Friday, 27 December 2013

Old Jack City

Happy Friday my friends, and welcome to the last WWR post for 2013. Hope you’ve all had a fantastic Christmas.

Today’s brace of badness comes from actor Jack Warner, and both sides of his November 1971 single You Have Got the Gear/Somebody Asked Me. Words fail me although, despite what the title might suggest, this isn’t a song about intergenerational drug dealing. Rather the A-side features the star of Dixon of Dock Green intoning what record company President called ‘a beautiful, melodic number which successfully bridges the generation gap when a son takes problems about his love-life to his father’.

You Have Got the Gear was written, produced and orchestrated by Frank Weir (who scored hits on his own, and with Vera Lynn, in the 1950s), with the B-Side was penned by Warner himself. According to a contemporary press release Warner’s faux-French accent on the flip was inspired by the ‘hundreds of letters from people asking him to sing a (Maurice) Chevalier song’. There’s no accounting for taste: both sides are just awful.

Born Horace Waters in 1895 (his sisters were well-known music hall act Elsie and Doris Waters) Warner made a name for himself on the stage and on radio before appearing in a number of classics from the famed Ealing studios, including Hue and Cry and The Ladykillers. In 1949 he first played the role for which he will forever be remembered – that of policeman George Dixon in the movie The Blue Lamp. Warner reprised the role in 1955 for the TV series Dixon of Dock Green, which ran for 21 years. He released a number of recordings during his long career, the last of which, Your Silly Bird’s a Liar (not quite as sexist as it sounds) was issued in 1975, six years before Jack passed away.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Last Christmas

Ho Ho Ho! Only three days to go!

For my final post this side of Christmas 2013 I'm digging into my collection for one of my all-time favourite (and one of the sickest) Christmas records - Lick a Smurp for Christmas by Father Abraphart and the Smurps, a.k.a Jonathan King.

First featured on the blog back in 2009, I realise that I should be thoroughly ashamed of myself for being the proud owner of two versions of this particular atrocity. Released at the height of the Smurfs first brush with fame, Lick a Smurp for Christmas was released on both a hard vinyl 7" (backed with a sing-along instrumental) and one-sided flexi disc, available for a limited time for just 10 new pennies. The song recounts the tale of how certain Smurf-related toys, which had been widely imported into the UK, were causing all sorts of problems - primarily because the lead-based paint that had been used to decorate the dear little things was highly toxic.

That would probably be reason enough for the disc to find a place in any collection of audio horrors, but, as I've already mentioned, the record was created by the man who discovered Genesis (damn him!) and who was sentenced to seven years in prison in November 2001 after being convicted of sexually assaulting a series of teenage boys between 1983 and 1989. Released on parole in March 2005, King has always maintained his innocence. IN recent years he has released new material (which attracted even more controversy with one song about the UK's worst serial killer Dr Harold Shipman), a volume of autobiography and a documentary protesting his innocence. Whatever you choose to believe, Lick a Smurp for Christmas must be one of the worst Christmas records of all time. And I love it.

Today's second post is a request: Santa Claus Has Got The AIDS This Year by Tiny Tim.
Controversy rages about this particular cut. It has been claimed by a number of sources that this song was recorded in 1980, two years before the term AIDS began to be used in conjunction with what was then still known by many as 'the gay plague'. In fact there is no evidence at all, bar a single revisionist quote from the late ukulele-playing troubadour himself, that this song is not about the disease which has wiped millions of people off the face of the earth: the recording did not surface until 1995 (on the album Songs of an Impotent Troubadour). In the sleeve notes to that album, a collection of self-composed songs written over a period of more than 45 years but recorded in one session in 1994, the producer says he became aware of the song in 1984 - well after the acronym AIDS was in common use.

Tiny claimed that his tune was about Santa's over indulgence on Ayds (a chocolate bar popular with slimmers) but that he couldn't use the name Ayds as it would have led to copyright infringement. Personally I think that's bull. The lyrics make it perfectly clear that poor old Santa is lying in bed stricken with a terrible illness, not that he's having to dash off to the lavatory every few minutes with rampant diarrhoea because he's binged on slimming treats. Still, it is what it is - a truly bad-taste piece of work by a titan of outsider music and truly worthy of a place here at The World's Worst Records.

Finally, I'd just like to mention that the podcast I recorded recently for (and with) The Squire Presents is now online. In this seasonal special The Squire and I discuss our favourite Christmas records - a full 16 of the horrors. Apologies for sounding like I recorded my bit from inside a cardboard box (and for the endless sniffing) but it's still well worth a listen.

Enjoy - and a truly happy Christmas to you and yours!

Friday, 20 December 2013

Christmas Cavalcade 2013 (Part Three)


Hello and welcome to the last of this year’s ‘new’ Christmas-themed posts. I’ll be revisiting Christmases past for one last time on Sunday, but until then here are a couple of awful pieces of nonsense to get you in the mood.
First up is Paul Di’Anno with his version of Gary Glitter’s Another Rock and Roll Christmas. Masquerading around the internets as an Iron Maiden track, this cover of everyone’s favourite child molester’s perennial hit was in fact recorded by the band’s original vocalist: he appeared on their first two albums and the import EP Maiden Japan, the original cover of which featured the group’s mascot, Eddie, holding Di’Anno’s severed head. Tasteful.

Di’Anno’s stab at Christmas immortality originally appeared on the album Metal Christmas, issued in 1994. That album also featured former Wings and Moody Blues singer/guitarist Denny Laine – and you can’t get much more metal than that! Absolute garbage from start to end; my unending thanks to Pope Omnipuscle for bringing this piece of crap to my attention.

Today’s second track is from the granddaddy of outsider music, Tiny Tim and his version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Issued in 1994, almost two decades after his brief spell in the showbiz spotlight and just two years before his untimely death, Tiny Tim’s Christmas Album is one of the more palatable of Herbert Kahury’s late-period releases and well worth searching out if you like the sound of falsetto-voiced ukulele players murdering Christmas classics.

That’s you lot for now, see you on Sunday.


Sunday, 15 December 2013

Season’s Gripings

Another trip down the yuletide memory lane for you this Sunday.

Although this blog was started in 2007, it wasn’t until 2009 that I began bringing you the annual Christmas Cavalcade, and the second disc I posted all those years ago was the brilliant An Old Fashioned Christmas (Daddy’s Home) by Linda Bennett. Released by Mercury in 1975 (or was it? I’ve only ever seen evidence of promo copies, never of finished stock editions) the song was produced and co-written by Paul Vance, whose credits include Brian Hyland's Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, Perry Como's Catch A Falling Star, plus hits for the Cuff-Links and Johnny Mathis amongst a string of others. Born in Utah in 1942, Linda Bennett was no stranger to the recording studio either, with albums, TV appearances (including The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Bonanza, Flipper and Doctor Kildare) and film credits to her name: as a child actress she featured in The Creature with the Atom Brain, the Seven Little Foys and in Queen Bee, starring Joan Crawford at her scenery-chewing best.

Now let’s revisit 2012, and the truly horrible Christmas on the Moon, by Troy Hess. Probably better known by bad music aficionados for his classic Please Don’t Go Topless Mother, Troy was just four years old when he recorded this virtually unintelligible piece of nonsense, written for him by his father Bennie. Fellow music blogger Steve Carey once described his performance as ‘Huckleberry Hound talking to you on a broken telephone, with a bad connection, in a big echo-y bathroom, standing ten feet away from the phone. Also he's wearing a mask and eating a banana.’ Quite. Shockingly, this was not Troy’s first 45: the Ballad of Troy Hess appeared, and was credited as having been written by Troy himself, when he was just three years old! Troy is still active today, performing with his band the Texas Heartbreakers.

Again from 2012 comes Mae West and Santa Come Up And See Me. Ms West’s contribution to bad music is well documented, with a clutch of awful albums featuring dreadful cover versions of rock and roll standards such as Twist and Shout and her own feeble attempts at composition, never better exemplified than in the horror that is Mr Criswell Predicts, her ‘tribute’ to TV psychic, Ed Wood alumnus and all round crackpot Jeron Criswell King. Santa Come Up And See Me comes from her 1967 album Wild Christmas, recorded when the old gal was nearing 75.

Finally today we have Christmas is For the Family by the Happy Crickets from their album Christmas With the Happy Crickets. Undated, but probably originally released around 1960, I was reminded of this when I was putting together Friday’s post about the Caroleers (both ‘acts’ recorded for the Synthetic Plastics Company of Newark, New Jersey: my suspicion is that the Happy Crickets are simply some of the male members of the Caroleers). Our old friend Ross Hamilton describes this as ‘probably the worst attempt at cashing in on the singing animal phenomenon. The singing is horrible, even when sped up, and the arrangements sound like they were slapped together by a committee of drunks’. I absolutely agree!

See you on Friday, but for now, enjoy!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Christmas Cavalcade 2013 (Part Two)

Here we go again: another bunch of bad Christmas records for you to enjoy.

The Caroleers released a bucket-load of schmaltzy, Christmassy-themed recordings from the mid-50s through until at least the late 1960s. Originally put together to produce material for kiddie label Peter Pan Records (which, charmingly, were ‘manufactured by the Synthetic Plastics Company, Newark, New Jersey’), and also credited as the Caroleer Singers and the Peter Pan Caroleers, I believe that most of their dull, white-bread versions of Christmas classics were recorded around 1956, but the company issued and re-issued them so many times over the next decade or so (first on 78, then 45s and EPs, none of which are dated) that it’s hard to work out exactly when the sessions took place. The ‘group’ (probably just a seasonal name for a collection of Synthetic Plastics vocalists) also released albums on Diplomat (another Synthetic Plastics imprint) – home to the Happy Crickets. Synthetic Plastics was also home to Batman Records. Ho Ho Ho It’s Christmas comes from their album Sleigh Ride/Jingle Bells Children’s Christmas Favourites.

Next up is a World’s Worst records favourite, Little Marcy and C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S. Taken from the doll from hell’s seasonal collection Christmas With Marcy, originally issued in 1965, I don’t think I need to add anything else.

Finally today we revisit another WWR favourite, Mike Thomas of the Tin Pan Alley song-poem label, and both sides of the dreadful 45 A Christmas Wish/The Nite My Savior Was Born. Both songs were written by Elvie Rowland, and come from the period after TPA moved to Florida – years after founder Jack Covais had passed away and at a time when production values were rushing headlong to their all-time low. I’m indebted to fellow blogger Bob Purse, who originally posted this gem back in 2010.

See you on Sunday! Enjoy!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Christmas Clunkers 2

Hello again! Another seven slices of seasonal hokum for you.

The majority of today's collection of Christmas Clunkers comes from December 2011 - a bumper year in which I originally posted more than a dozen dreadful recordings. However I first featured our first track, one of the all-time bad Christmas records, just last year. Billy’s Christmas Wish comes from country trucking supremo Red Sovine. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a little Red Sovine, would it?  

Billy’s Christmas Wish tells a tale so desperately lurid that I can’t believe his record company had the temerity to release it. It's the story - much loved by Christmas song composers - of a homeless, father-less child who prays to Santa every year but whose sack is perpetually empty and then, when it looks like the little beggar might finally get what he wants he goes and coughs up his last breath. As I've said before, the Red Sovine canon is the best argument I could ever present against country and western music.
It was way back in 2009 when I originally posted our next track. Merry Christmas Elvis, by Michelle Cody, was issued in 1978 on the Safari label, owned by song-poem hustler Ramsey Kearney (aka Will Gentry, co-writer  and performer of Blind Man’s Penis), I implore you not to not to choke on your mince pies at the song's saccharine denouement. Little Michelle had made an earlier stab at recording Jack Toombs’ song, probably in 1977 the year of Elvis’s passing, on the obscure Jimbo label.

The next five songs come from Christmas 2011. The ridiculously flat bass playing on Snow Man, from Bob Gerard, is typical of a great number of the offerings from Tin Pan Alley, one of my favourite song-poem labels. The Christmas Shoes came my way courtesy of Ross Hamilton. Its perpetrators, Christian rock phenomenon NewSong, should have been shot for this horrifically sentimental pap: the story of a small boy who wants to buy his mother some new shoes that she can wear when she meets God later that night. The song, which provided the inspiration for an equally sickening film of the same name, made the coveted number one spot on Billboard for one week in January 2001.

Next is a pair of particularly bad tracks from Christmas in the Stars, the Star Wars Christmas Album: Merry, Merry Christmas and C3PO, aka Anthony Daniels, retelling the classic T’was the Night Before Christmas (retitled here A Christmas Sighting) with a suitably Star Warsian bent.

Finally, for today at least, is the ridiculous Cheeky Girls with Have A Cheeky Christmas – just the sort of tune you should be kicking up your heels over after enjoying too much turkey and before settling down to the Queen’s Speech. The duo, who first came to fame on the TV ‘talent’ show Popstars: The Rivals, achieved chart success with four top ten hits between 2002 and 2004, the biggest being their debut single, Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum), which sold more than 1.2 million copies worldwide but was voted the worst pop record of all time in a Channel 4 poll.

See you all on Friday. Enjoy!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Christmas Cavalcade 2013 (Part One)

It's Christmaaaaaaassss!

Well, not quite, but as we rush headlong towards the turkey and tinsel fest it is time to launch this year's Christmas Cavalcade. Once again you're going to get an album's worth of bad Christmassy-themed music over the nest few week and - along with the Sunday reposts of some of the horrors from previous years - by December 22 you'll have enough material to cobble together your own very special bad Christmas compilation.

Today I'm kicking off with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer from Don 'Lofty' Estelle's festive album Don Estelle Sings Songs for Christmas. In all honesty it's not that bad: Estelle had a pleasant enough baritone voice and released several albums in a singing career that ran parallel to his acting jobs. It's fine - until the horrid kiddie choir comes in, that is. Then it's time to strangle someone.

The album, first issued in 1979, has been repackaged several times - most recently by Castle as A Don Estelle Christmas - but I picked my original Pickwick Records copy up in a charity shop recently for 25p. Money well spent.

Next up is The Christmas Dolly by Little Betty Ashley and J. W. Thompson. Now I know next to nothing about this particular monstrosity, apart from the fact that it was released as the B-Side to a song called It's Your Turn on Fine Records, catalogue number 1007, but have a good listen to that male singer and tell me that J. W. doesn't sound exactly like Rodd Keith. There is (or perhaps was) a country singer called J. W Thompson, who scored a few hits in the States between 1979 and 1984, but this track sounds to me to have been recorded much earlier than that and he usually sounds quite different from the singer present here. It isn't Rodd, of course, but it's eerily like him.

Next up is a wonderful track from the equally wonderful Ellen Marty. X-Mas Gift comes from her rockinghorse-shit rare album Mixing and Making with Marty, and I'm indebted to the wonderful Dead Wax blog, which originally posted this in January and first alerted me to the amazing Miss Marty. I am so in love with this woman!

Finally a track from the utterly bonkers Major Bill Smith. I'm going to be writing a whole lot more about The Maj in the New Year, but briefly he was a bone fide US Air Force Major who scored a few hits as a producer at the turn of the 60s - Bruce Channel's Hey Baby, Paul and Paula's Hey Paula and the teen death sicko Last Kiss by J Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers - had a hand in the career of the Legendary Stardust Cowboy and in the early 80s was insisting that Elvis was still alive and that he, The Maj, was his de facto manager. This shocker - Happy Birthday Jesus - is credited to Major Bill Smith and Nancy Nolte, although poor old Nancy doesn't get much of a look in. The actor Nick Nolte has a sister called Nancy, who I assume this ain't. There was a Nancy Nolte who recorded for Todd Records in 1959 and then went on to release the 45 Christmas Night/Christmas Tree in Heaven for Major Bill's Le Cam label the following year. I've not heard that but my suspicion is that this disc uses one of those Nancy Nolte tracks as its backing (it appears to be a version of Silent Night, perhaps that's the same track as Christmas Night?) - which is why she gets a credit here.

See you on Sunday. Enjoy!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Christmas Clunkers

Hey everybody! Happy December.

As you already know, this coming Friday I'll be launching this year's Christmas Cavalcade. I've a slew of great bad Christmas records for you to endure this year, enough to curdle the cream on your mince pies.

But as well as that, as an extra special festive treat, over the next few weekends I'm going to repost the worst Christmas-themed tracks I've featured here over the last few years - starting today with a selection of cuts from Christmas 2009 and 2010. So, you're going to get new stuff every Friday and old stuff every Sunday from now until December 22: by Christmas you should have enough crap to pick from to produce the best bad Christmas album ever.

During December 2009 The World's Worst Records featured some of my all-time favourite bad Christmas music - and here are a brace of them again: I'm Gonna Spend Christmas With a Dalek from the Go-Gos and Michelle Cody's Merry Christmas Elvis. From 2010 comes Red Sovine's Is There Really a Santa Clause, Billy Idol's miserable White Christmas and the ridiculous R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas from John Bongiovi who, of course, would later make little girls all over the world wet themselves by growing a poodle perm and changing the spelling of his surname to Bon Jovi.

Grab 'em while you can!

Friday, 29 November 2013

Mother: Oh Dear!

It's almost December, which means that it's almost time for this year's Christmas Cavalcade. Over the next few weeks, as in previous years, I'll be bringing you an album's worth of bad Christmas-themed music - noise enough to ruin your holiday.

But first, let's have a listen to something truly horrific and completely non-Christmas related: a pair of tracks from Danny La Rue's 1978 album To Mother, With Love.

Easily the most famous drag act in the world, Danny La Rue was born Daniel Patrick Carroll, in Ireland, in July 1927. At the age of nine he moved to London with his four siblings and his widowed mother Mary, however he was evacuated during the Blitz and spent the next few years in the Devon village of Kennford, near Exeter. He became interested in performing while serving in the Royal Navy, appearing in regular concert party reviews and, when he left the service, he spent years in repertory and in variety shows, touring Britain and honing his craft.

He opened his own nightclub in London in 1964. Visitors to his revues included Judy Garland, Noel Coward, Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Margaret. TV and film fame soon followed. He made regular appearances on the BBC-TV show The Good Old Days, was given his own TV specials, was the first drag act to appear in the Royal Variety Show and, in 1972, starred in his own film, Our Miss Fred. In a career which spanned over 60 years, Danny (always known as Dan to is friends) established himself as one of the most popular performers in Britain. He was the only male performer to take the lead in two female stage roles (in Hello Dolly and Oh, What a Lovely War!)

The highest paid entertainer in the UK (at one point in the early 70s he was earning over £20000 a week), even Liberace was a fan. In many ways Dan was Britain's Liberace: like Liberace, Dan kept his sexuality a secret for most of his life (even though he lived with his partner and personal manager Jack Hanson for 40 years until Hanson's death in 1984) and, like Liberace, he was a horrible, horrible singer - as is amply proved by the brace of tracks I present for you today. His version of On Mother Kelly's Doorstep reached number 33 in the UK singles chart in 1968, but this would be his only chart appearance.

His limited vocal range reminds me of Barbara Cartland: Barbara Cartland drunk, imitating Rex Harrison at one of Noel Coward's soirees. He may have been a fabulous entertainer, but he could not carry a tune in a sequined, fur lined bucket, as these two tracks prove. To Mother With Love, penned specifically for this set, is a fright, but the last track on the collection - Say it With Flowers - is simply horrific.: the soliloquy at the beginning is barf-inducing.

His last years were blighted by illness: he suffered a stroke in 2006 and then revealed to fans that he had been battling prostate cancer for several years. Further strokes and a bout of cancer of the throat followed before he finally passed in 2009 at the age of 81 - shortly after making his last live apearance in Spain. He was buried next to Hanson in Kensal Green, London. 


Friday, 22 November 2013

Keep Your Pecker Up

Picked up in a charity shop earlier this week, today’s offering, Woodpeckers From Space, is a miserable slice of 80s Eurodisco from the Video Kids.

Most believe that the group was led by Dutch DJ and producer Peter Slaghuis and also featured singer Bianca Bonelli. However the act had already been about for several years, releasing the album Never Too Young to Dance in 1981, before Slaghuis and Bonelli were picked to appear in the video for Woodpeckers From Space. The vocalists on the track are actually Dick van Dam & Astrid Leuwener. Slaghuis would, under the name Hithouse, go on to have several hits (his Jack To the Sound of the Underground was a UK top 20) before dying – tragically young – in a car accident in 1991. Bonelli scored a minor Dutch hit with her single Je Veux L'amour.

This dismal piece of crap was a hit in several European countries and the Video Kids went on to release three further 45s and two more albums, The Invasion of the Spacepeckers in 1984 and Satellite in 1985. Written by the Dutch production duo Adams and Fliesner a cover of Woodpeckers From Space, by Café Society, was a No. 1 hit in South Africa in July 1985.

It’s simply dire: the rap is awful (in all fairness, English wasn’t van Dam's first language), the lyrics are plain stupid and the instrumentation is basic at best. I bet the estate of Walter Lanz had a field day suing them for stealing the Woody Woodpecker laugh (originally voiced, incidentally, by Mel Blanc who, as we all know, got in to trouble when he paired up with Pat Boone for his huge hit Speedy Gonzales). And seriously, what is that thing on the front cover supposed to be? Clearly the designer had never seen an actual woodpecker.

Anyway, have a listen for yourself and see what you think. I’ve also include the B-side - Rap And Sing Along – which is simply a truncated instrumental version of the flip.



Saturday, 16 November 2013

The Partridge Calamity

If you feel the need to blame anyone for today’s monstrosity, don’t blame me: blame TheSquire Presents.

A couple of weeks ago the Squire invited me to contribute to his upcoming Christmas podcast. We spent a great afternoon chatting about some of my favourite bad Christmas records and he introduced me to some of his. I’m not going to spoil the surprise by telling you which discs we chose, but one of the songs he played – and one I was, until then, unaware of, was by a four year-old moppet by the name of Ricky Segall. The song sounded to me as if it were being performed by Ike Broflovsky, Kyle’s adopted Canadian brother (if you don’t watch South Park you’ll not understand that reference). It was hideous.

Needless to say, I had to track down a copy of little Ricky’s one and only album. And I’m so glad that I did.

Ricky Segall and the Segalls Singing Selections from “The Partridge Family” Television Show, to give it its full title, is truly abhorrent. Ricky himself was, at the time, a four year-old child actor who had been drafted in to the hit US TV series The Partridge Family to add some light relief to the show’s final series – and hopefully distract the audience from the fact that teen heart-throb David Cassidy would soon be moving on to pastures new. Unfortunately the fourth series, the one that introduced his character (Ricky Stevens), would also become the show’s last.

All of the songs on the – thankfully short – album are written by Ricky’s dad Rick and feature Ricky’s parents prominently. Rick Senior scored a songwriting contract with Colgems, the musical arm of the giant Columbia Pictures organisation and the company behind The Monkees’ recorded output, and the album features such top-ranking musicians as noted drummers Hal Blaine and Jim Gordon. It still stinks. And why is the little urchin rising out of a giant egg on the front cover? There’s a Freudian nightmare if I’ve ever seen one.

Richard Robert Segall III was born on in New York on March 10, 1969. Now known as the Reverend Richard Segall, little Ricky is a minister at The Church On The Way in San Antonio, Texas but he still takes on the occasional acting role. He released his second album, A Time to Dance, in 1999 – described as an ‘explosive, hi-tech, electronic dance CD’. I’ll take Amazon’s word for it.

The two tracks I present for you today tell you pretty much everything you need to know about this project. Say, Hey, Willie – which opens the album and introduces Ricky’s parents to an uncaring and uninterested audience – is a ‘tribute’ to American baseball legend Willie Mays, whose nickname was the Say Hey Kid apparently. Mr President is Ricky’s stab at a protest song – at least I think that’s what it is. You decide. I’ve sat through this crap three times now this morning and my brain is starting to atrophy.


UPDATE, DECEMBER 2015: both links  - long broken - have now been replaced and should work fine. To download, simply click on the Tindeck logo and the download page will open in a new window

Friday, 8 November 2013

Uh-oh Mum

Two slices of shlock today from the 80s, specifically from the canon of one Adrian Gurvitz; famous for his guitar prowess, his corkscrew perm and his distressed leather jacket.

These days a respected songwriter and producer – he’s behind songs for Pixie Lott, Hot Chocolate, Eddie Money, REO Speedwagon and a host of others. In the 60s and early 70s he had hits of his own (with his brother Paul an ever-present consort) with The Gun (Race With The Devil reached the UK Top 10 and was No. 1 in many European countries), the Baker-Gurvitz Army and Rupert’s People. He played as part of the Graham Edge Band and also wrote England, We'll Fly The Flag,  the B-side to the 1982 single by the England World Cup Squad (and a Number Two hit) This Time (We'll Get It Right).

In that same year he released his third solo album, Classic. The title track – a twee piece of soft-focus garbage with lyrics so bad they could have been written by Steve Miller – made the Top 10 in the UK and was a sizeable hit around the world:

Gotta write a classic
Gotta write it in an attic
Baby, I'm an addict now
An addict for your love

I was a street boy
And you were my best toy...

Just horrible: 'You were my best toy'! It makes you wonder exactly who - or what - was the object of his affection. A deaf woman? Or a Rubik's Cube? Two further singles were released from the album: neither of them made much impression. A little over a year later he issued the non-album 45 Hello Mum, a record so ghastly it almost defies description, and with lyrics that make Classic look like...well, a classic.

This is a tribute song
Through the years you’ve been so strong
And sometimes you think that we don’t care
We’re all here today
With these words to say
But they couldn’t ever mean as much as you do

What utter, unmitigated rubbish; as sugary as a pixie stick and about as satisfying. If I had presented this morass of misery to my mother she'd have - quite rightly - hit me around the head with it.

Put out in time for Christmas, and issued in a special festive sleeve complete with space for you to write a dedication to your own mother, not even the addition of a dreadful kiddie choir could help drag this piece of sentimental crap up the charts. Thankfully he would not release another single for seven years. Someone must have liked it though: Gurvitz was later hired by Walt Disney Records to produce and write songs for their in-house pop puppets, a contract which has netted him several gold albums.


Note: to download, right click on the icon and choose 'download document'.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Download issues

I understand that several of you have been unable to download recent posts. The tracks appear to be streaming - I always check this before I make a post 'live' - but for some reason the privacy settings at DivShare seem to have changed and many of you have been thwarted in your attempts to grab the most recent audio atrocities.

Never fear - a solution is here!

Here are the audio files from the last four WWR posts. Grab 'em now. And then, while your enjoying a moment in musical hell, go buy my book! To download the tracks simply right click on the player and choose 'download document' or similar.

Let me know if you have any other problems. I know the Box player is ugly compared to the DivShare one, but if this works better for you all I'll use The Box in future - unless anyone knows of a more elegant solution.


Jess Conrad: Mystery Girl

Jess Conrad: The Big White House

David Wigg: Life is Complicated

David Wigg: Turning Round

Jimmy Arthur Ordge: Storytime & Prayers

Wink Martindale: Deck of Cards

Max Bygraves: Deck of Cards

Robert Powell: Once Upon a Time

Friday, 1 November 2013

Once Upon a Time

Here's a real horror for you: a single by former Jesus, and Jasper Carrot sidekick, Robert Powell.

A treatise on the subject of creation - how ironic that it would be delivered sonorously by a man who will forever be identified with the part of Jesus of Nazareth - It should come as no surprise that the man behind this pretentious prattle is one Richard Hewson - aka the RAH Band. Outside of his 70s hits as the RAH Band, Hewson is best known for his work as an arranger, having scored strings for the Beatles (he worked with Phil Spector on the string arrangements for the Let It Be album) Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart, Cliff Richard and many, many more.

For some odd reason this wasn't a hit. Issued by Logo Records (an RCA imprint) in 1978 - that same year that Powell took the leading role of Richard Hannay in the third film version of John Buchan's the Thirty Nine Steps - The track turned up recently on the catch-all compilation You Are Awful...But We Like You. I haven't bothered with the B-side (the ridiculously-titled Laudate) as it's exactly the same track with Bob's vocal performance wiped.


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