Thursday, April 29, 2010
Ach, mein Herring, if you're lucky, life is kuntz and kuntz. If your unlucky this download is as close to live kuntz as you can get, Gott verdammt noch mal.
After a pungent opening at a 1956 talent show in Cleveland, the two Kuntz spread out to local conventions, hotels and Kiwanis-type clubs. They self-pressed an album for Ed Bernet Entertainment and declared in the liner notes that they were
"dedicated Christians and believe that God has a purpose…"
And God knows, nothing could be finer in the 70's than watching two guys in loud checked pants and suspenders singing the shit out of old standards like "Nagasaki" ("…where the women wicky-wacky-woo") and "Mention My Name in Sheboygan," which they spell "Sheboigan."
The Illfolks blog doesn't pick on obscure people, but celebrate them. They weren't as campy as Ian Whitcomb, after all, and gave good value to their audiences, who were glad to have some Kuntz brightening their lives. Best of all, the story has a happy ending. The Kuntz' are still with us!
"Dr. Frank Kuntz" can do a lecture on "The Power of Positive Humor." He can also entertain via "ragtime piano pieces, funny American songs, hilarious stories and vaudeville sketches" and has won testimonial praise from the North Amerian Bluebery Council, the Montana Head Injury Association, and the director of Educational Evangelism in Dallas Texas. Visit frankkuntz.com.
Darryl Kuntz has likewise gotten kudos by doing industrial gigs, state fairs and schools. He's won testimonials from the Durango High Noon Rotary Club, the New Hope Church and the Colorado Association of Fairs and Shows. Just check his website, darrylkuntz.com.
No DVDs are for sale on their websites, but I think you'll agree that it's better to experience Kuntz live and up close, rather than merely on your TV. So here's to the split of the Kuntz' — it just means more Kuntz on stage than ever before!
To quote a well remembered Dutchman: "KUNTZ!!!!!" Instant download or listen on line. No pop-ups, porn-ads or wait time.
Paul Simon spoke for all the neurotic, psychotic and misery-prone peculiar people when he quipped the song line, "we get better but we never get well."
That's why the Illfolks poster-girl for mental problems, Mindy McCready, titled her newest "I'm Still Here" not "Cured."
Mindy was last covered here exactly a year ago April 29, 2008 when the news of her affair with steroid-assed ballplayer Roger Clemens coincided with her release from prison and a download-only album release.
Now? A new album. But that's not why she's been on "The View." She's become a talk show fave because she starred on "Celebrity Rehab," sharing a room with Mackenzie Phillips. In the show's highlight moment, Mindy grotesquely fell off her bed, collapsing with a seizure. A giggling MacKenzie suddenly paled and ran for help while the camera crew simply stood and filmed it all.
Adding to McCready's full can of trashy scandals, Mindy supposedly stealing and leaking a nude home video involving rival Kari Ann Peniche and celebutard couple Eric Dane and Rebecca Gayheart, and on April 19th Vivid Video's release of an amateur sex tape, which Mindy's lawyer threatened to block.
[Update, May 9th]: Turns out Mindy's ridiculous lawyer fired a pathetic "cease and desist" misspelling "dissemination" as "decimation." Vivid was not scared by this; they simply re-checked their signed document to confirm the signature on the model release. Yes, Mindy signed it, authorizing the release, indicating she was being compensated. The lawyer later grumbled that Mindy must've unaware of what she was signing when she signed. The hour-long show is now at forumophilia and other free download sites where one can see that Mindy knows she's being recorded, and even holds the camera when her man goes down on her.]
Fortunately misery sparks legit interest, and Mindy's got a new album out. She's thanked her fans via a YouTube video telling everyone they can go to her website for a free gift...the title track below. (Her site has all cuts from the album in streaming audio.)
Mindy remains one of the best singers in the country-crossover field. She's got all the throb and lilt she needs to sell a ballad, and all the Shania sass for the skunky line-dance sleaze, and songs such as "I want a Man" that put a toothless grin on any smelly lazy rebel's freakish kisser.
McCready knows her demons well by now ("It goes back to my relationship with my mother and father, and what it was like to grow up in the household that I did…"). She believes she suffered brain injury due to the beatings given her by ex-lover Billy McKnight (father of her son), so her main drug of choice lately has been Depakote. On "The View," March 17th, Mindy attributed her heavy drinking to "one bad relationship after another…whether a record company relationship or with a man…it escalated and got worse and worse. When there would be some kind of crisis or painful thing happening to me, it was readily available to go drink too much…it didn't ease the pain. It made things worse."
McCready's own website is trying to take the worst things and making them better. How about this for a spin: "Mindy's latest brush with fame resembles that of legends like Cash, Paycheck and Jones— not a bad fraternity." Whoever masterminds her site adds: "it is said that any publicity is good publicity…[Mindy] has managed to stay relevant or at the very least, in the public eye. Not for gold, platinum, or Top Ten sales, but for mug shots, felony arrest and reality show roles, for being abused and as an abuser (prescription drugs)."
Perhaps Mindy and her management would be foolish not to use all the bad-girl and sad-girl material to grab the spotlight from the Kelly Clarksons and Tift Merritts of the world. Her message is "I'm Still Here," and that she's getting it done, rather than being done to or done in. It's the audio version of the sopping tear-filled paper napkin clutched in a closed fist.
Click this link! It's her again. Exactly a year after her last mention on the Illfolks blog: "I'm Still Here!"
Belated though it is, the Illfolks blog certainly should pay tribute to Malcolm McLaren, a good old fashioned provocateur who knew what really mattered…sex, music and The Three Stooges. He passed away of Zevon's disease (mesothelioma) after the usual year or two of futile treatment. He was 64 when he died on April 8th.
McLaren naturally explored the two worlds where pretention, posturing and fakery are embraced with boa constrictor-like hugs: fashion and music. For his first brush with fame, the art school Svengali arched eyebrows via boutiques with trendy names including "Sex," "Let it Rock" "Seditionarie" and "Too Fast to Live Too Young To Die." (His son co-created the successful "Agent Provocateur" lingerie company). McLaren believed his Jewish grandmother's advice: ""To be bad is good... to be good is simply boring".
McLaren clothed rock bands that needed it, including The New York Dolls, and later packaged a certain band called "The Sex Pistols,"getting the group a record deal. How much Malcolm had to do with the actual music is debatable, but he certainly was ringmaster for the circus, though many wonder how much control he actually had over the violence and death that overshadowed the band's snotty initial hit, "God Save the Queen." His version of the tale is chronicled in the aptly titled documentary "The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle." The band's version is in "The Filth and the Fury." He later took up with trendy Adam Ant, and tried to create a furor around Burmese beauty-cum-fashion-weirdo pedo-aged Annabella Lwin and her dopily named new wave group Bow Wow Wow. They had a hit with "I Want Candy" in 1983.
The following year, with the hardcore punks gone and disco and Studio 54 reigning, trendy Malcolm scored his own hits with garbagey dance music that fused whatever Bowie was doing with whatever the electronica nitwits did and the disco dunces. But on his "Swamp Thing" album he became an Illfolks fave by taking "Swingin' The Alphabet" (as it was called in a Three Stooges short) and turning it into the ridiculous "B-I-Bicki." Which was as deliciously sick as anything Ian Dury was doing with his rhythm stick.
McLaren continued to release albums from time to time, and to call attention to himself with radio shows such as "Malcolm McLaren’s Musical Map of London” and “Malcolm McLaren’s Life and Times in L.A.” As with any provocateur, McLaren's point was to shake things up. That's all that mattered, whether he was selling tarty underwear or rock bands with dubious degrees of talent, such as Bow Wow Wow and 99% of what Johnny Rotten was doing. When was the last time you listened to anything from a McLaren band, or from McLaren himself? Over here, the answer would be "Nothing." Although "B-I-Bicki" was so fondly remembered, the promo album (note the gold stamp on top of the back cover) Ill Folks got from the record company, complete with photo and bio, had to be hauled out for nostalgia's sake.
"B-i-Bicki" remains horrific fun, and a nice Stooge tribute. The Sex Pistols? Last year, the nostalgic Malcolm remarked, “I never thought the Sex Pistols would be any good, but it didn’t matter if they were bad.” According to his Korean girlfriend, McLaren's last words were "Free Leonard Peltier," who killed two FBI agents and is up for parole in 2024. Oh, that Malcolm, still edgy to the end. Over here, we prefer his Stooge music. Because here, Malcolm is considered more than a provocateur. He was a wiseguy.
Oh! Wiseguy! McLaren swings the Alphabet in disco mode. B-i-BICKI
Posted by Ill Folks at 6:58 AM
Ever hear of Billy Wilder? Of course you have. Myles Wilder was his nephew, and is best known for turning out scripts for a load of vintage TV shows including 28 episodes of "McHale's Navy." And you thought that show was the same episode re-enacted 28 times. Or 50. Or 138, actually.
Myles Wilder began his career by scripting his father's movies…that would be director W. Lee Wilder. W. Lee didn't exactly make movies in the same class as Billy Wilder, but he helmed such cult items as Killers from Space, The Snow Creature, Manfish, Fright, Spy in the Sky, Man without a Body and Bluebeard’s Ten Honeymoons. Myles wrote or co-wrote those items. From this beginning, Myles produced his first TV show ("The Adventures of Marco Polo" in 1956) and went on to write and/or produce episodes of "The Dukes of Hazzard," "The Doris Day Show," "My Three Sons," "The Flying Nun," "Get Smart," "The Patty Duke Show," "Diff'rent Strokes," "The Brady Bunch," "Addam's Family" "Ghost and Mrs. Muir" and "Welcome Back Kotter."
Wilder also worked for Hanna-Barbera and with his long-time co-writer Bill Raynor as story editor, served as Executive Story Consultant on "Hong Kong Phooey," with Scatman Crothers taking the lead voice and Joe E. Ross as Sergeant Flint. Since the show is a bit obscure, using the "Hong Kong Phooey" theme song in tribute seemed a bit more interesting than going with "McHale's Navy."
He quit show biz 1989 and, like retired Los Angeles Dodger Duke Snider, took up a sunny new vocation: avocado grower. Diverticulitis is a tricky disease, and while it isn't always fatal, the odds were not with Mr. Wilder. At least he made good use of the time he had left. While one might wish to donate to a Diverticulitis support group, Wilder's family urged mourners to send their bucks in his memory to the Friends for Pets Foundation in Sun Valley, California.
HONG KONG PHOOEY theme song sung by Scatman Crothers. Instant download, no pop-ups pop-unders or porn ads.
For the first, and probably last time, Illfolks mentions an "American Idol" contestant. Why? Because Siobhan Magnus is a true Illfolks artist…quirky, unique, unpredictable and talented beyond the world of copy-and-karaoke. (The first name is pronounced Sha-bawn, accent on the second syllable).
Defying the odds, this oddball made it to the Top 6 before being voted off last night. All four judges praised her the previous night for an outstanding original performance (she turned a Shania Twain song into a brilliant bit of country-punk, easily authentic to both genres), but the voters on a show like this are mostly tweens who still think Twinkies are a gourmet food. Some even played the race card and felt sorry for the mammothly average Michael Lynche.
"American Idol" is now reduced to the usual amateur collection of Deja Vu dipshits we've seen over and over. The usual suspects still in the running? Groovy fab Lee Dewyze is just another Broooose Springsteen wanna be with his pubic hair stuck to his chin. PS, he looks and acts like he's brain damaged. Casey James looks like he belongs in the movie "Dude, Where's My Talent." Michael Lynche, who Ellen and Simon both happily compared to Luther Vandross (originality is not what this show ever wants) is this year's black stereotype — lethally gigantic but an oh so sensitive teddy bear. He is snore a) able to si-ee-ee-ee-ing soulfully and snore b) knows pain nobody white could know. Aaron Kelly is simply this year's teeny-fave-pipsqueak du jour. Slightly more original, but barely, is Bonnie Raitt clone Bowersox, who has the most annoying name since William Hung and takes white trash to a new level of arrogance. Do we need another Bonnie Raitt? No. What we need is not more pandering to 20-somethings but a revolt against ageism. Meaning, let's have Bonnie Raitt on TV once in a while, and let's see a label sign up some women who sang the blues long before it was fashionable, like Judy Henske and Genya Ravan.
Almost every contestant EVER on American Idol tries to be someone else. (though recently booted Andrew Garcia uniquely tried to be both Jose Feliciano and Elton John). The whole point of the show is to make a cookie cutter copy of someone currently on the charts. What's so original about Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, or Taylor Hicks? What about idiotic runner-ups like Clay Aiken who was only as freakish as Barry Manilow, or Adam Lambert the raccoon-eyed flamboyant pest who is just a horrible cross between Billie Joe Armstrong and Perez Hilton?
But Siobhan Magnus? Here's somebody with some originality.
From week to week you didn't know if she was going to act like a 20 year-old straight-haired nerd or a 30-something permed chanteuse. Unfairly described as just a screamer, she varied her attack by sweetly and earnestly covering "Across the Universe" and going evil and and ballistic on "Paint it Black." Here's a girl who could sing staid Gilbert & Sullivan songs at 16 in an amateur Cape Cod production but also has a nose ring and an Edward Gorey image for a prominent tattoo.
As for the critiques of Siobhan, it only proves we are living in the age of the low attention span. Little Richard did nothing but "scream" but he's lasted 50 years. He would've been kicked off "American Idol" after two weeks, with Simon simmering "All you do is hit the same high notes all the time." Cher would've been thrown out the first week, with ugly Randy shouting, "You're pitchy, dude."(Randy loves to call women "Dude," and you'd think that would be Ellen's thing.)
"American Idol" had it's lone "Susan Boyle moment" when Siobhan shocked the judges with that "amazing note" at the end of her version of Aretha Franklin's "Think." The Magnificent Magnus proved it was no fluke when she once again used her flair for the dramatic to strike a powerful note in "Paint it Black," (which is your download below).
Some are saying the show has ended, and it's no longer worth watching without Siobhan Magnus. That's true. What "American Idol" wants is somebody predictable,and the surviving five who will make this year's "American Idol" the lowest-rated season finale ever.
At least the show gave Siobhan a big break, and she graduated from it Magnus Cum Laude. (And not just because of her high volume). The consolation is that Boyle didn't win "Britain's Got Talent," a bunch of assholes nobody remembers did. Perhaps the best thing that could happen to Siobhan was to NOT win…because as we've seen from the past, winning or being runner-up on "American Idol" is a sure sign that you are a Twinkie, a lump of Velveeta, or soiled Bowersox.
the "studio version," sans audience, of SIOBHAN MAGNUS painting it black No pop-ups, pop-unders, porn-ads or wait time.
Monday, April 19, 2010
A lot of people are lonesome tonight.
It's the 19th of April, and thousands of people died today. They left behind loved ones who grieve, feel numbness or sadness, or a sense of ennui or just the emptiness of realizing that death is inevitable. For some of us, the feelings are slightly relieved by thinking of all the love and humor that was part of that loved one's life, and the fullness of that life, and the many people who were the better for it.
I think about that in connection with my uncle, who passed away this morning.
And I think about it again, having heard of the passing of Ira Stadlen yesterday, who was better known among fans of oddball humor and kiddie shows and cartoon voices as Allen Swift. Baron Barracuda, Odie Colognie, Tooter Turtle, Simon Bar-Sinister, Clint Clobber, even Howdy Doody at one time...all characters voiced by Allen Swift.
Allen Swift (January 16, 1924 – April 18, 2010) used his multiple voices on everything from "The Howdy Doody Show" and "Diver Dan" puppet programs to "Underdog" and "King Leonardo" cartoons. Like the genius Paul Frees, he was also very busy as an announcer/actor in hundreds of TV commercials. Swift was a kiddie show host on TV (as "Captain" Allen Swift, purveyor of Popeye cartoons). He voiced latter-day Tom and Jerry cartoons and was a legend for the his voice work on "Mad Monster Party." He voiced some of those Mad magazine cardboard novelty singles, the "Popeye's Favorite Sea Shanties" album for RCA Camden, and such 45 rpm oddities as "Johnny Podres Has a Halo" (about the Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher who won "dem bums" a World Series in 1955) and "Are You Lonesome Tonight," a sick humor Elvis Presley goof that takes loneliness to a hilarious sobbing extreme.
In other words, if you've had the kind of life of an Allen Swift, it's hard not to think of him without a smile, and remember some of the outrageous things he did.
If you're thinking "Stadlen…Stadlen…why do I know that last name," it's probably because of Ira's son…the comedian and actor Lewis J. Stadlen, who first gained fame in the comedy world with a perfect Groucho Marx imitation. Well, this entry says "Hello, I must be going…" to the great Allen Swift, who named himself after two comedy greats: Fred Allen and Jonathan Swift.
"Are you lonesome tonight?" Do you need a bit of weirdness to shake off grim reality? Need a laugh? Your download is below.
ARE YOU LONESOME TONIGHT - a bizarre novelty 45 by the late great ALLEN SWIFT Listen on line or download. No pop-ups, porn ads or wait time. Goodbye Allen. So long Uncle Howard.
Good news. There's supply for the demand. When vinyl is out of print and enough people want it...a RE-ISSUE happens.
This is good news for fans, and great news for the artist, who not only is getting royalties, but respect. It's sad when ignorant people think "out of print" means "public domain," and clueless fools don't understand that "out of print" can be a temporary condition if they don't take it on themselves to start giving it all away. This is a reason savvy bloggers with some knowledge of the music biz usually give away only a few songs as a sample of somebody's album. After all, real music fans know that it's better for the artist to boast of a re-issue with CD notes than to say "Oh check the blogs, people are illegally giving away my stuff so it must be worthless."
When Patti Dahlstrom was profiled by Illfolks some time ago, there was hope that a "Best of" would appear, and because Patti's albums weren't "all over the Net," the folks at Rev-ola said "Yes, we can spend money on negotiations, re-mastering, paying for CD notes, and giving this great artist RESPECT!" There's even a fresh new PattiDahlstrom.com to visit as well, complete with a BUY CD link.
There's a generous TWENTY songs on this re-issue:
1. Emotion (1973)
2. He Did Me Wrong, But He Did It Right (1975)
3. Sending My Good Thoughts To You (1975)
4. Get Along, Handsome (1972)
5. This Isn’t An Ordinary Love Song (1972)
6. Without Love (1976)
7. And I Never Did (1972)
8. Changing Minds (1976)
9. Give Him Time (1973)
10. Ollabelle And Slim (1972)
11. Cleveland Snow (1973)
12. Comfortable (1972)
13. Wait Like A Lady 1972)
14. For Everybody’s Sake (1973)
15. I’m Letting Go (1972)
16. Innate (1973)
17. One Afternoon (1976)
18. Rider (1972)
19. The Way I Am (1973)
20. What If (1972)
It's hard to find fault with the choices. There's the darkly poignant ballad "For Everybody's Sake," advice on the tender "Give Him Time" and the sassier "Wait Like a Lady," the erotic "He Did Me Wrong, But He Did it Right," the elegantly wistful "And I Never Did," and two songs demonstrating the Texas girl's true grit, "Olabelle and Slim" and the moody masterpiece "Rider." Gotta love her down-home lyrics on "Emotion," mated to the exquisite French star Veronique Sanson's melody "Amoureuse."
But if you're not quite sure about purchasing (and re-issue CDs and imports do tend to be expensive because they aren't pressed in quantity), you get three non-CD tracks to sample; Illfolks favorites that didn't quite make the cut of the Top 20.
I almost chose "Weddin'" which was in the programming rotation on United Air Line flights (on # 6, their rock compilation channel). I have the brochure as proof, where you'll see the tune sandwiched between "Take it Off Him and Put it On Me" from Buddy Miles and "Sit Yourself Down" from Steven Stills. I also was thinking about a few of her co-writes with the sometimes wacky (but behaving himself with Patti) Severin Browne.
Limiting the selection to three, first up is the spunky "High Noon Alibis" (from "The Way I Am") a wry kiss-off to a useless city slicker ("Ya got the better of me the worst is comin' out. Guess it always happens 'tween the North and the South…")
The other two choices are from the "Your Place or Mine" album. For those who aren't sure that true love travels on a gravel road, here's the smooth advice of Ms. Dahlstrom: "If You Want It Easy (you don't want love)." Plus a co-write with the well known typing error Al Staehely, the ballad "Louisiana." This one brings on a flood of emotions, and as she often does, Patti shines a light in the darkness and comes up with something positive. "The only chance of holding on is letting go within."
Here's the unique, original, and different (or, to use her unique drawling pronunciation of it, "diff-a-rawnt"), Patti Dahlstrom, now back in print via U.K. re-issue. She's alive and well in the U.K. but hopefully comin' back home to the U.S.A. someday.
THREE BY PATTI DAHLSTROM Via Rabbitshare, which could mean a short wait time for non-members.
now through June 20th, DeepDiscount's price on Patti's CD is $10.19. Including shipping anywhere in the U.S.A.
Pretty incredible. Go to www.deepdiscount.com or use this link:
The "coupon code" to use at checkout is 25MORE. (GREEN3 also works).
What a perfect time for Dahlstrom fans to buy copies for their friends. ''If you want it easy..." this is as easy as it gets!
It's really too damn bad about the Dutch, isn't it? Most of the terms related to them are negative: "Dutch uncle" is a crusty bastard, "going Dutch" or "Dutch treat" means being cheap, and being "in Dutch" means you're in trouble. "Dutch widow" is a whore, "Double dutch" is inane babble, and "Dutch courage" comes from getting drunk. Farting under the covers in bed is creating a "Dutch oven."
As the notable "Morris Dictionary of Phrase and Word Origins" notes, "Probably no nationality has come in for so consistent a torrent of verbal abuse from the English as their neighbors across the channel, the Dutch."
The image of somebody from Holland is someone wearing a silly little beard and smoking a clay pipe, which is an awful stereotype as most Dutch women don't look like that at all.
To the average Amster damner, the Dutch really haven't done anything noteworthy since they hid Anne Frank. Not that this turned out particularly well. Drunks will tell you that the Dutch at least have given the world Heineken, but who can order it without feeling a bit wimpy? Heineken sounds like you're talking about a child's ass. Well, what do you expect from the "nether" lands?
Beer connoisseurs aren't so sure Heineken is actually the greatest beer in the world, so what does that leave Holland to be proud of? Tulips? Gouda? Windmills? Wooden shoes? These can't compare to Roses, cheddar, air conditioning or Clark's Wallabees. While Swedish and Danish women have a history of being sexy (going all the way back to Anita Ekberg and Greta Thyssen) the most famous female from Holland is "The Little Dutch Girl," with her braids and her tiny heine-ken.
Dutchmen? At best, they are perceived as portly and nuttier than a Kerstsol. The most famous song about a Dutchman is "The Dutchman," a bit of sentimental grutjespap made popular by Steve Goodman and loaded with every Dutch cliche songwriter Michael Smith could think of.
"The Dutchman's not the kind of man who keeps his thumb jammed in the dam that holds his dreams in," the song begins. Does that means he's successful? No: "That's a secret that only Margaret knows." In other words, he's a delusional loser. This is underlined by: "He thinks the tulips bloom beneath the snow. He`s mad as he can be." But fortunately he has a woman named Margaret to prevent him from walking into a windmill and scrambling what's left of his brains.
A particularly sickening image has Margaret lusting wistfully for the old bastard: "Sometimes she sees her unborn children in his eyes." Ewwwww.
Chorus sung by The Dutchman:
"Let us go to the banks of the ocean where the walls rise above the Zuiderzee.
Long ago, I used to be a young man and dear Margaret remembers that for me."
In other words, he's too senile to even remember he was young.
Embarrassing? Things get worse:
"The Dutchman still wears wooden shoes…sometimes he thinks he's still in Rotterdam.
He watches the tug boats down canals and calls out to them when he thinks he knows the Captain, 'til Margaret comes to take him home again…"
A mental case. Needs a keeper. He can't even dress himself properly without her: "The windmills whirl the winter in. She winds his muffler tighter…The Dutchman falls asleep and Margaret blows the candle out."
Pretty depressing stuff. Sentimental at best, insulting by most any definition. What nation would want to be known by stereotype and cliche? "The Mexican's not the kind of man who lets fences at the border hold his dreams in…" "The African wears no shoes. Sometimes he think he's still a cannibal. He watches the people and thinks of them as white meat until Margaret comes to prevent his arrest…"
You'd think the song would've referenced something more interesting about the average Dutchman. "The Dutchman's not the kind of man who won't pay for prostitutes or enjoy legal marijuana…" A little more catchy, eh?
As Steve Goodman is well known, and this blog favors the obscure, your download version of "The Dutchman" is from Kate Loitz, and she's particularly stirring on the march-tempo chorus. She's also representing "Margaret," the mythical woman who loves the crazy fuck even though he still wears wooden shoes.
Loitz's affluent hubby paid for her vanity recording session and it helped her find a new vocation for her retirement years…cabaret singer. The album is at CD Baby of course, and mp3 downloads are at the usual sites. If you want to loiter through Loitz's entire CD, you'll probably find it selling on eBay one week for a dollar or two. Which might still be too high a price for the average Dutchman! (Now now, don't start spurting snert through your nose (that's a type of Dutch soup), this entry is of course just in fun.)
The charm of "cabaret" music is that if the singer is good, and the pianist particularly adept at all the pitter-patter cliche of accompaniment, the result creates a pleasing veneer of superficial bliss for the listener. Especially if you don't pay much attention to the lyrics. Madame Loitz does find the charm in what is intended to be the kind of period piece that needs no napkin to handle the overflow of blood, perspiration and tears.
Teachers of Creative Writing 101 will tell you, "Write what you know about." There are exceptions to every rule, and no rules to live by. The authors who created Babar, The Mad Hatter, Harry Potter or Hobbits worked from imagination. Michael Smith's imagined his Dutchman, obviously influenced by movies, picture postcards and even paintings, but he also imagined "Crazy Mary," the star of another song performed often by Steve Goodman. This blog offered it years ago, beautifully performed by Bonnie Koloc. It has sentiment, it has a heavy-handed message, but like the best of Harry Chapin, the lyrics ring true and the pathos doesn't get in the way.
So in all seriousness, artists simply have to find their way and are glad for whatever manages to escape their ids to be bought by idiots. "The Dutchman" will simply be a pretty little curio for many who choose to download it, and they're welcome to enjoy it as nothing more than a sentimental song.
Being charitable, we must remember that Michael Smith wrote his song several decades ago. Perhaps today, he would've paid attention to a few of the more famous Dutchmen, ones who don't wear wooden shoes. For example, there's Joran van der Sloot, who has made a career out of making up tales about Natalee Holloway, a girl who befriended him and ended up dead, her body never discovered. Van Der Sloot has at times claimed he sold her into white slavery, he simply left her on a beach because he had no condom, it was a friend of his who buried her somewhere as a favor, etc. etc.
Another well known resident of Holland is Mohammed Bouyeri, who after firing eight bullets into Theo Van Gogh, nearly decapitated him with a knife, stabbed him in the chest, sank two knives in him, and left a maniacal five page religious screed at the scene of the crime.
Hmmm…maybe the stereotypical "The Dutchman" by Michael Smith, sung by Kate Loitz, isn't so bad a representation of life in the Netherlands after all. Enjoy!
THE DUTCHMAN written by Michael Smith, performed by Kate Loitz Instant listen on line or download. No pop-ups, porn ads or wait time.
CRAZY MARY written by Michael Smith, performed by Bonnie Koloc Instant listen on line or download. No pop-ups, porn ads or wait time.
"The Awful Tale of Maggie May" is typical of the overbaked style of a known irritant by the name of Ian Whitcomb. Whitcomb's brand of necrophilia is to "improve" on classic old tunes by his nudge-nudge wink-wink delivery. As Herman's Hermits demonstrated with "I'm Henry VIII," there's nothing wrong with having fun with an old tune, as long as you show some respect. Especially when the old version showed a damn lot more musicianship than yours. "Awful" is the word for Ian's version of "Maggie May." It's too bad The Beatles didn't release a full version of the old classic, which they clearly enjoyed messing with during the "Let it Be" rehearsals. John & Paul sang with raucous delight, while witless Whitcomb camps it up, mugging and miming all the way through. Oh who's a clever boy, then?
The first time you hear "Maybe" by Bobby Pedrick, you'll have to agree that most falsetto singing is an embarrassment to the male gender. With the right song, Lou Christie could be hilarious ("The Gypsy Cried") and so could Frankie Valli (on "Walk Like a Man" he sounds like a silly screaming queen). With the wrong song? "Maybe" sounds like Bobby was the victim of a budget vasectomy. But, it turns out, he was in his teens when he recorded this thing. No wonder he changed his name when he grew up! Robert John Pedrick became…Robert John. Old habits die hard…including falsetto. The re-named Robert John used it on his two hits, "Lion Sleeps Tonight" (the 1972 cover version) and "Sad Eyes" in 1979. "Maybe" they're more tolerable than this track, which would be perfect to play in a loop at your neighbor's barking dog.
They call it "scat" because it's shit. Even Ella Fitzgerald can try one's patience, much less a much lesser performer such as ex-Norman Mailer wife Carol Stevens. In 1957 Time magazine enthused that she "wears wicked black sheaths and Vampira makeup, and is visually and musically the most striking of the new girl singers." Then cautioned that she might "sound like a cat trapped in a rain barrel, but somehow manages not to."
"In a Mellotone" (1957) opens with some guy hunching his back over his keyboard, knocking out some chords for Ms. Stevens, who comes in with: "Doodle ooh doo doo. Doodle ooh doo doo. Doodle ooh doo doo. Doodle ooh doo doo." You think she'll finally start singing some lyrics...but those ARE the lyrics, and they are repeated a brain-numbing number of times. (At CD Universe, all the songs on her "That Satin Doll" album are available as mp3 files except THIS ONE. Wise move.) You don't want to snap your fingers, you want to snap her neck.
Stevens began an affair with Norman Mailer around 1969, and they had a child together in 1971. Two years later, at Norman's 50th birthday party, he remarked to the crowd of over 500: "“A lot of people ask me why I associate with so many worn-out, older women. Well, I’ll tell you why. Because they’re all the same once you get past the old, worn-out part.” Which didn't mean he was mellowing, as he broke up with Carol a year later. But, in an odd twist, six years later, in 1980 he and his wife Beverly got divorced, and a month later he and Carol got married. And very quickly divorced. The marriage was done only to "legitimize" their daughter. A month later, Norman married his fifth and last wife, Norris Church. (Mailer may hold some kind of celebrity record for having two divorces and two marriages within 3 months!)
THREE IRRITATING/CATCHY SONGS
Update: Nov, 2011. Rapidshare's annoying "30 days without a download kills it" policy killed the original links. Re-upped with a better service. For those who may only want a particular song:
Download or listen on line. No capcha codes. No porn ads. No percentage going to the blogger for his "hard work." The hard work was done by the artist.
Friday, April 09, 2010
Today you know Anton Fig as the drummer in David Letterman's house band, but back in the early 80's he was proud of two glistening black discs of vinyl from his band SPIDER. And he still thinks they're worth buying.
"Those were really great albums," Fig (aka "Anton Zip") recalls, referring to "Spider" 1980 and "Between the Lines" 1981). Spider was breathtakingly fronted by his wife at the time Amanda Leigh (aka "Amanda Blue") and included Holly Knight on keyboards.
As Anton remembers, "We opened for Alice Cooper for quite a few months - it must have been around '81 - It was a memorable tour for me. I know we played Joe Louis arena in Detroit - very exciting for a young band. We did a couple of videos but it was just as MTV was starting - so it was not widely seen." And after? "Amanda did a couple of records released on Rennaissance Records. I'm not sure what happened to Jimmy and Keith I still see all the time. He is playing around NY and producing various projects...The band should have made it but did not due to bad timing and judgment of our 'superiors' -- in my opinion anyway." A new band is always going to have record companies, managers and even band-members disagreeing on direction. But at least it was a good ride.
Amanda "Blue" Leigh, as she's known (amandablueleigh.com) was born in Cape Town, South Africa and recorded a solo album back in 1972 called "Medusa." She and Anton formed Spider when they came to New York circa 1977. He was a session drummer working with Garland Jeffries, Link Wray and many others. The band drew the attention of Kiss members Ace Frehley and Gene Simmons, and they were signed by Kiss manager Bill Aucoin to his Rock Steady Productions organization, and to a hot label at the time, Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman's Dreamland Records label. If you know their work, then you'll know what to expect; power pop punk.
After Spider's two-album contract with Dreamland ended, and the group disbanded, Amanda joined the band Shanghai and released an album in 1982. Ten years later, having put her career pretty much on hold to raise her two kids, Chay and Austin, Amanda has released several solo albums including "Awakening," "Returning," "For Dreaming" and her 2007 effort "OneLove." She and her new husband John Slicker live in New York City where, the music biz being impossible for most indies to make any money on, they teach at the Core Energetics Institute.
Anton co-wrote "New Romance" with Holly Knight, and the song's turned up in an episode of "Knots Landing." Most of their songs were written by some combination of Fig, Knight and Leigh. You can easily find that out for yourself, as both albums have been re-issued on a single CD, and individual tracks are on legal mp3 download from Amazon and the usual suspects. Your sample track is from the original vinyl.
NEW ROMANCE (It's a Mystery) Instant download or listen on line. No pop-ups, porn ads or wait time.
Some think of Holland as that dull stereotype country where oversized wooden people wear over-sized wooden shoes and their lives are as monotonous as the windmills that pointlessly move in creaky circles day and night. People think that not only is the terrain flat, but so are their singers (hence the impossibility of thinking of a single important Dutch singer or rock group that made a difference in the world). And lastly, people question a country that, if known for anything at all, is known for cheese.
All of the above is grossly unfair, and nobody is more upset about it than the Dutch themselves, who cope with it the only way they know how: by legalized prostitution and marijuana bars. Yes, for all the talk about the Dutch being notoriously cheap, to the point of organizing groups of people to put up blogs just to steal music, the fact is that people in Holland actually do spend money on what's important; sex and drugs.
Sex and drugs are especially important in Holland these days because it helps the people forget about how they're being overrun with Muslim fanatics. Few countries have had a high-profile incident such as the assassination of Theo Van Gogh.
Yes, Holland has its miseries, and the proof is a shift in what they find entertaining. Neurotic countries such as the U.K. and U.S.A., have had a circus of performers such as Boy George and Britney "Shaved It Off Top and Bottom" Spears. For more than a decade, the gray and depressed mood in Holland was lightened up by the eccentric sunshine of Sugar Lee Hooper.
Since the mid 90's, she gave the Dutch something to counter their sedate stereotype of placid tulips and dykes that did nothing but stand still and ominously show their deepening cracks.
Born Marja van deer Toorn (February 23, 1948-April 4, 2010), she took her new name from gluttony (she loved desserts) and a fondness for old-time jazz singers (ok, how many of you knew that Lee Hooper was Billie Holiday's manager?)
Hans, her brother, wished that he could become famous before he became 64, and was quite happy when he and Marja combined forces for a few singles. Apparently Marja learned something important from Hans: be careful with time you have left. And so she went off in an entirely new direction, and became the drummer for a group called The Crazy Rockers. That gig lasted a dozen years until she happened to fall off the stage and sustain more damage than a simple twitch. Unable to go back behind the drum kit, she chose kitsch instead, and re-invented herself as a singer named "Sugar Lee Hooper."
Things didn't go so smoothly at first, and she struggled for several years, but in the mid 90's, she had two blockbuster hit albums in the Netherlands, "Lots of Sugar" in 1995, and "Toeters en Bellen" ("Bells and Whistles") in 1996. Sugar soon announced her "partnership" with Andrea van deer Kaap, and three years later, in 2001, the same-sex duo were married. They made history as the first famous same-sex married couple in Holland. (Compare that to 2005, when the U.K. witnessed the same-sex marriage between Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles.)
If Sugar Lee Hooper was beginning to resemble Boy George more and more, she probably wasn't happy about it, and so the aging dyke underwent a facelift in 2006, had her bulging stomach repaired in 2007, had her titties tidied up as well, and then in 2008 she took some time off to go to the hospital for something important…surgery for a tumor on her hip.
Hooper was slowing down, but perhaps not enough, because on March 28, while riding her scooter along a particularly boring patch of Holland, she fell and ended up lying in a tramline. It took a half hour to get an ambulance (the driver must've been advised to slow down by his doctor) and by the time the hospital got a hold of Sugar, things really went sour. During surgery for her injuries (which included a broken hip), she suffered a heart attack. Doctors feared brain injury as well, since there was some question over how much oxygen she was getting.
The doctors felt the best thing to do was to put the singer into a coma, and then see if they could figure out what to do. A few days later, they figured there was nothing they could do, and Sugar Lee did her impression of Stagger Lee, as she shuffled off to the real Nether regions.
Your sample is a typical bit of catchy disco called "Oh wat ben je mooi," which doesn't translate as "What a cow you've been," but "Oh, You're Pretty." And Sugar Lee Hooper certainly was, in a Boy George kind of way. Wasn't she?
OH WAt BEN JE MOOI No pop ups, porn ads or wait time
With Easter and the resurrection still fresh in some folks' minds, why not listen to "Disappointing Mary." It could be about the Virgin Mary, who would be quite disappointed with the Easter egg games, Papal excuses for pedophile priests, idiots seeing Jesus on pieces of toast sold on eBay and the rest of the antics that have so little to do with the teachings of Christ.
Atheists would tell you that Mother Mary is not disappointed at all, because either she never existed, or she's been dead 2,000 years. A good argument for the latter, is that there are so many pious hillbillies and hazy-brained rebels around who commit heinous acts all week long, and think they're forgiven because they clean up nice and white for Sunday services where they sing their favorite shitty gospel songs and toss some change into a basket for the most moronic bribe this side of Sharebee downloads for nice comments. If Mary or Jesus or God existed, wouldn't Rush Limbaugh be dead? Dead from having Sarah Palin's head slammed up his bowels like a bowling ball?
Assuming Mother Mary is just, unlike Joan of Arc, able to tolerate atrocities with a kind of slow burn, she still has every reason to be disappointed by the shabby way her nice Jewish boy Jesus was treated and still IS being treated. She's probably a bit confused by all the bloggers who spend December stealing hundreds of whole albums of in-print Christmas music rather than doing unto artists and store owners the right thing and buying the products. Mother Mary may also be sick and tired of McCartney's song, since "Let it Be" is only a mother's advice about not picking at a pimple.
Then again, Valentine Smith may be referring to some average chick named Mary, and throwing in religious imagery to be poetic. You could ask them, but artists rarely explain their work, and these guys disbanded ten years ago.
Valentine Smith was founded by the songwriting team of Bill McGarvey and Stephen Dima and included bassist Brad Finkel and at various times drummers Wilbur Jones and Joey Cassata, and violinists Lorenza Ponce, Helen Hooke and Kimberly Nordling. They issued three albums between 1994 and 2000. Billboard called the group "magical," and, rare for indie artists at the time, the mag put the Smiths' first single "Katie's a No-Show" on their "Best of" the year list. The Washington Post, hepsters to the maxi-pad, praised the band as "purveyors of…addictive pieces of jangle candy." Well, Gabba gabba hey!
The group opened for The Wallflowers and NRBQ as well as The Lemonheads and Joan Osborne. Back then, the idea was to tour and get support for album sales. Today, the idea is for starry-eyed indie bands to give away the albums and hope to make money from live shows. Disappointing strategies, both ways.
Since 2000, the band's leader Bill McGarvey has issued just as many CDs solo as he did with Valentine Smith. Three. They are "Tell Your Mother," "Beautiful Mess" and "Plaid as Hell."
"Disappointing Mary" is on an out of print Valentine Smith CD called "Back to Earth." It's easy to find used, and individual tracks are available via iTunes and other download services. The royalties the band gets might actually pay for an eBay win on the image of Jesus discovered on a piece of used toilet tissue. Holy shit!
DISAPPOINTING MARY No pop-ups, porn ads or wait time.