Saturday, August 29, 2015


Frank Milano is Yogi Bear (not Daws Butler) on this old kiddie 45rpm.

Smarter than the Average Bear, Yogi realized plundering pic-a-nic baskets wasn't all the fun he could have. As this song proves, he's now into Cindy and visiting her cave.

Why did Yogi wear a tie...but no pants?

CINDYBEAR! Instand upload or listen on line.

Alfred E. Neuman - POTRZEBIE

Yes, Mad Magazine is still around. Sort of. Quarterly.

Face it, with everyone roaring with laughter over MEMES tossed around on FARCEBOOK, and people constantly e-mailing zany YouTube videos, and various Twitter idiots stealing each others jokes to post, who needs to buy a magazine? Why encourage a new generation of cartoonists and comedy writers?

POTRZEBIE was a beloved nonsense word back when Mad was loaded with them. There were various Yiddish expressions thrown in (this song mentions the FURSHLUGGINER Five). Don Martin and Will Elder were especially fond of creating words to denote violence (a face slapping SMEKKITY-SMEK for example) but this one was pure idiocy.

The only name stranger than Potzrzebie was found over at DC Comics, via Mister Mxyzptlk. He was an imp that sometimes annoyed Superman. He lived in the "Fifth Dimension" (a zone, not a sappy group of overweight and over-age singers) and the only way to get him to go back was to trick him into saying his name backwards.

Like the imp, who underwent various changes in shape and features depending on who drew him, there were several variations on Alfred E. Neuman. The definitive Alfred (as seen here) was created by Norman Mingo.

Unfortunately Mad magazine's music, on flexi-discs in the mag, singles and occasional albums, rarely reached the level of Spike Jones or Raymond Scott. Sorry, but this instrumental doesn't live up to having a Mad Magazine catch-word for a title.


A Mad instru-mental.

Instant download or listen on line. No tricky links, stupid passwords named Zinhof, or other distractions.

A HERRING and a DOMINO (Anne Herring and Anna Domino)

It's Anna Domino and Annie Herring.

And rather than do a Lawrence Welk impression by introducing "Anna one, Annie two," let's get the facts out of the way, fast. YOU may not have heard of either, but they have been in the music biz for 20 (Domino) and 30 (Herring) years now.

Herring is a Christian singer-songwriter, so chances are you'd know her if you feel more positive about Oral Roberts than oral sex. All her recordings are on Christian record labels, but don't label her a Jesus freak. Take the perky, pretty "Wild Child," from her very first album. It's faster than a pirouetting rodent and filled with the kind of free-wheeling glee that most will only get after an uplifting morning in church or an upshot of Summers' Eve.

Is it a sin to download this out of print bit of Herring? What would Jesus do?

Like many contemporary Christian singers Annie's lyrics are not always overt in referencing that Son of you-know-who. (Parenthetical note: the grand Rebecca St. James scored a massive contemporary Christian hit via "Me Without You," which SHE thought was about God. The songwriter, Martin Briley, was just writing a love song to a very real You. But the Lord moves in mysterious ways).

As sung very fast by A. Herring:

I always wanted my life to look like the right side of a tapestry, a tapestry, But darkness was weaved in when I was conceived in iniquity. And now I wanna be cut free... You took me out of hell when you tore through my veil And now all I can do is just look at you And be me for the first time. I feel like a child that's never gone wild. And I feel pretty in my soul The darkness is gone And what keeps me hangin' on is you. And that's all I want..."

As for Anna Domino, she's had a cult following for twenty years, which means she can pretty much walk around unnoticed. Her real name is the less ecclesiastical Anna Taylor. Her style of indie-pop, at least on the cut you're about to hear, puts her somewhere into the Joni Mitchell category of someone cool, literate and aloof.

Born in Tokyo, raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, she gravitated to Manhattan and worked with various indie rock bands, releasing her first full length album in 1986. "Own Kind" is from that vinyl.

She has since gone on to record some interesting stuff with her husband Michel Delory (check out Favourite Songs from the Twilight Years 1984-90). In 1999 the duo re-named themselves Snakefarm and released "Songs from My Funeral," filled with traditional folk songs and murder ballads. Own Kind:

Here we are polite well informed and mannerly All our boys and girls have money and enough to eat And weave a thread through the whole community Showing how we value heredity And what it means to belong to a fatherland Know the aborigine, colourfull but out of hand And now and then others come and threaten us And we fall back on forces we can trust And we shake our fists at the posters on the barroom wall We display our public grievance In the editorial page or else we paint it on a subway hall. We look upon the world but we're not quite part of it All the trouble there surely isn't our fault All the pain and hate and the needless punishment We've grown out of that and we're quite proud of it And something else that should well bear mentioning Once we were on top fashionable and interesting And we held sway over half this ship of fools Subject to our values myths and rules We know we can't afford to lose the past So full of moral lessons we thought would always last But now so many years without a war We have a generation A generation rotten to the core.



YES MY DARLING DAUGHTER - Eydie Gorme and Dinah Shore versions

A seminal song about consensual sex, "Yes My Darling Daughter" was a pretty pioneering effort back in 1940: a horny girl describes the advice she got from her very hip mama!

When Eddie Cantor heard a demo of it, he flipped for the song, and the unknown Jewish girl who sang it. That girl was Dinah Shore. She and "Yes My Darling Daughter" became a hit when she sang it on Cantor's radio show.

Dinah's radio debut was so hot, she reprised the song just a month later, October 23, 1940. (That version is available below). Dinah ended up a regular on Cantor's radio show, and a big recording star.

Fast forward nearly 20 years to Eydie Gorme's version. Gorme's another Jewish girl talking to Mama, but her version's got a rocking up-tempo big-band arrangement. She removes the line suggesting papa might protest her antics, and...check the ending! Gorme is getting pretty orgasmic with her "Yes, Yes" delights, and goes so far overboard...the police have to be called in.

Listen for how Gorme's voice melds with a police siren! Out of respect to the late Ms. Eydie and her husband Steve Lawrence, no further speculation will be made as to why the cops were called. Back when she was still around, I did e-mail her website and ask if there was any story as to why a police siren was melded into her vocal. The webmaster's reply was that there wasn't a siren. Duh. By the time I tracked down songwriter Jack Lawrence, he was in no condition to recall that session.

The illfolks blog takes great pleasure in offering an obscure and unlikely bit of smut, and hopefully you'll take great pleasure too, although for a song that's under 3 minutes, you'll have to be quick.

PS, songwriter Jack Lawrence wrote the lyrics for several very clean hit songs, including "Beyond the Sea," "Tenderly," "All Or Nothing at All" and "If I Didn't Care."

GORME goes Nuts
DINAH on Radio

Emile, Don't Forget ZOLA - of The Platters

Halle Berry played her in a movie. But you didn't see it, did you? You also don't remember her singing any hits for The Platters. And admit it, up till this moment you had no idea who Zola Taylor was.
On most of the greatest hits The Platters recorded, it was a male vocalist on lead: "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," "Only You," "The Great Pretender," "Magic Touch" and "Twilight Time."

"He's Mine," offered below, is one of the very few rockin' numbers with Zola singing lead, a Miss, the Platters didn't have a hit.

The song's a good example of Zola's capabilities. If you think she sounds a bit like an energetic Frankie Lymon, then you might as well see the 1998 movie "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" in which three women (including Halle as Zola) claim to have married him and deserve his estate. Obviously Zola was one of the women who failed to impress a judge with her claim.

ZOLA He's MINE No porn ads. No code games. No egocentric passwords. Instant download or listen on line.

Nostalgia for a Time That No Longer Exists: "TENEMENT SYMPHONY"

Photographer Shirley Baker is the subject of a new museum exhibit. It collects her photos of "An England That No Longer Exists."

Most of the photos could easily have been taken in parts of America as well, from the streets of old Boston to the Lower East Side tenements of Manhattan.

One thing about the old tenements; no matter who you were or where you came from, your neighbors were your friends. You all spoke the same language. You all lived by the same customs. You all had the same morality.

It didn't matter if your ancestors came from Italy, Greece, Russia or anywhere else. You had the same goals. You wanted to make your country great. You wanted to make a better world for your children. And if your children married outside your own faith or ethnic ancestry, so what?

Now? Not so much. Immigrants come in and refuse to speak the language. They refuse to learn the customs. They are self-entitled, arrogant and often violent. As much as they might be privileged, or given every break in the book, they turn like rats and use all they learned against the people who sheltered them. Right, "Jihada John" of the UK? That so, you murderous "brothers" who blew up the Boston marathon and sauntered away smirking?

What nostalgia to hear Tony Martin, that handsome Italian singer who was actually a Jew, enthusiastically sing about the Scots and Italian and the others who lived in literal harmony. "It's all a part of my TENEMENT SYMPHONY."

Yes, the song is still heard thanks to Tony's rousing performance of it in the lesser Marx Brothers movie "At the Store."

Hear it once more. It's strictly a nostalgia piece now, Senor.

Tenement Symphony Tony Martin

Donald Trump wouldn't like "My Yiddishe Mama" in SPANISH from Sedaka

The current star of the tedious 2016 Presidential campaign is Donald Trump. His numbers seemed to skyrocket when he declared there should be a wall between America and Mexico.

"The Donald" hit a nerve. Xenophobia is like the common cold. It's catching. It's hard to get rid of it.

Like the common cold, immigrants are at best, a nuisance. It gets chronic when they refuse to learn the language and worse, become violent. This is why Trump's comments have been appreciated by so many.

He said that Mexico has not been giving us (the U.S.) their best. Why deny the obvious, child? To millions of people, es verdad. It's true. It applies to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, too. There are a lot of Latino criminals around. The U.S. is becoming increasingly more bilingual because Latinos don't want to learn English.

While every other ethnic group assimilates, even if they are Greek, Russian, Israeli, Japanese or Chinese and have to learn not only a new language but completely different symbols for every letter of the alphabet, the Latinos say, "No. No me gusto." And so in most parts of America, you can't use an ATM machine, call a Federal agency, or even get junk mail without either seeing it in both English or Spanish or being asked in which language you'd like to continue.

It's absurd. And that's part of why Trump is popular.

The irony is that everywhere in the world, you'll find people speaking English. They don't HAVE to, but if you travel anywhere from France to Japan, you won't have any trouble finding someone who speaks English. And today's Latinos don't give a shit. It wasn't that way when Carmen Miranda and Cesar Romero and Ricardo Montalban came over.

In the 60's, it was not uncommon for a star who had a hit single to re-record it in Spanish, German, French or Italian to get extra sales and spread the good will. Soon it will become mandatory. We might even see the day when American singers are handed a phonetic sheet and told, "Sing it in Spanish first. If it's a hit, MAYBE you can record it in your native language."

The statistics show that America has more Spanish speakers than any other country except Mexico. That number is rising, mi amigo.

And since Iran has vowed to wipe Israel off the map, and is being allowed to create the weapons to do so, here's what will soon be a very rare relic; a Jewish song sung in Spanish.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Billy Bennett asks, from the grave, Can't the U.N. Kill ISIS??

Today's news included a report on an 82 year-old scholar and curator who was beheaded by ISIS. Why? He wouldn't tell them where to find some priceless art treasures they wanted to destroy.

ISIS not only hates "infidels," rapes white women, murders Christians, and likes to watch people being burned alive or shot by young kiddies just learning how to use weapons. They also are infuriated by inanimate objects.

They love to rampage through museums and archives, bashing artifacts to bits. Somehow, they think Allah is looking down from his pink cloud, saying, "Gee, thanks, I wish I could do that, but I'm not as all-powerful as a bunch of Camel-faced morons with hummus in their beards."

The question is why the U.N. doesn't round up a potent martini of fifth Muslim, one fifth African, one fifth European, and two fifths American, to simply "surprise attack" various villages and root out every ISIS thug they find?

Just go to each notorious dungheap town and have the local citizens, police, and other fine, fine peaceful Muslims identify who the ISIS jerks are. And BANG. Round 'em up and then, oh, set fire to the fucking lot of them.


The trouble is that the U.N. is full of shit, just like the previous group that was supposed to preserve the peace, "The League of Nations."

British Music Hall wiseguy Billy Bennett knew all about how ridiculous and incompetent they were.

About 100 years ago, 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. All they do is let Putin and Palestinians and other maniacs run wild. Any time there's even a flood or other natural disaster, they just sit on their asses and expect America to pay for everything. When was the last time you heard any world leader say, "Jeez, too bad about those midget Asians getting pelted by a typhoon. They'll get plenty of money, guns and lawyers from us!" NEVER.

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, over-population, ecological abuse or Pink Floyd continuing to tour.

Newspapers don't call for peace because they make more money reporting on atrocities. 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!"

Billy Bennett mocks The League Of Nations

YVONNE CRAIG - "BATGIRL" Dies at 78 - "Batman" musical montage

It was a pretty odd headline, echoed in obits all over the Internet. "BATGIRL" is dead.

Like she ever lived. Like Yvonne Craig wasn't actually an elderly actress with many other credits, whose breast cancer had metastasized into her liver.


Well, if you do want to get the facts on Yvonne, the obits have them, and it makes for better reading than what you'll find in the idiot forums or on Facebook. Let's face it, the average person is not very articulate OR sensitive.

What you'll find on Facebook is generally this kind of shit...fanboy dimwits posting photos of themselves with Craig (which anybody could do if they put down a twenty) and the "Batman" cultists muttering "Sad" or "RIP."

There's plenty more of that pathetic shit. Some anonymous asshole offers "my sincerest condolences." Yeah, that means a lot. Various bozos wrote, "I had such a crush on her!" That's the type that will be anxiously waiting for her burial so they can take a selfie rubbing up against her tombstone.

Ms. Craig was fairly pragmatic about it all. She was glad that she lived a pretty unique and varied life, traveled the world, had a good marriage, and was remembered for several minor things: movies with Elvis Presley, being a green ghoul-goddess on a "Star Trek" episode, and being just as snotty as Burt Ward's "Robin" on the third season of "Batman." She also was a businesswoman (she and her sister designed and sold phone cards, sold real estate, etc.) and worked with disadvantaged kids among other things.

Her website has the details, and if you want to know more, you can buy her self-published book. Up till a few months ago you could've gotten it personally autographed. For a good fee. All power to Yvonne, she lucked out on being associated with shows that attracted affluent memorabilia collectors. She wasn't sitting around trying to sell her photo for ten bucks a pop, that's for sure. She wouldn't have been invited if she had simply been an actress who turned up on a variety of 60's and 70's shows, trying to get people to pay for a signature on a still from her "Perry Mason" or "Gidget" episode. On eBay her autographed photos, like the other "Batman" people or "Star Trek" villains, rarely sell for under $50.

I met Yvonne socially a few times, and she was a very nice lady, easy to talk to and unpretentious. No, we didn't talk about ANY of the above subjects. I kind of think it's a "given," that you don't have to acknowledge a famous person for what they're famous for. A simple, "so very nice to meet you" is good enough, and you go from there, to small-talk, politics, whatever anyone normally talks about.

Her friends and family suggested "that no one waste a moment of their time in mourning for her loss in sadness but instead celebrate the awesome life she had been fortunate enough to live."

Since "Batman" fans are the hardest hit, below is the ILL FOLKS BAT-MEDLEY. Bearing in mind that a novelty tune can lose it's novelty even halfway through, this six minute montage samples: Adam West's overly bouncy "Miranda," a bit of Burgess "The Penguin" Meredith in a musical narration about his nemesis, and then Jan and Dean who washed up onto shore for "The Joker is Wild." It segues into the real Joker and then Cesar Romero seriously giving a "Thought for Today." Just a few oddities since most everyone has the "Batman" theme and you can easily see highlights from Yvonne's career on various uploads on YouTube...ones that are totally illegal but did not set off "That Bat Signal" and any copyright-enforcing caped crusaders

Adam West, Cesar Romero BATMAN MEDLEY

Sunday, August 09, 2015

CILLA BLACKS OUT - Phil Ochs "Changes"

Cilla Black was fairly unknown in America. Beatles fans who knew that Paul McCartney had given her "Love of the Loved," "Step Inside Love" and a few others couldn't even find 'em. Back in the 60's it was very hard to find import records in the average store (even the original Beatle discs on Parlophone) and AM-radio disc jockeys stuck to American pressings. A quick check of the Billboard Charts confirms that in the USA, Cilla had only one Top 40 hit, "You're My World," which peaked at #26 in July of 1964. The others, as senile morons like to say, "did not chart."

This may indicate that Cilla Black's style as a singer just wasn't to American tastes. Another British lady, Petula Clark, reached the Top 40 about 15 times in the 60's.

In her native country, the Liverpool star (born Priscilla White) had tremendous appeal. Perhaps her mildly cute looks and her huge overbite made her seem like the girl next door. Her cover of "Anyone Who Had a Heart" was #1 in 1964, and after a very good run of other pop tunes on the charts, Cilla cleverly moved on to television, with her own BBC series in 1968 and several more for ITV over the years, including "Blind Date" and "Surprise Surprise." As a "presenter" and hostess, she remained in the public eye for decades.

She was at her vacation home in Spain when she stood up too suddenly, became dizzy, and fell. The coroner's report indicated that a stroke did her in, but there was some question over whether it was the cause of her fall, or the result of what happened once she hit the floor. The tabloids were more concerned with pointing out that at 72, the beloved singer was not in good health, and had supposedly declared that she didn't want to hang on year after year, and figured passing on at 75 would be just fine.

Several friends noted she was suffering from arthritis among other maladies, and that she never quite recovered from the passing of her husband. Countering that, John Madejski, who claimed to have been her "soulmate" for the past dozen years, grabbed the attention of reporters by declaring, "Ceilla was not dying to die. Anyway it's nobody's damn business. Cilla was a private person. She had a hell of a lot of dignity."

She also had a pretty impressive list of cover songs on her resume. Among the songwriters she favored in her 60's heyday was Phil Ochs. "Changes" seems pretty apt for this sad time. Phil's song "Changes" had done well in England via Crispian St. Peters, and below is the distaff version; her humble rendition.

Cilla Black CHANGES

Roy Bennett joins Sid Tepper RED ROSES FOR AN OLD SONGWRITER

How many bouquets of red roses did the funeral home get for Roy Bennett?

In one of those interesting coincidences, the songwriting team of Tepper & Bennett died within months of each other. The lyrical half, Sid Tepper, passed on in April, and now it's Roy Bennett (August 12, 1918 – July 2, 2015) who didn't quite make it to his birthday this month.

They were hacks in the nicest sense of the word.

If hacks sit in an office and hack out songs on demand, and don't wait for inspiration, then they were hacks. Need a novelty Christmas song? These two Jews could toss you, "I'm Gettin' Nuttin' For Christmas."

Need 30 or so songs for those bad Elvis Presley movies? You weren't expecting Leiber & Stoller to do it, were you? Not when the recipe involved soft ballads. You might recall that Presley had a fondness for gooping up old folk songs ("Love Me Tender" for example). So it's no surprise, as Bennett recalled, that sometimes he just borrowed melodies to turn into "Puppet on a String," "I Love Only One Girl," and "Five Sleepyheads. "

The hit-makers were also hacky enough to try and create a fairly sound-alike sequel to their 1948 sentimental smasheroo, "Red Roses for A Blue Lady." In that one, the singer urges, "Mr. Florist take my order please," hoping that a dozen roses will cheer up his sweetie. In 1950 the guys were peddling "Thanks, Mister Florist" (and both Vaughn Monroe and the not-so-swingin' Four Lads took a crack at it). The happy ending:

"You told me the roses would win my blue lady.
I thought you'd like to know it turned out fine.
So Thanks Mister Florist for the red red roses
That made the blue lady mine. All mine. That made the lady mine all mine.

Not exactly the best lyric in the world, or the best music. But back in the late 40's and through the 50's and 60's, you'd see the credit Tepper-Bennett on tons of vinyl, including a forgotten-but-big hit at the time, "Suzy Snowflake" (1951, Rosemary Clooney). If they wrote the sentimental "silly love songs" of their day, they were not ashamed. They turned out "(It was just a) Simple Melody" for Patti Page, and it was indeed, poignant, simple, and melodic, and suited her lilting voice just fine.

The fine Mr. Bennett was born Israel Brodsky, and that was a strong give-away as to his ethnicity. While there were plenty of Jewish songwriters around, they either had a last name that could save them (Irving Berlin) or the last name was too odd for the average dull-witted anti-Semite to sniff over (George Gershwin, Sid Tepper). It was very common for Jews to blend in with a different name, one that would appeal to fans of a Wayne Newton, Dean Martin, Guy Lombardo or Elvis Presley.

In fact, if there was any "Jewing down" to be done, it would be done by the Gentiles. A common practice in the music biz, was for "the talent" to get screwed by clever businessmen, and with songwriters, there was the "publishing" rights. The "deal" with the Presley songs was that his management took a third. Bennett: "We thought it was unfair, of course. All the writers felt that the Colonel and Elvis were making money hand over fist on our songs and that it was smalltime of them to take advantage of us. The prevailing attitude, however, was that it was better to earn 2/3 of something than 100% of nothing. I always felt that this was the Colonel's idea, not Elvis's."

The team custom-wrote songs for specific scenes in the Presley films, from ballads ("All That I Am," "Island of Love" to novelty numbers ("Song of the Shrimp," "Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce.") They also penned the only Presley song nominated for an Oscar, "It's a Wonderful World" (which was in "Roustabout").

The team never met Presley. They were busy knockin' out the songs in an office in the famous Brill Building. For Presley, they sent in about 60 demos, and had a sensational batting average in having over 30 appear in his films. The guys didn't try to "sell" The Colonel and Presley by hiring demo singers who could sound like Elvis. The singers simply performed the songs as written, allowing Elvis to intuit which ones he could improve via his distinctive style.

From "Kiss of Fire" (which Bennett adapted from an old tango tune) to "Naughty Lady of Shady Lane" (yet another novelty hit), Tepper-Bennett turned out over 300 songs in their career, which ended with Tepper's sudden heart attack and retirement in 1970. It's sort of romantic, or just plain odd, that the partners would die within four months of each other, but it's doubtful Bennett wanted it that way. He was still married to his wife Ruth (they wed in 1948) and they had twin sons, Neil and Keith. The team could write a song about anything, even twins. The Stargazers recorded the song "Twenty Tiny Fingers" about them.

And below, "novelty" and sentiment combine, as we hear Homer & Jethro's fractured version of a Tepper-Bennett classic.

Sid Tepper and Roy Bennett's RED ROSES FOR A BLUE LADY via Homer and Jethro


The last I heard from Theo Bikel (May 02, 1924 - Jul 21, 2015) he wanted me to join him on an Alaskan cruise.

Why would a venerable old Jewish actor/folksinger want to be in Alaska, the land of Sarah Palin? For fun, adventure and the unusual and spectacular views, of course. And what else are you going to do, if the folk scene is diminished, the coffee clubs and intimate concert halls are mostly gone, and almost all your contemporaries are either retired or dead? Bikel had enough star power from his length career as a singer, stage star and film actor, to attract plenty of rich elderly people for a sea cruise. Since I'm neither rich or elderly, I just wasn't among them.

Bikel always had plenty to do, even when he hit 90. Just this year, he was on the West Coast doing a show with Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey, then taking part in an Israel fundraiser in New York at $150 a plate. In between, as you can still see if you visit his dotcom, he was working on all kinds of musical and acting projets.

Most people who know his name probably can recall some role he did as a character actor, but he's best remembered for stage musicals and his slew of ethnic folk albums. On Broadway, he was the original Baron Von Trapp in "The Sound of Music." In a nod to his coffee house success as a folk singer Rodgers and Hammerstein gave him a highlight: "Edelweiss," to be performed on his guitar in a solo spotlight moment.

He holds some kind of record for having performed as Tevye in over 2,000 performances of "Fiddle on the Roof," for a variety of touring companies. He probably holds some record for the number of folk records issued during the late 50's and early 60's. Even now, most any surviving record store is bound to have "A Harvest of Israeli Folk Songs," "Jewish Folk Songs," "More Jewish Folk Songs," "Bikel Sings Yiddish Theatre and Folk Songs," "Treasury of Yiddish Folk Songs," "Songs if Israel," and "Songs of the Russian Gypsy" and "Songs of Russia Old and New" among others.

Along with Burl Ives, he was an "actor/singer," and because he was older, and more traditional, it wasn't likely that the same people who bought Elektra label mates Judy Henske, Shel Silverstein and Phil Ochs were buying his stuff. He was a "think ethnic" type, recording in over a dozen languages, and in 1961 he was one of the founders of the Newport Folk Festival.

Actor/singer Bikel was not particularly hurt by the waning folk era's switch to electric guitar. In 1964 he played Zoltan Karpathy, the pushy Hungarian expert in phonetics (and rival to Henry Higgins) in "My Fair Lady." He followed his with the role of the Russian captain in the 1966 comedy "The Russians are Coming." And so it went, through the 60's and 70's and beyond, Bikel performing concerts at times, but also working in films and (wining an Emmy in 1988 for "Star Trek: The Next Generation") plenty of television. He also returned to Broadway many times, including productions of "Zorba," "The Lark," and (earning yet another Tony award nomination) "The Rope Dancers."

Bikel was a typical Liberal, ready to defend Israel (even against fellow performers like Vanessa Redgrave), appearing as a delegate (to the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, where he joined Phil Ochs and others in protests) and becoming a leader in his profession (he was once president of the Actors' Equity union). If there wasn't a cruise or a film or a TV appearance on the horizon, he looked for bookings for his one man show, "Sholem Aleichem" Laughter Through Tears."

A very live wire, Theo married his fourth wife, Amy in 2013, only a year after divorcing his third wife Tamara (they were married rom 2008 to 2012).

Ironically, Bikel's work as an actor seems to have completely overshadowed his recognition as an important folk singer. One of those smirky "Celebrities Sing" collections added him for having the audacity to cover George Harrison's "Piggies." Hardly as questionable as Leonard Nimoy's "Proud Mary" or William Shatner's "Rocket Man," Bikel did a nice adaptation of the song, which Reprise released at a time when it was fighting "ageism" and allowing older performers to update the repertoire. Theo (not Theodore) released his "A New Day" album, which covered "For No One," and songs by Joni Mitchell and Donovan. It was produced by Richard Perry, who was working with Fanny and a lot of other very cool artists. At the same time, Ella Fitzgerald was doing Randy Newman's "Yellow Man," and the veteran Hamilton Camp got a chance to record "Star Spangled Bus." Bikel knew there is something not at all kosher about "Piggies."

Theo Bikel PIGGIES