Thursday, August 29, 2013


So much of the music world is gormless these days. YOU fill in the pun punch line.

The big surprise of August 10, 2013 was that anyone actually cared and remembered Eydie Gorme. Must've been a slow news day. Miley must've been tongue in cheek.

From my previous post on Patti Page, it might be supposed that Eydie Gorme (August 16, 1928-August 10, 2013) was a great favorite, and that I've got all her vinyl. Well, no. I'm fond of two singles. "Blame it on the Bossa Nova" remains a cute novelty, but "Yes My Darling Daughter" with the weird siren ending, is my favorite. Both 45's are a bit played out, but aren't we all.

Though I have no big cache of Gorme albums I respect the middle of the road. It'll save your ass when the lights suddenly change.

For most of her fans, listening to Eydie Gorme, and her hubby, was just a time to relax and not have to go anywhere in any direction. Just look straight ahead and listen.

Eydie, who began her recording career with big bands in 1951, had retired in 2009. No cause of death was announced, so blame it just on bein' olda. Her Jewish parents were from Italy and from Turkey...and just to make things more exotic, she was fluent in Spanish...which made her a big favorite in Latin countries. Most obits headlined her for her "Bossa Nova" hit from 1963, which left 50 more years unaccounted for. What did she do in all that time? Nothing much...she and husband Steve Lawrence toured, put out mild albums (there was a very cute one, "It's Us Again" custom-done as a promo for a shampoo dollar bin intro to them when I was a kid), and gave ordinary middle-aged people like themselves something to listen to.

This obviously didn't include ME in the 60's, but I could appreciate a good tune well sung, and "It's Us Again" had a few of those. Not enough for me to choose them over The Beatles when I had the money to buy a new album! Once in a while I'd see her, him, or both on TV, and think, "Well, they're singing a nice version of..." some Broadway show tune. Nice, not definitive; Steve and Eydie never laid down a great cover on any American standard...nothing to rival an Ella or Sinatra...but they were comfy for their suburban audiences at venues such as Westbury Music Fair, or for the tourists coming to Vegas.

It was always easy to dismiss both Steve and Eydie because they sang so many annoying "get happy" songs that were corny at the time and are moldy now…crap like "Wouldn't it Be Loverly," "Without You I'm Nothing," "Ain't Love," "Would You Like to Take a Walk," and the ultra-irritating "Wherever We Go (Together)." They didn't present themselves as swingin' cool cats, which gave Louis Prima and Keely Smith more creds.

Eydie's solo albums were jarringly full of lame show tunes including "Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of my Hair" or God-awful oldies like "Button Up Your Overcoat." It wasn't until the late 60's that she (and Steve) settled down and began to cover the newer songwriters. Certainly, guys like Jimmy Webb and even McKuen had MOR-type pieces for them that had a little more taste than "Toot Toot Tootsie." For a while in the 60's Billboard had a chart for "Easy Listening," the "elevator music" not yet banished from office buildings. Gorme scored a Top 10 hit there in 1967 with "If He Walked Into My Life" and "Tonight I'll Say a Prayer" in 1969. But in the 70's and 80's, the music-buying public was younger, and that was that...a whole bunch of middle-aged singers were adrift from their record labels and simply working on stage.

Steve and Eydie didn't mind. Their audiences supported them. They, like Dean and Frank, knew they were too old to try for hit singles, and gave up trying. Give 'em credit for being themselves. Back in 1962-1963 when Steve scored a legit Top 10 with "Go Away Little Girl" and Eydie followed with "Bossa Nova," middle-aged listeners were still buying 45's as much as teenagers. Back then Acker Bilk, Louis Armstrong and Percy Faith could be in the Top 10 shoving Elvis around. But by the end of the 60's the demographics had changed. Eydie's song was written by Mann and Weil, and Steve's by Goffin and King...and both these writing couples knew to focus on writing for teens, not an older married couple.

Eydie (and Steve) had deceptively strong talent, both in singing and in acting. As a duo, they arguably (go ahead, see if I care) created the template for Sonny and Cher, and other husband and wife duos...coming out with a smile but giving little zinging wisecracks to each other in between songs. It broke up the monotony of going from "Moon River" to "Fly Me to the Moon." Both were pretty funny doing sketches on the old "Carol Burnett Show." Both got little credit for having very strong pipes. Gorme, it should be noted, was Streisand before Streisand was.

This girl from the Bronx could belt...and for many listeners, loud was synonymous with passionate. Gorme's audience probably was mostly people accustomed to shouting conversation above the din of a subway car, and sleeping through the sound of police sirens, so voices like hers and Barbra's were considered normal volume. Put on a Julie London album? Can't hear that whispering shiksa! It's possible you hadda have a "New Yawk" state of mind to have a fondness for Eydie and Steve...and fortunately for them, they thrived via New York venues, New York-based TV (Steve and Eydie met when they were regulars on Steve Allen's "Tonight Show") and Broadway. In the UK, average-looking Gracie Fields was "Our Gracie." For average middle-income middle-aged types, Steve and Eydie were "our neighbors," considered friends. Family.

You'll hear a prime example of Gorme the Belter on a live television version of "As Long as He Needs Me," the showstopper from the Broadway musical "Oliver."

For balance, your other download is "Softly as I Leave You," which shows more of her talent. Gorme almost never had a serious music critic write about a new album. One reason was yes, the album was likely to be nothing but covers, and she was an ordinary looking married woman who sang in two predictable styles: perky or overly dramatic (with a lotta vibrato). Given the right song and arranger, she could compete with most any of her contemporaries. That's the case with "Softly as I Leave You," from her "Don't Go To Strangers" album. She sings here with sensitivity as well as her trademark panache.

GORME As Long As He Needs Me (live television)

GORME Softly as I Leave You (from her "Don't Go to Strangers" album)

Gaudy Covers: MANFRED MANN does Harriet Schock's "Hollywood Town"

On a cold night, when the temperature and your bank account are a bit too low, you are very thankful for...COVERS.

Does it matter the garish color in the dark? No.

Most every songwriter can point to a pretty bad or strange version of their song...that brought in the big bucks and some publicity to the author. Sometimes a version that seems outrageous turns out to be definitive (think of the Jimi Hendrix take on Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower.")

The Manfred Mann version of "Hollywood Town" is...different, that's for sure. Maybe it's "Hollywood Town" as intended for the "Day of the Locusts" soundtrack. How about that pimply synth! The sudden moany country guitar riff at one break point and then the heavy metal one at another? Wait for the clip clop beat that suggests Jed Clampett's clan have come to town on a donkey cart and found Beverly Hills. The lyrics disappear during a tense synth break that suggests the spotlight is about to reveal Peter Gabriel dressed as the misplaced lamb who lost his way from Broadway to Tinsel Town.

Let's just say I'm used to the classy, elegant original from Harriet Schock's album of the same name. But I'll bet the royalty check from the publisher was much bigger for the Mann usage than on her own disc.

"Hollywood Town" should've been the breakout album for her. For one thing, it was the only one of her three albums to have a stylishly done cover with a truly flattering and also compelling picture of her. Critics are still shaking their heads over how 20th Century Records rose and fell so quickly, taking along their two most promising artists, Schock and awesome Patti Dahlstrom.

Aside from being on a weak label, at the time there was way too much competition in the singer-songwriter field. For Harriet, she was up against expert and established stage acts such as Helen Reddy and Joni Mitchell. Reddy covered Harriet's "No Way to Treat a Lady" and Joni was first choice among college co-eds when it came to studying lyric sheets. Too bad, because any fan of poetry or literate lyrics had a lot to like with Ms. Schock. Take a look at the opening of "Hollywood Town" with those polished internal rhymes and near rhymes (like the flowing use of hide and high, go and those):

Down, down in Hollywood town,
The lost and found come to find their way,
Walking outside, feelings they hide,
Putting their pride through well known paces,
Stepping on stars and shining on cars,
Passing by, their heads are high,
But their hearts are low down, dragging as they go,
Reaching out to those other faces....

There's a lot going on in there, double meanings, things you might pick up months or years later. A lot more subtle than Ray Davies, was Ms. Schock, especially in referencing the stars on the sidewalk of the Hollywood Hall of Fame. Any songwriter interested in the art of the lyric would do well to get a copy of her book "Becoming Remarkable." It not only references her own hits, but analyzes the work of others, various techniques for creating a good song, and what has and hasn't worked for the many pupils she's had as a teacher and coach.

To give you an idea of just how enduring Schock's songs are, let's add that "Hollywood Town" turned up on Mann's "Angel Station" album some seven years after it was first recorded by her. A song has to be considered pretty classic or special to be covered after years have passed. The only other cover on that album was "You Angel You" by Bob Dylan. Pretty good company for Harriet Schock.



Thelma Houston sings Patti Dahlstrom

One of the first artists to recognize the genius of Patti Dahlstrom as a songwriter was Thelma Houston.

Thelma knew that as good as a singer might be (and Thelma was always good), the song has to be good, too. Her first album, 1969's "Sunshower," was a Jimmy Webb production. A few years later, Dahlstrom's first album came out...and two tracks on it from the Texas beauty...came to Houston.

Below, Thelma's takes on "I'm Letting Go" and "And I Never Did."

Thelma does a good job on both of them, although to my twisted lobes Patti's much more "hawt," with that strange Texas accent and the earthy burr in her voice. (Thelma was born in Mississippi and raised in California).

It wasn't until 1977 that Houston became a star via "Don't Leave Me This Way", which won a Grammy. By that time, sadly, Ms. Dahlstrom and the ill-fated 20th Century Records label were not a hot topic in the music industry. Patti was burned out as a performer, but still wrote songs that got covered now and then. She also worked as a teacher. For more on her, check other entries on the blog, or buy her "Best Of" CD and read the liner notes. She currently lives in England.

Thelma? Motown went into a sort of panic when she couldn't follow her smash with another Top Ten hit, but she kept trying. She released four albums in the late 70's plus two more featuring Jerry Butler. Without a major single, she started the 80's at RCA for a two-record deal, then moved to MCA for two more, "Thelma Houston" in 1983 and "Qualifying Heat" in 1984. Six years later, 1990, she got a one-album deal from Reprise. And the industry collapsing as it did, it's no surprise that there was an even longer wait for the next one: "A Woman's Touch" in 2007.

When you add it up, though, Thelma's released two dozen albums, been in the business 44 years, and "is a legendary Pop / Motown / Disco and R&B music icon." She says so herself on her dotcom, which also mentions that her latest single is "Last Dance." And even if it's on iTunes for pennies in royalties, you can bet it's not the last dance for her.

Patti and Thelma from the original or listen on line. No quirky links taking you to dodgy sites, no Kim Dotcom asking you to pay for a premium account, no Paypal donation requests.

THELMA I'm Letting Go

PATTI I'm Letting Go

THELMA And I Never Did

PATTI And I Never Did

Monday, August 19, 2013


Merv Griffin pressed a private, rude little ditty about the doldrums of the music biz. It was full of inside references (to music publishers mostly) and even included a "bad" word. Briefly quoting….

"They're not writing the songs as good this year. Ain't got a hit. Whether Robbins or Chappell or Larry Spier. Ain't got a hit…and the Big Brains of A&R just wait and sit, so mad they could spit…They're under an awful spell. The Brill Building's starting to smell. It's not legit. Nothing but shit. Ain't got a hit."

What would Merv make of the situation today? Shit-singers like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry are putting out forgettable singles...and bitching because they "leaked" on the Internet and (they're shocked, SHOCKED) the rich bitches aren't getting every dime coming to them.

When was the last time you sang along to a new single on the radio? Was it when CeeLo sang FUCK YOU? Maybe you were walking in the rain and chimed in with Rihanna and sang "ella...ella...ella." Or maybe the last song you think you can sing along to actually is one by Ella Fitzgerald?? That would be Merv, maybe. (We give you a can say The Beatles.) OK, we all know the chorus to an Amy Winehouse song. Don't we? NO NO NO!

The current paradigm, which is part of both the songwriter and the listener's current threnody, or jeremiad, is, to put it plainly...SHIT.

Merv thought it was bad in the days of 45's? In the mp3 era, the songs aren't worth hearing (Jake Bugg is supposed to be the next Dylan) and for most tasteless morons out there...the songs that they DO listen to...they don't wanna pay for!

"AIN'T GOT A HIT" is the truth. First, because we've heard the best in every genre, and the latest rock, disco, rap or pop song is the same-old-song. Second, piracy. Who buys when they can, uh, SHARE? And third, and also important, is that music is no longer that important in our lives. We get so much free entertainment, we don't need to sit on the floor staring at a 45 rpm on the turntable, and don't even have the time or interest in following along with the lyrics while listening to a 33 1/3 with headphones on. has NO VALUE ANYMORE.

"NO VALUE ANYMORE" meaning, an mp3 file is a blip. It's nothing. And people are happy about it. They'd rather store a zillion songs on a brick-sized external hard drive than have a proud set of shelves full of rare vinyl and great CD's. Eh. Meh. Foo. Ugh. Who wants that JUNK taking up space?? Proof that it's junk...most of it goes cheap at a thrift shop. Most of it goes untouched by anyone except some senile "collector" who goes to boot sales because his dick's no longer working.

Some years ago, a thriving website was run by IPODMEISTER. What a deal...CD's were valuable! If you got a whole lot of 'em as gifts, had some duplicates, got tired of could put them in a PRE-PAID box, and IPODMEISTER would trade you for, yes, an IPOD. Or an external drive. The irony of this, is that they were offering you the new technology that would kill their own business and help trivialize the world of music.

Some thought IPODMEISTER was some Internet rip-off. No. It was the real deal. Nice people. Fast service. You had extra CDs and didn't feel like being an eBay seller, use IPODMEISTER. Maybe you were at a church fund-raiser where they had some boxes of donated CDs they were selling so cheap you could do very well buying 'em all and doing an IPODMEISTER trade-in. That was then. NOT NOW!

Check the illustration for this entry.It's pretty insane the number of CDs you must trade in NOW to get an iPod or iPad. The amount you must send has not only doubled, you also have to send REALLY GOOD stuff because everybody already has Phil Collins, Billy Joel, and old Blink and N Sync. IPODMEISTER used to give good trade value on any CD but NOT NOW. Not when Amazon and eBay sellers can't move most of 'em for a dollar.

You'll need to box up 300 very good (Beatles, Sony Classical, the latest Bumford and Sons) CDs to get an iPod Nano. Actually, you better box up 400, because the folks at IPODMEISTER may disallow a lot of what you give them. THey check the bar codes on CDs against Amazon/Ebay prices and spot the moment the new Dylan is the old Dylan and everybody who was gonna buy it at Starbucks did so.

IPODMEISTER has expanded their gift ideas. You can help trivialize and destroy the book industry with Bozo Bezos of Amazon's beloved Kindle...or maybe a Nook from the failing Barnes & Noble chain who still try and sell real books to real people. For an iPad, all you have to do is collect over a THOUSAND CDs (or DVDs…another endangered species)

At this point you're thinking, "why don't I just throw the fucking CD's out…after digitizing them on my computer." IPODMEISTER has an alternative; their sister company CDSWEEP. CDSWEEP will send you a free Fedex mailing label so you can slap it on a box and send them your unwanted music. They in turn, sell it (to third-world countries that still have people who have boom boxes and CD players) and you'll get a tax donation. CDSWEEP is a charity involving autism.

The bottom line is that the music business will remain shit, and the proof is the Billboard Top 10 for the past few years...full of forgotten junk that you could barely sing along to if you had a karaoke machine and the lyrics a foot high on a screen. These songs "ain't hits" and only sell to stupid rappers, rednecks or teenage twits.

It seems quaint that Merv Griffin sang about a lack of interesting music in the early 50's. That changed as people discovered new types of music...R&B, doo-wop, rock and roll, ROCK, progressive rock...and there was still a market for people to buy classical, country and movie soundtracks, too. Jeez, remember buying a novelty 45 and slapping it on the turntable and having a laugh? Well worth the dollar, that tune. Now? When was the last time you heard a funny song? Not funny! You don't get a lot of laughs trawling Spotify. And forget grimacing Kanye. He is SHIT.

Sing it Merv…

Merv Griffin says SHIT! because the radio Ain't Got a Hit

Birthday for T-T-T-T-T TUESDAY WELD!

"She went by the name of Thalia Menninger on the Dobie Gillis show. Remember?"

Walter Egan sure does. He sang those lines back in the 70's. Remember?

He offered up a few extra clues for you all:

"Lord Love a Duck and the Cincinnati Kid.

These were a few of the movies she did."

She was also in 70's films 'Play it As it Lays," "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" and "Who'll Stop the Rain." In the 80's, how about "Author! Author!" "Thief," "Once Upon A Time in America," "Winter of Our Discontent" and "Heartbreak Hotel?" She made only two films in the 1990's, "Falling Down" and "Feeling Minnesota," and her last screen roles were in 2001.

But Tuesday Weld…is legend. Like an American Brigitte Bardot, she had a certain look that made her a favorite for fan magazines. People didn't have to go see her films to get a real kick out of her. Seeing a photo was enough! If you did tune in and see her on some TV show, you instantly got it: she exuded an attitude, a spirit…a new breed of "wild child." She had a natural sex appeal...a sweetly omnivorous desire to experience joy. On an episode of "77 Sunset Strip" called "Condor's Child," you see her as both the baby-faced innocent and the femme fatale. She played uninhibited types, as Bardot did, and sometimes the spirit, and her flesh, was good enough to save a bad script.

Here, we celebrate her upcoming birthday (August 27, 1943).

Her first name was Susan, which one of her cousins pronounced Tu-Tu. It eventually, and legally, became Tuesday…and she rocked. Literally. She was in "Rock Rock Rock" in 1956 although her singing voice was dubbed. Trivia fans will note that she played a singer on an episode of "Bus Stop" in 1961, and was messin' with Fabian in the movie "High Time" (1960) and in a typical wild-child role on "The Dick Powell Show" called 'Run Till It's Dark" in 1962. She was also involved with Elvis Presley, who co-starred with her in the 1961 film "Wild in the Country."

Tuesday's lovers were not confined to greasy kid singers. She had a May-December fling with crusty old actor John Ireland, and her last two husbands were Dudley Moore and the violinist Pinchas Zuckerman. So many fans "dream of her still," and would love a chance to just meet the quirky, erotic, tragic, contradictory, unusual, erratic and always fascinating Ms. Weld. Probably the best "fanboy" song of all time, Walter Egan's "Tuesday Weld" has a great closing line. If I ever had the chance to interview the guy, I would not ask him to elaborate on it! It's too perfect the way it stands.

Walter Egan's tribute to….to…….t.t.t.t…. TUESDAY WELD


Whores like money. But they also like jewelry...and there IS the "BERNIE TAUPIN COLLECTION." But...first, the news that there's going to be a new addition to the Elton John Collection. No, not another disgusting dollop for Pumpkin Head & David to coo over...

We're supposed to get through the last hot, humid, melting, bitching dog days of August by looking forward to the Fall music releases...especially the new one from Elton! Think it'll much of a work of genius as the last one from McCartney?

Sad, huh. What do we get out of the latest from guys like these? It's sort of like going to a class reunion, isn't it? You're just relieved the person you remember fondest, and who is still alive, is not going to show up in a wheelchair, or with a face bloated or wrinkled, or unrecognizable in some other way. You do recognize, on each forgettable album, some trace of the person you don't want to forget.

Being honest about it, very few of our heroes…Jagger, Neil Young, Cohen…have put out a new release that hasn't had to come with some kind of apology. "Not bad…considering his age…his voice…the chord changes are so familiar….that he hasn't anything to say…" Like the guy with the toupee at the reunion, the artist doesn't acknowledge his failing. He isn't the man in Randy Newman's brilliant song "I'm Dead But I Don't Know It." And Randy can still hit the target now and then….as can Costello, Dylan etc. Not for a whole album maybe, but a lot more songs than McCartney or Elton John.

"When will I end this bitter game? When will I end this cruel charade? Everything I write all sounds the same. Each record that I'm making is like a record that I've made — Just not as good."

Elton's hyping this one. After years of terrible dirges, and a minor duet album with weird Leon Russell, he says "The Diving Board" is his big risk. He's got to have a HIT, and go back to his roots. He's gotta find some kind of Tumbleweed connection, revive Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, and put out YOUR SONG again. One you can relate to, not as nostalgia. Well, I hope you don't mind, I hope you don't mind, but…the reality check is that it's probably not going to happen. Let's say that Elton has not been rocking for a long time, and his interminable ballads all sound the same as what he did in the 70's, but "not as good."

Mostly, we've been suffering through the sight of a pasty-faced heavy-set gay guy on stage (self-emphasis on gay, as if that's his actual profession). Off stage he's babbling about his baby and his husband, and even his feud with Madonna was boring. So is anyone really looking to Elton John for anything? Maybe some silly tune for a Disney cartoon or a bad Broadway show for the kiddies? There are plenty of hacks who can do that. Randy Newman throws familiar idiot tunes onto movie soundtracks all the time, but at least he can still write a real song with good lyrics once in a while.

Which, at last, brings us to Bernie Taupin. We're told that a big difference here, is that the new album re-unites Elton with the same guy who gave him those 60's hits. But hasn't been able to provide him with hit lyrics in a long, long time. As if Taupin in 1970 was so profound: "If I was a sculptor, but then again, no." Think he's got anything brilliant to say in 2013?

Years ago, I was hanging out in Daryl Hall's apartment, and John Oates was there as well, and we talked about disposable music. And who would know better than those two? The subject got around to Elton John, and one of them said that one reason Elton's music was so disposable, and getting more so with every release, was that it was just some facile melodies. Well, yes, Elton went through a period of knocking out albums that all sounded pleasantly alike, and maybe had, at best, a catchy chorus phrase like "I'm Still Standing." The trouble? "He's not singing anything that matters to him. We don't know what he's thinking."

Taupin's rarely tried to write FOR Elton John. The last time he did, and was at all successful artistically, was "Made in England." Bernie wrote the autobiographical lyrics his friend couldn't put on paper. Including: "I had a quit-me father had a love-me mother...I had Little Richard and that black piano,…that sweet georgia peach and the Boy from Tupelo...well here's my middle finger. I had forty years of pain and nothing to cling to…you can still say homo and everybody laughs…"

Through most of his output for Elton in the 80's and beyond, Bernie's lyrics have been adequate on most tracks, catchy now and then. 1983: "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues" a good one on "Too Low for Zero." "Sad Songs Say So Much" sort of good on 1984's "Breaking Hearts," "Wrap Her Up," a serviceable track on 1985's "Ice on Fire." Give him credit for being prolific, having enough stuff to hand Elton to turn into sound-alike ear candy. Let's also not forget that even in Elton's golden late 60's and early 70's, there was a lot of foolishness among the gems. "Rocket Man" is kind of peculiar if you really read the lyrics. How about "Take Me To the Pilot," which sounds fantastic and makes no sense at all? What about "Jamaica Jerk-Off?" A funnier example is "Prestige a Gammon," deliberate nonsense that seems like a foreign language, just to prove that nobody's paying much attention. And really, it's been a long, long time since "Tumbleweed Connection" and "Madman Across the Water." There wasn't anything too memorable on 2004's "Peachtree Road," or 2006's "Captain and the Kid," both advertised as comeback albums. It was after the latter, that Taupin took a long hiatus from his pumpkinheaded friend and contributed words for an album by somebody called Deirdre Hughes.

As we move toward the big release date for this latest John-Taupin comeback, Bernie has so far remained his elusive self. It's been Elton flamboyantly pointing out the obviousness of his metaphor… being on The Diving Board, ready to make a splash, to sink or swim. As if anyone cares. If the album's not too good, so what. His last few weren't much. He has enough fans who will buy the next one anyway.

Taupin? As a commercial artist on his own, he experimented. He tried. He stopped.

In 1971 Bernie issued a spoken word album, with music in the background, called "Taupin." Fine. Now we know what the poet sounds like, but few care to hear poetry recited. Nine years later, he let the world know that he could sing adequately. "He Who Rides the Tiger" was issued in 1980 with music by Dennis Tufano on all 9 tracks. Taupin would not record again until 1987, with "Tribe," music by Martin Page, cameos by Elton John and Martha Davis, each singing on a track. And that was that. At least, under his own name. If you're a devoted fan, you know that he also put out albums in 1996 and 1998 fronting "The Farm Dogs," to explore his fascination with acoustic western roots music.

Out of some odd sense of nostalgia, here's 1980 Bernie singing to a meandering melody, "The Whores of Paris."

Whores are always a fine subject for a song, and Bernie previously wrote the sentimental "Sweet Painted Lady" with its profound couplet, "Getting paid/for being laid." Years later, scented by a Paris locale, Bernie gives us a little more darkness, a few flashes of decent poetry…the whole thing coming across like Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" actually…in which a wide-eyed wanna-be comes in contact with images sensual and intellectual and the inspiration sharpens his own senses...somewhat.

From a view of a particular whore (ugh, had to call her "Gigi" huh) Bernie describes various other hookers; his quill quivering wildly in all directions, ink sometimes black and sometimes a little too purple. Sample lines:

With fat commuters full of cheap champagne
Belching tourists feel no pain
When Gigi takes their wallets
Spends their bodies, keeps the change

For sentiment don't touch the Whores of Paris
Just the years and lines of age
That buries them in unmarked graves
Old and spent and never saved….

They use their caution like a whip
We sensed it as they filed their nails, crimson
As the paint upon their lips
Tough enough to rust in jail
Farmers' daughters plucked like corn
From the Camargue to Marseilles
Ideals of the ideal life
Expectant mothers discarded wives
With re-sewn wrists and tear stained eyes
They soon find the shoe fits easy
The francs flow in and the tricks say "please me"
Another lovely thigh says "squeeze me"
Mon cherie, my bed's so busy
Take a Pernod, life's so sleazy

It's not coffee in the air
Just the smell of foreign fingers greasing palms
On the Seine it's Sunday morning
To her it's always evening
Shifting gear to put some German in her arms
Washed in sterile porcelain
She fakes it for the good of his morale
He's tired and worn but she moves on
To rope another stud from her corral
Christmas in the poor house
Unbeknownst to others, Madelaina takes her life
She tipped the scales at forty five
Never saw a decent day
Never made it to the upper echelons of night

Now 63, Taupin mostly stays out of the spotlight, as most lyricists do, and for that the world is thankful. Although the sight of Bernie hauling around some tart half his age, or even looking like a Mafia-pug and having some high priced call girl on a leash would be preferable to the antics of the Elton-and-David show. (The woman in the picture with Bernie, is Peggy Moffitt, in case you care. She's not for sale, though she might look rather like a sweet painted lady.) What Bernie does with his time, mostly, is to study the history of his beloved American West (which we all love more than Kanye West), listen to Marty Robbins albums, and hang out on his California ranch with his horses. In 2010 he pulled a Dylan and started hosting a radio show devoted to "American Roots" music…Willie Dixon, Louvin Brothers…the stuff that Elton fans would loathe. Maybe you can find it on Satellite Radio and learn for yourself how the guy pronounces his last name.

It's also worth mentioning that while Elton's had hits with other lyricists, Bernie's got a few credits without Elton, include an insane asylum concept album with Alice Cooper, "A Love That Will Never Grow Old" (used in "Brokeback Mountain"), "Mendocino County Line" (a co-write with Willie Nelson), "These Dreams," recorded by Heart, and "We Built this City" recorded by…well, let's stop right there. Let's briefly note that while whores prefer money, an added little gift, should you hire one, MIGHT be Jewelry from Bernie Taupin. Not too expensive. Looking a little better than shrubbery. Maybe even up to the standards of Joan Rivers. The samples you see in the photo above...are for sale on Bernie's official website. Copies of his three albums? Nope.

TAUPIN Whores of Paris

Friday, August 09, 2013

"SIXTEEN TONS" parody by Sammy Shore worth $45 BUCKS?

Some fool paid $45 for a not too hilarious parody of Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons." What's funny is there were two other bidders coming in with offers over $40 for it.
What's really funny, funnier than Shore's song, is that at the same time these stooges were bidding, the item was (and probably still is) available for a FOURTH of the price, in the same condition! But some clowns only know one way to get a record: EBAY. That way, they can over-pay. And hey hey, it makes a seller's day.

It's rare when there's a big pay day on any 45 single. Almost all the "good stuff" has been re-issued on CD, and is all over iTunes (not to mention YouTube and blogs). It's even rarer when that pay day involves a comedy or novelty single, because denizens of that genre are known to be cheap fucks. And why pay a lot for a curiosity "novelty" item they might only play two thousand times alone in the basement? Spending a fortune on something stupid gives them no bragging rights, and they don't have that audiophile excuse that they're spending the money because the vinyl quality on that Dickie Goodman break-in is so superior to what's on Spotify.

At best, you'll spot the "Demento" head hunched over the cardboard box of bilious boot-sale banalities, cursing to himself over anything stickered with more than a "1" on it. Obese and sweaty with a backpack Charles Laughton would've used to impersonate Quasimodo, the misshapen fool will pass by anything high-priced. So will the other typical "Demento" stereotype, the over-medicated, smirking jackass who is convinced he's a WILD AND CRAZY GUY for buying crap that none of his friends want to hear. PS, he has no friends. Just some on-line orangutans who might swap mp3s and want-lists and tolerate his shitty jokes so he'll tolerate theirs. They've never outgrown a cackling fondness for any reference to fish heads or farts.

$45 for a VG (not mint) copy of vinyl? The same record, in the same designated VG condition, is sitting on one of the many well known record collector sites for a fraction of the eBay price, and no BIDDING is required:

This is just another ordinary parody single, despite two or three maniacs bidding wildly for it. According to Sammy Shore, "Sixteen Tons" was still on the charts when somebody decided he might be the best choice to cut a comedy version. Shore was not a very well-known stand-up at the time, but this was the era where unknowns could, with luck and Payola, become overnight sensations. He claims that the disc sold over 100,000 copies. If that were true, it would have charted, and the single would be on eBay most every week. A little more common, but also not exactly hits, are the parody versions from Mickey Katz and Homer & Jethro. Shore later developed his "Brother Sammy" character and put out a full-length album for Liberty in the 60's (which didn't sell 100,000 copies either). He continued to work the clubs, mostly ones that also had a fondness for a Shecky or Dreesen. Today he's unfortunately best known as either the ex-husband of "Comedy Store" founder Mitzi Shore, or the father of the very annoying Pauly Shore. With those options, being known for a minor parody of "Sixteen Tons" isn't so bad.

Some fans out there still love Sammy. And no, that's not a Photoshop job, that's art:

SAMMY SHORE drops jokes like they were SEVENTEEN TONS Instant download or listen on line.


Peter Lorre's wonderful voice. Sinister. Even blood curdling, huh? It's possible that Cagney, Bogart, Karloff, Lugosi, Nicholson or Schwarzenegger are done more often, but the little spook has a distinction over all of them. Peter Lorre was the first movie star to be parodied on a hit record.

Celebrity impressions go back to the very early days of recorded sound. Scotland's Cissie Loftus put out a bunch of them for Berliner in 1898! People who happened to see a great star on stage, could buy a Cissie single: "Imitation of Phylis Ranken," "Imitation of Yvette Guilbert," "Imitation of Eugene Stratton" etc. etc. But parroting British Music Hall stars or actresses didn't produce Top Ten hits for Loftus. There wasn't a lot of radio play either in those days.

"My Old Flame," the Spike Jones single featuring Paul Frees as Peter Lorre, was a certifiable (and insane) hit. In fact it was so popular, Peter Lorre himself made an appearance on Spike's radio show, and did a dueling-Lorre with Frees on "My Old Flame" to the delight of the live audience.

You might have to fast-forward a generation to Bobby "Boris" Pickett, to name another hit novelty single based on a celebrity impression. And after that? A "Senator Bobby" Kennedy version of "Wild Thing" stunned radio listeners for a while, along with another version of the song using the the deep, oozy-voice of Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois.

Not successful, but pretty darn amusing, is the download below, a third celebrity version of "Wild Thing" via The Ventures. The rest of the album is instrumentals. Founding member Don Wilson is the uncredited voice of Peter Lorre here. Don's not Paul Frees (Paul's Petered version of "Hey Jude" is elsewhere on the blog for you to sample) but he's very good. Don may not have the nuances (Lorre would often throw a "huh" or a little giggle at the end of a sentence to help steal a scene) but his accent is in the right Austria-Hungarian region and he doesn't overdo the nasality or the comical temper tantrum in going from suave evil to sputtery madman. It's wild, thing.

WiLD THING The Peter Lorre Version Instant download or listen on line. No capcha codes. No Paypal donation "tip cup," no links to dangerous websites. Nothing to do with Kim Dotcom or sociopaths like him.


When it comes to appalling self-important little preppie snots, nobody can rival Thomas Hurley III. Except his obnoxious inbred father, Thomas Hurley II.

The Hurley Turds get the worm for what they did last week. They clogged up the already trivia-obsessed print media and celeb-sucking TV news broadcasts with their whining over being "cheated" on the quiz show "Jeopardy." I guess the rich scumbags hired a publicist to squash their sour grapes for them and whine all over the place about such an injustice to an entitled family of such breeding.

In other words, rich self-absorbed shits like the Hurley Turds think that rules aren't meant for them. Everyone knows that on "Jeopardy" you must pronounce your answer exactly or, in the final round, spell it properly. Turd the Third didn't spell properly and his answer was not accepted. Very routine. The show is one of the few that is in any way intellectual, intelligent, or encourages polite sportsmanship; it was expected that Turd the Third would accept his consolation prize like everyone else, accept that he played a game and didn't win, and also understand that even if he was credited with the right answer, he would've finished SECOND.

Instead, affluent Daddy and brat got their revenge by bad-mouthing "Jeopardy" with libelous charges of having been "cheated." As if the other contestants weren't treated the same, and the winner wasn't also a well-fed white boy. But reporters dutifully interviewed Daddy and Brat to get every huffy, crybaby, self-important detail of this important story from a family in Newtown, Connecticut.

Yeah. NEWTOWN, CONNECTICUT. Remember that place, and the school shooting there? Isn't it outrageous that Thomas Hurley III's girly-bitch about losing on "Jeopardy" got almost as much attention last week as the school shooting last Christmas? A little pisher can't spell...and we all hear about it, just as we heard about the kids shot down in cold blood? Shot down, I add, because a stupid millionaire PARENT was too busy spoiling her brat into a pampered little monster to supervise the guns in the house.

So we got the Hurley Turds shooting their mouths off. "I was cheated" said the son. The father huffed, "The thing that bothered me most was the way Alex Trebek and the producers treated my son. They were kind of smug."

SMUG? You will hear the evidence in the download below. You be the judge of who has the attitude, Alex Trebek or Thomas Hurley II. You'll hear about 30 seconds of the actual soundtrack....the first and second contestants giving their wrong answers. (The third contestant, who got it right, has been omitted.)

Alex Trebek has always been a class act. He's always soft-spoken and sympathetic even to the most bone-headed contestant. He has great humility and is probably the most respected quiz show host on television. You can hear his disappointment in not being able to credit little Thomas Hurley III because of the error, and explain the "unfortunate" problem with the kid's answer. ("Jeopardy" for those out of the country, sometimes has a special "week" where instead of normal adult contestants, they promote education and sportsmanship by inviting students to compete).

What if the kid wrote "Emancipation Document?" What if the answer was "Abraham Lincoln" and he wrote "Linkin?" Thomas Hurley II whined that his son should've been given credit because "Everyone knew what he meant." Yeah, we know what he meant, and he could've written "A Man So Patient Proclamation" too, but EXACT spelling is the only way you EVER win on "Jeopardy."

Instead, by way of reminder, Hurley Turd losers, here's "I LOST ON JEOPARDY," with the amusing spoken part from the great Don Pardo. Don was the original announcer on the show (which no longer has someone recite all the dubious consolation prizes). Now about 95, he just finished another historic year as the announcer for 'Saturday Night Live.'

Hurley III, be grateful you have the money for a good education, a good home, a good school…and be grateful to be alive, because there are some kids in affluent Newtown younger than you who will never grow up. Because they are dead. And Hurley II, remember a certain affluent Connecticut doctor who lost his wife, and his daughters to fire and rape. He was nearly killed too, by a pair of home invasion thugs. So put all the "I Was Cheated on Jeopardy" clippings and video in a big paper bag and toss it in the trash and try to get some perspective. Be grateful for what YOU have, and maybe spend your time and money on something other than teaching your son how to be self-centered, argumentative and libelous, an attitude-filled pussy who thinks he's so special he should win when the rules say he LOSES.

Here's Thomas Hurley III, Alex Trebek, Don Pardo, and WEIRD AL…all combining for….


Instant download or listen on line. No capcha codes, wait time, payment going to a Nazi like Kim Dotcom…and no whines about paying for a premium account and no "tip jar" for Paypal donations.



RAY ELLINGTON on a stamp?

I was shocked to see a post office display of commemoratives...and...British comic-singer Ellington's face?? I was also shocked that it took me a half hour to get to the counter, but the lines slow because old ladies tend to spend a long, long time staring at the pretty new stamps available, trying to choose which one to put on all their condolence cards.

I doubt many bothered that's not Ray's JOHN H. JOHNSON. Not a singer or a comic.

John H Johnson was the first black entrepeneur successful enough to make the Forbes 400 (wealthiest businessmen) list. From being a drop-out on welfare, he created the self-made "Negro Digest," a variation on "Reader's Digest," which he and friends pushed at local newsstands.

Johnson was soon able to add a black version of Life Magazine, which is wife dubbed "Ebony," and followed it with the small-format "Jet." From the 50's through the 90's, he actively built up his holdings and diversified. As for his magazines, even in the 90's when so many periodicals began disappearing, his were not doing as badly as "Life" or "Look." He had cornered the black market so there was little competition, and blacks were certainly more likely to leaf through a magazine than spend a fortune on a computer and the Internet.

Still, there were changes that Johnson didn't appreciate. For example, by the 80's, not every African-American to make the cover of his mags was 100% black. A few had a white parent. Worse; some kindly doctors and dentists...WHITE...subscribed to Johnson's magazines as a thoughtful courtesy to black patients in the waiting room. And even WORSE...demographics showed that some households that enjoyed "Ebony" and "Jet" every month were interracial. In a 1990 interview with the New York Times, the prosperous publisher sadly acknowledged that 12 percent of his readers were…white: "This is more than I would like to have,. I want to be king of the black hill, not the mixed hill."

Which means that Ray Ellington would not have been a welcome subscriber to John H. Johnson. Ray's black father Harry was a British Music Hall comic and his mother Eva, a Russian Jew. In a sort of Jolsonesque upbringing, Ellington attending Jewish schools and learned his Orthodox religion, but his heart was in show business and he loved jazz. He joined eccentric Harry Roy's band as a drummer, and was also influenced by Louis Jordan. Once Ray was successful, with his own quartet, he covered Jordan's classic "Five Guys Named Moe" and favored other hep-cat eccentric tunes, along with the standards.

Although John H. Johnson might not approve, both blacks and whites can download this sample of Ellington's swingin' 45's, which shows his range of cool, boogie, and giddy-up ding-dong. Slippin' you five:

DRACULA'S THREE DAUGHTERS, THE MADISON, IF YOU CAN'T SAY ANYTHING NICE, LEFT HAND BOOGIE, GIDDY-UP-A-DING-DONG Five rarities from RAY ELLINGTON Instant download or listen on line. No capcha codes, wait time, or whines about paying for a premium account.