Sunday, June 29, 2014

MELLOW YELLOW - Cronulla Sharks pissed at Todd Carney

Here's a live DONOVAN track.


In mock-tribute to the sports news today.

No, Cronulla Sharks did not play Sybil Fawlty. We're talking about an Australian Football team.

You remember Australia. That's where a baby can be eaten by a dingo, shrimp can be tossed on a "barbie," and piss is called "Faws-toz beee-ah."

Down in Kyle's Sandy Land, where Dannii Minogue is vogue, and koala bears are mostly infected with diseases...they have a problem with Todd Carney. Carney! He's one of the few normal-looking athletes in a land where most of 'em are neanderthal Samoans from New Zealand.

Oh, GROW UP, Australia. Get your priorities straight.

What did the guy do? He pissed in his own mouth. For a gag? For a dare? For the sake of not having to drink a Foster's? You know, don't you, that many health fanatics think urine-drinking is healthy, and it returns valuable nutrients for recycling? So they say.

Who is surprised that Todd Carney was involved? Apparently he's one of the nuttier Aussie athletes. He used a rental phone to take a nude selfie of himself...and stupidly forgot to remove it...shocking the woman who rented the phone after him. He was arrested for drunken driving, and once pissed on a guy (I assume while drunk) so the current photo is no surprise. Let's say he was drunk at the time. Thirsty. Going off his salt-free diet.

Andrew Johns (another star player among Footy fetishists) came to Todd's defense: "Surely they couldn't sack him for that. It's silly. It's stupid." But after all, "He's only doing it to himself."

Compare it to Justin Bieber pissing in a bucket and smirking about it. The Canadian hot wet mess topped off his act by cursing at a photo of ex-President Bill Clinton.

Compare it to Viley Virus and her nearly naked twerking. Compare it to R. Kelly and Chuck Berry, who have choice videos circulating in the underground that are real pissers...and in Kelly's case the girls might not even be over the age of cunt scent.

What happens? The photo turns up in the London Daily Fail among other websites and papers...and everybody can imagine what he's doing...and everyone's read a description that nobody could write tastefully. After all, "drinking his own urine" is still going to give you a queasy feeling when you see it in print. So all the Sharks have done is given more attention to it.

Fact is, in this day and age where a mainstream movie ("Jackass") showed guys drinking horse semen...and Cameron Diaz became famous for using jizz for hair styling, what Todd Carney did is no big deal. I haven't read the fine print, but I don't think the jerk did it while on the field, posted it to YouTube, or suggested to his fans that he'd like to involve them in his antics. It was a leaked (ah, ha ha ha...) photo. Did he really post it to proudly declare he was with the Cronulla Sharkes or to imply that everyone on the team enjoys "the piss that refreshes?" Of course snot. Urine trouble, said the Cronulla bunch: "We are Sharked. Sharked!"

Anyone concerned about the Daniel Pearl beheading video being an easy download? That the family of R. Budd Dwyer must deal with every ghoul on the Net having a copy of his gory suicide? That any number of grotesque videos of murders, corpses and vile "faces of death" moments are on the torrents and swapped in forums, and that nobody's bothering to create laws so these items can be reported and banned?

Some chick playing with a bloody tampon, some couple puking on each other while naked and screwing...a 14 year-old using a school computer can get this stuff with ease...and this Todd Carney moron gets his walking papers for passing water.

Fuck you, Cronulla Sharks. PS, do you know how many people have died by letting go in the ocean, attracting a shark, and getting devoured whole? No, you don't. But you know how to get into a righteous rage for a piss poor reason, eh?

Lewdness, stupidity, crude acts and a total lack of self-control...will go on, no matter what you did to Todd Carney!

Hey Todd, you've got friends you committed a loo'd act. So your career went down the drain. We don't blame you for feeling peevish.

You intolerant of the incontinent Cronulla can see worse. Right in your eye. Go to any of the adult forums, click the "hey I'm over 18" button, and go get your German and Japanese scat!

In other words...

"Welcome to POOP POOP..."

Donovan LIVE TRACK! Mellow Yellow

JOHN WILLIAMS: Checkmate & Alcoa Theatre via VALJEAN

"John Williams" has a lot of fans for his motion picture scores…"Close Encounters," "Jaws," "Superman," various "Star Wars" films, "Empire of the Sun," "Indiana Jones,""Home Alone," "Poseidon Adventure," and "Schindler's List" among them.

In his early days writing TV themes, "Johnny Williams" composed the dynamic, staccato epics "Lost in Space," "Land of the Giants" and "The Time Tunnel." But…and here's how he ends up on the blog of less renown, he also composed the jagged theme for "Checkmate" and the classical introduction to "Alcoa Theatre" aka "Alcoa Premiere." Those are the two you get below.

As the photo above would indicate, "Alcoa Theatre" was an anthology series. Few episodes seem to have survived. "Checkmate" was a private eye hour that was anchored around the rather wooden Anthony George, but ended up with a wider fan base thanks to Doug McClure and Sebastian Cabot. That's the formidable, genial Mr. Cabot with guest-star Peter Lorre in a memorable episode.

The themes below were recorded by one-name one-hit-wonder Valjean, who seemed to be trying for a Liberace-type air of mystery. Sounds like he might be from France, and have a French accent, right? Actually, Valjean Johns was born in Shattuck, Oklahoma and attended the University of Oklahoma. He became well known in the Mid-West, and at the age of 28, got a contract with Carlton, a label that dabbled in everything from vibraphone jazz via an album by Gene Estes (which I once had) to "The Little Space Girl" novelty 45 (which I still have).

Valjean managed a Top 40 hit with "The Theme From Ben Casey" in 1962, cashing in on the hot doctor series starring the brooding Vince Edwards. Naturally the pianist quickly filled up an album with more TV themes, including the rival "Dr. Kildare" which starred the strawberry blond Richard Chamberlain. Tucked amid the usual tracks ("Peter Gunn," a piano natural and "Perry Mason") were the two John Williams items...formerly popular shows now quite obscure to most people...even if they, or at least the themes, deserve better.

Although the album didn't quite crack the Billboard Top 100, Valjean Johns didn't disappear from the music scene. He enjoyed a career playing with respectable if rural symphony orchestras (including his home state's Tulsa Philharmonic) over the next decades. Born November 19, 1934, Valjean passed on a decade ago: February 10th, 2003. Checkmate. But he wasn't wrapped and stored in Alcoa aluminum foil.

Valjean tinkles John Williams

The National Anthem of Luxembourg - 60 seconds of Tribute

For those of you asking, "When are you going to post another photo of some sexy bint..."

For now, make do with Natascha Bintz, a lovely beauty contest-winner from Letzebuerg. That's Luxembourg, to you.

She might not be the most famous person alive and well and living in Luxembourg...but who is?

When was the last time boxing's famous announcer Michael Buffer paused and said at a heavyweight championship fight…"And now…the National Anthem of Luxembourg…"

It's not a rhetorical question. Go ahead, leave a comment. All I know is that when that weasel David Haye and his warthog pal Dereck Chisora weren't sanctioned for a British championship fight (because of bad behavior…both being idiots), it was the little-known Luxembourg boxing federation that offered to "legitimize" the match. But I don't recall that the Luxembourg anthem was played.

I recall Jean-Pierre Coopman was "The Lion of Flanders," but…no, he was Belgian. And he lost rather badly to Muhammad Ali.

Many of you actually HAVE heard the National Anthem of Luxembourg, even though you never saw any sporting event. How? You saw the "Le Clerq" episode of M*A*S*H. In that one, a soldier from Luxembourg went missing, and when presumed dead, the national anthem was played in his honor. Colonel Blake was proud to honor "a Luxemburger."

Oh, the memories the National Anthem of Luxembourg has stirred!

What brought all this on? Well, back when record collecting was fun, I bought just about anything and everything. This included an import on the Collection Loisirs/Vogue label, of "Hymnes Nationau." Why not? How interesting to hear how 20 nations represented themselves via music. (America, we note, chose a British drinking song with fresh lyrics!)

I came across the album the other day. Well, no, I can't say I was that excited. Actually I was just looking through one of my weirder shelves of instrumentals and was surprised I hadn't gotten rid of "Hymnes Nationau" by now. Especially since Ms. Bintz' image is not superimposed on it. I was glad I hadn't, as it was an amusing diversion for a while. Besides, you never know when you're going to need to find a way to make a foreigner momentarily stop and stand still.

The tune is titled "Ons Heemecht" ("Our Homeland") and premiered rather late for a national anthem: 1864. The music is by Jean Antoine Zinnen and matched to a slightly earlier Luxembourgish poem by Michel Lentz. There are official German, English and French translations. The English translation begins…

"Where the Alzette flows through the meadows

 The Sura bathes the rocks;

 Where the Moselle, smiling and beautiful

 We made a present of wine

 This is our country for which we risk everything on earth..."

Ok, so it doesn't rhyme...if you really are respectful, you sing it in Luxembourgish. Feel free to download the lyrics from some website or other, and sing along to this instrumental version. It's conducted by Désiré Louis Corneille Dondeyne, who will soon be celebrating a birthday: July 21, 1921.

Let's Salute... LUXEMBOURG

TELEMANN: Polonaise from "Suite in A Minor For Recorder" at the PROM

OK, students…for those of you who only know chamber music if it's "Bouree" on a flaming Jethro Tull record, listen up. Really. This is NOT going to hurt. Have a listen to what was the 3-minute hit single of a bygone era.

One of my favorite little baroque ditties is "Polonaise," the last movement in Telemannn's "Suite in A Minor for Recorder." It's a bit sad and minor key for flouncing around in lace at a party celebrating the decapitation of Marie Antoinette, but over the years, it was more a dance piece than something to just hear in concert. It was probably in the Top 10 back in 1763, or whenever it was that Casey Kasem first announced it.

"Polonaise," as you must've suspected, has something to do with Poland and mayonaisse. It originated as a dance popular at the annual studniówka (prom) where the idea was to clutch your partner just a little bit, but not dance too close or slow. I'm sure the hall contained tables of refreshments including Polish sausage and mayonaisse, and that with very little coaxing (shoving a sausage in some mayonaisse) a fellow was able to convince a girl on what to do after the dance. How a polonaise differs from a mazurka…I'm not sure, but I think the mazurka is something you do by yourself if you didn't find a girl for a polonaise.

You'll rarely find a delicate little jewel like this containing such dignity and emotion. Consider it part of the soundtrack to some errant episode of "Masterpiece Theater," or one of the less comic moments in Bob Hope's "Monsieur Beaucaire," of which there was about 80 minutes. But do consider it.

Yes, this is from a budget Victrola vinyl, but back in the day, Victrola, Nonesuch and other cheap labels offered excellent chamber music at a nice price. There were (and still are) a lot of brilliant quartets and quintets preserving this kind of thing out of passion over profit. So here's a jaunty little jaunt back to when people first discovered that an attention span for music was limited to three minutes. All they wanted was a catchy little melody the kids could dance to.

Let's Dance! POLONAISE at the PROM

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The late Gerry Goffin: "A WOMAN CAN BE A GANGSTER"

Above, Gerry Goffin with his second wife Michelle, and with his one time husband-wife songwriting competition, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.

What did Gerry Goffin sound like as a singer?


You'll be reading many obits about Gerry Goffin, all of them focusing on the classic songs he wrote with his then-wife Carole King. Broadway audiences are loving that stuff at this very moment, via "Beautiful," the juke-box musical and drama. What most will not be mentioning is what part he played in those songs: the LYRICS.

One of the very important things about Gerry Goffin, is that HE, a MALE, was behind the feminist anthem "Natural Woman," and the tender ballad about a girl giving herself up, "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow."

So, guys, when some bitch claims that guys aren't sensitive, tell that cunt about Gerry fuckin' Goffin!

Carole issued a statement: "Gerry was a good man with a dynamic force, whose words and creative influence will resonate for generations to come. His words expressed what so many people were feeling but didn't know how to say."

The list of Goffin-King songs is huge, and includes "Take Good Care of My Baby," "Crying in the Rain," "On Broadway," "Pleasant Valley Sunday," "The Locomotion," "You've Got a Friend," and the risky "He Hit Me and It Felt like a Kiss." Goffin also co-wrote with others after the split from Carole, and had hits with "Savin' All MY Love For You" (Whitney Houston) as well as the theme from "Mahogany," the Diana Ross film.

BUT...over here in the Land of Ill, Gerry is known for his two very weird solo albums, "It Ain't Exactly Entertainment" and "Back Room Blood."

I knew about Barry Mann's solo work. Ellie Greenwich, too (who partnered with Jeff Barry). Both had issued albums in the late 60's or early 70's, but it took a while before Gerry stepped out as a vocalist. It was in 1996 that the rugged "Back Room Blood" appeared via an indie label in Maryland. Gerry Goffin had SOME kind of a voice!

Listen for yourself. WHAT in the world is going on? Is this Randy Newman trying his damndest to sound like Bob Dylan?

"A Woman Can Be a Gangster" is sort of the motorpsycho nightmare rock answer to "Just Like A Woman." Maybe. PS, one cut on the CD, "Masquerade," is a co-write...Gerry Goffin and Bob Dylan.

Gerry did not disappoint. I had enjoyed his daughter Louise Goffin's punky first album, which was nothing like Carole King's world, so to hear this guy roar through some pretty eccentric songs was not a was a lotta fun.

"It Ain't Exactly Entertainment," by the way, is much more of a "Nashville Skyline" kind of folk-rock deal.

Goffin married King in 1959, and they divorced in 1968 (the blame seeming to be Gerry's philandering). But for nearly a decade, they wrote songs about romances and break-ups, and those songs continue to touch and influence thousands and thousands of listeners. The Gerry Goffin solo albums? Maybe a few hundred are playing them tonight in his honor...but that doesn't mean they aren't good. They show the wide, wide range of songwriting this guy was capable of. So, no Goffin-Coffin puns here...just a sincere, " very talented man." Gerry Coffin (February 11, 1939-June 19, 2014)

Gerry Goffin A Woman Can Be Like a Gangster

RAUN MacKINNON - the COLOR WHEEL is still Bright

Last month, Raun MacKinnon wrote: "I think my site may have been hacked. I got a very odd comment message, so I have removed both Music Sales pages, which didn't have much activity anyway, because an enormous amount of source code was put into them, and I am not sure if it is Weebly's code, CD Baby's code or some outsider's code.  Since there were links to CD Baby on those pages, I am going to assume that that's how the intruder got in…"

That's the Internet for you. A woman with two out of print albums…and four indie albums on CD Baby…and she's having problems. As to her website, "I will get around to reconstructing it, and hopefully whoever is using this bandwidth for whatever weird purpose will go away. If I'm made aware of anything else weird…I am perfectly willing to shut the thing down."

As Raun MacKinnon Burnham, the former folkie has covered some new and experimental territory since her folkie days. This especially includes "Earworm" and "Pocket Mass."Her first album was on Cameo Parkway (Spike Lee's Dad Bill was her bassist). Her folk-rock classic was on Kapp.

Kapp was a bit schizophrenic, having moved from Jose Jimenez comedy albums and the "Man of La Mancha" original cast album to experimenting with hard rock (The Good Rats) and the unusual singer-songwriter Ms. MacKinnon. Raun could sing sensitive ballads about a nun ("Sister Marie"), but rock out for the psychedelic times with "Color Wheel." Those tracks you'll find below.

The newer material is indeed available on CD Baby, with 30 second samples. As Raun says, "I can say truthfully, though, that my stuff is worth a listen, and if you like what you hear, it would be great if you put your money where your ears are and buy one or all of the albums."

The Raven, forevermore... 2 from Raun MacKinnon


It seemed like Dan Hill was going to be a a huge, huge star when "Sometimes When We Touch" became the achy-breaky ballad of 1977. The music was co-written by the legendary Barry Mann. And yet, the follow-up album, 1978's "Frozen in the Night" went nowhere, and few except ardent fans are familiar with his late 80's albums. Known primarily in Canada now, he's 60 and rather suave-looking. He no longer resembles, well, a Cro-Magnon. It might have been pictures like THIS, that led romantic teenage girls to look elsewhere for a wall pin-up:

Oh well. Most everyone who took a photo in 1978 regrets it now! The title track is no "Sometimes When We Touch." Again, with musical help from Barry Mann, "Frozen in the Night" seems more like some creepy Harry Chapin cautionary tale. You remember Harry singing about depressing bar pick-ups, women who put cigarette burns in their skin, mail-order brides and such? Well, here's a grim tale about an older man picking up Little Slut Lost.

The purple prose describes a few details: "Her dress was as black as the night was hot. Her eyes so green they could kill you...her brown skin young but aging fast." Her name? "Call me anything you want makes no difference anyway." And once they get into bed…"You know what I'm after. I don't wanna hurt no one…" And sounding like a page from an overbaked romance writer's novel: "and the moon shone down so softly in mock defiance."

All of this is sung like Meatloaf after eating some bad meatloaf. The 1978 production values are no different than what you'd get on a pretentious Hall & Oates album. About the only cliche that was missed is that there's not an actual siren blaring during the "a siren screamed just a bit too late" line.

Like "Indiana Wants Me," this thing is a kind of perverse, guilty pleasure. We sure don't care too much about either of these losers.

While the rest of the album is just sorry, strangle-voiced mewling about sensitive love scenes, I guess most DJ's played the first track, were turned off, and didn't bother to search for another track that might be a hit. They just went back to flogging "Sometimes When We Touch" to death. It took a full decade before Hill scored another hit ("Can't We Try", a duet with Vonda Shepard). He still performs, and has written a book about his childhood. And his two protagonists remain "Frozen" on a slab of out of print vinyl.

Dirty Losers Get Hot and then Cool It Frozen in the Night

Monday, June 09, 2014

Neil Patrick Harris - It takes a SUGAR DADDY to see "Hedwig"

Which costs more, a sex change operation or front row to the revival of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch?"

Considering that under some programs, "gender reassignment surgery" is paid for by the government...the answer is the Broadway show.

Ticket brokers (once called "scalpers" in the old days of morality) are asking $1405 for Saturday night, June 28. That's what Stubble, or whatever they call themselves, want. Other Internet sites want even more...with nosebleed (bring a Tampax, girl) seats starting at about $200. Sunday July 6th matinee? Same price. You're not getting front row for this, but fairly close (Row C). I'm not sure if they even sell single seats, so that's $1405 for you and your partner, male, female, or transgender. You'd think transgenders, with a note from the doctor, might get something off??

It's nice to know that TG's, formerly squinted at or laughed at if not spat it, are now PC. It probably helped that despite usually casting transvestites and transgenders as psychopaths ("Psycho," "Homicidal," "Dressed to Kill,") there's enough spooky allure to make many of them rather fascinating. Christine Jorgensen wasn't bad looking, Coccinelle was the toast of Paris, and by the 70's, there was Amanda Lear, who may not have openly announced having been formerly male, but didn't deny it either. Her records were worldwide hits, and her Dietrich-of-Disco act was a lot of fun (I know, I spent an hour alone in her hotel room for an interview). She was honest, droll, and some of her work transcended the dance floor.

Neil Patrick Harris, star of the "Hedwig" revival, has been declared a very able replacement for the original star of the off-Broadway version and the film. And this one-shot wonder (the team behind this hasn't tried for another musical or even an album of misc. songs) remains both theatrical and fascinating. The songs are varied and the script has a wide array of symbolism to play with (aside from gender issues, there's the use of a Jewish sidekick for the German star, the theories of what creates a perfect union, the choice of name for Hedwig's antagonist, etc.)

Despite being a fair hit around the world (various productions of "Hedwig" even in foreign languages) and despite having some good songs, it's rare to find anyone covering them. The most notable probably would be Yoko Ono on "Hedwig's Lament: Exquisite Corpse." No complaints with what you'll be hearing below, in stereo, "Sugar Daddy." In this C&W/pop rouser Hedwig struts her stuff to the excitement and alarm of a small audience somewhere in Middle America.

When it was performed live on TV, it was to a black tie audience of superstars...including Sting, who played along when Hedwig sat on his lap, but didn't appear to be overly happy about the whole thing.

The Harris production is sold out because it's a limited engagement. It also appeals to any tourists who liked the guy in the crappy Doogie sitcom he did years ago. And there is no shortage of affluent homosexuals and drag queens, either. Having just won a Tony for Best Musical, even the already painful scalper prices will go up more than an inch. Too bad Neil and the cast don't get a royalty or percentage on the REAL prices people are paying to get in. Too bad those of us who'd just like to see a good rock 'n horror show would have to go dip the checking account into the red to have a look.

Hopefully the show will be filmed by HBO or Showtime or Lifetime or somebody...and perhaps the run will be extended with some novel new star in the lead...Amanda Lear, Liza Minnelli, RuPaul, Kylie Minogue, Viley Virus, Justin Bieber, Alice Cooper, Ray Davies, k.d. lang, Weird Al many possibilities...

Below, "Sugar Daddy," and if you do get to see this show, let me know how many combos of Sugar Daddy and Tranny are sitting in those very, very expensive orchestra seats. HEDWIG SUGAR DADDY


Once upon a time, "jerkers" didn't mean songs like "I Touch Myself" by The Divinyls.

It didn't mean having The Who on the turntable while wanking to pictures of Lily...St. Cyr.

No, around the turn of the 20th century, a "jerker" was a woeful and sentimental song, designed to exude wetness from the eyes. Elton once sang, "Sad songs say so much." He (Bernie Taupin) was right. For many, a morbidly depressing tune purges the blues. You think YOU had a tough day? Listen to this…

"This" could be "Danny Boy" (which Saturday Night Live cast members once performed as "The Irish Crying Song") or "He Stopped Loving Her Today," "I Can Never Go Home Anymore," or "Gloomy Sunday."

Back in the 1890's, tear-jerkers were prone to involve mothers, fallen women (often the same thing), orphans, or death. There's probably a song out there about a fallen pregnant woman who died giving birth to an orphan.

George Jessel put out an album of "Tear Jerkers From the Not-So-Gay 90's" around the time radios were squealing "Teen Angel" and "Tell Laurie I Love Her."

The whole album is not below, not only because of bandwidth/storage issues, but because he recorded for such a cheap record label he wasn't paid enough to sing more than a few numbers. Most of the album features an unknown and lamely harmonic singing group.

Jessel, for those who've avoided him, was a legit star in the 20's. Aside from singing, he was known for his "Hello Mama" phone monologues. His rival was Al Jolson. Both were Broadway stars, and it was George who starred in the 1925 stage hit "The Jazz Singer." When he and Warner Bros. couldn't come to terms, Al Jolson was picked to star in the film version. Out-living Jolson by 30 years, George worked most often as a film producer. He also had a nostalgia act, as one of the last (Durante and Sophie Tucker were also around) performers of vaudevillian show tunes. He'd always remind people that HE could've been a superstar if he'd signed on for "The Jazz Singer." It might not have been a big hit film with him in it, but it still would've given Jessel immortality as the star of the "first talking picture."

Georgie was also America's "toastmaster general," giving eulogies each time an old star passed on. He also hosted tribute dinners to stars that were going to die fairly soon. He appeared often on talk shows hosted by Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Merv Griffin and Johnny Carson, but by the Vietnam War era, he wore out his welcome. He was just a rheumy-eyed old right-winger with a greasy flat wig on his head and a ludicrous Army general outfit, sourly declaring the anti-war New York Times to be "Pravda."

Actually in the proper setting (50's Friar's Roasts, mostly) George could be very funny, despite his slightly officious delivery style. He was a welcome presence on most any dais, with a good stock of classic jokes. At the same time, he issued both comedy records and bad albums of corny songs for the obscure indie record labels that would have him.

Well aware of being a nostalgia act, Jessel acknowledged that "tear jerkers" were corny, but hoped people could find some pleasure (campy or otherwise) in hearing them again. You can sense he's just a tad embarrassed to be singing "In the Baggage Car" or "The Pardon That Never Came." You at least, can download this stuff anonymously, and while playing it on your iPod, can pretend it's really the latest sappy ballad from Sir Paul or Sir Elton.


BBC Kills 1932 "Nigger" Song and Mortifies DJ David Lowe

Oh, that naughty N-word has done it again…it sent shudders through the BBC and led them to instantly shoot down a harmless 68 year-old disc jockey who liked to play old 78's.

The song in question? A fox trot from Ambrose and His Orchestra, credited to the writing team of Noel Gay and Ralph Butler (who weren't billed as Gay-Butler…which could've raised eyebrows). Ambrose was a Jewish band leader born Benjamin Baruch Ambrose, but billed as "Bert Ambrose" on stage. "The Sun Has Got His Hat On," (part of the musical "Me and My Girl") arrived in 1932 via HMV. It's a cheerful bit of big band cheese, rendered even fruitier by the era's vo-do-dee-o style of singing. The vocalist in this case might be Sam Browne, but who knows…Ambrose didn't always credit his vocalists on the record label.

So how did this silly old song suddenly get to be controversial?

ONE listener complained to the BBC (Big Bunch of Cunts).

Old Man Lowe, who used his own records on the show, is just a Miniver Cheevy who likes living in the past. Had he been aware the song had "a Nubian in the fuel supply" (a W.C. Fields term) he said he would have prefaced playing it with a mild "apology" if anyone was offended by the "ethnic slur." "Nigger" (as well as "coon") was a widely used term that didn't necessarily denote murderous hatred. Some in the 30's used "nigger" in the same mildly unpleasant way they also would say "don't Jew down my price" or "let's go out for Chinks." Ignorance is not always racism...racism being defined as hating all members of a particular ethnic group and denying them their rights.

After he was sacked, Lowe appeared on Jon Gaunt's show to say, "to the best of my knowledge, the version of the song I played was, certainly until just a few days ago, on the BBC’s ‘Okay to play’ list. And one of my all-time favorites, Oliver’s Army by Elvis Costello, which features the N-word, is still played regularly on British radio."

Eventually the BBC offered to take the shell-shocked disc jockey back, but on his blog he wrote: "I have hung-up my headphones for the last time. Why? Because I made a silly mistake. Yes, I know we all make mistakes, but where political correctness is concerned in UK today, there is no room for excuses or forgiveness….I admitted my mistake immediately after listening closely to the ‘offending’ track. I then apologised to my BBC managers, and offered to apologise to the listeners at the beginning of, and again during, my programme on May 11…

"A series of emails between myself and the BBC ensued over the following few days, including one which stated, “We would prefer that you don’t mention anything about last week’s broadcast.”  In the end, the BBC wrote to say, “Regrettably … we will have to accept your offer to fall on your sword to resolve the situation.

"…this was a genuine error on my part … the first of its kind I made in my 32 years of broadcasting … but, given today’s unforgiving obsession with political correctness, I have been compelled to pay the ultimate price." And rather than be further stressed, he's retired.

Fast-backward over 80 years…to 1932 and the use of "Nigger" in songs.

"Niggers all work on the Mississippi. Niggers all work while de white folks play…" That was how "Show Boat" opened. This was the intro to the hit song "Old Man River." Nobody in the cast seemed to object, and no critics did either. Which doesn't mean some weren't offended. The black singer Paul Robeson was sensitive to the word and when he recorded the song in 1932 (same year as "The Sun Has Got His Hat On") he changed it to "colored folks." Still, in the context of the times, "nigger" was not the totally un-PC word it is now. Now even discussing it, it's called "the N-Word" which sounds like parents talking to a child (any child but Justin Bieber). Adults talking about the N-word and the F-word and the C-word? Pretty childish and ridiculous.

Can anyone seriously think that Ambrose and his Orchestra were deliberately being malicious in 1932? The lyrics are playful. At worst, Butler-Gay were goofing around with minstrel humor, as even cartoon characters were doing (there are Bugs Bunny in blackface cartoons you simply will NOT see on a Warner Bros. DVD because of PC considerations). Blackface jokes were in 3 Stooges shorts. Groucho's "yeah man, sho nuff" ad-libs during the Negro spiritual parody that ends "Room Service" are unfortunate now, but weren't intended with malice back then.

Still, you don't hear "Nigger" in a Warner Bros. cartoon or 1930's comedy, so I can't fully absolve any use of "nigger" in that era. "The Sun Has Got Its Hat On" could've used "colored" or "negro" instead. It seems pretty doubtful that the author (or the singer) would actually call a colored chap a "nigger" to his face and think it was ok. But I wasn't around in 1932 in the UK or anywhere else.

Still, as you listen, you can almost imagine this as the soundtrack to some stupid cartoon where cats and dogs are dancing as the sun shines, tongues out and eyes blinking in rhythm, and some character named Bosco might look a tad "native." But unless you're really listening for it, the n-word will go right by you. As opposed to, say, the hundreds of rap songs where "nigga" is bellowed, cackled and shouted.

Bert Ambrose was hardly a racist…in his heyday when he starred at England's top clubs (May Fair and the Embassy Club) he brought in pianist Art Tatum for a three month engagement.

Should original era "The Sun Has Got His Hat On" recordings be forever banned, even if a disc jockey (or a blogger) offers up an apology for the bad, bad word? The question is the same as "Should we never play Wagner because he was an antisemite?" Or "Do we play Charles Manson's songs?" The answer depends on the quality of the work, whether it's worth playing, and whether the point of playing it is to promote racism, antisemitism or the "fun" of embracing someone that society believes is evil.

Nemo and also Jonathan King both recorded modern versions of the song…which now has a few substitute choices for the N-word. One version has the sun "roasting peanuts" and in an alternate, "shining brightly."

A 1932 song with the word "Nigger" somewhere in it