Sunday 26 November 2023

Like a Pig in Mud

Now, I realise it has been quite some time since I last posted on the blog, but I have been rather busy! We're currently in the middle of our second house move in less than six months, and hopefully by the time most of you read this my husband and I shall be happily ensconced in what will be our forever home.  

I've also been publicising my latest book, Queer Blues, and a lot of my time has been taken up writing my next book - more about that as we get closer to publication day.

But I have been remiss: It's been months since I brought you any silliness, so here is something that will hopefully keep you all happy until this year's Christmas Cavalcade begins.

I found this particular disc recently when looking around for something I had not previously played on my WFMU programme, The World's Worst Records Radio Show. Happily, this little treasure of well-meaning Christian pop was discovered more than a decade ago by our friend and song-poem collector Bob Purse, and posted on the now-defunct WFMU blog... is that serendipity or synchronicity?  

I really don't know where to begin with this nonsense. Don't Be Left Behind, Pig in Mud (II Peter 2:22), and Look at The Mess were all written by G.M. Fretto, and issued in 1984 on a three-track EP credited to Farinella-Siena-Fretto. The same three tracks also turned up on the 1986 album by Mi'Chelle Nelson, Don't Be Left Behind. Messers Gerald Fretto, Joe Farinella and Mark Siena all appear on that record too, although this time Siena is credited as Mark Sena. Both album and EP were released by G.M. Fretto Records - the only products, as far as I am aware, ever to appear on the label. 

Based in Rochester, New York, Mister Fretto and his crew specialised in a peculiar jazz/God rock hybrid. Instrumentally, the opening track Don't Be Left Behind has elements of jazz, funk, and progressive rock, and is accompanied by some ill-fitting lyrics about spiritual redemption. The title, one assumes, comes from the idea that should you not have sought absolution for your sins you will be left behind when God (in whatever form he or she chooses) decides to revisit our planet and gather up the faithful. 

Judging by the subtitle, Pig in Mud (II Peter 2:22) is clearly based on a bible verse. The verse itself is indeed quoted in the lyric: 'A dog goes back to its own vomit, and a pig that is washed heads back to the mud,' or somesuch. I'm sure it's all very important and meaningful, but frankly, to this atheist it is simply baffling. The final song, Look at The Mess is the most 'traditional' of all three songs, but even this has odd, discordant backing vocals that add an unsettling note. It is all very peculiar.

Searching Discogs you will find no further releases from Farinella-Siena-Fretto or from Mi'Chelle Nelson, and neither Joe Farinella nor Mark Siena appear to have recorded anything else. However, as Jerry Fretto, our man has issued at least three albums of Christian praise, the most recent being the 2012 collection The Joy Ahead. He had a period of ill health following his last album but happily is still around today, as is Mark Siena, who now works at the Calvary Chapel in Niagra; sadly I could find no trace of  Joe Farinella, but I hope he is healthy and well.

Here are all three tracks from the wonderfully odd EP by Farinella-Siena-Fretto: enjoy!

Download Behind HERE 

Download Pig HERE 

Download Mess HERE


  1. Howdy, Darryl! After I posted this record, I heard from our man Jerry himself, and he sent me nice new clean copies of this EP and at least two copies of the album that you mention, along with (I think) a few printed things. The album is weird as hell.

  2. Thanks for the share. I like the bass lines. Looking forward to your Christmas Cavalcade!

  3. Probably for all the wrong reasons but I love this! Totally bonkers Christian Prog with a touch of New Wave and Zappa-Style noodles. Thanks!

  4. i swear this was on wfmu blog or another blog as a christian release

    1. Yes, as I mentioned in the post it was originally shared on the WFMU blog by Bob Purse



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