowledging Les is no more, the illfolks edits "Desiderata" slightly and segues it neatly into "Deteriorata." Les Crane: December 3, 1935 - July 13, 2008.
LES CRANE DESIDERATA into NATIONAL LAMPOON DETERIORATA Instant download. No porn ads or pop ups.

KATIE REIDER and the Awful, Awful Disease


Warren Zevon sang, "Some get the awful, awful diseases..." and Katie Reider was one of those. You'll find more details at 500kin365.org Timeline and katiereider blog , with links for donations to her family.

Katie was an indie artist, touring, putting out albums via CD Baby, hoping to make music a paying profession. She ended up in a two-year struggle with a disease that was so obscure doctors and dentists (and even a psychologist) couldn't diagnose it. She endured headaches, jaw pain and vomiting. Her career was shattered, her finances destroyed, and she was suffer facial damage and the inability to speak articulately. She was finally diagnosed as having a myofibroblastic inflammatory tumor, and in August of 2007 she began radiation treatment. There was hope, but...

More medical maladies hit her...a lesion on her esophagus, shingles, and the destruction of half of the roof of her mouth. She was down to 90 pounds, blind in one eye. Doctors worked to repair her upper palate and do some cosmetic surgery. In what seemed like a miracle, the tumor that started all of this was shrinking via chemotherapy.

That's when more complications set in, more months of agony and frustration. In July a brain hemorrhage led doctors to induce a coma-like condition so they could airlift her to a hospital for three hours of surgery. Amazingly Katie recovered, and doctors were forecasting further operations for August, including cosmetic efforts to repair the roof of her mouth and the hole in her cheek. But on July 13th, she began to bleed and cough, and her condition deteriorated. At this point, she lost hope. Friends recalled, "when she wasn’t sleeping she was crying," and though she could barely articulate anything, with the tracheotomy and her broken palate, someone heard her say, "I'm done."

Many were inspired both by her live performances and her life-struggle (she appeared at The Stupid Cancer Gala in New York and her story did much to publicize the importance of diagnosing and treating tumors).

The song below is "Lucky Boy," which was posted at cinweekly.cincinnati.com, evidently the only full length song Katie or her family released as a free download. But plenty of samples of her other songs are on iTunes, Amazon, and the official websites. You can also hear her at myspace.com/katiereiderband.
KATIE REIDER : LUCKY BOY

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

One Less Bozo LARRY HARMON (1925-2008)


Just before July 4th...Bozo departed the bus. There he is, on the right, standing with one of his Bozo clones, tempting fate. Would you believe he lived another dozen years after that photo was taken?
Larry Harmon didn't originate Bozo the Clown, but when he bought the rights to the clown's image, he turned a minor kiddie character into an empire.
Bozo appeared in 1946 via some Capitol Records novelty tunes. The first "Bozo" TV show appeared on KTLA-TV in L.A. in 1959. In 1960 Harmon bought the rights to Laurel & Hardy, and soon hundreds of Bozos on local TV shows were hosting the cheap Bozo and Laurel & Hardy cartoons that Larry was making.
He proclaimed,"Bozo is a star, an entertainer, bigger than life. People see him as Mr. Bozo, somebody you can relate to, touch and laugh with." Larry claimed Capitol saw his potential almost from the start, and during early negotiations, suggested he be hired to play Bozo on a TV pilot. The real creator of Bozo, Capitol's Alan W. Livingston grumbled, "I can't believe Larry Harmon says we'd ever hire him to star in anything. Harmon is very good at marketing. He sold Bozo shows all over the country. But I suppose he never got over the fact that he's really not much of a clown."
In 2004, the International Clown Hall of Fame in Milwaukee took back the Lifetime of Laughter Award they gave Harmon in 1990, huffing that they'd been fooled into thinking Harmon originated the character. They put up a plaque to honor Pinto Colvig, the Capitol records voice instead. "Isn't it a shame," Harmon declared, "...like I didn't do anything for the last 52 years."
Born in Toledo, Ohio, on Jan. 2, 1925, the former Lawrence Weiss got into show biz after attending USC in Los Angeles, where he majored in theater and played drums in the Trojan Marching Band. And so it's fitting that the man who missed July 4th by this-much, is honored on the illfolks blog with a segment from one of his kiddie records where Bozo recites, with a marching band, the patriotic "Marine Corps. Hymn." Then he joins the crowd in singing a song about the Army, too. Why not. Let's remember
Red Skelton's words: "A clown is a warrior who fights gloom." Harmon and his army of Bozos put up a good fight, and while that hamburger Ronald may now be the world's most famous clown, there's no harm in saying bye-bye to Harmon...not the original Bozo, but definitely a real Bozo for over fifty years. He leaves behind a wife, four daughters and a son...as well as white grease, oversized shoes and a half of a red ping-pong ball with traces of snot in it.
BOZO MARCH! Instant download or listen on line. No pop-ups, passwords or porn ads.

TEEN DEATH LAMENTS


Death was an obsession with teens of the late 50's and early 60's. Morbid music and monster movies became a fad. While there have always been grim pop songs from "Gloomy Sunday" to "D.O.A." somehow, dying was just so much more entertaining, during this era!
The day the music died...was every day on the radio back then.
Bobby Darin snapped his fingers and sang of bodies oozing life. Bobby Goldsboro, Nervous Norvus and many others became famous because of novelty death ditties. Heck, "The Cheers" recorded a motorcycle wreck song. How cheerful! Meanwhile on the C&W charts it was death as usual, completing the trifecta of woe that included being drunk and rarely getting laid.
You get the usual motorcycle wrecks and grim songs of dead people ("Tragedy" by The Excellents, "Dead!" by Carolyn Sullivan) and even a few morbid and weird C&W ditties.
Here's Lloyd Price, Mark Dinning, The Shangri-Las, Twinkle, Jody Reynolds, Dickey Lee, Ray Peterson, The Cheers and more...
Use the comments feature to ruminate on faves I've left out (like "Laurie/Strange Things Happen," "Honey" or "Ode To Billie Joe") or just download these downers and rest in peace:
1. Teen Angel
2. Tell Laura I Love Her
3. Endless Sleep
4. Patches
5. Last Kiss
6. Leader of the Pack
7. Dead Man's Curve
8. Black Denim Trousers
9. Terry
10. I Can Never Go Home Anymore
11. Stagger Lee
12. Tragedy
13. Dead!
14. Me and Little Andy
15. El Paso



Downloading this? "Look out, Look out, Look out!"

WHICH WAY TO HAPPY?


Here's a bunch of depressing, bitter, mordant and cynical songs of ill will for ill folks.
Since this IS the illfolks blog, for artists of less renown, don't expect the obvious; famous miserable folk like Leonard Cohen or Morrissey or Charles Aznavour, nor today's well-mourned sensitive souls like Elliott Smith, or famous sad songs (that say so much).

The Television Personalities - Sick Again

You've never heard of them and you never will. That's 'cause they're sick. They also seem to have set their Casio keyboard to violin and accordion simultaneously, which will make your cat cry. Thanks guys, for the musical equivalent of an IV drip.

Anna Ternheim - To Be Gone
Anna's a depressed Swede who sings pretty tunes with suicidal tendencies: "Leave the body, leave the mind...I just happen to feel so alone....I just wanna be gone." Her accent is thick enough to make "body" sound "bawdy..." Sad girls ARE sexy, especially when they're trying to shuck off their mortal coil via a bossa nova shuffle.

Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra - She Won't
A twangy dirge...a portent that Lee & Nancy Volume 3 was not going to be a hit. Did they know that their album would not even get a U.S. or U.K. release?

Mary McCaslin and Jim Ringer - Oh Death
Traditional folk music is as close to a death experience as you get in life.

Jerry Yester-Judy Henske - Mrs. Connor
Yester was briefly with The Association. Here he sings lead on a moody number with lyrics from then-wife Judy Henske: "When death comes for Mrs. Connor, he will lay his heavy leg on her and groan." Necrophilia at its best. No wonder Andrew Vachss is a Henske fan.

Anna Singt - Gloomy Sunday
The famous Hungarian suicide song, which did indeed lead to documented suicides, continues to be covered by new generations of depressives. Anna and coffin-sized piano.

Thea Gilmore - Everybody's Numb
Get the zeitgeist...these days are so alarming, the next wonder drug will be a topical anesthetic you massage into the scalp. Thea has plenty more where this came from.

Pamela Morgan - It Ain't Funny

No, it isn't. This one's about the economic woes of fishermen...in an age when most fish is now farm-raised and bad for you.

Mary Gauthier - I Drink
It's almost cheating to include a country song like this, but Mary is a crossover artist. She's cross over mean men, hard times and a world of hurt. Guthrie-esque Gauthier is a balladeer for the mental dust bowl.

Mathilde Santing - Wonderful Life

With an opening guitar riff unwittingly referencing the start of "Suicide is Painless," Santing floats in to assure us, "no need to run and hide." Except this minor key ballad is as lively as a beached jellyfish. "Don't give up," Kate Bush sang, but she hadn't heard this kind of optimism.

Eva Cassidy - Ain't No Sunshine
Sad songs say so much...and so does the way there's been a cottage industry mourning a pretty blonde singer who died young.

Beth Nielsen Carpenter & John Hiatt - World of Hurt
The truth: "It's a world of hurt, nothin' works. It's a lonely little planet made of dust and dirt. Who'd ever think that in the midst of this, something as beautiful as love exists?" Yeah? For how long? See "Hurt" by Trent Reznor and look under "dirt, my empire of."

The Magic Numbers - Which Way to Happy?
Sort of a gay Leonard Cohen with a wan chick singing in the background, and a vibe of being totally wilted. Nice. All too often, artists now go from total unknowns to superstars via a debut album! But are they happy? No? Good.

Townes Van Zandt - Waiting Around to Die
No longer an accurate title.

Kendra Smith (of Big Star) - Holocaust
Why rhyme moon and June when you can open with: "Your eyes are almost dead. Can't get out of bed..."

Randy Newman - It's a Jungle Out There

As usual, he's tap dancing on the edge, and really, if you can't find humor in impending disaster, then you might as well be Morrissey. This pungent one minute theme song is for a TV show involving a germ-phobic Arab.

To reference Jann Arden and Sheryl Crow...Happy? If it makes you happy...
download here
And if you just want a quickie from Mathilde Santing...
WONDERFUL LIFE

Fresh Updates, Upgrades and Gravybread


The illfolks blog has a two-star rating by Gravybread. This is high by their standards, since most blogs just get a mention. Humility prevents dwelling on this, but with a double star rating comes responsibility....like..re-upping a lot of the items that even die-hard fans of cult music and the obscure allowed to die.
You can pretty much wander anywhere in the blog and always find plenty of live links...as well as links that have been re-upped with a higher bit-rate or via a better quality of vinyl.
Among the items that have been refurbished:

Here's a Pitiless Eight Pack

Dozens of rockabilly weird Hasil Adkins songs, including his head-chopping "No More Hot Dogs" cackle. ...click HERE

13 Cool Ghoul Zacherley novelty songs. ...click HERE

Trannies! Spike Jones transcription 78's ...click HERE


For details on any of the above files, just pop a keyword into "search blog" at the top, and you'll be taken to the old post.

Severin Browne : Jackson's Goofy Bro

Jackson Browne's brother was surprisingly goofy. In the early 70's when "Sweet Baby James" and Jackson were leading the earnest singer-songwriter brigade, Severin was offering deliberately dopey tunes like "Cooking School," a loopy love song: "She majored in crepes and in almonds. I studied desserts made with cheese. We fell in love while the class dissected a pea. Oh, whoa, oh, whoa, oh, whoa..."

Browne's two albums were issued on Motown when the label was trying to go in just about the opposite direction from The Four Tops. By hiring a white goop?

On his second album, the ill folkie offered the dippily repetitive "Do Magnolia Do" and the cloying "Tickle My Lips." That was more than enough. Even with back-up work from Jules Shear, Patti Dahlstrom and many others, nobody was listening. Not even out of curiosity over what Jackson's brother "Severin" might sound like.

Born in Germany, his parents evidently named him after a bad brand of coffee and spelled it wrong. The album jacket on "new and improved" references the idea of a coffee can label).

After "Cooking School" Browne was toast. He sat out the rest of the 70's and beyond. Too bad. Some of his silly numbers were as catchy as Rupert Holmes' "The Pina Colada Song." In the past 10 years he's issued two CD's but they aren't humorous or intentionally ill. They sound more like what you'd expect of Jackson Browne's brother.
Sometimes he's still loopy, although maybe not intentionally. "You Can't Fool the Moon" is an example.

Getting even with an ex-lover, Severin ominously sings: "You can't fool the moon. You can't fool the moon! You can't fool the moon. You can't fool the moon! You can't fool the moon. Oh you can't fool the moon. Oh you can't fool the moon. No, you can't fool the moon."

Why? Because you say so eight times in a row?

Jimmy Webb once declared the moon is a harsh mistress, and Severin agrees she's not to be screwed with: "She can see where you live." And? What's she doing to somebody who made the big mistake of not sticking with Severin? Mooning the person?

This pointless lyric reminds me of a line uttered by my late friend Brother Theodore. The noted podiatrist and performance artist once said that "the dog howling at the moon does not bother the moon. It only makes the dog look like a jackass."

Severin circa 1972 was one of those ill folks with a very unique vision. And Lenscrafters can fix that in under an hour.

Your zip file has a song from each of four Severin albums. If you just want to try "Cooking School," it's a quick download or listen on line.

First album: "Darling Christina." Sev proves that like Jackson, James and everybody else, he can write an anthem to some hippie chick he's either fucked or wants to.
Second album: "Love Story." The album was called "New and Improved." But this song is so obvious (a waltzing list of people, each in love with somebody else) it's surprising he had the strength to finish it. Especially when it ends like a cookie commercial: "...he's really in love with Sara Lee, and Sara Lee secretly honestly truly loves me."
Third album: "Edge of the World." Title track. Seriously OK. If he sounds like a more sober Dean Friedman or a speeded up Billy Joel, that's not so bad.
Fourth album: "You Can't Fool The Moon," although you can play golf on it.

Four Samples from the Four Albums

Cooking School...at least it beats Emeril La Gassy Instant download or listen on line. No porn ads or pop ups.