Thursday, January 29, 2009


Why do so many people identify with whores? They love to sing "House of the Rising Sun!"
Literally hundreds of females have wailed about workin' in a New Orleans bordello, as if they ingested enough semen to get flood relief from Fema.
Even worse, hundreds of MEN have likewise belted and brayed about being bothered, bewildered and buggered by anyone who wanted 'em to bend South while getting poked up North.
Folk song hunter Alan Lomax recorded Georgia Turner singing it in 1937, as "Risin' Sun Blues," and the bawl about balling kept on rolling, with some claiming credit for the lyrics, the music, or both. Dave Van Ronk perfected the right version...and as Suze Rotolo noted in her book about Bob, was mighty peeved when young Mr. Dylan decided to stick the song on his debut Columbia album. Dave couldn't sing the tune after that, 'cause he was accused of "stealing from Bob." Dave had the last laugh. When Eric Burdon copied Bob's, and had a hit with it, Dylan had to drop it, too!
Burdon and The Animals turned the song into a real rocker, with that famous opening guitar riff (or arpeggio, if you want to get technical) by Hilton Valentine, and the scorching organ of Alan Price...not to mention Burdon singing as if his organ was scorched, too. Many earlier versions credited whoever "adapted" it as the author, but when Alan Price ended up with the credit, rather than all the band members, there was much chagrin, especially when the tune became almost as big a perennial money maker as "Whiter Shade of Pale" or "Yesterday."
In placing "House of the Rising Sun" #91 on his list of the "1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made," ex-Rolling Stone scribe Dave Marsh, noted the gay problem with bleary-eyed Eric:
"Burdon...brattish spawn of Newcastle coal miners that he was...turned the lyric around, portraying the prostitute as a male and, thus, himself as a catamite."
Marsh, and most others, reject the musicologists who say that the song is only about a prison...and that the singer didn't lay for a living, just laid one person low.
But no, if you look it up, "catamite" doesn't refer to a prison inmate, or a little insect on a feline. "House of the Rising Sun" sounds more like a bordello than a prison and that's how most singers relate to it.
But that's not why you're here. You're not here to hear the White Man Burdon. No, this blog is too ill to offer famous English versions of the song. Instead, your download is...FOREIGN LANGUAGE versions.
Russian whores. Italian whores. German whores. Spanish whores. And more.
All of them bellow through herpes-riddled lips and have to stand up to sing because of nether-holes as prolapsed as a Slinky going down a stairway.
You get Johnny Hallyday singing in French and German, plus French singer Marie Laforet singing in Japanese, and...Boris Brown, Manfred Krug, Anatoly Savenkov, Bisonti, Alazan, Bruno Lomas, Sukachev, the appropriately named T. Hors, Vadim Kosogorov, Pataky Attila, Manfred Krug, Frida Boccara and much more..."La Casa Del Sol Naciente," "Es steht ein Haus in New orleans" "Dom Voskhodjashhego Solnca," "Le Penitencier" and more!

For Fans of Repetition - STARDUST x 19 plus...

If you're the type that never got up to push the needle along when it got stuck, or if you have a morbid curiosity about how different people can sing the same song...check around the blog and you'll find a lot of ridiculous posts featuring more than enough cover versions of a particular song. Like...

19 versions of STARDUST including the Dinahs Shore & Washington, Ben Webster, Cab Calloway, Brubeck, Krupa, Coleman Hawkins, Isham Jones, The Ink Spots, Louis Armstrong, Sammy Kaye and even satire (Jackie Vernon). There's country nasal and country swing (Willie and Leon), and since you probably didn't know she could sing, Elke Sommer. Also, a 1933 solo from the author, Hoagy Carmichael. STARDUST

Elsewhere (just type in a few key words in the top left corner) you'll find:
17 VERSIONS OF TOM DOOLEY, duly noted.

12 VERSIONS OF FAREWELL TO NOVA SCOTIA, for those who never know when to leave.

25 VERSIONS OF UNCHAINED MELODY including Shayne Ward, Dobby Dobson, Ann & Nancy Wilson (huh? they covered it??), Matt Monro, the late Boots Randolph, U2, Pitney, Orbison, and a host of others.

And no, that isn't a Photoshop job at the top of this entry, that's the damn nice Dahm Triplets, repetitive in their smiles, waving the red white and blue.

There's plenty of "live" links going back to the pithy paragraphs, cogent commentary, and peculiar pictures. So you are indubitably encouraged to peruse this jeremiad and explore all atrabilious amphigories.

Monday, January 19, 2009

It was 200 Years ago today: EDGAR A. POE

The greatest writer America ever produced, was born on January 19, 1809.
His 200th birthday will be marked by many new books and tie-ins. Look for "Poe's Children," collecting horror stores by Stephen King and other contemporary writers, and "On a Raven's Wing" with Mary Higgins Clark and others knocking out stories in Poe's style. There's also a new Poe stamp at your local post office, and this modest tribute here at the Ill Folks blog.
Edgar's poetry has been adapted to music and sung by everyone from Frankie Laine to Harry Belafonte, and his stories have been turned into opera and rock opera ("Fall of the House of Usher" especially), and even jazz pieces. Almost a rock star in his own time (poems at the time were as popular as songs), Poe often staged a one-man show, and the centerpiece was his "greatest hit," a recitation of "The Raven."
Unfortunately for Edgar, he was a wild and crazy guy, so bizarre he was buried twice (as you can see from this marker for his original resting place). He was always getting into incredibly vicious feuds every time he joined a newspaper -- not always getting along with co-workers and outraging dozens of writers (including the greats of his day) by scalding them with literary criticism.
While today he's known as a poet and horror writer, back then he was also known for being a controversial magazine editor writing notoriously opinionated reviews. He could rapturously praise a poetess he might've fancied, and venemously put down the latest work of Longfellow, sometimes adding an accusation of plagiarism. The occasional physical confrontation only added to his notoriety. His problems with alcoholism didn't help. Suffering a typical freelance writer's lifestyle, he was perpetually broke and tormented...knocking out hack non-fiction to get by (often making up facts and then declaring the result merely a "hoax"). His marriage to his 13 year-old cousin has intrigued amateur psychologists. After her tragic death, he went on to romances with a variety of women, including the strange Sarah Whitman, who liked to breathe ether from a soaked handkerchief. Poe had no idea how deeply some loved him and others hated him, and in the latter case, unfortunately left his literary legacy in the hands of evil Rev. Rufus Griswold, who set about blackening Poe's name after death. Hardly a friend at all, Griswold instantly posted a mocking obit (under an assumed name) to accentuate Poe's alcohol problems and prickly disposition.
Poe invented the mystery story, and the first detective hero in Auguste Dupin. While his horror stories might've been "pulp fiction," designed to make him some fairly easy money from lurid mags of the day, he put a literary stamp on them and turned them into enduring, fascinating classics, probing deep into the soul and psychology of mortal man. He probably felt his main gift was in the essay, and in poetry.
He was a complex, surprising man, and unlike his wan image, in his early days he was a hearty swimmer and enjoyed boxing, and despite the miseries of his life, he was also capable of wicked parody and black humor.
The last full biography of him, one that is at least equal to the pioneering tome by Arthur Quinn, is by Kenneth Silverman. It's simply titled "Edgar A. Poe." That's the byline Poe chose for his works. Orphaned at 3, he despised his adopted "father" John Allan, and it was only after his death that fussy schoolmarms began writing out "Edgar Allan Poe" to go with Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Fenimore Cooper and the rest of the triple-threat names. So "Edgar A. Poe" it is. Or, you can call him "Eddy," as his wife and mother-in-law did.
Your download is a baker's dozen of musical oddities in all styles from emo and goth to psych and folk. The musical setting for "The Bells" is the musical adapation created by the Ill Folks favorite, Phil, performed by Jim & Jean. The Poe load opens with a song about Eddy as performed by Lou Reed, closes with Vincent Price reading "Dreamland" and in between you'll find:
The Lake (Simon Dreams in Violet), Alone (Neither Neither World), A Dream Within a Dram (Soul Parish), A Dream within a Dream (Glass Prism), Masque of the Red Death (Ivy League Trio), The Raven (Fettdog), Ulalume (narrative backed by the Buddy Morrow Orchestra), System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether (Alan Parsons Project), Tell Tale Heart (Hydra), Cask of Amontillado and the Premature Brural (Michael Romeo), Annabel Lee (Society Islands), The Bells (Jim and Jean).

AK...Update October 2010...this link apparently died. Hopefully a new version will be up and running by Eddy's birthday, January 19th.
Re-Up: Poe, Poe, Pitiful He

I HEAR DEAD PEOPLE : THE C&W and POP Stars Dead in 2008

"Dead...didn't even know they were ill..."
It was ladies first on the illfolks blog, so having presented the musical death knells to departed singers and songwriters last week, it's time to honor the men who are now, to quote that Jody Reynolds novelty classic, sleeping the "Endless Sleep."
As this is a music blog, you can look elsewhere for tributes to all the great statesmen, politician, actors, writers and others who shuffled off their mortal coils. The roll call includes the following who contributed a lot to the world, or to the world of illfolks : Paul Newman, George Carlin, Sir Edmund Hillary, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Forry Ackerman, Bill Meléndez, Harvey Korman, Harvey Karman, Sydney Pollack, Dick Martin, Will Elder, Ted Key, William F. Buckley, Jr., Barry Morse, Werner "Frick" Groebli, John Hewer, David Groh, Roy Scheider, Paul Scofield, Claiborne Pell, Charlton Heston, Clive Barnes, Irving Brecher, Reg Varney, Herb Score, Joe Hyams, Preacher Roe, Gerard Damiano, Rudy Ray Moore, Jack Narz, Tom Tresh, Lloyd Thaxton and grouchy sitcom character actors Henry Beckman and Allan Melvin.
The following dead sports figures have fun names too good not to repeat:
Baseball's Herb Hash (97) and Bob Purkey (78), Football's Buzz Nutter (77) and Coy Bacon (66) and wrestling's Ron Slinker (62).
This segment salutes some pop and country stars who passed on. But aside from those you can sample in the download, let's take a paragraph to note some of the other casualties of the past year.
On December 27th, Delaney Bramlett died. He wrote "Let it Rain," and co-wrote "Superstar" with Leon Russell, most recently covered by Sonic Youth. His tune "Never Ending Song of Love" was a regular on the country charts, covered by dozens and dozens of C&W performers. Also unable to make it into 2009, was Derek Wadsworth (69) who wrote the spectacular theme song for "Space: 1999," and Neal Hefti (85) who wrote the theme for "Batman" and "the Odd Couple" and Earle Hagen (88) who wrote the themes for "The Andy Griffith Show" and "I Spy" among others. Using the search feature, top left, you can find the illfolks tributes previously written for both of those men.
Also departed: Danny Dill (83), who co-wrote "Long Black Veil" and had a hand in many other C&W standards, Pink Floyd keyboard player Richard Wright (65), Mike Smith (64) who was a major member of The Dave Clark Five, Buddy Miles (60) both a drummer and a singer (that's his voice leading the California Raisins), pianist Louis Teicher (83) who issued dozens of albums with his piano partner Ferrante, Ralph Young (90) the American half of the Sandler and Young nightclub act, and upstate New York folkie favorite Artie Traum (65),
Perhaps the saddest passing was of Tarka Cordell. Tarka (40) was the son of veteran rock producer Denny Cordell. He issued one album on a small indie label two years ago, and samples of it are still on his myspace page. He was a suicide. And calling it a day, via natural causes, was Chuck Day (65) a Chicago guitarist who recorded as Bing Day and Ford Hopkins, but would anonymously turn in one of the more iconic riffs in rock history when he ad-libbed the guitar introduction to "Secret Agent Man." Aside from working with Johnny Rivers, he also played on albums for The Mamas and the Papas and later fronted his own band for gigs in California over the past decade.
In your download:
Jimmy Carl Black (Lonesome Cowboy Burt), Jody Reynolds (Endless Sleep), Willoughby Goddard (I Shall Scream...from the original Broadway production of Oliver), Dennis Yost of Classics IV (Spooky, Traces), Rod Allen leader of The Fortunes (You've Got Your Troubles I've Got Mine), Eddy Arnold (Mommy Please Stay Home With Me), Jerry Wallace (You're Singing Our Love Song), Charlie Walker (Honky Tonk Woman, Wild as a Wildcat), Jerry Reed (Smell the Flowers, When You're Hot You're Hot), Davy Graham (Goin' Down Slow, Leavin' Blues), Henri Salvador (La Muralle de Chine), Erik Darling, leader of the Rooftop Singers (Walk Right In), John Stewart (Lost Her in the Sun), Robert Hazard (Blood on My Hands).
I Hear Dead People This link won't stay dead! Re-upped in 2011 after Rapidshare dropped it.

I HEAR DEAD PEOPLE : The R&B, Soul, Ska & Rock Stars, Dead in 2008

Time and storage space constraints made it difficult to give a musical sample for every major musician who died in 2008. Omissions reflect the Illfolks taste (or lack of it), since much of what's on the blog simply comes from grabbing what's handy in the archives and shelves of Ill Central.
So without further adieu, at least a mention of some guys who aren't represented in the download below:
The last major musician to evade the Grim Reaper was Freddie Hubbard (70), the great jazz trumpet legend, who died on December 29th. A day earlier, December 28th, Vincent Ford departed. Just how much of a music legend he is, depends on whether he actually wrote Bob Marley's hit "No Woman No Cry." Most say that Ford, who ran a soup kitchen in Jamaica, was generously handed the songwriting credit by Marley so that royalties would go directly to Ford's charity enterprise.
Ray Ellis (85) was a great musician and orchestra leader, Norman Whitfield (68), the Motown songwriter behind "I Heard It Through the Grapevine." Few were as great on sax as Johnny Griffin (80), and Ira Tucker (83) was the lead singer for The Dixie Hummingbirds.
Cliff Nobles (64) may have the oddest credit in Top 10 history: a hit record without being on it. Nobles was a singer, and he thought he had a hit with "Love is All Right." On the flip side was an instrumental arrangement titled "The Horse." Radio stations flipped over the B-side, and it reached #2 in the charts...with the credit going to the man (who played no instrument, only sang) and not his band.
A special mention for a non-singer who is represented below. Jerry Wexler was one of the great music producers, and his range was phenomenal. He sensed what Bob Dylan wanted for "Slow Train Coming" and booked studio time and musicians in Muscle Shoals, the flavor just right for Bob's gospel inspiration. For Big Joe Turner's "Shake Rattle and Roll" Wexler actually sang on the chorus, along with another Atlantic Records legend, Ahmet Ertegun. He brought Dusty Springfield to a comfortable urban studio in New York so she could complete her historic "Memphis" sessions, singing to all the music laid down in Tennessee. And while he didn't have to do much except let Ray Charles sing, and The Drifters drift, quite often Wexler stepped in to coach an artist...notably directing pauses in Wilson Pickett's delivery of "In the Midnight Hour." And representing his diverse work, the download features Professor Longhair's "Tipitina" (Wexler inspired that song by asking his singer to lay down a tune similar to "Tee Nah Nah") and the Dire Straits' "Lady Writer," another example of Wexler's choice of location (the Bahamas) helping him get what he wanted from his this case, a richer, bluesier sound. Wexler also produced Willie Nelson, James Booker, Aretha Franklin, Etta James and many, many more.
In your download:
Bo Diddley (Run Diddley Daddy, Mumblin' Guitar), Nappy Brown (Something Gonna Jump Out the Bushes), Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops ("I Can't Help Myself" sung in Italian, plus In These Changing Times), Isaac Hayes (Never Can Say Goodbye, Out of the Ghetto), Byron Lee (Soul Ska), Alton Ellis (All My Tears Come Rolling, If I Could Rule This World), Bill Coday (60 Minute Teaser), Jeff Healey (While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Someday, Someway), and for producer Jerry Wexler: Professor Longhair's Tipitina and Dire Straits' Lady Writer.
Hear Dead People R&B/Soul/Rock 2008 Update 2011: it died on Rapidshare, resurrected via Box.

Friday, January 09, 2009

I HEAR DEAD PEOPLE (the women of 2008) Suzan Tamim

Along with the mega-deathload of ordinary missing links, many celebrities died in 2008, and has become a custom, the illfolks blog recites that corny line, "dead...didn't even know they were ill..."
Without any further adieu, it's time to start saying goodbye.
This segment is on fallen females.
2008 saw the passing of two women who graced album covers as well as girlie mags. Model DIANE WEBBER, 76, seen in the top two album covers, was born Diane Marguerite Empey. She used the name "Marguerite Empey" when she was Playmate of the Month (twice: in May 1955 and February 1956). BETTIE PAGE, 85, was a fetish film queen in the 8mm era, an early Playboy centerfold, and with her unique hairstyle, frisky smile and perfect figure, became a pin-up icon.
The number of women who were treats for the ears, and who passed on in 2008, are listed below, along with the representative song or songs chosen for the six-foot-download. A few deserve special mention, as you might not be familiar with them. Katie Reider was only 30 when a cerebral hemorrhage ended two years of massive suffering...some of it chronicled elsewhere on this blog. Likewise, Suzan Tamim, a Lebanese singer and actress, was only 30 when she met her demise...brutally murdered in typical Arab fashion by some psycho thug hired by her ex-husband.
The last tune is not sung by a woman, but by James Darren. It's to represent Gloria Shayne Baker. A songwriter, her biggest solo success (credited as Gloria Shayne) was "Goodbye Cruel World." A co-write with her first husband Noel Regney gave the world a Christmas classic, "Do You Hear What I Hear?" She co-wrote with many others, and was part of the trio responsible for "The Men In My Little Girl's Life," a sentimental hit for Mike Douglas. Gloria generally wrote the lyrics for songs she co-wrote, but in the case of "Do You Hear What I Hear," her husband (a member of the French underground while drafted into the German army) wrote the lyrics and she wrote the music.

The voices you're going to hear...immortal.
Odetta (77, Dec. 2) Dont Think Twice It's All Right, Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
Monna Bell (70, April 22) Aun Te Sigu Amando and Yo Que No Vivo Sin Ti ("You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" sung in Spanish by this Chilean superstar)
Miriam Makeba (76, Nov 10) Pata Pata
Mae Mercer (76, Oct. 29) Sweet Little Angel
Christie Allen (53, Aug 12) He's My Number One
Eartha Kitt, (81, Dec 25) I Want to Be Bad
Edie Adams (81, Oct 15) Namely You (duet with Peter Palmer)
Katie Reider (30, July 14) My Love For You
Jo Stafford (90, July 16) No Other Love and Haunted Heart
Suzan Tamim (30, July 28) Wainoh Habibbbi and Saken Albi
Yma Sumac (86, Nov 1) El Condor Pasa
Gloria Shayne (84, March 6) Goodbye Cruel World performed by James Darren

I never got around to doing a post on Suzan Tamim, and her bizarre death, but by way of tribute here's her obscure 2001 album SAKEN ALIBI:
SUZAN TAMIM full album


Snap, cool as Bobby Darin was, some of his tracks just didn't end up etched in vinyl.
Here's a set of 25 songs that stayed in the Capitol vaults in the 60's, an era that shows him slippin' and slidin' over Al Jolson (Alabamy Bound) Anthony Newley (What Kind Of Fool Am I) Andy Williams (Moon River) and the rest of them older, squarer cats.
Of special interest, an attempted Mack the Knife sequel called Gyp the Cat!
At the time, some folks thought this guy was pretty ill: too young to be Middle of the Road, but acting too old to really appeal to the teens. But hey, the answer was that this guy didn't need to be Frank or Dino, nor Sedaka or Anka. He was the best at being Bobby Darin, and now he's legend.

The outtake tracks include: I Got Rhythm, Alabamy Bound, I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Know, When My Baby Smiles at Me, Beautiful Dreamer, When You Were Sweet Sixteen, I Ain't Got Nobody, You're Nobody till Somebody Loves You, This Nearly Was Mine, The Sweetest Sounds, Standing on the Corner, Whispering, Just Bummin' Around, On the Street Where You Live, Red Roses for a Blue Lady, If I Ruled the World, Tall Hope and more.
25 Outtakes from Bobby D.