Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Upset? You will be...

An old favourite this time, one that has been part of my collection for decades. I first became aware of the delights of Mel and Dave's version of Spinning Wheel thanks to the 1978 album Kenny Everett's The World's Worst Records Show (do you see the link here?) that I picked up in Gloucester well over 20 years ago, but it's only recently that I've discovered some more on the recording's origins.
Probably best known for the version recorded by Blood, Sweat and Tears, this particular monstrosity actually comes from reggae's enfant terrible Lee 'Scratch' Perry, appearing on his Upsetter label in the UK (a subsidiary of Trojan, releasing discs between 1969 and 1974). Perry produced the recording; the Dave half of the act is Dave Barker, a singer who has released a string of solo albums along with recording as half of the hit duo Dave and Ansell Collins of Double Barrel and Monkey Spanner fame. The Mel is Melanie Jonas, one of Perry's staff (credited as producer on a number of Upstetters group sessions) who later took the original backing track, added extra organ and released a far superior instrumental version under the name Double Wheel.
But how did three people with such pedigree produce such a turd? Too much spliff in the studio? The singing is inept, out of tune and insane (just the way I like it) and frankly one has to wonder why this nonsense keeps turning up on Trojan/Perry compilations. I know he's a genius and all that, but everyone has an off day - as this proves.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Whatever Happened to Eddie?

My obsession with song-poems can take a back seat today (although I'm now working on a feature for Record Collector magazine about the subject, so expect to hear a few more shockers over the next couple of months) for a little ditty I uncovered a while back but had all but forgotten.

Today I present for you both sides of Butch Patrick's 1983 waxing What Ever Happened to Eddie/Little Monsters. No doubt you'll remember Butch as the cute as a button mini werewolf son of a Frankenstein monster and female vampire (vampiresse? Who cares? I'm still trying to fathom the fuzzy logic of how a green, seven-foot jigsaw of a man sired a werewolf!) in hit 60's TV comedy the Munsters. TV trivia fans might also like to note that Butch made endless other appearances during the 60s, in episodes of The Monkees, I Dream of Jeannie, Mr Ed and as the voice of Milo in The Phantom Tollbooth. This, incidentally, wasa not his first relesae: in the early 70s he recorded a cover of the Bee Gees song I-O-I-O.

Like many kid actors, Butch struggled to find work once he'd hit puberty and made sod all from the endless re-runs of his finest half-hour (unless you count his one-off appearance in The Simpsons), hence this one-off shot at vinyl stardom; a schlocky, synth-driven pile of predictability based on the theme to the hit show (and released on Rocshire Records) which the gangly former moppet co-wrote and on which he's accompanied by terrible new wave band The Monsters.

Apparently Butch  recorded a further single - It's Only Halloween - which was written by Bill and Ted Golis and released on Park Lane Drive Records in 2007. If his outing here is anything to go by it's got to be worth tracking down.


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