Friday, 24 December 2010

Mistletoe and Whine.

Looking for some new sounds for your annual Christmas compilation? Look no further, for I bring you (aided and abetted by the always generous Ross Hamilton) a whole bunch of new music especially for the festive season.

First up, and a real treat for all of you Star Wars fans, is Little Johnny Bongiovi (before he stole his sister's hair and reinvented himself as Jon Bon Jovi) singing R2-D2 We Wish You A Merry Christmas. Jon’s first ‘real’ recording is taken from the rather rare ’concept’ album Christmas In the Stars, which was released in 1980 but soon vanished from the shops when the company which put it out RSO, went into long and protracted litigation with its star act the Bee Gees. John Bongiovi was (still is, I guess) the cousin of Tony Bongiovi, who co-produced the album with Meco (who had earlier had a hit with a primitive electronic version of the Star Wars theme) and ran the studio at which it was recorded and where John worked at the time. “Star Wars and Christmas don't mix and this is a case in point,” Ross says. “The whole album is terrible and must be heard to be believed.”

Then we have the horrific car crash that is Billy Idol’s hash at White Christmas. Taken from his rarely-seen 2006 album Happy Holidays (and which also contains anodyne versions of Frosty the Snowman, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and Auld Lang Syne amongst its 17 rotten tracks), it’s hardly the former William Broad at his lip-curling best, is it? As Ross says: “I might not have kept up with Billy's recent career (and when I say recent, I mean anything after 1988) but this was a major shock. It reminded me of a drunk pub singer going through one last number at the piano before closing time on Christmas Eve.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.

And finally, and again with unending thanks to Ross Hamilton, I bring you Is There Really A Santa Clause from Red Sovine – who regular visitors to the World’s Worst records will remember for the execrable Teddy Bear. For more on Red, click here. I may be running a Red Sovine Special soon, but until now enjoy this slice of miserable Country hokum.

Happy Christmas one and all! See you in 2011.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Chew Chew Ch'boogie

I know, I know, I know. I promised you a festive feast for December and I haven’t delivered. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa, but I promise you all there are good reasons for the apparent inactivity. I will be back later this week with the promised Christmas bundle.

But today, in an attempt to redress the balance, I bring you not one but two recordings, both sides of a 45 which I genuinely believe to be one of the worst, if not THE worst records ever pressed. In fact so obsessed have I become with this dreadful waxing that I have spent as much spare time as I have had in the last week tracking down as much info on the writer, performers and company as I could and ordering (via GEMM) several other discs from the same company.

The two tracks I present to you today, You’re The Only One For Me and You Don’t Remember Any More (sic) come from the Philadelphia-based Musicart label and appear to have been released around 1956 – the height of the rock ‘n roll era. There were several other companies called Musicart operating at various times, one which seemed to license a lot of its material from South America and was operational during the 60s and 70s, and a more recent outfit specialising in Goth material, but this particular company appears to have put out the majority of its material between 1950 and 1956. Both of today’s songs were written by one Grace Pauline Chew, as was pretty much everything else put out by the company (or so it appears). Certainly of the 15 sides I’ve managed to trace to Musicart so far Grace wrote or co-wrote the majority of them.

So who was Grace Pauline Chew? Born 1898 in Camden, New Jersey, Grace Pauline Chew was an American voice teacher, soprano and song composer. Her father, James Buchanan, was a concert and operatic tenor. Educated in New York and Philadelphia, she married Walter C. Chew in January 1917 and they had one son, Walter Chew, Jr. (1917-42). She made a number of concert and radio appearances during the 40s – principle of which was an extended run on radio station WSNJ (New Jersey) in 1945 – and published her first songs, Music In the Sky and Still In Love With You, in 1949 (both issued on vinyl by Musicart in 1950). She also wrote a pamphlet entitled Know How: Information for the Singer who Wants to Become Professional, in 1953. Oh, and apparently she had blue eyes. That’s it.

With regards to the performers of these two ditties, there’s little I can tell you. Mamie Watson performs the funereal You Don’t Remember Any More with the ‘Musicart Ensemble’ – an out-of-tune piano and a kind of reed instrument I cannot quite put my finger on (maybe some sort of harmonium). There was a Mamie Watson who appeared on the British stage in the 1920s and a Mamie Watson also appeared in the US-produced short film His First Car in 1930, but I’ve no idea (yet) if this is the same person or these are three individuals who all happened to share the same name. As for Hank and Jimmy, the performers of You’re The Only One For Me, their accompanists (listed as Rhythm Duo on the disc), appear to be one person playing an out-of tune village hall piano while a second clicks his fingers, kicks at the studio floor in an approximation of an attempt at keeping time and then provides a spectacularly inept hand clap solo. Awesome.

I love everything about this record; I hope you do too.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Rockin and Rollin

Keen followers of The Worlds Worst Records will remember Wesley Horning of old - back in March I brought you the great Frank Perry with another or Wes's compositions, Dig That Beat.

As a little pre-Christmas favour I present to you today what has to be one of the single most peculiar recordings I have ever come across, W L Horning's performance of his own composition Rockin and Rollin.
It's insane; there's no other word for it. And no, that's not a skip you can hear on the record or a bad edit - it actually sounds like that. Basically what you have here is the backing track to Wesley's earlier composition Kiss Me, Kiss Me Baby sped up and played over three or four times with Wes singing the words to his latest 'hit' over the top. Kiss Me, Kiss Me Baby only lasts for a little over a minute at its normal speed, which is why in this crazed, hyperventilating version Wes is forced to skip the needle back to the beginning of the track time and time again.
The man is either nuts or brilliantly inventive - I know which description I prefer.
From next week, along with my faithful fellow bad music sleuth Ross Hamilton I'm going to be bringing you a collection of dreadful Christmas-inspired music, a new song each week through December, but for now enjoy the ramblings of Mr W L Horning and Rockin and Rollin

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Here Pussy Pussy

A two-for-one today, thanks to another contribution from the always reliable Ross Hamilton, who writes: "I have heard about this album down the years but never found a copy of my own until now.

I don't know too much about it I am afraid, but it comes under the category of adult albums like (those by) Kay Martin and her Bodyguards, full of double entendres and sexually suggestive lyrics."

I too have come across this before, its always cropping up on those 'bad album art' sites, but had never heard any of its contents until Ross passed these two cuts on to me.

There are just 10 tracks on the Beacon Records album My Pussy Belongs to Daddy, subtitled For Adults Only - Spicy Songs Sung By Outstanding Artists.

Four artists are credited, none of them outstanding. The title song, credited to Faye Richmonde, is fairly mediocre and like so may of these simpering, sniggering, so-called 'adult' albums, aimed at the stag party market, but the other track I'm sharing with you today - He Forgot His Rubbers, performed by Angelina - is great; it reminds me of the wonderful Davy's Dinghy by Ruth Wallis, a Dr Demento standard and one of my favourite comedy records of all time. Co-incidentally Davy's Dinghy was recorded in 1956, just one year before My Pussy was released.  

It seemed that Beacon began by specialising in these kinds of releases. Their first album, Hot Pepper, featured the same line up as My Pussy Belongs to Daddy (augmented by Nancy Steele) and included such 'classics' as I'm a Virgin, But I'm On The Verge, It Was Hard When I Kissed Her Goodbye and, not being the kind of outfit to let anything go to waste, the album also includes an earlier outing for My Pussy....cheapskates!  

Still, enjoy these classic slices of 50s cheesecake:

Monday, 25 October 2010


I had heard of William Hung before, but he'd pretty much passed me by. That was until the other week when, bored and flicking through the hundreds of TV channels we now have access to (thanks to Sky), I came across one of those terrible 'worlds worst auditions' compilations - you know the thing, a cheap repackage of some of the audition stages from those loathsome search for a star programmes, fronted by a blonde TV bimbo-in-limbo whose career has been reduced to presenting QVC at 3am - and I was reintroduced to his 'charms'.
For those who don't know, William Hung auditioned for the third season of American Idol, the US version of Pop Idol, in 2003. He belted out a screamingly awful version of the Ricky Martin song She Bangs, panned by Simon Cowell with the words "You can't sing, you can't dance, so what do you want me to say?", to which Hung replied "I have no professional training of singing and dancing." Cowell's scornful retort: "No? Well that is the surprise of the century" dismissed Hung and he should never have been heard of again. But truth is often stranger than fiction: a William Hung fan site recorded over four million hits in its first week; Hung was asked to appear on several television programs and he was featured in several national magazines and newspapers; he was parodied on both Saturday Night Live and Celebrity Deathmatch and, to cap it all, the tuneless wonder was offered a $25,000 advance on a record deal, releasing three albums in 2004 and 2005.
Oh, those albums. Each is sprinkled with a few of William's own 'inspirational thoughts' - a few seconds of the lisping idiot telling his fanbase that if they believe in themselves then anything is possible. It's audio vomit of the highest order, and almost worth the price of purchase alone.
It feels a bit unkind, laughing at someone as deeply untalented (and clearly a sandwich or two short of a picnic) as William Hung, it's almost like kicking a cripple. But I guess I shouldn't worry; the boy has clearly made a few bucks for himself (certainly enough to drop out of school) from his karaoke crooning and appears to all intents to be having a great time. Good for him.Here, for your delectation, is William Hung strangling (for my money, improving) I Believe I Can Fly.Enjoy!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Blood and Mud

Apologies for having spent the last month missing in action, but I'm back with a real belter for you, Elton Britt's missive to the blood transfusion service, Korean Mud. A real rarity, this 78 (originally backed with a track called The Unknown Soldier) is one of the scant few songs released about America's involvement in the Korean war - and one of a surprisingly small number to deal with the subject of donating blood.But Elton Britt, who he? James Elton Baker, to give the man his full name, was born in 1913 in Arkansas. A sickly child, Elton was plagued by illness all his life, so much so that his parents didn't bother to name him until he was a full year old, giving him the middle name of Elton after the doctor who had spent so much time keeping him alive. The Bakers were a musical family: young Elton started playing guitar at age ten and later, greatly impressed by the records of Jimmie Rodgers, he also taught himself how to yodel. His first chance at stardom came in 1930 when he joined the Beverly Hillbillies, a popular group (rather than the 60s TV show), acquiring his new surname on the way. An unlucky soul, his first wife, Margaret (who he married in 1934) died in an automobile accident less than a year into their marriage. The following year he wed Jeannie Russell, who died two days after the birth of their second child in 1937. Luckily his third and fourth wives seemed to have been made of stronger stuff and did not meet such unpleasant ends.

In 1937 Britt signed with RCA Victor, where he remained until 1956. During this time he cut something like 600 tracks and released more than 60 albums; he appeared in a couple of movies - The Last Dogie (1933) and Laramie (1949). In 1960 he retired from music to stand for the Democratic Party although Britt returned to the entertainment world shortly after. He died in 1972 after suffering a heart attack while driving.

Still, here's Elton at his very best - or worst - singing Korean Mud. Enjoy

Monday, 13 September 2010

Tap Your Little Feet Out Sweetheart

"A daring, madcap romp right from the pansy patch," went the advertising blurb for the oddity I share with you today, Byrd E Bath's Homer the Happy Little Homo. I wonder what a certain yellow skinned Homer would make of it?

With tap dance solo by Rodney Dangerfield (no, not THAT Rodney Dangerfield), this peculiar disc comes from the Camp Records stable, a company which put out a dozen 45s and two full-length albums in the mid 60s available almost exclusively through a certain type of men's publication and marketed variously as out-and-out comedy records or as novelties for the underground gay market. This was during the dark years before the Stonewall riots and gay liberation, you understand, and gay men and women were still persecuted and even imprisoned for their sexuality.

There's so little known about the company, the artists involved or the writers of these songs, but for sound clips to more recordings from the Camp closet, plus much more detail on the history of the company, check out the page on the Queer Music Heritage site.

I love it, as I love many of the other recordings Camp issued. But it is rubbish, hence its inclusion here. It's almost impossible to find, although the albums - the Queen Is In The Closet and Mad About The Boy - do turn up on eBay occasionally: I've managed to track copies of both down but have yet to win an auction for any of the 45s.

Still, enjoy the innocent humour, and not so innocent wink-wink innuendo, of Homer the Happy Little Homo by Byrd E. Bath & the Gentle-Men

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Would Jubilee've It?

Depression, recession, inflation....welcome to the depressing world of the American farmer as voiced by John Fluker (also occasionally credited as John Fulker), now a respected Christian/R&B musician but once one of the many vocalists who plied their trade in the song poem studios.

Fluker is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Music where he studied voice and piano, although I'm guessing that he paid for his studies by recording dozens of mediocre musical monstrosities for the Columbine company. As musical director and accompanist for Gladys Knight, John has traveled the world even visiting Oslo, Norway for a performance during the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize awards. His collaboration on the 2006 Grammy winning One Voice: Gladys Knight & The Saints Unified Voices included "Did You Know", a duet with Gladys, as well as co-arranging several tracks on the album. He's produced recordings for other artists as well as releasing several albums in his own right - in fact our man has come a long way since singing the drivel I present for you today, Jubilee (In The USA) by the little known Lucille Alston, author of the equally dreadful The Tree Of Eternal Life on Hollywood Artists.

I love this record, it has just about everything a really bad record should have: inept vocals, stupid and often nonsensical lyrics (John insists in singing the line 'when we will ever learn' instead of the obviously correct 'when will we ever learn', for example), a ropey accompaniment and an appalling production. It's just ace, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Support Your Local War Criminal

A special post this week, a three-for-one offer just for you in celebration of the notorious American war criminal Lieutenant William Calley, the army officer found guilty of ordering the My Lai Massacre on March 16, 1968, during the Vietnam War. Exactly the right sort of subject for a hit single or two, surely?

Or three. For today's selection not only features an execrable rewrite of John Brown's Body in that dreadful Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler style, but two song-poems from the Preview stable, both performed by the always reliable Gene Marshall (aka John Muir, real name Gene Merlino).

The John Deer recording on Royal American is particularly interesting because it is, in fact, a cover version of a single released in 1971 by the group C-Company Featuring Terry Nelson (an Alabama-based radio DJ), which sold over two million copies and hit number 37 on the US Billboard charts. Unsurprisingly, neither of the Gene Marshall recordings troubled the charts.

I love the way in which the songwriters have tried to create a folk hereo out of this man - if you don't know the Calley story, you can read all about it here, including the tale of the revolting man's feeble attempts to con money out of the British media, but for now enjoy!

The Battle Hymn of Lt William Calley:

The Ballad of Lt William Calley:

The Story of William Calley:

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Easy, Deasy

I found this little gem on another site (thank you so much Jukebox Mafia) and felt compelled to share it with you. After listening to Mike Deasy singing God Hates Queer (sic) I'm sure you'll understand why.

What I found most amazing, or possibly troubling, about the religious zealot's tirade was discovering the number of records in my own collection that the man who declares himself 'one of the most recorded guitarists in the history of music' has appeared on: virtually the entire Monkees' discography, classic albums by the Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel, Tiny Tim, Ella Fitzgerald and others. Unsurprisingly God Hates Queer is notable for its absence from the god-bothering Mike Deasy's own discography (you'll find that here).

These days Mike makes most of his money from pandering to America's ever-growing Christian Music audience through touring, preaching the good word via his Mike Deasy Ministries programme and recording dreadfully anodyne paeans to the old man in the white beard who lives in the sky. Pleasingly, for fans of the ridiculous and for those of us who like our saviour supporters to have a bit of Jim and Tammy Bakker about them, the man is also running his own song-poem outfit. Saltmine records not only produce tracks by Mike and his missus Kathie but will, for a fee of $100, put your poem to music - and for a further $250 record a demo for you. How generous. I wonder how much of that ends up in the collection plate?

Unfortunately there is no composer credit on the label for God Hates Queer so we'll never know for sure if Mike wrote it himself or if it was submitted to his song sharking enterprise, although the latter is doubtful. Every other song-poem record which has ever been pressed credits the songwriter; what would be the point otherwise?

Mike, you may want to forget this little slice of bigotry, but I'm afraid the World's Worst Records feels obliged to out you.


Tuesday, 27 July 2010

I Said Captain, I Said Wot?

Captain Sensible, founder member of one of the most important acts of the last four decades, The Damned, all-round stand-up guy (by all accounts) and the purveyor of a slew of interesting, occasionally terrible but often highly enjoyable solo releases - including the UK number 1 Happy Talk and it's follow up, the rather wonderful Wot? What's not to like?

This, that's what (or Wot)! A frightful and totally pointless cover version of the Frankie Goes to Hollywood classic Relax, even more appalling than the red beret-wearing Raymond Burns' terrible take on Elton Motello's Jet Boy Jet Girl (later reinterpreted by Plastic Bertrand  as Ca Plane Pour Moi). And that's not even mentioning his piss-awful (although charity-inspired, folks) recording of the Hokey Cokey, his snooker quiz show theme tune or his grave-stomping remake of Smash It Up (parts 1, 2, 3 AND 4, for Christssake).

This particular crime against the ears turned up on his eighth solo single, the November 1984 (that's just a few months after the original FGTH version was a hit) release One Christmas Catalogue.

The Captain has been responsible (or at least partly responsible) for some of the greatest records of the punk and New Wave era - the original Smash It Up, New Rose, the remarkable Strawberries album and so on, and The Damned hold the distinction of being the first punk band to release a single (New Rose), an album (Damned Damned Damned), to have a hit in the UK charts and to tour the United States. Splitting up and reforming on a number of occasions with varying lineups (and varying success) the Captain is once again a member of the band and they're still touring and recording to this day.

Kudos to anyone who can survive 35 years in this industry and still turn up on stage every night to play, but his solo career has hit some unbelievably dismal low points - including this one. Anyone who can squeeze the phrase "What d'you fuckin' want, shithead" on to the a-side of a hit single is alright with me, but in the case of Relax I've got to say 'Hey Ray, put a beret in it!'

Sunday, 18 July 2010

I Got Me A Bilpie

Ugh. Is there anything more loathsome than comedy country records? What is it with these people?

Today's shameful exhibit comes from Buzz Cason - a respected name in music with a long and illustrious career as a singer, songwriter, producer and author. So how did he come to write and record this turd, a laugh riot (not!) about a hillbilly groupie, or Bilpie?

Cason was a founding members of The Casuals, Nashville's first rock and roll band. In 1960 he began his solo career under the pseudonym Garry Miles, securing his first Top 20 hit the same year with Look For A Star. He was also a backing singer for Elvis Presley and Kenny Rogers. His biggest hit (as co-writer) was with Everlasting Love, originally recorded by Robert Knight but which became a Number 1 hit in the UK for The Love Affair in 1968. he also co-wrote Knight's follow up, the brilliant Love On A Mountain Top, another huge UK hit.

In 1970, he founded the Creative Workshop recording studio, where Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, The Judds, The Doobie Brothers, Emmylou Harris and Olivia Newton-John have recorded material. Now 70, Cason is still writing and producing songs and his book, Living the Rock 'N' Roll Dream (2004), is about the events and careers that shaped the early days of rock and roll. His latest album, Working Without A Net, was released recently.

Buzz, I could forgive you just about anything for having a hand in writing songs as great as the Robert Knight singles, but this is just horrible. Welcome to the World's Worst Records - on the strength of this sorry song you deserve to be here.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do...

Today's dreadful, sub funk cacophony comes to you courtesy of Buddy Raye and originally appeared on one of Sunrise Records' many Hollywood Sessions song poem collections. Written by one Tommie L Spencer (who also penned the equally atrocious He's Not At Home on the same album), I Need You is pretty standard song poem drivel heightened only by Buddy's whiny monotonous delivery and the wonderfully out of tune guitar intro.

So, what can I tell you about Buddy Raye? Well, keen readers of the World's Worst Records will already know that Buddy Raye is the nom de plume for Elmer Plinger, who also recorded for other song-poem companies as Dick Kent, Dick Castle, Sonny Cash and Richard House. As Buddy Raye Elmer recorded almost exclusively for the Sunrise label, a company which put out literally hundreds of albums in the Hollywood Sessions series during the early to mid-80s and which seems to have finally shut up shop around 1988.

During his time at Sunrise Buddy/Elmer put his vocal cords to good use, performing on in excess of 1,000 recordings for the company - songs like the fantastically awfiul Gymnasium Girl, 10 O'clock is Boogie Time, Bringin' Back the Twistin' and a fatuous ode to Ronald Reagan titled We Have the Right Man in the White House. I haven't done the math, but I think its a safe bet that if you add all of the Buddy Raye, Dick Kent et al recordings together his output is probably even greater than that of Gene Marshall/John Muir and of song-poem warhorse Rod Rogers/Rodd Keith. Mindblowing: what it must have been like to have spent a decades-long career being forced to sing rubbish like this.

Anyway, enjoy Buddy Raye's performance of I Need You

Friday, 2 July 2010

Hommage a Cowell

Happy July everybody!

Today's bottom of the barrel-scraping tune comes courtesy, once again, of occasional contributor Ross Hamilton, although I'm sure many of you are familiar with the genesis of this particular poptastic track. Personally I can recall, working as the singles buyer for HMV in Gloucester at the time of its release, the seemingly endless number of free copies of this single foisted upon us in an effort to help it climb the charts.

Let me hand over to Ross: 'Another piece of trash that I re-discovered the other week. I remember this mostly from a guy I use to hang around with in the mid 1980's who only owned about three records....and this was one of them. I use to love it but, in those pre-eBay days, could never find my own copy - even though, when you are 10, I don't suppose anyone looks too hard for anything! I never forgot the track though, and on one quiet work afternoon (no doubt a Friday) I was looking through eBay and put the title in as a bit of a laugh. A copy was available and I bought it.

Playing it brought back some memories but little did I know that the person who had originally plugged this hit (it reached the top 40 back in 1982) was none other than the wrecker of music Simon Cowell.'

It's true! Basically Cowell, in his early days as a record plugger, heard a track by a German 'artist' by the name of Harry Thumann, who produced a song that sampled dogs barking and called it Ruff Mix. Tumann wasn't the first, or last, producer to do this. Stiff/Virgin Records in the UK released a single by the Singing Sheep (which I have somewhere and will post at a later date), and I used to have an entire album of Beatles tunes covered ala Ruff Mix credited to the Beatle Barkers. Cowell, who was a partner in the British outfit E&S Music with his former boss at EMI, Ellis Rich, acquired rights to the song and began promoting it, crediting it to Wonder Dog. Simon actually dressed up as Wonder Dog and appeared on a handful of UK kids TV shows to promote the song.

Fittingly E&S, who scored several hit records traded from offices in a converted gent's toilet in the NCP car park on Brewer Street in London's Soho.

If you haven't seen the footage on one of those 'before they were famous'-style compilation programmes that ITV put out every couple of months, here it is in all its glory. Listen carefully to the voice....

Ross continues: 'Cowell has been responsible for other novelty recordings travesties featuring the likes of wrestlers of the World Wrestling Federation, Teletubbies, Zig and Zag and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers but this is the first. By the time those other songs came out, I had become a bit older and a bit wiser with my record purchases.'

Thanks Ross, for reminding me of this travesty.


Saturday, 19 June 2010

Without, please, Without

I'm off on a short, but much needed, holiday today but I wanted to leave you with something, as they say, for the weekend.

It's a bit of a cop out, as this particular recording has never been released on vinyl, rather it comes from a US TV special: ABC's 1977 all-star extravaganza The Beatles Forever, featuring such top ranking performers as Tony Randall, Bernadette Peters, Diane Carroll, Paul Williams, Mel Tillis, Ray Charles and Anthony Newley.

And it's Anthony Newley we look to today for his outrageously awful reading of the George Harrison classic Within You, Without You. The whole programme sucks, especially the two dreadful Beatles' medleys performed by the majority of the cast, but Newley (ex-husband of Joan Collins) really should have known better. No stranger to the pop charts, Newley had enjoyed a successful career as a vocalist, beginning in 1959 with the UK top 5 I've Waited So Long, followed by a sting of hits including Personality, Why (originally a 1959 U.S. hit for Frankie Avalon) and Do You Mind, written by Lionel Bart. He even won a Grammy in 1963 for the self-penned What Kind of Fool Am I, wrote the lyrics to Goldfinger, the Nina Simone classic Feeling Good and wrote or co-wrote a shed load of musicals, including Stop the World - I Want to Get Off and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, nominated for an Oscar for Best Musical Score.

So how did someone with such a pedigree get involved in such dross as this, especially in the same year that he was voted the Male Musical Star of the Year in Las Vegas? The mind boggles.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Why is he living?

Today's piece of sheer hokum comes from the world's cheesiest pop star, the inimitable Jess Conrad, with the flip side of his 1961 release This Pullover - an all-time classic bad record Why Am I Living?

Born Gerald James in 1935 (although for many years his official biography would claim that he was born in 1940), young Jerry held down a variety of jobs before deciding that acting was what he wanted to do, scoring extra work in some late 50s British movies, a spell in repertory (when he settled on his stage name), the lead in a television play Rock-A-Bye Barney, about a rock and roll performer.

The legendary promoter Jack Good encouraged Jess to go into the studio to cut some sides, even though singing was not one of the rising star's strong points. The song chosen for his first recording, a cover of Skip And Flip's US hit Cherry Pie crept in to the bottom of the Top 40, but his third single, Mystery Girl, managed to break Top 20 in 1961. Jess managed to scrape into the charts with one more 45 the following year, but after that his chart career was at an end - although he has since managed to carve out a very unique career for himself.  This very track appeared in the film Rag Doll (1962), a crime drama (released in the US as Young, Willing and Eager) in which Jess played the role of Shane. In 1963 he landed a major role in TV series The Human Jungle, a weekly drama which starred later Pink Panther actor Herbert Lom in the lead role of psychiatrist Doctor Corder. In the second episode of the series Corder was called in to deal with the problems of rock and roll star Danny Pace, played by Jess. Several numbers were recorded specifically for this programme, released as a Decca EP in 1963. These days Jess is still active, appearing regularly on TV, on stage (he's played Jesus!) and even at the occasional rock'n'roll or 60s revival show. He's also recorded albums with a bunch of pals under the name The Showbiz XI, the same name of his long-running (more than 40 years now) charity football team.

The recording I present for your delectation today is the b-side to his fourth Decca single. Many of you may think you already know it, featured as it was on the late, great Kenny Everett's Worst Records album, but the three Jess Conrad cuts on that compilation were in fact later re-recordings. This is the original, and the best (or worst!).


Monday, 7 June 2010

Sharing that last cigarette

A real slice of prime Country ham for you today, and a record I find it impossible to listen to without hearing Lurleen Lumpkin squealing in my ear.

Nancy Jo Garton, who scored a minor radio hit with her cover of Big Blue Diamonds in 1975 (actually the flip side of I Like What I Got), drawls out this tortuous ballad about a couple battling against poverty in their two-room hovel, one pair of shoes between them, nothing to drink but water in such a fashion that I can't help thinking that the authors of the yellow-skinned songstresses one big hit Your Wife Don't Understand You, But I Do must have heard this first.

I'm sure there are nuances that are passing me by, but to me it sounds exactly like every other depressing Country record I've heard over the years. God, life must be tough in Redneckville.

There's not a lot else I can tell you about this: Nancy Jo seems to have had a short-lived career in the music industry, recording a few sides and at least one album (with the equally unknown Ken Holiday - who produced this cut - titled, with a huge amount of originality, Ken Holiday and Nancy Jo Garton) for Nashville outfit G-Bar between 1975 and 1978 before vanishing into obscurity.

Nancy Jo's career as a Country minstrel may have been short and to have born little fruit, but it does seem that Ken and Nancy Jo managed alright for themselves, as a Ken and Nancy Jo Garton (if we assume that Holiday was nowt but a stage name) now own and run the G Bar Ranch (come on, that has to be more than a coincidence!) in Depew, Oklahoma.

It's immensely satisfying to know that, even if the couple in this horrible record didn't make it, Ken and Nancy Jo did. And good luck to them!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Getting Irie

I hesitated a while before posting this. Not because it isn't brilliantly awful, but because it's not strictly a record. Still, you deserve to hear this.

This is another excellent find from my occasional WWR co-conspirator Ross Hamilton, who writes: "Back in the 1980s my Dad owned a recording studio and not all of the sessions that he recorded were of the highest quality." This particular track came from a cassette (remember those?) which Ross recently re-discovered; one which his "father decided to keep as a reminder of those days."

Ross sent me two tracks from the cassette and today, with his permission, I'm posting the first of those cuts: a fine slice of slow-tempo reggae called I've Lost my Love by Rasta Rudi. "He turned up at the studio with someone else's backing track and recorded his own interesting vocals over the top," Ross explains. "He also brought in his own fan club which consisted of a couple of dancers who would shake their stuff whilst the music played, forgetting that only the producer was watching them in disbelief. I don't have any further information on this guy I am afraid because he seems to have only turned up for this one session. As far as I have been able to find out, this track has never been released in any format."

If anyone knows anything about Rasta Rudi and his stillborn career as a lovers rock singer I'd love to hear from you. But for now, here he is with the jaw-droppingly terrible I've Lost My Love.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

..and the winner is

Without a shadow of a doubt, this is the worst record I have heard in years - possibly in my life. It encapsulates everything that is wrong with 'music' today. I cannot begin to describe how nauseous this makes me. It sounds like C3P0 vomiting into a Melodica.

It's just shit.

Once upon a time the sporadic use of a Vocoder could be justified, but to have your entire output passed through Autotune - which only exists to enhance the voice of people who can't sing in the first place - is pathetic. People who buy this dross - and, apparently, millions have done - should be shot.

End of polemic; back tomorrow with another super slab of incorrectness courtesy of the excellent Ross Hamilton

Saturday, 1 May 2010

The Lovely Linda

A recent Ebay purchase that only arrived a couple of days ago, but one which I had to share with you immediately. This is another fabulously mundane performance from Frank Perry, the poor man's Rodd Keith, pressed on yet another of Sandy Stanton's many, many song-poem-cum vanity imprints Opossum.

Opossum, it appears, existed primarily to release songs penned by Bob Petersen and his occasional cohort John Pulignano, the man who had previously "composed" What Is A Mother which appeared on yet another Sandy Stanton label, the much better known Film City. Bob, under his full name Robert E. Petersen, was also the author of Girl Friend Blues which, in 1963, was recorded for but unreleased by (apart from an acetate recording credited to Cowboy Bob) the semi-legit Cowtown Records.

There's not a lot else I can tell you here that longtime WWR followers won't already know (or can't look up elsewhere on the site), so for now just sit back and enjoy the ridiculously banal I Need Your Love, Linda by Frank Perry with the "Swinging Strings".

Monday, 19 April 2010

Who Are The Rave Ons?

I'm utterly shocked with myself for not having posted this, one of my all-time favourite song-poem performances, before. So annoyed in fact that today I'm giving you not one but two tracks from this utterly dreadful album.

Over their many years in the song-poem field, Columbine Records issued dozens upon dozens of compilation albums under the title The Now Sounds of Today; if their catalogue is to be believed there could be as many as 300 or more. Each of them contained anything up to 20 different tracks, all from aspiring hit makers who really should have known better. Packaging these albums in dull, generic sleeves (often with different catalogue numbers printed on the sleeve and disc) saved both time and money, but budgets were non existent; musicians did not see the cue sheets for the songs they were singing before entering the studio. Even taking note of the ridiculous rate that Columbine churned this material out many of those musicians - consummate professionals and song-poem stalwarts like Kay Weaver, John Muir (aka Gene Marshall) and Ralph Lowe - managed to do a half-decent job, but when a band of no-hopers under the name The Rave Ons was brought in to do their thing - as they did for the first 14 albums in the series - their inadequacy and amateurism shone through.

It's beyond belief that anyone at Columbine could have sanctioned the release of this drivel; yet more proof if you needed it of the contempt that these outfits had for the people stupid enough to send them their hard-earned dollars. The singer 'performs' in a garbled, high pitched whine racing through the lyrics at speed, clearly wishing that he wasn't there while the rest of the Rave Ons (keyboards, bass and drums) play the same basic tune on all of the cuts on the album, never managing to rise above the mediocre. All in all, they sound to me like the school band of my nightmares.

So, two cuts from Columbine CRH-9 (or, if the label is to be believed USR 6171): Happy Inside of Me by Harry Booms and Foolish Heart by Lottie Ankey performed, as only they could, by The Rave Ons.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Lex, David and Ric

Over at the rather wonderful Music For Maniacs there's been a bit of a debate going on recently about the origins of the disc I present for your enjoyment today, a 45 from Ric King entitled The Return of a Soldier.

To cut a long story short the Capitol Records 45 (catalogue number 5845, fact fans) The Return of a Soldier, was co-written by one Lex De Acevedo a name which, through no fault of Mr De Acevedo (occasionally - as in this instance - spelled Azevedo, one would assume to make it easier to pronounce) himself, was mistakenly believed to be a pseudonym of the writer/producer David Axelrod. This erroneous 'fact' wasn't helped by Capitol when, in 2006 they put out the compilation CD Introducing the Four King Cousins and included the following in the liner notes: "Produced, arranged, and conducted by David Axelrod using the pseudonym Lex De Azevedo." Silly record company!

The simple truth is that Lex De Acevedo and David Axelrod are two different people. Lex is a cousin to America's famous King Family (hence his credit on the Cousins album) and Ric King is his brother, Ric De Acevedo who is now a member of the post-Lettermen vocal act Reunion. David Axelrod and Lex recorded for Capitol at the same time during the mid sixties, so perhaps that's where the mistake came from - apparently, according to Lex's daughter, their offices adjoined too. De Acevedo is a Mormon musician and still active as a composer today, as is Axelrod - active, I mean, not a Mormon (at least not that I know of) - most famous for his work with the Electric Prunes and Lou Rawls.

Now this has little or nothing to do with the record I present today, apart from offering a bit of interesting background and the thought that if record companies cannot credit their artists correctly what chance have we got some 40-odd years later?

If you know Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler's mawkish mid-60s hit Ballad of The Green Berets you'll have some idea of what to expect, although Ric King's addition to the pile of Vietnam-inspired releases is particularly insipid and tasteless, dealing as it does with the post-life experiences of a freshly-deceased young man.

Hey, what's not to like?

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Take Her Away

This came from a batch of song-poem 45s received just yesterday but, such was my urgency to share this little treasure with you, I decided to forgo my Easter egg eating and waste no time in transferring this to MP3.

Many regular visitors to The World's Worst Records will already know about Rodd Keith, possibly the greatest of all the song-poem artists: multi-instrumentalist, arranger, singer, writer and producer of countless cuts for Film City, Preview, MSR, Circle-D and a dozen other outfits under a variety of different names.

But no matter how well you think you know Rodd you will not have heard anything like this. You'll have heard Rodd sing in falsetto before, on the two versions of I'm Just the Other Woman for example, but the voice he uses here is quite extraordinary. Written by Paul Beshears, Pretty Boquet (and that's their spelling, not mine) is sung by Rodd in a bizarre high-pitched whine which makes him sound like a cross between the Bee Gees and Tiny Tim.

I'm not quite sure what to make of it; at first listen I thought it was about a bride who died on her wedding day, but subsequent spins show that hopw was little more than a product of my damaged mind and warped sense of humour. As it turns out its simply a grotty little piece of sentimental slush with few redeeming features outside of Rodd's freakish performance.

There are a few others in the same batch will will no doubt make an appearance at some juncture, but for now enjoy the peculiar Pretty Boquet (sic).

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.

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