Friday, 29 January 2010


Oftentimes song-poem outfits would attempt to dupe their poor, innocent customers twice. Send us $50 and we'll make a demo record of your song. Send us another $100 and we'll record it with a full orchestra for you. Occasionally they would offer a guarantee, of sorts, that if you were not satisfied with the recording they sent you they would remake it in a style more suitable. For a few extra bucks, of course.

Very few people seem to have taken any of the companies up on this seemingly-generous offer, although there are a few song-poems out there extant in more than one version. The Saddest Story, which I featured here on WWR back in October 2008 is probably one of the best known examples, recorded in a rough demo form by Sonny (Sammy) Marshall for an Air EP before being re-recorded with full instrumental backing by the MSR Singers (with, I now believe, Bill Joy on lead vocals rather than my earlier guess of Buddy Raye) for the album Singin' Easy (MSR 213).

Another example of this rare occurrence is exemplified by the two versions of Gretchen's New Dish that you find before you today.

The first version is one of the stupidest recordings I've ever heard, and one I trot out whenever anyone asks me what it is about the genre that makes me such a fan. How can you listen to Dick Kent's loopy performance, complete with his insane Scots/Swedish accent, of Chester T Finley's words and not rupture something laughing? Clearly Mr Finley was none to happy with Dick, for he had the song re-recorded by Bobbi Blake who, in an odd twist, had performed his other song - the equally stupid Betsy and Her Goat - on the flip side of the original single. That no third version of this opus appears to exist attests to one of two things: either Chester was happy with his Gretchen being full of dosie-do rather than doo-doo or he simply ran out of either money or patience. Or maybe he died. Oh, wait a minute, that's three things....or is it four?



  1. This just might be--wait for it--the worst recording of all time!

  2. M.S.R 2822
    Bill Joy
    When I Open the Door b/w Thoughts

    This 45 is currently on eBay

  3. This is remarkably daft rubbish. Keep 'em coming,please.

  4. Youtube link:

    I lost count of the number of times that Dick's accent changed!


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