Friday, 26 March 2010

Sunshine Bottyman


I really don't know where to begin.

One of my earliest, and fondest, musical memories, is of a summer at the very beginning of the 70s (yes, I am THAT old) playing my elder sister's record collection on a portable record player in the family back garden. It's a really powerful memory, and I can clearly recall many of the records that she had and that I played that day. I know it had to be the 70s because one of those records was Let It Be, the Beatles' last UK 45 (well, until 1976, anyway), which was released in 1970; other discs included Gene Pitney's 24 Hours From Tulsa, the Small faces Itchycoo Park, a whole bunch of great Motown singles and Donovan's Jennifer Juniper.

Consequently I've always loved those records and, even though I know he's a raging old hippy who spends his life trading on the fact that he knew The Beatles, I've always had a bit of a soft spot for old Donovan, especially his sun-drenched post the-next-Dylan recordings.

So it came as a bit of a shock to discover this appalling little turd in his oeuvre. Originally featured on the Cosmic Wheels album (1973) and released as the b-side to the Maria Magenta single of the same year, there's very little I can say about The Intergalactic Laxative, apart that is from asking the question 'what the hell was he on?' A song about astronaut's bodily functions? FFS!

Have a listen, I dare you. Just in case you fancy singing along to this jaunty little ditty here are the great poet's lyrics:

I was impressed like everyone,
When man began to fly,
Out of earthly regions,
To planets in the sky.
With total media coverage,
We watched the heroes land,
As ceremoniously
They disturbed the cosmic sand.

In awe with admiration,
We listened to the talk.
Such pride felt they,
Such joy to be
Upon the moon to walk.
My romantic vision shattered,
When it was explained to me,
Spacemen wear old diapers
In which they shit and pee.

Oh, the intergalactic laxative,
Will get you from here to there.
Relieve you and believe me,
Without a worry or care.
If shitting is your problem,
When you're out there in the stars,
Oh, the intergalactic laxative
Will get you from here to Mars.

They don't partake like you and I,
Of beefy burger mush.
Their food is specially prepared
To dissolve into slush.
Absorbed by multi-fibers
In the super diaper suit,
Otherwise the slush would trickle
Down inside the boot.

Oh, the intergalactic laxative,
Will get you from here to there.
Relieve you and believe me,
Without a worry or care.
If shitting is your problem
When you're out there in the stars,
Oh, the intergalactic laxative
Will get you from here to Mars.

You may well ask now what becomes
Of liquid they consume.
A pipe is led from penis head
To a unit in the room.
The water is recirculated,
Filtered for re-use.
In case of anti-gravity
Pee gets on the loose.

Oh, the intergalactic laxative,
Will get you from here to there.
Relieve you and believe me,
Without a worry or care.
If shitting is your problem
When you're out there in the stars,
Oh, the intergalactic laxative
Will get you from here to Mars.

Wherever man has conquered,
On the quest for frontiers new,
I'm glad that he's always had to do
The number one and two.
It makes it all so ordinary,
Just like you and me,
To know the greatest heroes,
They had to shit and pee.

The intergalactic laxative
Will get you from here to there,
For cosmic constipation
There's none that can compare.
If shitting is your problem
When you're out there in the stars,
Oh, the intergalactic laxative,
The intergalactic laxative,
The intergalactic laxative,
Will get you from here to Mars.





http://rapidshare.com/files/368382110/The_Intergalactic_Laxative.mp3

Friday, 19 March 2010

stools, schools, dunces and fools


The world of the song-poem is littered with inane, and quite often insane, lyrics, but these are some of the most banal I've come across recently. Even the genius multi-instrumentalist, arranger and producer that was Rodd Keith fails miserably to inject some life into this pile of dross.

The words of To The Person were written by the wonderfully-named Melchor Carnate Jr, and you really have to ask yourself if English was his first language; he seems to have no idea of how to construct a sensible sentence. Melchor's words really are nonsensical:

To the person who is in love
But cannot say so from above
Come golden words in your sleep
Untold words you now can speak

To the person who's not in love
And can say they're not from above
Come Cupid's arrows, who are you fooling
Their pushin' will give you some schoolin'

To those who aren't in love
And cannot say from above
Comes a scolding because you are a fool
A scolding and a dunce's stool

To the person who is in love
And can say they are from above
Comes a blessing because you are wise
True love is your prize

To those who aren't in love
And cannot say from above
Comes a scolding because you are a fool
A scolding and a dunce's stool

To the person who is in love
And can say they are from above
Comes a blessing because you are wise
True love is your prize

...fabulously dreadful. This appears to have been Mr Carnate's only foray into the song-poem world, although I'd lay money on there being some more of his rotten poetry around somewhere - maybe preserved for posterity on a local newspaper letters page, or in one of those vanity anthologies that bad poets are always paying to be included in.

Anyway, enjoy Rodd's soulful rendition of Melchor's words and have a great weekend


Wednesday, 17 March 2010

I might as well be dead



Here's a cheery little pip for you, courtesy of country singer Will Gentry, aka Ramsey Kearney. An interesting figure, Kearney - still active today - has been recording since the very beginning of the 1960s, often for fairly major companies, but at some point he decided to get in on the song-poem scam, setting up his own company Nashco specifically to, as he puts it himself "assist the amateur and professional songwriter in getting a demonstration recording made of their song; suitable to assist the writer in furthering his or her song material." How very generous.

Ramsey/Will was also the performer of one of the greatest songs in the whole song-poem oeuvre, Blind Man's Penis. Originally submitted as a joke (titled Stevie Wonder's Penis) to see if anyone within the song-poem industry would be mercenary enough to record such a thing, Ramsey kindly offered to do so, suggesting that the title be changed to Blind Man's Penis to avoid any problems with Mr Wonder and his entourage.

The authors of this little ditty, Cecelia and Theodore Frese, clearly thought they were on to a winner by employing Will Gentry to write the music to and record their song and, to be fair to Ramsey/Will, he has put more effort into the tune than many others would have. It's miles better than some of the dreadful song-poem lyrics I've heard, but they still ended up with a clunker. How could anyone believe that a song that includes the lyrical couplet "There's no-one shares my love/I might as well be dead" would be a hit?

Here, for your delectation, is Homely as the Dickens. Enjoy


http://rapidshare.com/files/364599989/Homely_as_the_Dickens.mp3

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Now you cats, Dig the Beat


Song Poem pioneer Sandy Stanton may have introduced the world to the talents of Rodd Keith, but he's also responsible, via his Film City imprint, for discovering Frank Perry (not to be confused with the man who had a few minor hits in the States in the early 60s on labels such as Epic, nor with the New Age musician of the same name), bringing him in to understudy and then take over from Rodd once he had moved on to pastures new with Preview.

Although nowhere near as gifted a composer, arranger and instrumentalist, Frank had a long and varied career in the Song Poem trade, often employing that other Stanton stock-in-trade (also a favourite of Rodd Keith) a pre-digital sampling keyboard called the Chamberlin, which used short strips of pre-recorded tape to replicate the sound of other instruments, voices and sound effects in much the same way as the Mellotron did (used to great effect by The Beatles on Strawberry Fields Forever and the Sgt Pepper album), although the instrument's eight-second strips of tape limited it to rather unnatural distortions of the instruments it attempted to sample and to some peculiar time signatures: listen to the odd bossa-nova rhythm used on this particular recording if you don't believe me, paying close attention to the number of times Frank drops the beat altogether. Fans of the Song Poem will have heard these anomalies a number of times before.

Frank himself recorded for over a dozen Song Poem imprints - most of them under the aegis of Sandy Stanton - including Action, Vandalia, Spin-Out (another couple of tracks by W L Horning), Mayhams Collegiate, Thoughtwave, Dolly-O and Endeavor. This particular gem was released on Wesley Records sometime in the mid-60s, a vanity label used by Stanton for the songs of one Wesley Louis Horning of Denver, Colorado.

Wesley, it appears, also released two EPs of his own compositions on Spin-Out, singing and playing in what can be best (and kindest) described as a haunting, laid-back, low-fi style (less generous reviewers would class him out of tune and tone deaf, perhaps). His compositions only seem to come alive once they've been subjected to the Frank Perry treatment, although the titles of some of these self-performed ditties (Arms Ten Feet Long, You're Just Naturally Sweet and Rock-A-Billy, for example) do betray a charming innocence. Sadly he passed away in 1985, at the age of 74. Drop by http://www.myspace.com/wlhorning where you can hear some of Wesley's own recordings, including the brilliant Kiss Me, Kiss Me Baby.

Enjoy Frank Perry and the Big Sound's Dig That Beat




http://rapidshare.com/files/361525078/Dig_That_Beat.mp3

Monday, 1 March 2010

ee-i-ee-i-oh no


I've never been much of an Elvis fan. True, you can't discount the brilliance and importance of those early Sun sides or even the first couple of RCA albums, but I'm with John Lennon on this one: once he joined the army it was all over. All that followed as an endless stream of mediocre recordings, slushy ballads and dreadful films. The '68 comeback special was okay, but the Vegas years of fat Elvis in his ridiculous jumpsuits, stupid karate moves and overblown, corpulent music does nothing for me.

However, the never-yielding need for more and more Elvis product to fill the soundtracks of the more than 30 movies he made, and the distinct lack of quality control shown by his management, has left us with a wealth of terrible recordings. I could have plumped for almost any track off almost any soundtrack (if you don't believe me take a look at some of the titles - It's Carnival Time or Wheels on my Heels from Roustabout, Singing Tree from Clambake, Adam and Evil and the truly hideous Smorgasbord from Spinout...it just goes on and on) but the one I bring you today is so truly wretched that it beggars belief. How could anyone - let alone the biggest solo star in the world - record something as jaw-droppingly awful as this?

Originally appearing on the soundtrack to box-office flop Double Trouble, and later appearing on the post burger-on-the-toilet release Elvis Sings for Children and Grown-ups Too, ladies and gentlemen, for your delectation, the King sings that perennial favourite Old MacDonald.

It's worth remembering that this travesty was recorded in 1966 - the year of Revolver and Pet Sounds, and released in the UK on the same day as Sgt Pepper! As one fan, writing on the Elvis News website, put it: "Who would have thought that 10 years after changing the world with his music Elvis Presley would walk into a studio and record Old MacDonald - and do it as badly as this!? This kind of thing can only happen when someone's creative morale has been beaten into submission by years of commercial over demands and you just give in to whatever you're told to do." Exactly.





http://rapidshare.com/files/357409137/06_Old_MacDonald.mp3

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