Tuesday, November 19, 2013

SUFFOCATE (Ralph Smedley) and "Sloppy Madison," too! JACK GALE

How about a new dance craze where you try and suffocate yourself? Or your partner? How about a vocalist who sounds like Popeye imitating Arnold Stang? How…could this novelty single miss? It did. And nobody bothered with the flip side, "Drown." But that's the way it is (and was) with oddball singles. For every fluke hit that tops the charts, like "Purple People Eater," there's 99 other flukes that sink to the bottom. Most of 'em are equally as stupid, so it's just dumb luck when a tune gets a lot of airplay and somehow makes people dazed and confused enough to buy.

Ralph Smedley may not have succeeded, but he did appear often on Jack Gale's radio shows. That's because he was actually Jack Gale. And Jack Gale would eventually try again with another parody of stupid dance music, convincing a major label (Columbia) to issue "The Sloppy Madison." This one has nothing to do with Oscar Madison from "The Odd Couple." It has everything to do with broadly mocking "Madison Time," an irritating but successful tuneless tune (also on Columbia) that does nothing but order people around with bewildering instructions and a shout of "Hit it!" The flip side to Gale's single, "The Medicine," is another overt jab...this time urging pill taking along with insane dance instructions. Sick!

Gale was the winner of "Disc Jockey of the Year" in 1970, Jack seemed to develop a hatred for novelty dance numbers from having to spin them so often, since he first hit the airwaves in 1954. He spent the most of his time in Cleveland (WSRS), Boston (WMEX), Florida (WPDQ, WKKO, WRKT) and Baltimore (WSID, WCBM, WITH, WWIN), but also turned up in Charlotte, Norfolk and Charleston in his long career.

Aside from spinning discs, he offered jokes and sketches, and his "Mighty Gale Players" presented the soap opera spoof "Life Can be Miserable." Ralph Smedley was a comedy character Jack often voiced on his shows, along with Dawson Bells the Poet Un-Laureate, John Goodvoice, Helicopter Harry, Lowell Pressure, Old Pop and Dr. Souchon, among many others. Jack is still active in the voiceover field, doing radio commercials and offering clients a variety of voices to choose from.

The owner of Playback Records, he produced for a lot of country artists including Johnny Paycheck, Del Reeves, Johnny Cash, Bobby Helms, Melba Montgomery, Ronnie Dove, George Jones, Sheb Wooley, Crystal Gayle and Jean Shepard. He also managed and produced Johnny Cymbal, who had one of the smash novelty hits of all time with "Mr. Bassman."

Want to know more about Gale? You don't know Jack…unless you order his book "Same Time…Same Station." Jack Gale fans: Send that check or money order for $22.95 (includes shipping)
to: JALO BROADCASTING CORP, 5318 Brett Circle, Sebring, FL 33872

SUFFOCATE Ralph Smedley



Delinquent said...

Wow! I just started a blog and posted the Jack Gale "Sloppy Madison" record and was looking for info. I didn't find a link to this post but just happened upon it today. Very cool!! Thanks for posting this. Love your blog.

Ill Folks said...

Just checked your blog...nice debut. Never heard of Jim Cannon...that's a cute one. Funny, "Sloppy Madison" is suddenly jump-started in the blog world after all this time. HIT IT!

Anonymous said...

Listened to Jack Gale on WITH, and never missed 'Life can be Miserable'. Decided to see if Jac
k and Chickenman Dick Orkin had web pages, and was pleasantly surprised
John Cooper