Saturday, May 09, 2015

ILL-USTRATED SONGS #32: Purple People Eater by BARRY CRYER


He could've performed this under a pseudonym. Like Ben Worse.

But it couldn't have Ben Worse.

Below, landing with a thud, the space creature called "The Purple People Eater," as covered by Barry Cryer.

Obviously done very quickly to cash in on American vocalist Sheb Wooley's novelty original, Barry's cover misses a few notes by a Jamie Foxx doing "The National Anthem" last week at the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.

There are a few interesting things about this oddity. First, it opens with sci-fi noises copped from the Mercury vault (and used on everything from "Martian Hop" to Boris Karloff's "Tales of the Frightened"). Second, they did take the time to throw in speeded up vocals for the Purple People Eater (some cover versions tried to get away with a kid's voice or just a weird voice). And last, and least, Cryer is clearly aping an American accent. Accent on the ape. Like I said, it could've Ben Worse.

Sheb Wooley (first name was Shelby) actually had another recording identity with a similarly awful pseudonym. Aside from his own novelty hits and C&W numbers, he recorded as Ben Colder. This was a gag name that came about when he recorded "Don't Go Near the Eskimos," a parody of Rex Allen's "Don't Go Near the Indians."

I hate people who grin and tell you to enjoy something because "it's so bad it's good." That's not the case with this thing! Rather, quoting a W.C. Fields line, "I won't say I like it, and I won't say I don't like it. Let me put it this way: I don't mind it." It's certainly an example of what quickie cover version recordings were like way back when...which is still a lot better than the shit that idiots throw on YouTube to try and (fail) to get a few hundred listeners.

BARRY CRYER A version of PURPLE PEOPLE EATER that could make you cry

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