Tuesday, June 19, 2012


He's best known for being just an ensemble member of a sitcom, and for spending ten years looking at "surveys" as the host of the quiz show "Family Feud." Yet, Richard Dawson was a certified star, a guy you liked, and even admired. A skilled actor, an adept ad-libber, he could also get a lot of mileage out of a knowing stare or a raised eyebrow. And though he'd been out of the spotlight for decades, the news of Richard Dawson's death was sad indeed.

America didn't know him when he entered the world under the name Colin Emm, nor when the 20-something stand-up comic became "Mr. Diana Dors," having what it took to land "the British Jayne Mansfield." In the U.S.A., Dawson started to gain some attention in co-starring movie roles, and as "Racy Tracy" Rattigan on a memorable "Dick Van Dyke Show." In 1965 he won the role of Cpl. Newkirk on "Hogan's Heroes," despite nearly failing the audition by using a working class Liverpool accent. Producers felt he was "unintelligible." It amused him that soon that same accent was being heard on movie screens in "Hard Day's Night" and "Help."

During the show's run, an album was released called "Hogan's Heroes Sing the Best of World War II." It was dominated by Robert Clary and Larry Hovis (both legit singers with long resumes before the sitcom), with Dawson only rating one solo. It was the album closer, because nothing could top the over-the-top "This Is Worth Fighting For." It moves from sappy spoken words of inspiration ("I saw a peaceful old valley with a carpet of corn for a floor…) to alarming outbursts of almost Jolson-esque belting ("Didn't ah build dat cottage? Didn't ah plow that corn?") and crooning ("Didn't my folks before me fight for this country before I was born?"). Then there's the near-shout finale, all of it very untypical of the comical cool Cpl. Newkirk character of the sitcom.

Was "This is Worth Fighting For" just an aberration, something Dawson had to do because a record producer gave it to him? Or did our laconic, witty, sophisticated man of the world truly have a very mushy and sincerely sentimental side? The latter, it turns out, as witness the notorious 1967 solo single "His Children's Parade" (just too corny for words) b/w "Apples & Oranges," which builds on its monotonous chorus toward a "heavy" message at the end.

Interview shows and quiz shows let Dawson's skiklled stand-up wit shine through, so after "Hogan" ended, he was still very visible as a daytime regular on "I've Got a Secret" and the racy "Match Game," and a welcome guest on the night time talk show circuit. He guest-hosted "The Tonight Show" once in a while and was whispered to be a possible replacement should Johnny Carson retire. That didn't happen, but starting in 1976 he ran through nine years as host of "Family Feud." He became notorious for elaborately puckering his lips and planting a quick kiss on the equally trouted mouths of female contestants. His second (and final) wife was one of them…he met her on a 1980 broadcast. Despite the growing bags under his eyes, Dawson remained a favorite with the housewives, and they loved his flirting and his slightly naughty ad-libs. For sick kids staying home from school, there was also his lapses into W.C. Fields imitations, the timing of his reactions to dumb answers, and, yeah, who didn't like those slightly naughty ad-libs?

I have a photo Richard autographed and personalized for me, with the "Family Feud" set in the background. I do remember him a bit more fondly for the quiz show than "Hogan's Heroes" (which I haven't watched in 20 years). You can actually find "Feud" on DVD, as well as some Dawson drolleries on a "best of" for "The Match Game."

The kindly star seemed to enjoy his retirement (after his nine year run on "Feud" he did a brief comeback for one more year in 1994 after new host Ray Combs was fired). Years later, a weight gain that had him looking a bit like actress Pat Carroll as Gertrude Stein, or a blown-up Phyllis Diller. Odd, that. But the photo above also shows prime Dawson in his two most memorable TV shows. And now, below, two of his most memorable songs! Really. You will NOT forget having heard these.

Submitted for your amazement is the late Mr. Dawson ((November 20, 1932 – June 2, 2012), offering up two songs that might make you think. Or cringe.


Richard Dawson THIS IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR Survey Says: Instant download or listen on line. No capcha codes, wait time, or extortion from Commies about how you should get a "premium account" to fatten their Kim Dotcom waistlines.


Here are two facts that might persuade you that you're in the presence of greatness. The Persuasions are such a great a cappella group that you can sometimes forget that there's no piano, drums or guitars to enrich the sound. And despite having no big hit songs, they've been around for 50 years. Pretty great. Behind the slogan "we still ain't got no band," they're still gettin' it done, always, whether it's old school touring (they'll be at the Fur Peace Ranch in Pomeroy Ohio August 10-12th) or trying to work up ways to keep fresh (they've done entire cover albums on The Beatles and U2 as well as their new one on Bob Dylan).

I became a fan decades ago, via a Warner "Loss Leader" track called "It's All Right." The song has a message, and a simplicity to it…a series of anecdotes and a philosophy. It's not quite right for every occasion (check Pearls Before Swine and "These Things Too Shall Pass" or George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass" for a heavy all-purpose phrase) but at times, it'll do. It can change your way of thinking, a little bit.

The first time I heard it, "It's All Right" gave me a brief moment of inspiration, and I've remembered it and played it in my mind from time to time in moments when I needed to be reminded of what's worth righteous rage and what should be ignored. It was certainly different from other tracks on the Warners compilation record. Amid samples for various rock acts and folkies, here's some soul guy and his doo-wop group speaking about some miseries and how to cope with them.

Fast forward some 30 years, and The Persuasions are still out there. Still largely unknown. And they're covering Bob Dylan. Bob, of course, has a deep well of songs that you can count on in times of trouble, and plenty of philosophical numbers that can help you change your way of thinking (and find a different set of rules). "Every Grain of Sand" or "Serve Somebody" come to mind as songs The Persuasions could easily get behind.

But listen to "Things Have Changed." This Dylan track is just about the opposite of "It's All Right," or gospel Dylan songs. It's a song filled with conflicting emotions, and the narrator is turning in all kinds of directions, with fight or flight tensions ("trying to get as far away from myself as I can") dissolving into a bleak mantra of "I used to care but things have changed." Only he still cares. And he's still twisting in the wind where a gallows noose might encircle him. And talk of existential agony: "I'm in love with a woman that don't even appeal to me."

The Persuasions take this along a pretty bumpy road…it's a long song to be do-wopping to, with mouths imitating bass and harmonies trying to substitute for guitar chords. But damned if they're gonna throw in a guitar, or even a Bob-type harmonica.

If you think about it (assuming you actually think about lyrics, and most listeners don't), you might wonder if "It's All Right" from over 30 years ago is just another way of saying what modern Dylan's declared: "I used to care, but things have changed." What, me worry? Now it's in your lap. If you paid attention, you'd be worried too. (Newman!) Two songs more than a generation apart… both songs may help you cope or hope. Or, you might listen and say yeah, both songs are all right, but who the fuck cares? ThePersuasions.info is the website to check out more on this legendary group.



Instant download or listen on line. No capcha code crapola, no extortion about a "premium account," no use of Commie "clouds" that spam you with dumbass banner ads for bogus dating sites and spyware "play video games" conjobs.


Most of today's female "stars" don't have brains and don't care. They get on the cover of the Daily Mail or the NY Post pouting and posturing or drugging and brawling. Most are "famous because they're famous" twits, twats, fashion models and reality show idiots. As long as they've got fake boobs and fat booty…

…They could all walk around with their heads tucked underneath their arms! Are they quotable? Can they act or sing? Hell no. That's not what they do. Doing nothing is what they do, and this appeals to talentless morons who vicariously wish they could be famous for giving birth to too many children, tanning too much, or leaking a porn video too.

Brains not required. Personality not required. Talent not required. Hey, a face is not even required. Think how many God-awful ugly bitches with trout-pouts, Botox foreheads and dimwitted expressions have the photographers panting for a picture.

This blog salutes people who DO have talent…but didn't get too far because they didn't do anything ridiculous to get famous. Like Anita Scott, who could take any song and…make you pay attention!

"Pig and Whistle" TV host John Hewer once said "you have heard these songs sung many times before but never quite LIKE THAT." That was praise for Anita, who often guested on his odd-named Canadian TV show. The program was long on nostalgia and sing-along numbers, and the guest list over the years included Hattie Jacques, Tessie O'Shea, Barbara Windsor, Jessie Matthews, Lonnie Donegan and Tommy Trinder, all big names at least at one time or other. Yet the lesser known Anita Scott was often the highlight of the evening.

Unlike Tessie O'Shea, who most remember as just an over-baked belter, Scott's bombastic and old-fashioned enthusiasm raises a grin more than a grimace. You get some idea of the Camden Town native's bizarre charisma on "With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm," from her album "Songs I Learned At My Mother's Knee…and other joints." While this British Music Hall classic was made famous via Stanley Holloway, and has had much quieter and more atmospheric treatments from others, Anita does get your attention, abetted by somebody's kiddie-cartoonish spook laughs halfway through.

Scott's career was long, ranging from BBC radio appearances during World War II, to exotic nightclub work around the world (including Shepherd's Hotel in Cairo where she sang for King Farouk) to Canadian nightclubs clubs into the 1980's. From there, the trail runs cold. Perhaps, she's in the cold cold ground. But listen to how she sings her head off….

Anita Scott With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm Instand download or listen on line. No capcha code crapola, no extortion about a "premium account," no use of Crapidshare or other sites that let links die JUST because only a few discerning oddballs download them once in a very great while.

BILLY BENNETT skewers "The League of Nations"

The nations of the world getting together for peace and prosperity?

You've got to be kidding!

About 100 years ago, British Music Hall star Billy Bennett lampooned the good intentions of the original "League of Nations." It's no surprise that today's "United Nations" is even more hapless and corrupt. Aside from offering a platform for dictator-manics to shout their propaganda, members do little besides party, park anywhere they please, and claim diplomatic immunity after assaults.

Back in the day, Bennett saw this and offered a cheeky tweak that lyrically might recall the legacy of nonsense specialists Edward Lear and W.S. Gilbert, while the heroically vaudevillian delivery may have inspired Max Miller and Spike Milligan. You'll probably get past a few dated references, and the Cockney rhyming slang, and agree that Billy should occupy some space on your iTunes between Ian "What a Waste" Dury and Groucho "Whatever It Is, I'm Against It" Marx.

The nations will never agree on real sanctions against terrorism, serious investigation and prosecution of crimes against humanity, the corruption that keeps leaders wasting all the money while the citizens starve, or the menaces that will end this planet if bombs don't: over-population and pollution.

Newspapers don't even bother talking about this. It's too depressing. Newspapers thrive on gruesome reports of insane behavior from average citizens, the latest dumbass bar brawl or sex scandal, and sports. Which is why Billy Bennett declared, "What I like to see in a newspaper," says Billy here, "is a good feed of fish and chips!"

Today's news generally ignores the hopeless questions about failing global economy and barbaric acts against humanity perpetrated by so many backward countries. Instead, the lead item is usually who is fucking one of the Kardashian Kunts. So who can fault Billy for wondering when the League of Nations will take up such an important matter as "Can a bandy-legged gherkin be a straight cucumber's child?"

Billy Bennett mocks The League Of Nations


Meet an odd folker. Last name, Fey. First name, Karlheinz.

He's the first entry in the "NEWLY DIAGNOSED" series, which calls attention to alive and unwell new artists who haven't yet gotten recognition or a major label deal.

Herr Fey loves to sing American folk-rock, but with his accent and nasal delivery, the love turns strange! Face it, any words sound sinister, twisted or decadent when spoken with a German accent. Recite the phone book and it sounds like a list of victims. Here, "California Dreaming" is a slightly creepy nightmare, and rather than warmth, each pronunciation of "Call-eee-fornia" might send a chill up your spine. The minor-key sneering on "Sunny" sounds like it's being crooned by the stalker Peter Lorre played in "M." On "Those Were the Days" you might wince over "we were YOUNG and sure to have our way," which sounds like he's recalling the night of broken glass. But on "Don't Think Twice," his grinding vocals suit being a Teutonic Zimmerman.

If you're truly an ill folkie with an evil mind, you might even get spooked by his photograph, and think he's got his zipper down and screwing the glory hole in the back of his guitar.

All of the above may sound like fun is being made of Mr. Fey, with a fey mocking of him as an unintentional Mr. Fun. No, he's here to hear because he's sincere. His self-published works are lost in that vast jungle of freebie sites such as Spotty Pie, which streams music the way an elephant streams piss. He's one of the millions with a MySpace page that describes his dreams and desires:

"I’m a guitarist and songwriter and I am playing guitar since my youth. I grew up with the songs of the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Simon and Garfunkel, Joan Baez, Franz Josef Degenhard and Hannes Wader, John Denver, Cat Stevens and I like the songs of Eric Clapton, J.J.Cale and some more too. I also like to play classical guitar and flamenco. As a student I gave some concerts of classical music and flamenco throughout the Republic of Germany. After a pause I was reactivated and gave concerts for a good purpose in favour of help for children fallen ill with cancer and other social important organisations. For some years I give concerts, performing the music of the sixties with songs of the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Donovan, Joan Baez, Peter, Paul and Mary, Eric Clapton, John Denver and with songs of my own.

I have produced 4 CDs…available online...www.musicload.de and all the other MP3 shops…."

And a few samples are here, on what, ironically enough, is the most high-profile setting this guy's had yet. These aren't presented with a smarmy "oooh, this is SO bad it's good" sense of superiority. Most of you (and I include myself) don't play the guitar as well as Mr. Fey, and most of you would rather ride your armchairs than ride the gain in a recording studio and try to live a dream. Time to experience the unusual Mr. Fey and his unforgettable way with a tune.

UPDATE: The music link was bopped by a bot from SONY MUSIC DISTRIBUTION

This happens, hilariously, when non-thinkers are too busy to even attempt to read. My guess is some phrase or other, plus "Bob Dylan" or "Simon and Garfunkel" raised some kind of red flag, but who knows.

The inscrutables that run SONY don't seem to have any idea about piracy except to get a toy robot to fire a cap-pistol at an unarmed blogger. We all know of other Blogspot blogs (to say nothing of ones from Croatia, or ones on Wordpress) that are giving away hundreds of Columbia recordings. This entry wasn't even one of them. Mr. Fey is not on Columbia, he's self-pressed. (His music, I mean).

And this blog is trying to help him out, you thoughtless Sony beasts! Meanwhile you're sucking the cock of Amazon and allowing them to give away hundreds of mp3s as some kind of promotion? God'll get you for this. If nothing else, there will be more tsunami jokes from Gilbert Gottfried.

BOB WELCH joins The Ghost of Flight 401

Bob Welch is the one member of Fleetwood Mac not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Though he scored hits for the band, his tenure would be fleeting. His mediocre luck in being a fairly unknown member of a legendary band would be matched in his his solo work, where critics panned his commercial pop-rock and rock-disco releases in the late 70's though he managed to chart a few singles before becoming dollar bin disposables. And since the blog is noted for poor taste, and "too soon" won't apply after a while anyway, it's hard not to notice that the re-designed Bob on those glam album covers looks a bit like Nancy Kulp ("Jane Hathaway" on "The Beverly Hillbillies") trying to transgender into a rock star.

Yes, few of those albums sold for a buck since the 1980's because those album covers were so horrendously trendy and so quickly dated; the androgyne make-up, silly accessories, and those "if I'm with sexy models, I must be sexy" poses…all a far cry from the appealing, normal-looking guy who was playing good guitar in a mainstream band just a few years earlier. Oh well...even Jagger had his make-up and Lennon had his leisure suits during those terrible years of rock-gone-fashion conscious. As for his career from the 80's on, it was known mostly to ardent fans and Mac compleatists. The sad news of his death being the biggest news on him in years.

A few weeks ago, it was "Here Comes the Night" for Bob ((August 31, 1945 – June 7, 2012). He committed suicide, in despair of suffering the same genetic spinal problem as his father. An operation failed to correct the malady. His memory scarred by his father's long, lingering illness, Bob didn't want to put his wife through the same agony, time consumption and expense. Which is exactly what he wrote in the note he left behind.

Mr. Zevon, when asked by David Letterman if he had any wisdom to impart after learning he was terminally ill, said: "enjoy every sandwich." But what if that sandwich has to be put in a blender first, and spoon-fed to you? What if it produces a burn in the throat, intense stomach pain and turns to spitting lava in your colon and you can't even get out of your chair to excrete it? Maybe you Welch on your bet and shoot your way out.

Fans mourning Bob have embraced the solo albums they grew up with, still loving what were, after all, solidly commercial love tunes and slick dance efforts and ballads. They also go back to the Mac material. The logical choice for this blog to remember him by, is the more atypical "The Ghost of Flight 401." Somehow it snuck onto the "Three Hearts" album, to occupy grooves between predictable guitar-greased productions that bury Bob's weak vocals deep in the mix, and some pointless cover versions of old hits. There was a pretense in the late 70's and early 80's that "power arrangements" and gloss made everything better. Not so with Bob's take on (the non-Mac) Fleetwoods' "Come Softly to Me" or The Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There." But on this track, there's restraint in the arrangement and Bob's voice isn't double-tracked and sounds pretty damn good.

Our chosen tune starts with a prophetic line: "You've heard about The Flying Dutchman…" (Yes…no relation to the Crying Dutchman, the compulsive music thief attention seeker who has haunted blogs for six years, not making very good use of the time he has left). In this ghost story, there's the inference of life after death: "I'm not saying they were puffs of smoke…They were real as life, it ain't no joke…"

Well…even Mr. Zevon, in his infamous tune "Life'll Kill Ya," left some wiggle room: "Maybe you'll go to heaven. See Uncle Al and Uncle Lou. Maybe you'll be reincarnated. Maybe that stuff's true"

Maybe that stuff's true. Some are questioning whether Bob should've picked the suicide hotline over the firing line, but they weren't living in his body as it began to deteriorate. Many of those close to Bob Welch have accepted his choice, even if it's hard for them to live with it. Fans are remembering Bob as a great guitarist, an important member of one of rock's most popular bands, and the solo artist who touched them with tunes they played at their weddings. The guy may be plain gone, actually resting in peace, or jamming in celebrity heaven with his choice of band members. He might be reincarnateed into a new body and soul, or he just might have joined THE GHOST OF FLIGHT 401 in swooping the planet for eternity. The music stays behind.