Tuesday, April 19, 2016

FANNY BOY! Smelton John SINGS for DAVID FURBYISH

Above, a photo of that strange little David Furbyish, who used to jerk off to the music of his favorite singer, Smelton John. David even married his idol. Sadly...

....A big scandal today involves poor Smelton John, unable to keep a lid on the shitstorm caused by unfaithful young Furbyish. John's lawyers have toilet-stalled the British tabloids, but the news has leaked out through the World Wide Wet-Net. "Respect my privates," Mr. John declared, but anything famous people do is considered "news" fit to print. His face flushed bright pink, Smelton John begged "Don't Let "THE SUN" Go Down On Me...or the "DAILY MAIL." To no avail. Now we all know his young hubby Furbyish had a three year affair with some other man, and even a three-way (with two other men, of course. The guy wouldn’t do anything perverted!).

Smelton John's mother loathed Furbyish, and others complained that Furbyish was firing people and taking over. Still, some thought the odd little creature was a stabilizing influence on the wild Mr. John, whose life had been going down the tubes. Too bad David needed to take anal vacations from his demanding diva husband. Or bride. Or whatever they call each other.

What an irony. Just a month ago, Smelton was telling Gay Wenner, publisher of the Roiling Scone, “I’ve never been happier. I have an upbeat new album, I adore being a father, or a mother, or whatever the hell I am, and my boy toy is Furbyish! I have homes all over the world, nobody wonders if it's a wig or a weave or a transplant, and as for my meddling stupid old mother, I couldn’t care if I ever see the old hag again.”

More and more tabloids are reporting on Furbyish and his promiscuous game of thrones on the toilet of some pubic hairdresser (who had his hands full thanks to David having pubes all over his body). While some can't believe gay marriage could fail (after all, it doesn't involve TWAT), this union is suffering from, like Springsteen's under lip, a rough patch.

And so, the guy ridiculed early in life for his real name, Wedgie Tight, is now having to endure cracks from the press and some iconoclastic and rude bloggers.

You might well ask, “What is the download below, O Ye of Little Taste?”

It's Smelton’s quickly-done song for his wayward husband, whom he has affectionately called “Fanny Boy.” You'll remember that as soon as Princess Diana and her hummus-faced rich Muzzie crashed, John rubbed out a hit single with revised lyrics to "Candle in the Wind." Once again, he phoned up ex-Grimsby gynecologist-turned-lyricist Bernie Tampon, and said, “Can you re-write the song as “Candle in the Butt?” I want to shine a light on what this asshole did to me."

Tampon replied, “Please, not that bloody song again." A minute later, he faxed over "Fanny Boy" with a note: “This is your song. It’s quite simple. I hope you don’t mind.”

It IS pretty simple. It's about how Furbyish not only cheated, but obviously spent a lot of Smelton’s money in the pursuit of pleasure, even pawning some of Smelton’s treasures when he couldn't get his hands on the joint bank account while seeking to get his hands on some guy's joint. Furbyish supposedly pawned pairs of Smelton's famous glasses and even some gaudy jewel-encrusted knickers. (Those knickers were encrusted with something, we all assume jewels.)

From Bernie’s lyric sheet:

“Oh Fanny Boy, you’ve left me sad and lonely. There is no end to what I’d do for you. You have no friends. I was your one and only. But now you’ve gone. And pawned my wristwatch too. Oh Fanny Boy, I know that you are younger. Just 20 years and I am 40 more. If you but knew about my burning hunger, you would’ve stayed, and not walked out the door. So please come back! And I’ll forget…you took the car and chauffeur.”

“Oh Fanny Boy, you’ve left my board and my lodging. You didn’t realize how good you had it here. My dear young man, police you’ll soon be dodging! You’ll live in style but constant dread and fear. So please come back and all will be forgiven. The stocks and bonds, the crystal chandelier. But bring ye back my mattress and my pillow. I promise I won’t prosecute you, dear….”

Smelton John Fanny Boy

BAD ROMANCE (Shit My Pants) Lord of the Poop Sale

“RAH RAH! CA-CA OOOH LA LA!”

Yes, here's a gooey, crappy parody of one of Lady Gaga’s greatest s(hits).

“I moved too SLOW…I tried to control it, but I couldn’t hold it. I shit my pants! I can’t believe I just shit my pants!”

A drag queen version of Weird Al Yankovic, Sherry Vine has managed to make some money on Google's YouTube thanks to some flashy, campy parodies (and appearances in cabaret nightclubs). ’Tis pity the tunes aren’t available on disc. In the old days, something like “Shit My Pants” would’ve been quite a collectors’ item on brown vinyl.

In fact, the lack of vinyl confused my colleague, the “Lord of the Poop Sale.” Nicknamed for his habit of buying up any shit he can find on 45 rpm, he heard about song and phoned me in a bewildered state of Alzheimer’s. “Ill, it’s Robin here. "Shit My Pants" did not chart? I have no idea how to do research. If I know the label, my dog Turd Muffin could sniff it out. I've trained her to smell the difference in paper between Parlophone, Pye, and every other label! If I know the labels we can go walkies through charity shops and she'll put her nose in every box that has a record with that label! OK, sometimes she tries to stick her nose in some shop owner's twat, too.”

This old guy IS really into shit, and I could tell he desperately wanted this for his collection or piles and piles of music. For him the real fun of is not listening to records but collecting 'em. I told him the best he could do was wait for me to post a download, as we are living in the age of freeeeee.

"Besides," I told him, “Don Henley sang that there are no hearses with luggage racks.” He said, “Who is he? Is he like Matt Monro? I buy up any dodgy vinyl for a few pence if I can brag that nobody else has it. Is his stuff hard to find? Is he the guy who had rare pressings that led to the phrase, “as hard to find as Henley?”

I explained the phrase is “rare as hen’s teeth,” not Henley, but some of these record-buying zombies don't listen. They're on automatic pile-it. They go buy shit and pile it in their homes and that’s how they putter around till their hearts poop out. “Oh well, if it’s not shit on vinyl, I am not interested,” he said. “I am a dung beetle collecting poopular music! It's got to be utterly useless shit!”

He then asked, "Do you have one of those 45 rpm adapters? I’ve got a hole in my head that size, and I like to put an adapter in it. With the smaller hole, the wind whistles from one side of my head to the other, and it sounds very pleasant!” I told him to pick up some of his dog's turds and shove them in his ears. He couldn't hear anything I said after that, and I was glad to wave goodbye to him.

While "Shit My Pants" can't be added to any vinyl addict's pile, it can help clog up anyone's terabyte drive of free crap

Oooh la la. Here's some Ca-Ca!

Sherry Vine Shit My Pants (Bad Romance)

Saturday, April 09, 2016

WINSTON MOSELEY OUT-LIVES PHIL OCHS BY OVER 40 YEARS

It’s still pretty sobering to realize how young Phil Ochs was, when he made that final decision on April 9, 1976, exactly 40 years ago today. He was only 35.

Walter Moseley finally died a few days ago at 81. No, he didn't exactly make good use of being spared the death penalty. In fact, he managed to cause trouble and heartache after his incarceration for the murder of Kitty Genovese.

As for the early demise of Phil Ochs, many fans have wistfully wondered what he would've achieved over the next 40 years. Had he been able to find the right meds and care, some think he might be knocking out potent political protest songs to this day. I doubt it, but I wish he was able to simply enjoy life and family, and if he would sometimes pick up a guitar, great.

Quite a few of his contemporaries (Barry McGuire, Joan Baez, Hamilton Camp, Gordon Lightfoot, Janis Ian, Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton) either never had a big hit after the 70's or stopped recording for a major label. It's just a shame Phil didn't have the option of balancing work and semi-retirement. He should've had the chance, ala Mort Sahl or his old friend Jim Glover, of sometimes doing a gig for that small circle of friends.

Phil's song has had a life of its own, as has the very phrase "small circle of friends," usually spoken with a sense of irony.

The incident that sparked it happened on March 13, 1964. A married man with two kids, Winston Moseley’s hobby was committing burglary (30 or 40, without an arrest). An occasional rape and murder added to his fun. He admitted to raping and killing two other women before he snuck out on his wife and hunted for a new victim: Kitty Genovese. He stalked her through the dark and quiet streets of Kew Gardens, where the stores were closed and at 2am, few people were still awake in the small apartments above those stores, or in the modest middle-class homes and apartment buildings.

Phil's version of the event wasn't intended to be song-journalism. It was just the first stanza of a piece covering a wide range of apathy.

The opening lines, to a jaunty almost ragtime melody: “Look outside the window, there’s a woman being grabbed. They’ve dragged her to the bushes, and now she’s being stabbed. Maybe we should call the cops and try to stop the pain. But Monopoly is so much fun, I’d hate to blow the game. And I’m sure it wouldn’t interest anybody outside of a small circle of friends…”

There was no "they." It was just one man. But the journalism of the time was not accurate either. The New York Times, the “paper of record,” reported: “For more than half an hour 38 respectable, law‐abiding cit­izens in Queens watched a killer stalk and stab a woman in three separate attacks in Kew Gardens.”

The truth, which would come out slowly over the years, was that most citizens didn’t hear anything. At that hour, a few short cries were mistaken for delinquents horsing around. As often happens, the reporter colored his journalism with drama over fact. Someone actually did lean out the window and yell at Moseley to leave the girl alone. When Moseley rushed away, leaving his dazed victim behind, the neighbor closed his window. Moseley, lurking rather than leaving, waited and pounced yet again, completing his need to rape and kill. But a few people did call the cops, and one man, arriving on the scene after Moseley fled, comforted Genovese as she took her last breaths.

Only a few months later, June 15th, Moseley was in front of a judge. The judge declared, “I don't believe in capital punishment, but when I see a monster like this, I wouldn't hesitate to pull the switch myself.” It wasn’t an option. Proving the judge’s point, Moseley escaped prison on March 18, 1968, stole an officer’s gun, and hid out in a nearby home. When the man and woman who owned it arrived, Moseley overpowered the man and raped his wife.

Over the years, parole boards had to listen to Moseley’s ravings. At one point he whined, “For a victim…it's a one-time or one-hour or one-minute affair, but for the person who's caught, it's forever.” More recently, he simply declared, “I think almost 50 years of paying for those crimes is enough.”

No, there seems to be no quote from him on whether he ever heard Phil's song. The song has outlived Phil, Kitty, and now Kitty's murderer. People are still being killed. Marijuana is only legal in four states, and other issues raised in Phil's song are still with us as well.

Oddly enough, as horrific as the Genovese case is, as vividly divisive as the question of the death penalty for monsters like Moseley is, Phil's song retains its dark satire. One listens to it with more of a wink than a clenched fist. So often, despite his brilliance at ballads, and his scathing accuracy in protest songs, Phil was able to retain a unique sense of humor. It was part of why he was so beloved in person and on stage.

The audience recording at The Stables in East Lansing is here for its good sound quality. At Hunter College, Phil saved "Small Circle of Friends" as his encore/finale, and in the audience recording, you hear how it draws enthusiastic clapping from the crowd.

PHIL OCHS Small Circle of Frends in East Lansing

PHIL OCHS Closing the Show with a Small Circle of Friends clapping at Hunter College (now Lehman College)

PHIL OCHS salutes MERLE HAGGARD, OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE

Phil Ochs, radical iconoclast that he was, had an almost perverse fondness for singing “Okie from Muskogee.” To him, it was simply a good topical protest song. So what if the lyrics were somewhat arrogant and intolerant, and the work of a redneck from one of the “red states.” Phil was born in El Paso, after all, and his early influences included country singers, especially Faron Young. And where, outside of a broadcast of a baseball game in China, would you ever hear the phrase "pitching woo?"

I can’t say that Merle Haggard was one of my favorites, or others in the outlaw bunch (including Waylon and Willie) or the California crowd (Buck Owens). Still, he was a prolific songwriter, a vivid presence on stage, and he stubbornly kept going until pneumonia forced him to cancel shows a few months ago. He died on his birthday, April 6th, at the age of 79. With Phil finding such pleasure in him, I also got some kind of a kick from the “Okie” song. Of course I tended to listen to Phil’s version of it, and save my country listening time for Johnny Cash, George Jones, and the West Coast C&W/rocker Gary Alan among others.

Oh yes...Haggard was actually born in Oildale, California. His people did come from Oklahoma, but as many did (go read 'Grapes of Wrath,') they moved West to make a living. Many picked produce for low wages, but Merle picked at the guitar and...well, picked up a three year sentence for robbery. Yep, he was an authentic outlaw. While in San Quentin he saw Johnny Cash perform, and that inspired him to pursue the honky tonk lifestyle, and perfect his talents in local Bakersfield clubs. His first big hit was "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive" in 1966. At that time, on the East Coast, Phil was a hot Elektra folk star playing Carnegie Hall with topical material.

On March 27, 1970 Phil returned to Carnegie Hall for two scheduled performances. Now on A&M, and having recorded several critically acclaimed albums that didn't sell too well, he decided to try something radical. This would be the infamous "Gold Suit" show (released in single-disc truncated form by A&M only in Canada as "Gunfight at Carnegie Hall"). Fans were perplexed by Phil wearing some kind of Elvis suit, rambling about how Elvis was the king and could change things if he’d only become political. They detested Phil’s weird cover versions of everything from Buddy Holly to, Elvis, to Nat King Cole's "Mona Lisa" to, yes, “Okie from Muskogee.” The disaster ended with fans demanding their money back. A frustrated Phil obliged them by smashing his fist against the box office window.

But…he had a second show to do. Pissed off, bleeding, but determined to get his message across, he took to the stage yet again. Looking back on it, “The Night of the Cut Thumb,” was a triumph. Learning from his mistakes, Phil took the time to explain what he was up to. With some wry monologues (“America is a Cunt…”) and coaching the crowd to keep an open mind, the show was a fine mix of nostalgia (Holly and Presley), political humor, beautiful ballads, and stinging proteset songs. And that included that prickly number “Okie from Muskogee,” your download below.

OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE from the second show at Carnegie Hall, not released in any form, “The Night of the Cut Thumb”

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

MECCA - Arabs Killed Gene Pitney? Covers incl Spanish + Valerie Loeffler

Above, Valerie Loeffler, who may be the only female to attempt to cover "Mecca." And below, well, the highly individual journalism and oh so coherent critical views you've come to expect here.

If I was a conspiracy theorist, I’d wonder if Gene Pitney REALLY died of a heart attack. Could he have been murdered by some crazed hummus-faced armpit-bearded Allah-kazam? They’re a bit touchy and humorless, aren’t they? (They might not even be laughing at this very moment while reading this!)

Who is behind almost every bombing and cowardly attack on unarmed people? It ain’t the Druids. It’s the bunch that believes in circumcising WOMEN, killing cartoonists, and going into a raving fatwa denying “freedom of speech” to anyone that disagrees with them. With most people, “I don’t believe what you believe” isn’t an invitation to a beheading. So…

Is it possible somebody slipped Pitney a heart-stopping drug because he equated “Mecca” with his girlfriend’s house? Sacrilege! Radical Islam, awakened at the turn of the century, had begun flying planes into U.S. buildings and blasting London transit. Some Habib Felafel deciding to be offended over “Mecca” and taking out Pitney isn’t that far-fetched. After all, Gene died in Great Britain, where they can slip polonium-210 in your tea in a restaurant and get away with it faster than you can say Litvenenko.

If I'm being honest, an observant, that teeny-tiny bunch of radicals who have hijacked “a fine religion” have killed people for much less. I mean, these are people who get touchy even if you try and compliment them. Like: “You know, I really like your stinky halal food.” or, “Danny Thomas did a great job playing a Jew in “The Jazz Singer.” Or “You fuckers sure know creative uses for pressure cookers.”

Those who insist we can’t expel every Muslim (true enough) try to allay our fears by muttering that only 10% or 20% of the Muslim population support or approve of terrorists who want to make the world all-Muslim all the time. Okay, that’s several MILLION maniacs (more than Natalie Merchant could imagine). Given that it only takes two or three to blow up a Boston marathon, a Paris theater, a Brussels airport, or a mental health hospital in San Bernardino, who is to say ONE of ‘em didn’t off Pitney?

We’ll never know for sure if some Jihadi Jay anti-American didn’t get to Gene when he turned up in Cardiff. I quote Pitney’s tour manager, James Kelly: "He was found fully clothed, on his back, as if he had gone for a lie down. It looks as if there was no pain whatsoever."

Suspicious, huh? Kelly remembered that the last show Gene performed was happy. And you know how Muslims feel about “happy.” They hate it. James Kelly: “Last night was generally one of the happiest and most exuberant performances we've seen out of him. He was absolutely on top of his game and was really happy with the show." And was his encore…”MECCA?” And was there someone in the audience wearing a frown without pity?

Coincidence: “Mecca” began its climb up the charts in April of 1963…and Gene was found dead in April of 2006. How many years is that? Exactly 43. If you check the Koran, note what page you find after 42.

43 also happens to be the number of days it takes for fig yogurt to reach its expiration, and frankly, what can happen to fig yogurt can happen to Gene Pitney.

Mecca is a holy destination. It's possible a Catholic would be mildly irked if a lyric went: "That brownstone house where my baby live's like the Vatican, THE VATICAN, to ME!" A Jew might raise an eyebrow over: "My baby's birthday is holy like Yom Kippur, Yom Kippur, to ME!" So to have an Arab overreact these days, to the point of jihad, is hardly surprising, is it? If you saw a news item about a Muslim stabbing somebody for joking that visiting Disney World was like Mecca for the wife and kids, would you really be shocked?

When “Mecca” first appeared, Arabs were fairly peaceful, if you weren’t Jewish. There was no Isis and Muslims didn’t attack England, Spain, France or America. Omar Sharif got along with Peter O’Toole. There were no protests about Pitney’s latest hit, because people in general weren't so "PC" or touchy, or just plain dismissive of somebody else's right to live. Gore wasn't routine in movies and mass murder was rare.

"Mecca" was just an odd novelty with a faux-Middle East arrangement and some snake-charmer clarinet playing. No Arab complained that the chick singing background could as easily have been singing about a lion sleeping in Africa. Ok, so it wasn’t authentic. It offended nobody at the time, and neither did "Little Egypt” by The Coasters. People enjoyed harmless ethnic stereotypes, and the charts embraced ethnic music from Nicola Paone's "Blah Blah Blah" and Horst Jankowski's jaunty "Walk in the Black Forest" to the foreign babblings of “Volare” and “Sukiyaki.”

There was nothing nefarious about John Gluck Jr., a co-writer of “Mecca.” He was a professional who worked with anyone who had a tune that needed some lyrics. (I’m assuming he wrote the lyrics. It seems that way.) Born in Ohio (1925-2000) he worked with Richard Maltby on “Who Put the Devil in Evelyn’s Eyes” (recorded by the Mills Brothers) and “Beloved Be True” (vocal by Russ Emerick).

With Diane Lampert he co-wrote “No One Home” (recorded by Alan Dale), “Little Lovin’” (performed by Mimi Roman), “Pinch Me” (done by Somethin’ Smith and the Redheads), “Can’t Wait for Summer” (sung by Steve Lawrence), “One Teenager to Another” (from Brenda Lee), “Precious Years” (a single by Glenn Reeves), and “Nothin’ Shakin’,” (yes, The Beatles performed it on a BBC broadcast). Not to mention “Wacky Wacky.” Forget I mentioned it.

With Bob Goldstein John co-wrote “The Other Girls,” a flip side for Jay and the Americans, and with Ben Raleigh, he co-wrote the Connie Francis tune “Blue Winter.” John took sole credit on “That’s Me Without You” by The Wilson Sisters, “Up Jumped a Rabbit” by Frankie Lymon, and “The Bridge” by The Harbingers and also The Cowsills.

Now, what about “Mecca?”

It was a co-write done with the exotic-named Neval Nader, who had Middle Eastern music in his blood, and was born Neval Abounader in Utica (1917-2009). This is not a joke: Neval served in World War 2 and then tried for a career in cartoons and art, marketing his novelties under the pseudonym Screwloose LaTrec.

Neval discovered he had a talent for music. When he needed lyrics for an exotic melody, John Gluck provided it. Just another ballad about young lust, the twist was in making the Middle Eastern melody part of the story line. The girl could’ve been given an Egyptian name, but a cleverer idea was turning her home into “Mecca.” Instead of loving a girl from the wrong side of town, our hero (frantic, high-pitched excitable Gene) was hot about the street where she lived. He had an almost religious view of it, which hints that the girl's parents may be Middle Eastern immigrants. Well, he probably considered her TWAT to be “Mecca,” not the house, but this was 1963.

Exotic, driven by the haunting ‘Mecca…MECCA…MECCCCCAAA” chorus, abetted by some screaming cat-goddess in the background, and wailed by the greatest siren-voice in pop history, the tune was the best thing the Nader-Gluck team produced. But it wasn’t the only thing. Though not as prolific as some of Gluck’s other partners, Neval Nader wasn’t a one-hit wonder. He provided the music for The Fleetwoods’ “Lovers By Night, Strangers By Day,” which was the flip side to the Randy Newman-penned “They Tell me It’s Summer.” The team also scored with “Trouble is My Middle Name” recorded by The Four Pennies and “Punish Her,” which Bobby Vee took into the Top 20 in 1962.

John Gluck’s most famous co-write was still to come. With Herbert Wiener and Wally Gold, he concocted the music for “It’s My Party,” the Lesley Gore smash. By this time Gluck had been hired (along with veterans Mel Mandel and Norman Sachs) to work at Aaron Schroeder Music. Any number of people would be called in to help punch up a song. In this case, the name of one guy was left off. Seymour Gottlieb had the idea for the song, if not much of the lyrics. It was based loosely on events at his daughter Judy’s 16th birthday party.

While “It’s My Party” was instantly covered by a number of artists (notably Helen Shapiro), few have dared improve on Pitney’s “Mecca.” The Cheetahs offered a fairly insane and nauseating cover in 1964 for Philips. Playing it for punk laughs, New Zealand’s goofy Otis Mace took a shot at it in 1981. Let’s just say he was several years too late to be Elvis Costello, and that Split Enz were more authentic eccentrics.

Just two years ago, the group Varjokuva recorded it in Finland as “Mekka,” for their album “Tahti.” They finished it off with fresh lyrics in Finnish, as sung by eye-chart favorite Ky√∂sti M√§kimattila. I think it won an award at the annual Lajso Music Festival, held in a graveyard in Croatia. The winner gets to leave the graveyard.

IF you want to say something nice about Arabs, it’s that they usually try and learn the language of the country they’ve invaded. That makes it easier to send threats to the local newspaper, as well as demands to government officials: “Attention infidels, we expect free housing, all our holidays off, and very light inspection of our luggage when we travel. Do not expect us to dress like you do or believe in your decadent ways. Respect our customs or we’ll kill you.”

Compare this to Latinos. At the moment, the United States is almost bilingual. At the risk of seeming to endorse Donald Trump, there’s no question that many Latino immigrants, legal or not, don’t speak English and don't want to or need to. The government prints every booklet in Spanish, and every ATM machine has a Spanish option and call up any major business like the phone company, electric company or a baseball stadium, and you get a recorded message with a prompt to press #1 if you actually want to continue in English; #2 "para Espanol."

Back in the early 60’s, many American pop stars took pity on foreigners. “They’d learn our language if they emigrated here,” they reasoned, “but if they’re staying in Spain, let’s say, or Mexico or South America, why not re-record in phonetic Spanish?” Below, Pitney burns his uvula on a Spanish translation of “Mecca.” Egyptian pop, Spanish lyrics with too many syllables…this IS an earache. Spanish, Mr. Dylan assured us, is a loving tongue, but maybe only when spoken by Ricardo Montalban or sung by Jose Feliciano. Fact: the average lowlife Latino immigrant, like the average asshole from Brooklyn in America or Grimsby in England, speaks his language grotesquely, and usually 20 rpm too fast. It definitely doesn't help any American's ears to not only hear Spanish (or Italian or Korean or whatever) but to hear it in the mongrel version babbled by someone too stupid to learn anything else. Or as Henry Higgins, said, "Why can't people stop sounding so fucked up?"

Below, rounding out the odd covers is a vaginal one.

So far, I’ve found only one female cover version of “Mecca.” It’s from Valerie Loeffler, who recorded it back in 2009 when she was apparently a student at Gateway Regional High School (in New Jersey). She performed it in a local coffee house, pausing from her versions of Natalie Imbruglia and Anna Nalick tunes. She sang “Mecca” in honor of her grandma. Yes, the old, old lady played some old, old Pitney songs for the young girl, and surprise-surprise, one ancient tune was weird enough to find favor.

Valerie takes a sincere stab at “Mecca,” which is more than you can say for most young girlies. Too many of today's shaven babes stick to wispy and baldly off-key Taylor Swift covers, expecting guyyyysss to join their Facebook fan club and iTunes and Spotify to send them huge checks for songs nobody wants to download or hear. Valerie might not completely nail those high pitched blasts of “MECCA,” but who did? Only Gene Pitney, and that’s why the Arabs killed him. At least, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it, because this is an irreverent blog that is often full of put-ons.

Poor Gene. Had he not equated “Mecca” with lust and twat, he may be alive today. All seriousness aside, most Islamites are very nice people as long as you leave them alone, convert, tear down your church or synagogue and build a mosque, and put your wife in a fucking bee keeper’s outfit.

Oh yes, you are allowed to chew on dates, but if Papa Omar gets mad, you’ll have a misadventure with his mates.

PS, the second most upsetting possible Arab murder of a beloved creative artist would be Bob Clampett. He worked on Warner Bros. cartoons but later created the “Beany and Cecil” TV series. In one episode of the cartoon show, he had a gag in which Cecil the sea serpent announced he was going over to “Mecca Records” in order to…”mecca record.” This may have been enough to put Bob on the hit list, since the Ayatollah met with several Hamas terrorists and determined Cecil was a cartoon character, and would therefore be hard to murder.

Below, five difference variations on Mecca, including Pitney’s in Spanish. Blue Gene, baby, shall I mourn you with some Thunderbird wine and a black handkerchief? Shall I ask why in the world people are killing each other over a fucking imaginary friend they can’t prove even exists?

Well, Gene, here’s hoping you’re reading this in heaven (the real deal, not the one full of goats, but the one with angels and Mother Mary singing “Let it Be” for everyone and “He’s a Rebel” for her son).

Gene, may you be sitting on a cloud wanting something to eat, and a waitress comes over and shows you where. Or didn’t you know heaven was 24 hours from Tulsa?

GENE PITNEY MECCA (en Espanol)

OTIS MACE MECCA

THE CHEETAHS MECCA

VARJOKUVA MECCA (LIVE)

VALERIE LOEFFLER MECCA (LIVE)

PETER BROWN - The Theme from "LAWMAN"

I don’t think the death of Peter Brown (October 5, 1935 – March 21, 2016) got much coverage. You’d have to have a long memory and a fondness for vintage TV westerns to know that all-American name. The name, by the way, was originally the more exotic Pierre Lind de Lappe, but the Manhattan-born kid preferred to be called Peter. And when his mother re-married a guy named Albert Brown, he went with that new last name.

Brown’s mother was an actress (you may have heard of the “Dragon Lady” in the “Terry and the Pirates” comic strip? She played the role on radio). He wanted to be an actor, and journeyed to California…to end up working in a gas station.

He noticed a customer’s familiar name on a credit card. “Jack Warner? Are you one of the Warner Brothers??” Jack nodded, “I’m the last one left.” Brown declared himself an actor looking for a break, and Warner let him come to the studio for a test.

Back then, Warner’s TV division was loading up on handsome young guys that teen girls could adore and that would be heroic enough for men to admire. Looking good was secondary to acting well. From memory, I recall quite a few late 50’s Warner TV stars who became popular with little previous experience or success: James Garner, Jack Kelly, Will Hutchins, Ed “Kookie” Byrnes, Bob Conrad, Ty Hardin, Clint Walker, Troy Donahue and, very quickly, Peter Brown.

On “Lawman,” Brown played Deputy Johnny McKay opposite thin, wiry, super tough John Russell’s Marshal Dan Troop. There simply wasn’t a more intense figure on TV than Russell, and I’m including Clint Eastwood over on “Rawhide.” Despite his glaring and gruff demeanor, Russell was a sympathetic mentor to Peter Brown over the show’s four-year run. Neither of them showed much emotional range on the show, but that wasn’t needed. They were heroes.

An important feature of Warner westerns was a theme song to instantly tell viewers what the show was about. This song usually had a catchy melody and extremely stupid lyrics. The lighter shows like “Maverick” and “Sugarfoot” had the most ridiculous themes. “Lawman” was merely stolid and wonderfully inane.

It was the work of Jay Livingston and Mack David who had a knack for writing hokey songs folks could sing along to. Remember “Que Sera Sera” and “Buttons and Bows?” How about “Silver Bells” or Nat King Cole’s “Mona Lisa?” One of their catchiest theme songs was for “Mr. Ed.”

As for “Lawman,” it is pretty repetitive and clumsy, but some stalwart fans out there could sing the melody to this: “The Lawman came with the sun! There was a job to be done! So they sent for the badge and the gun of the Lawman!”

You get both the original TV theme and the instrumental from Al Caiola, which includes some “Rawhide” whip cracks and “Lone Ranger” hoof beats.

It probably wouldn’t surprise anyone, even antisemitic skeleton Roger Waters, to know that Livingston and Evans, authors of great Americana, were Jewish. Jay Livingston was born Jacob Levinson in Pennsylvania to immigrant parents. Ray Evans was born in New York, his father’s last name already changed via Ellis Island

Their first big hit together was “To Each His Own” in 1946. How big? I don’t think Roger Waters, the acromegaly-faced Nazi, ever had FIVE different versions of any of his songs in the Billboard Top 10 at the same time. All crowding the Top 10 together: The Ink Spots, Tony Martin, Freddie Martin, Eddie Howard and The Modernaires singing “To Each His Own.”

Peter Brown’s career would’ve gone nowhere without a Jew. Jack Warner was born Jacob Wonsai. His Polish immigrant parents had to flee Europe due to a little something called “ethnic cleansing,” which today Roger Waters believes only happens to antisemitic Ukrainians or Palesteeeeenians. He thinks Jews are no longer persecuted (even by him) and he also believes that only Israel (not even North Korea or Russia) is an apartheid dictatorship that deserves to be shunned.

But I digress.

After the TV western craze of the late 50’s subsided, each season brought only a few new oaters. Peter Brown luckily latched onto a new one in the mid-60’s. The cult classic “Laredo” borrowed from “The Three Musketeers” and the 1939 movie “Gunga Din,” in offering a look at a trio of heroes who just happened to have a carefree sense of humor and a delight in pranking each other like friendly enemies. Neville Brand was the older one, the butt of most of the practical jokes. William Smith appealed to guys who could be inspired to try body-building and getting a muscular body like “Joe Riley.” Peter Brown was intended to help draw in some female viewership, as stalwart “Chad Cooper.” The exuberant (lyricless) theme song was by Russ Garcia, and the original soundtrack probably sets some kind of record for the most distracting gunshots, which seem to number in the dozens. It’s really hard to listen to without the visuals.

In the 70’s Brown starred in some exploitation films (notably “Foxy Brown”) and spent most of the 70's and 80's moistening vaginas over 40 by starring in various daytime soap operas. Those growing up in the 50’s and 60’s never forgot “Johnny McKay” or “Chad Cooper,” and would eagerly wait for him to turn up at “western star memorabilia rodeo” shows. The somewhat elusive star had other things to do than stand around while paunchy idiot Hoobastanks clutched him around the shoulder, and grinned yellow cheesy smiles, paying $20 for a pose and an autograph. That’s why if you check eBay, a Peter Brown autographed photo is usually in the $50 range, or more. It’s a tribute that if you want a signed Brown, you need a lot of green.

AL CAIOLA LAWMAN

ORIGINAL THEME AS BROADCAST LAWMAN

SUICIDE IS PAINLESS - ROGER WILLIAMS for KEITH EMERSON

At “the blog of less renown,” famous performers rarely get mentioned. They don’t need it. Their work is easy to find. Only vain idiots would bother upping an entire discography as a “tribute,” adding their own stupid Nazi name as a password (for what they merely stole from other blogs). They do it to get a free Freakyshare account or bitcoins. Some are so pathetic they only want a “nice comment” in return, one that will rock their Swedish-meatball middle-aged fat-faced lonely loser world. English being a second language, stealing a write up from "All Music" and pretending they wrote it, and adding "RIP" is their 16rpm speed.

So, no, you get no ELP or Nice albums here. If you really cared you would’ve bought them already. If you really need an introduction to this stuff, you must be very young or very senile, and that’s your problem not mine.

No, the reason Keith Emerson (November 2, 1944-March 10, 2016) is mentioned here is to acknowledge two things about him that are greater than the sum of his 20 minute show-off organ solos or whatever he did that made progfrogs consider him right up there with Rick Wakeman as a genius of “classical” rock.

Looking at the bigger picture, what makes this guy’s death important even to those who hated his rock groups, is how it happened and what led up to it.

Point One: he suffered from intestinal problems. Add the recently deceased Glenn Frey (colitis), as well as Patty Duke today (death due to sepsis from a ruptured intestine) aging rock fans are beginning to see that food over-processed and chemically altered by modern farming techniques is kicking us in the gut. Maybe some of this doesn’t outright kill us, but it fucks our quality of life and often makes us susceptible to something lethal. Let’s add David Bowie’s cancer to this. Our innards are getting corrupted and it seems the odds are much greater now of getting lethal liver, pancreas or intestine rot than a good ol’ quick heart attack.

More and more people are finding, like the late Keith Emerson and Glenn Frey, that immune-deficiency is a hell on earth. Medication taken to stop the body from attacking itself can also stop the body from defending itself.

This situation has been building over several decades. No less an indestructible force than Frank Sinatra suffered from diverticulitis and had to deal with a very shitty situation involving a colostomy bag before he got any kind of cure. And what happened next? He began to wither in confusion and more misery. His son had prostate cancer and not too long after that, a fatal heart attack.

Most of us grew up never knowing about diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, AIDS, SARS, ebola, or some of the other seemingly new or newly festering illnesses out there. These things mutate pretty quickly, and one thing leads to another. Glenn Frey had colitis, then arthritis, and seemingly well enough to appear at reunion Eagles concerts, he ended up in a coma, and dead. And before Keith Emerson shot himself?

Here’s a Facebook post from Keith Emerson, from 2010.

No, that doesn't sound like fun, does it? People kill themselves in the midst of problems like that. Yes, Keith Emerson “got better.” Just as Glenn Frey and Sinatra Jr. “got better.” Emerson found more ailments creeping up on him, and his quality of life diminishing. Did he see any hope in dangerous drugs that can cause cancer or suicidal depression? Now we know what drug Del Shannon should NOT have taken. Do we know what warnings should be ignored on new wonder drugs like Remicade or Humera? You’re putting your life in your hands listening to a doctor, a second opinion, or ignoring either opinion. No winners, it seems.

Patty Duke’s sepsis from a ruptured intestine? I’m not sure if that’s a common problem but I would not be surprised if it’s becoming one because our bodies are so weakened by pollution, stress and lack of proper nourishment. Some of this you can blame on the government allowing the Monsanto bunch to do as they please, but a lot is the fault of ignorant slobs who don’t care what poisons they put in their bodies in the guise of a “happy meal.”

While various fan-assholes grumbled that Keith Emerson was a “coward” for killing himself, and depriving them of another tour, or a new album they can complain “isn’t as good as the old ones, just like we were disappointed by the new Jethro Tull and Vanilla Fudge…”) let’s dismiss them. They are FAN ASSHOLES. They are likely to live a shorter life than Keith Emerson because they are happily gorging on ham from shit-covered pigs loaded with infections, burgers from mad cows, and “wings” from bacteria-infected chickens. All washed down with a soda containing 8 spoonfuls of sugar.

The ones who don’t understand Emerson’s suicide, or shrug that Frey somehow just “died too soon” and that’s fate, are just ignorant fools. They laugh at climate change and smirk as they order that “heart attack on a plate” at the deli. They also don’t realize that for every star’s suicide there are hundreds and thousands of ordinary people going that same route, which means the problem is much more severe than what Todd Rundgren once called the “tortured artist effect.”

And so it was, that Keith Emerson put an end to his misery. “Suicide is Painless,” as the song says.

Your download is the Roger Williams cover version of the M*A*S*H theme, since it’s a lot more obscure than the one on the original soundtrack to the movie. You’d expect the song to get the stereotypical Roger Williams treatment of “falling leaves” piano glissandos but this item is closer to what a Percy Faith would’ve done. It’s got a full orchestra (which Roger did not conduct), and even a chorus just like the film. The TV show never did offer a lyrical version of “Suicide is Painless” in any episode. Maybe Alan Alda and his gang knew something from operating on people who tried to kill themselves and didn’t quite complete the job? Maybe suicide isn’t painless. You can’t ask Keith Emerson.

Roger Williams Suicide is Painless

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Final Score: Frank Sinatra 82 - Frank Sinatra Jr. 72

The ad for the show Frank Sinatra Jr. had to cancel.

Frank Sinatra Jr. (January 10, 1944-March 16, 2016) was a realist about his mediocre career. A few years before his sudden heart attack (while touring in Florida) he reflected: ’I’ve never been a success. I have never had a hit movie, a hit television program, a hit record. It would have been good for my personal integrity, my personal dignity to have had something like that. I have never made a success in terms of my own right. I have been very good at re-creation. But that is something that pleases me because my father's music is so magnificent.”

Junior’s career, especially in the past 25 years, was basically being a tribute act. Aging Baby Booers now mellow enough to appreciate "The American Songbook" might go to his shows, but were more likely to try for a ticket to a Tony Bennett-Lady Gaga show. The crowd for Junior was mostly old farts. They'd come up to him for an autograph, either saying, “You did your Dad proud,” or “You’re pretty good in your own right.” Or some other pathetic “compliment.”

The sad fact is that Frank just never fit into the slots that were occupied by his contemporaries, who were either successful Sinatra imitators (Bobby "Beyond the Sea" Darin) or had the puppy-eyes and soft round faces to be teen idols (Paul Anka comes to mind). If teenagers sighed "Frankie" in 1965 it was over Frankie...Avalon, who looked natural in a swim suit. Frank Sinatra Jr. was a stiff; he sang cold, and he looked too much like his father. No, he didn't even have that ONE hit that goofy Gary (son of Jerry) Lewis managed. That had to burn him up.

Gary Lewis or his manager managed to find a hit song in "This Diamond Ring," and was also able to regurgitate a hit by re-covering "Sealed with a Kiss" in 1968. Gary wasn't a great singer but he was a typical nerdy teenager and Jerry fans identified with him. By contrast, teens didn't like Frank Sinatra and were lukewarm to the guy's stone-faced son. They DID like his sister, though. Nancy Sinatra was a star in the mid and late 60's with a string of hits. Well, Nancy Sinatra Jr. didn't have the shadow of her famous mother in her way. After some experimenting, she ended up a blonde toughie, rocking C&W with her "Boots." Frank Junior was stuck with looking like his father and having the same name and...making poor choices with his singles. And albums.

Frank, Mr. Nepotism, did indeed sign his son to Reprise back in 1965. The debut album seemed to emphasizes this was "Frank JUNIOR," as the boy was dressed in a tux and singing Daddy's rejects, shit like "S' Wonderful" and "I Got the Sun in the Morning." It was with RCA Victor in 1967 that the kid had his best shot at singles success. At the time, there was still a chance for a singer or 30 or 40 or even older to score a hit if the song was something catchy by Mancini or Bacharach or Jimmy Webb. Below, two examples of what Junior chose.

“Building with a Steeple,” which opens in a minor key, as if it might break into a Del Shannon “Stranger in Town” rocker, limps toward Lee Hazlewood. But instead of singing ala sullen and gritty Lee, Junior can’t stop a’swingin’ and his vocal style just doesn’t fit the song.

“Shadows on a Foggy Day,” has backing from “High Hopes” brats. It’s a sappy happy sunshine song that in no way brings fog or shadows to mind. And who gives a crap if a rich man's son is happy? Frank Senior, on drek like "High Hopes" or his duet with daughter Nancy on "Something Stupid," was enough of an actor to fake some charm. Junior just couldn't seem to do it, and his pavement-hard vocals don't levitate what should be a cheery and optimistic fluff song.

Bobby Darin remained the young listener's Sinatra till Bobby died. The field was then dominated by Paul Anka in a tuxedo, and hipper satellites like Tom Jones and Neil Diamond. Junior issued the embarrassingly titled "His Way" in 1972 and spent the next 20 years being a budget version of his father in smaller venues, and then moving on to being the nostalgia link to the past, when the alternatives were non-relatives like Steve Lawrence, Jack Jones and Tony Bennett.

Yeah, pity the guy a bit, since being the son of a famous man can be tough. Frank Sr. wasn’t around much in Junior's early life. He was busy with his career, not the type to play baseball with his son or sit around playing with crayons or watching cartoons and watching the boy laugh. Nope. Frank would’ve preferred to be out drinking, and slamming Ava Gardner. Junior had to grow up fast and deal with a lack of fatherly warmth.

Frank Jr. became famous for being kidnapped. After four frightening days as a captive to a bunch of clueless cretins, he was rescued and they were jailed. Some considered it all a “publicity stunt.” To his credit, the kid bore up well under the ordeal, and also under the camera flashes that greeted him wherever he went. He developed, if not poise, stoicism. A stone face. The result was that over the years people didn't feel that sorry for him. He seemed to be polite and distant to fans and to even friends. When he died, even his own family reacted with little emotion.

If you checked Facebook, you saw very unemotional posts about him. Mia Farrow (who was a year younger than Frank when she married his father) offered the standard "condolences" and "RIP." Farrow used that familiar "Rest in Piece" shorthand? Really? That's how rock forum members used to dismiss some bore who died. They'd hear that some guy who used to upload Ray Price and Ernest Tubb albums died, and all they'd do is maybe add "RIP" to the list of others who couldn't be moved to add anything more. Yeah, RIP, Lazy Rebel. RIP. RIP. Condolences.

As for 75 year-old Nancy, her dry-eyed Facebook post added the line "Keep Warm, Frankie," which sounds like a a sarcastic suggestion as to his final destination. She did get some "nice" comments from, er, the late Ava Gardner, and Joe Piscopo, the SNL comic who used to get some snickers by imagining Frank Sr. singing disco tunes in a burly Joisy accent.

Junior didn't seem to get along with anyone too warmly. He was married only once, and it lasted for two years, just enough to squeeze out a son. The son, Michael Sinatra, offered this quote: “He was a man who was loved so much despite being so flawed - and that was always a great inspiration for me.”

A few months ago I watched the HBO documentary on Frank, and Junior did much of the talking for the family. His tone was clipped, dry, and strangest thing of all, he insisted on calling his father “Sinatra,” and not “Dad,” saying it was “out of respect.” Warmth apparently didn’t come that easily to him, and perhaps the majority of people noted the chill and that was why he didn’t make it too big in show business. He gave off the vibe of a Sinatra impersonator, settling for a career he really didn’t want for himself, but making the best of the cards he’d been dealt.

JUNIOR BUILDING WITH A STEEPLE

JUNIOR SHADOWS ON A FOGGY DAY

Another Dead Jewish Woman: GOGI GRANT (“The Wayward Wind”)

A few months ago, it was Kitty Kallen. Now we say Kaddish for another Jewish woman who had her name changed so she seemed she was born in Tennessee. Philadelphia’s Myrtle Audrew Arinsberg (September 20, 1924 – March 10, 2016) became, thanks to her record label, “GOGI GRANT.” If that first name seems impossibly stupid, well, it was the era of America’s Binnie Barnes and England’s Googie Withers.

Grant’s strong, mystical “The Wayward Wind” blew Elvis Presley’s ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ off the #1 spot exactly 60 years ago. It was an unlikely achievement for a 30-something, who had begun her recording career only a year earlier. On the small Era record label she'd had the modestly charting “Suddenly There’s a Valley.”

Back then, anything could happen…if you had the right name. An Italian became a cowboy song hero as “Frankie Laine.” And so Gogi, and Kitty Kalen (and Dinah Shore) passed as wholesome middle-Americans, not Jews to be jeered or stolen from by every Hans and Christer. I once had a discussion about this phenomenon with Gene Simmons, and how sad it was that he couldn't have been the hip, hot, rocking leader of KISS if he remained Gene Klein. Wouldn't it be nice if stereotypes could be smashed? "Yeah, I know what you're saying," came the reply. But he added he was happy being Gene Simmons. Just as Bob Zimmerman was more comfortable as Bob Dylan.

While racism implies that you’ll be shut out if you don’t assimilate, many nice people simply expect certain stereotypes in their lives. They want their Italian restaurant run by Italians. They want a Jewish accountant. A yoga instructor from India. Speaking of India, we may know that Ben Kingsley was born Krishna Pandit Bhanji, but we appreciate him taking the effort to toss his 'eathen real name AND, allow him to play Gandhi because we know what his real name was.

“The Wayward Wind” was the perfect storm of singer and song. Her follow up, available below, was the predictable “When The Tide is High.” Chart failure didn't bother Gogi much. Her fame was strong enough to take her to a Hollywood studio where she dubbed Ann Blyth for the musical biopic “The Helen Morgan Story.” The soundtrack was a best-seller. The following year, 1958, she starred in “The Big Beat,” one of those jukebox movies full of top singers and musicians of the day.

Gogi issued three RCA albums in 1958-59, “Welcome to My Heart,” “Torch Time,” and “Granted it’s Gogi,” but there was a lot of competition in singing “The American Songbook.” Her versions of songs such as “That’s My Desire” were very competent but not all that exciting. Fans seemed to long for tangy country-lilted things like "The Wayward Wind." Another aspect of stereotype is expecting a star to stay in the style that made 'em famous.

Willing to try roots music again, Gogi recorded a 1960 album for Liberty called “If You Want to Get to Heaven.” It was loaded with Gospel shouters, which seemed to reinforce the idea that she was Christian. Her next and last stop was CRC-Charter in 1964: “City Girl in the Country.”

40 years later, 80 years old, Gogi Grant thrilled nostalgists by singing “The Wayward Wind” on a PBS nostalgia special.

Gogi did herself proud that night. She was one of the highlights. Reports say that she was still turning up for cameo stage appearances into her late 80's. And, no, Gogi did not end up cremated, and tossed into "The Wayward Wind." She can be found at Hillside Memorial Park, a Jewish cemetery in Los Angeles that is also the final rest for Jack Benny, Eddie Cantor, Leonard Nimoy, David Janssen, Michael Landon, Lorne Greene, Milton Berle, Al Jolson, Allan Sherman, Dinah Shore and Moe of The Three Stooges.

GOGI GRANT When the Tide is High

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

JIMMIE RODGERS - (When I was) LEADER OF THE BAND

Some years ago, Jimmie Rodgers autographed a CD for me and said, “Say hello to Bobby Cole for me.” While they were not exactly similar in style, they covered some of the same songs, had some of the same highs and lows, and ironically, wrote eerie, beautiful ballads about age and fame.

Bobby’s most legendary number is “Growing Old.” Sometimes, late at night in a club, he'd offer “So Sleeps the Pride,” a bittersweet meditation on his time in the spotlight. He never recorded it, which his fans always lamented. And Jimmie Rodgers, who did record the pensive “Child of Clay” never waxed “Leader of the Band.” It appears below via a live rendition done some 16 years ago.

Sadly (on this day that we remember the passing of George Martin at 90), in the case of both Bobby and Jimmie, there wasn’t a producer (or agent, or manager) able to take a “Growing Old” or “Leader of the Band” to some influential artist who could make it into a hit. Of course in that regard, luck plays a part. The well-connected Randy Newman hoped Frank Sinatra would cover the bitter “Lonely at the Top.” Frank never did.

James Rodgers was born September 18th, 1933 in Camas, Washington. The other Jimmie Rodgers, a legendary C&W star, had died several months earlier. By the time Rodgers began performing, there didn’t seem any reason to worry about any confusion with the long dead competition. Now, of course, any Google of “Jimmie Rodgers" will get a pastiche of both. It doesn’t help modern confusion that Jimmie’s early singles, like the 1957 hit “Honeycomb” sound quaintly country and might be mistaken for much earlier C&W fare. Jimmie also covered a lot of folk songs in those early days.

After his breakout year (aside from "Honeycomb" he also married, and made his “Ed Sullivan Show” debut), Rodgers was welcomed on live show tours around the country. In 1958 and 1959 he was on the same bill with The Everly Brothers, Paul Anka, The Tune Weavers, Eddie Cochran, and Buddy Holly among others. Yes, Jimmie was going to be part of Buddy Holly’s ill-fated winter tour, but had to cancel due to illness. Jimmie continued to have hit records, but not all the money that he deserved. This was because he was on the notorious Roulette Records, which labelmate Tommy James would later expose as Mafia-run.

In 1963, Jimmie moved over to Dot Records, and in 1967 with folk-rock now popular, signed with A&M, the label that also had faith in Phil Ochs. Rodgers’ career, which had flagged a bit, instantly gained a strong new direction via his ballad “Child of Clay.” But 1967 ended up as the worst year of his life.

Rodgers told Rolling Stone (in a 1986 "Where are they Now" piece), “"I got beaten up by an off-duty Los Angeles policeman. I went to a Christmas party in December of 1967. On the way home a car pulled up behind me, blinked its lights. I pulled over and stopped. This guy got out, stood outside the car. I rolled down the window, and he hit me through the open window with a bar or something. I don't know what transpired because I was unconscious. I might have said something to him, 'Who are you?' or whatever, and that's all it took. Whether I cut him off on the road or what, we don't really know."

It’s possible Rodgers was being vague out of worry for the still-powerful president of Roulette, who had made no secret of telling people that if they dared to leave the label they’d get the same treatment as Rodgers. Apparently the mob, following Oscar Wilde's advice ("revenge is a dish best served cold") had waited a few years for the right time to get Jimmie, which coincided with his big comeback and new hit single. Rodgers wasn’t beaten up by just one off-duty cop. There were three on the scene, and all became implicated when Jimmie ultimately sued and settled.

The cop version seemed to change from an excuse that Jimmie was drunk and had needed to be subdued after being pulled over, to the even more ludicrous insistence that Jimmie had merely fallen down and injured himself. Once he had stopped falling down and injuring himself, they’d merely put him in his car and abandoned him so he could sleep it off.

Rodgers went through three brain surgeries. His loyal pal Joey Bishop publicized the problems via his late night talk show. He interviewed Rodgers during his road to recovery, and booked Jimmie in 1969 for a comeback appearance. It was at this point that I really became aware of this singer. Yes, I sort of knew of those early hits, but it was traumatic for a kid to see a guy lying in a hospital bed half-dead, and a comedian (Bishop) somberly interviewing him and wishing him well. (Years later, when I had a chance to communicate with Bishop, I mentioned that my first memory of him was not the sitcoms or stand-up, but his talk show and his concern for Jimmie Rodgers).

Unfortunately, Jimmie’s health situation was still far from perfect: “I started having convulsions,” he recalled. “I couldn’t get back. Nobody wanted me.” The fragile ex-pop star worked for a while painting houses. He eventually found his way back to the less strenuous world of show business, and was well enough to record again…and suffer the usual problems an artist has. He went into the studio in Nashville for a session, and nothing happened. A while later, somebody had seized the masters and marketed a 2 record set on K-Tel; no profit to Jimmie. He eventually managed to buy back the masters, but it didn’t do him much good with a semi-bootleg already out for several years.

Here at the blog where Mr. Ochs is so well remembered, I do have to say that for me, the most important part of Jimmie’s career remains the A&M years, and the folk rock material, not the happy folk stuff, pop material or C&W tracks. His best new song, "Leader of the Band," echoes the mood of the introspective A&M years.

Rodgers continued his sporadic comeback of live shows, records, and original songs. He was among the aging pop stars who managed to find a home in Branson, Missouri, where he had a small theater and played to the nostalgia trade…home folks who mostly wanted to hear “Honeycomb” or ‘Sweeter than Wine” or “that song that they re-wrote for the Oh-Oh Spaghettio’s commercials!”

Rodgers left Branson for semi-retirement some years ago, and his last gig, according to his website, was in Sandusky, Ohio, in August of 2014. I’m sure he gave the crowd a lot of smiles and a helping of “Honeycomb.” I don’t know if he went to open D tuning and sang about those days when he was…”Leader of the Band.”

Jimmie Rodgers Leader of the Band

BYE BYE BLACKBIRD? WHAT WHAT? (Gene Austin)

Funny, that a song written 90 years ago (1926) needs to be explained. Some think that “Bye Bye Blackbird” is some kind of racist tune, and that at best, it’s sung by a black who is happy to get away from a bunch of rednecks.

As the old sheet music above would indicate, the song is actually about bidding a symbolic farewell to the black bird of gloom. This, as opposed to Poe's "Raven," who still is sitting, still is sitting...

It’s easy to spin-doctor this old song, especially when you consider that “Blackbird” by Paul McCartney does indeed have a racial message. Macca insisted that the song was inspired by the plight of blacks in America, and anyone finding a double-meaning in black birds as either birds or oppressed humans was on solid ground.

A few weeks ago, Dave Grohl sang “Blackbird” at the Academy Awards, offering dual meanings. It was sung during the “In Memorium” segment, with visuals of some deceased stars (Lizabeth Scott) but not others (Abe Vigoda). Obviously the message was that those now with sunken eyes would be heaven-bound. The more coded but intentional double meaning was: “Hey, the Oscars failed to nominate Will Smith and other black birds, so they’re racist!"

So, what about “Bye Bye Blackbird?”

The song was written by two white guys, composer Ray Henderson and lyricist Mort Dixon. From the start it was sung by just about everyone from white man Gene Austin to black woman Josephine Baker. Whoever sang it, it was a croon with an uptempo jazz beat; the singer is happy and optimistic about leaving for someplace better:

Blackbird, blackbird singing the blues all day
Right outside of my door.
Blackbird, blackbird why do you sit and say
There's no sunshine in store?
All through the winter you hung around.
Now I begin to feel homeward bound.
Blackbird, blackbird gotta be on my way
Where there's sunshine galore.

The infamous chorus has a bit of sadness to it (“No one here can love or understand me, oh the hard luck stories they all hand me.”) But the good news is that the singer is headed home: “Where somebody waits for me, sugar’s sweet, so is she [or he].” It's probable that the racial tinge to the song came from so many quick versions of the song eliminating all but the sorrowful chorus.

In the second stanza, the bird shifts color, from the black bird of misery to the bluebird of happiness:

Bluebird, bluebird, calling me far away
I've been longing for you.
Bluebird, bluebird, what do I hear you say?
Skies are turning to blue, I'm like a flower that's fading here,
Where ev'ry hour is one long tear.
Bluebird, bluebird this is my lucky day.
Now my dreams will come true.

The era was loaded with songs about change and movement (“Toot Toot Tootsie, Goodbye”) as well as every cliche about color, including “Blue Skies” as symbolic of carefree tranquility.

Yes, there were also songs that addressed race, and used color symbolism. Fats Waller comes to mind with his song "(What Did I Do To Be So) Black and Blue)?" But, “Bye Bye Blackbird” ain’t one of ‘em.

Side note: Puffins are now on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. They join the depleted ranks of European Turtle Doves, Pochards and Slavonian Grebes. Among others. So in addition to a hipster reference to Charlie Parker ("Bird Lives") let's not neglect other species. "BIRD LIVES MATTER." GENE AUSTIN Bye Bye Blackbird

Monday, February 29, 2016

You Cunts! Beatle John diddles them San Francisco Bay Blues

One of the stupidest songs ever recorded is "San Francisco Bay Blues." It's one of those shitty up-tempo pseudo-vaudevillian pieces of crap. It's the kind of "let's wear bell bottoms and hold flowers" things that an Andy Williams might've sung on a 60's variety show, in a duet with Cher and/or Mama Cass (the vaginal Laurel and Hardy).

The irony is that it's an actual blues, written by a black guy named Jesse Fuller back around 1954. Unfortunately, he was a "one man band" who apparently was a novelty act for crowds of affluent white tourists. Based on a YouTube video of him doing this awful song, I can imagine him on the pier, banging his drum, twanging his guitar, and yeah, tooting a fucking harmonica between choruses, smiling as the hat on the ground filled with coins. Who was in San Francisco back then besides vacationers looking for amusement and a fish dinner with Rice-a-Roni?

By the late 60's the hipsters and the Boho homos took over. For the latter, "Ghirardelli Chocolate" was just code for wanting to ass-fuck an Italian. Also by then blues and R&B were eclipsed by several nefarious music forms, all of them somehow warping "San Francisco Bay Blues" like Jimmy Savile alone with a child.

Fuller's corny tune was picked up by the late 50's and early 60's folkies, the "let's all wear the same striped t-shirts" 3-man folk groups. They tricked up this blues piece the same way they trivialized Mexican rhythms ("Tijuana Jail") and hammering a mild joke into an overbearingly rousing gag tune ("The M.T.A. Song.") If you could get the crowd banging spoons on the table at the notion of a man unable to get off a fucking subway train because he didn't have a nickel (and his wife threw him sandwiches each day INSTEAD of a nickel), then the "snappy" ode to S.F. Bay was just your cup of espresso.

I'm not sure if one-man-band Fuller played kazoo or that was an affectation added by Greenwich Village musos, the type who failed to impress some girl who wore all-black clothes and mascara that could've been applied by a State Highway tar crew. The type who ended up coming home alone to moodily smoke an un-filtered Pall Mall, tap the bongos, and listen to Jean Shepherd musing on life's miseries on late night radio.

From the early 60's when Ramblin' Jack and the sprightly Peter Paul & Mary covered it, "San Francisco Bay Blues," like the infamous chicken, laid in the middle of the road. There it was plucked up by most any lame late 60's act. By then there was a new type of MOR music. One writer who got diverticulitis from sucking a lollipop with his ass all day called it "zunshine pop." You know the genre. It included retro-20's schlock and outright crap: "Winchester Cathedral," "Lady Godiva" and "Up Up and Away."

I don't know if this bit of Charleston Chew spewed from the gobs of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band or Ian Whitcomb, but I wouldn't doubt it. I'm sure it was a fave of all those psyche-dipshit bands that were melding pop and jug band or New Orleans "funk," and naming themselves Fungo Jerry or maybe Bill Wicks and His Dipsticks. Remember them? They were the kind that had at least one member wearing a top hat and a handlebar mustache, another never smiling, another was always grinning like an imbecile, and the lead singer milking crowd reaction with a prop box containing Mickey Mouse gloves, oversized orange granny glasses and a version of the arrow-through-the-head trick.

One thing about "San Francisco Bay Blues" that you have to admit: it's catchy. Downright infectious. It almost invites a Clark Terry parody. Terry you'll recall, performed "Mumbles," his "tribute" to marble-mouthed Ray Charles-styled blues singers. Well, ex-Beatle John, who was a wicked guy, would sometimes play around in the studio parodying rock stars and styles. He probably wore out his copy of Peter Sellers taking the piss out of Lonnie Donnegan. And so, sick and tired of uptight mama's little chauvinists in the recording booth taking too long of a toke break when he wanted to make some recordings, he skiffled over "San Francisco Bay Blues," mocking-up the lyrics, strumming like he had Formby's uke, and ending with an appropriate curse.

Off you go...

John's Minute Doodle of San Francisco Bay Blues

Friday, February 19, 2016

Red Skelton and a Phil Ochs pianist: "SPRING DAY"

What's that photo? It looks like the late Red Skelton, spiritually guiding Lincoln Mayorga through a performance of "Spring Day."

In dreams. It's a Photoshop job; Mayorga on stage was playing Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" as part of "Broadway on Ice." The show was at the Royal Opera House (in Oman, of all places) back in December of 2014. No photo of Gershwin superimposed, much less "one of America's clowns," as Red humbly billed himself.

In just a month, we'll encounter our first "Spring Day." Maybe only one, considering climate change.

Some 50 years ago, Red was interested in emulating other musical comedians, from Chaplin to Jackie Gleason (who was very successful conducting "easy listening" albums). Red would eventually write his own theme song, to be played when he walked on stage for his one-man shows. In the mid 60's, Liberty gave him a two album deal conducting standards and some self-written numbers as well.

Leading off the second album is "Spring Day," a Skelton original. Like every other cut on the album, it was arranged by Lincoln Mayorga. Phil Ochs fans will instantly know that name. Mayorga supplied the fascinating piano work on several of Phil's A&M albums. It might be a bit of a stretch, but Lincoln's piano embroidery for "Spring Day" might recall the burlesque of easy listening that he did on Phil's track "The Party," probably only a year or two later.

In a Spring day in March, Lincoln Mayorga will turn 79. You can find out much more about him at his dotcom.

As we look to Spring, we can hope (against hope) for some good new music in the world. Maybe some of it will come from comedians. I once had a lively talk with Phyllis Diller on the kind of band we could assemble made up of comedians (Phyllis on piano, Jackie Vernon on trumpet, Morey Amsterdam on cello, Henny Youngman and Jack Benny on violins, Woody Allen on clarinet, Pete Barbutti and Judy Tenuta on accordion, etc.)

Steve Allen was a pianist and Johnny Carson a drummer; today's late night stars are also musical and some very ambitious about it, too. Jimmy Kimmel plays clarinet. His CBS rival Stephen Colbert recently tried to replace James Taylor in duetting "Mockingbird" with guest Carly Simon. The most obsessed of the lot is Jimmy Fallon who will strum a guitar and imitate (ad nauseum) Neil Young. He has insisted on doing karaoke regularly. He has done the good (a duet with McCartney imagining what "Yesterday" would've been like if it had remained "Scrambled Eggs") the bad (literally falling all over the piano and the stage while duetting with Billy Joel) and the ugly (too much to chronicle here.)

The late musical comedian Michael Flanders recalled enjoying a Spring day in Great Britain: "I missed it last year. I was in the bath." Just in case the temperatures do indeed shift rapidly from cold and rainy to overbearingly hot and humid, you can perpetually enjoy THIS "Spring Day" below. And if that's not optimism, well, it's not.

RED SKELTON SPRING DAY

BOBBY COLE - "GROWING OLD" (10 Years After)

Ten years ago on this date, THIS BLOG appeared.

One of the first things I posted was "Growing Old," written and recorded by my late friend Bobby Cole.

We didn't talk much about his old songs. He was pretty modest about his sheet music, his many looseleaf binders of music study, and whatever "unreleased" material he was still working on. I remember checking out some of the songs and asking, "Why did you write them down in such complicated keys?" Much of his stuff was in 4 flats, 3 sharps, etc. He said, "Hadn't thought of that."

And then we were off for a walk, or a discussion of beer, women, and anything but song. After all, you don't expect a doctor or a lawyer to "talk shop" after hours? They're trying to get away from it.

There's no getting away from today's anniversary, so I'll acknowledge it. Yep, 10 years of this blog. But I have no profound comment to make about it; no paragraphs of nostalgia about all the changes over the years. As with Bobby and his music, living it was enough. Just enjoy what remains. The blog has some 1,000 or so links. And below is one of them.

Ten years ago I wrote:

"I'm Growing Old" is Sinatra's "It Was a Very Good Year" gone very bad. The singer here isn't looking backward fondly, he's accepting a very unpleasant future. The song puts a final chord on the forewarning of an earlier song (on Bobby's solo album) called "Lover Boy."

In that one, he tells a playboy that Life will eventually provide the truth: "taking in exchange...your youth." Here, the truth is "I'm Growing Old," and it's so painful Bobby told me that grown men in the audience would cry. That might also explain why Lou Rawls emphatically turned this song down when Bobby offered it. PS, Bobby had better luck when Nancy Sinatra covered one of his tunes (Flowers)."

BOBBY COLE I'M GROWING OLD

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Angie Bowie Tribute: ZIGGY STARDUST in French by NUIT D'OCTOBRE

From inside a British reality TV madhouse, Angie Bowie cried, "The Stardust is Gone!"

She wasn't referring to the eye shadow on David Gest. She was referring to the death of her ex, David Bowie, aka Ziggy Stardust, The Thin White Duke, Aladdin Sane and The Avant Garde Anthony Newley. The news was so sad she eventually quit the show. Which was too bad, because before that, Gest had also quit, and she probably had a good chance of winning the grand prize. Which I think was a box of Kit-Kats without the wafers.

Longtime readers know that this is the "blog of less renown." (Some might even get the obscure Les Brown band reference). No way a guy as famous as David Bowie needs a tribute here.

But…how about Nuit D'Octobre? The scant album notes on the obscure "Dark Side of David Bowie" album only say of the Swiss band: "Still not well known, they really deserve more attention." So let's take the death of Bowie to give it to them. And let's also take a moment to offer a kind word or two for Angie.

It was 20 years ago today, give or take a day or a year, when a German record label got the idea to do a tribute to Bowie. They cobbled together indie, goth, alternative and heavy metal acts who covered the songs in various sober, artsy and sludgy ways. The band names were certainly a lotta fun: Crimson Joy, Syria, Dreadful Shadows, Gallery of Fear, Burning Gates, Kill the Audience, etc.

It was probably around that time that I met Angie Bowie for the first and only time. I was at a party with my better half (there has to be one!). She (the better half) was getting bored trying to identify the D-list celebrities (I think she was tempted to include me as one). We noticed a very gregarious (ie, over-served) lady who seemed to find everything hilarious, and who seemed to know everyone. We didn't want to know her. Happy people make us irritable.

Happenstance and no other available seating got us next to her, and to our surprise, when she turned her extroverted joy in our direction it changed our mood. She was really good company. It was maybe an hour before we made the connection that the lady who introduced herself simply as "Angie," was in fact, Angie Bowie. We figured it out the more the conversation turned to our mutual tastes in music.

While she is often treated with scorn and derision, for me, the name Angie Bowie conjures a memory of warmth and joy.

As for David Bowie, I'll agree he influenced just about every publicity-seeking artist in the world. After his death, dozens of unlikely rock and pop stars insisted he was a major influence. Madonna conspicuously wanted to make the connection in the days after his death, to the point of hilariously fainting face-first after doing "tribute song" to him.

No question the guy legitimately influenced many struggling bands who began by covering a particular look of his, and ultimately forge a more original identity to create new and worthy songs. I just can't think of any. After all, whatever became of the people on the "Dark Side of David Bowie" album, like NUIT d'OCTOBRE? Oh, "Ziggy Stardust is Gone..." but here, their French language cover version lives on.

ZIGGY STARDUST Nuit d'Octobre

The bittersweet "LOVE THEME FROM SHIP OF FOOLS"

Bob Dylan may have said it best: "Too bad what we have can't last."

But musically, there's still a shimmer to Ernest Gold's poignant "Love Theme" from "Ship of Fools."

As you might guess from the movie's title, "Ship of Fools" was symbolic, pretentious and overly long.

Even so, it had some vivid moments of foolish if not appalling behavior. Most of the latter concerned particular forms of cruelty to animals, immigrants and Jews, among other easy targets.

The film, based on Katherine Anne Porter's novel, also focused on the angst of relationships sinking like the Titanic or going as wrong as most any Carnival Cruise.

For a "love theme," this piece is very sad. This confused me at the time, since I hadn't actually seen the film when I bought the record. Back in the day, when new albums pushed the older ones aside pretty quickly, soundtracks were an endangered species. Once the film was out of the theater, the "souvenir" music album would go to the bargain bin. I figured if the movie had a well-known composer involved, why not give it a try?

I finally saw the film recently, and it turns out the moment that uses this music in the background, is indeed sad. Oskar Werner plays the ship's doctor, who has a heart condition, and Simone Signoret is a washed-up drug addict. Their feelings for each other are tender. Their prospects for a happy future? Well, tough.

In the movie still above, you see Oskar Werner contemplating the problem, and thinking, "Does she remind me more of Broderick Crawford in drag, or Lon Chaney Jr.?"

Among the other stars making the film worthwhile; Lee Marvin as a boorish baseball player, Vivien Leigh in her last role, and a little fellow who once, with a female partner, sang songs in New York City cabarets: Michael Dunn.

SHIP OF FOOLS Love Theme by ERNEST GOLD

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

BLOWFLY IS DEAD...like ROTTEN FISH

The past week has seen the progrock world moaning about The Thin White Duke, Smiley the "Breathlessly Beautiful," and the drummer from "Mott the Hoople." I think you knew better than to anticipate a tribute on this blog to them. They have more than enough fans. So the salute here is to BLOWFLY, and I have more albums by him than the other three put together. Which isn't to say that any of 'em even contain a song at the same level as "Space Oddity" or "Putting Out Fire (the theme for Cat People)". But hey, weren't the BLOWFLY album covers a lot less pretentious than the BOWIE album covers?

In the world of Blowfly, you wouldn't waste your time on Mott the Hoople when there was a chance to Suck the Nipple. You wouldn't be squealing "Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am" to a suffragette while secretly dreaming of being in bed with Mick Jagger. And your re-write on The Shirelles would go like this:

"Tonight your head is mine completely. As you jerk it in my cunt so freely…but will you still eat me when my period comes on?"

OK, I didn't say the guy's lyrics scanned that well. There was a decent, or rather, indecent shock laugh to some of what was on those old Blowfly records. A main problem with him, over 4 decades and spanning oldies parodies and funk porn, is that he was not on a major label and was elbowed aside by others. Early in his career, the stuff from Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts was much more accessible, and later, his funk was fairly mild and inept compared with the much more offensive and angry rap material out there from Ol' Dirty Bastard, 2 Live Crew or Li'l Kim.

Back in the early 70's, it wasn't easy to find Blowfly albums, which were on the obscure "Weird World" label. Record stores were afraid to put the records on the shelf, since they usually had the skankiest topless women on them, and Blowfly in his ridiculous superhero outfit. Much of what was on the black vinyl was, frankly, aimed at blacks only…and ones with a nasty sense of humor.

Blowfly was Clarence Reid (February 14, 1939-January 17, 2016). and as Clarence, he had some success in the "clean" music world. His legit songs turned up on albums by K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Betty Wright, and Sam and Dave. K.C.'s label, TKO, released "Rap Dirty" back in 1980, which Blowfly would later insist made him "the first rapper," and a true pioneer. What he definitely was, in his Blowfly guise, was a crapper. This included his parody, "Shittin' on the Dock of the Bay." Like most parodists, he ran afoul of copyright holders. The courts were on his side, though, since parody was, and is, considered "fair use," as long as the profits are split. After all, if you change the lyrics but keep the music, the original composer should still be paid. Too bad if the lyricist who wrote "What A Difference a Day Makes" doesn't find it funny to hear "What a Difference a Lay Makes."

Reid's rather stupid comedy name was something he received as a child. Foul-mouthed almost from the time he could talk, Clarence liked to jerk around with whatever he heard on the radio. Singing along to Chubby Checker's "Do The Twist," Clarence changed the words to "Suck My Dick!" His grandmother declared, with awe if not enthusiasm, "You is nastier than a blowfly." Well, it could've been chigger, which would've been worse.

With his legit songwriting and his underground fame as Blowfly, Clarence managed to stay in showbiz year after year, and by the 1990's, the world had somewhat caught up with him, and he was getting better gigs and less hassles. Record stores that had been busted just for selling his "Porno Freak" album now stocked all his stuff. He toured with his sex songs and often was welcomed on the bill with other established acts, like Flea and the Fishbone, or colleague in dirty vinyl, Rudy Ray Moore. Jello Biafra was a fan, too.

But...Blowfly wasn't exactly going to sell out big venues, and it's no surprise that as he struggled into his 70's, his bookings were less frequent. That he was seeing little royalties from airplay or record sales in the age of Spotify and piracy, meant that he had to keep pushing to do live shows, even if his health and stamina wasn't what it once was. His website, not updated often, didn't list any dates after the summer of 2014 when he managed to book a few shows.

He probably sold t-shirts at his gigs. He had one as part of his infamous CD box set. The 3-CD set "Blowfly X-Rated" includes a t-shirt AND a membership card. Just who'd be impressed if you flash it, I don't know. I've never flashed it, and I've never taken the t-shirt out of the plastic bag it's in.

Blowfly was popular enough to even grant interviews with such prestigious publications as SCREW. I dug up some Q&A from a slowly tanning few pages from a 1991 issue of SCREW. It's Blowfly talkin' with Al Goldstein:

AL: "You are not on everyone's list because your message and your songs have not reachd the public. How do you view your career? "

BLOWFLY: "Most ofthe other guys just be plain nasty. Anybody can be nasty…it takes blues like "When somebody fucks you, it's no good unless he fucks you all the way…" You can't help but laugh. It's the combination of nasty and funny."

AL: "Is a black woman offended by being told hey, you're my bitch? "

BLOWFLY: "No, because they're used to hearing it. They know the definition of what it means….Bitch is just like calling a man he's a motherfucker. Bad means, like, good." AL: "It used to be when I was in school the black guys would say "My Bitch will suck my dick but I don't eat her pussy…" Has that changed?

BLOWFLY: "Oh, that has changed now. It's like the opposite way. We got it from you Jewish guys."

AL: "Have you had any relationships with Jewish women?"

BLOWFLY: "A couple."

AL: "They like to be in charge. They want you to be submissive. Do you enjoy that?"

BLOWFLY: "Well, his particular chick wanted me to get into a sexual thing with her and she wanted to play the dominating role. The least I can do is obey her, because one favor deserves another."

AL: So you're saying she made you do it…and you put the dildo up your ass for her sake. Is that what you're telling us?"

BLOWFLY: "Shut this guy's mouth!"

And now, Blowfly's mouth is shut. However, like a corpse in a badly constructed casket, the smell lingers on. Below are two examples of the Blowfly's nasty sting.

ROTTEN FISH, a Jamaican novelty, channels Benny Hill, turning an old joke into a rhyme: "…I can always tell when a chick is a nasty whore. When she's dancing and doin' the splits and her ass sticks to the floor."

SHE'S BAD, something Michael Jackson might've done had he been heterosexual, is really no different from a lot of rap and R&B from the late 80's and early 90's. Reid's vocals don't add much to the predictable melody and sass: "The bitch is built to the hilt, she keep her pussy wrapped in silk…she will make you come in yo pants until there's nothin' left. Her pussy's so motherfuckin' good that she wanna fuck herself!"

ROTTEN FISH Blowfly tries some raunchy reggae

SHE'S BAD How bad, Blowfly? Less feminine-looking than Michael Jackson?

GLENN FREY - Mexican parody: (WELCOME TO) SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Regular readers of this, the "blog of less renown," know that Glenn Frey is too famous to be chronicled here. Unlike some stars who I've defended here (such as Patti Page and Frankie Laine), nobody questions that Frey (pronounced Frye) was a cool and talented musician worthy of respect.

So…below is NOT a Glenn Frey song. You probably own as much solo Frey and Eagles stuff as you want already. Your link is to a parody of his best lyric, "Hotel California." It's by the obscure team of Rick D'Elia and Adam Stone. They impersonate two stereotypical Mexicans illegally invading Southern California, where they delight in the smell of a Taco Bell (the restaurant, not a person). In the low budget video for the song, they are seen selling oranges on a highway and acting like a moronic version of Cheech & Cheech.

This is pre-Donald Trump and his idea of building a wall at the border, but it's still easily categorized as "racist," which is applied to any ethnic comedy today. Let's be honest, it's now impossible to make fun of annoying ethnic characteristics and behavior without hearing a whine of "ewww, yew are prejudiced." You know who says that most? Faggots. But I digress (and I assume I needn't add that I was also joking?)

Fact is,there are a LOT of reasons why something isn't funny, besides racism. This thing barely gave me a chuckle or two. But it's here to a) call attention to Frey the lyricist, and b) point out that Mexicans are annoying. (I keed, I keed).

No, point a is quite valid. Is Frey usually on any a list of lyricists? One that would include Taupin, Robert Hunter, or even Sting? Nah. And yet at times this guy was sort of a working man's Keith Reid, honing the lines down to blunt couplets: "It's a girl, my Lord, in a flat-bed Ford" ("Take It Easy") and "Wonder why the right words never come. You just get numb" ("Tequila Sunrise"). He also had a co-write, with Don Henley, on "Desperado."

"Hotel California" is somewhat Dylanesque, as in "what the FUCK is going on, is the place haunted? Who is dead? Is it Frey? But he didn't die till the other day, when Don Felder said "TGIFD, Thank God it's Frey Dead (and not ME, and hey everyone, I wrote the music to that song, dammit! And did you miss me being on the reunion tour??")

Speaking of reunion tours, the Eagles did make it out on the road with Frey a year or two ago, which would indicate that his ulcerative colitis was somewhat under control. The problem is that it can flare, it can be so bad an operation is needed, and drugs for it can leave a patient open to more immune-deficiency diseases. Frey had rheumatoid arthritis, which, yes, is another of the awful-awful illnesses that are becoming more and more common in this germ-infested, stress-filled world. Ultimately, with these two illnesses, Frey was in a very weakened condition. It's also hard to imagine how hellish it was, to be suffering stomach agony, inflamed bowels, and also arthritic conditions rendering the body creaky and immobile and in pain.

Ultimately, as Bob Seger mentioned the other day, "...he caught a very virulent set of pneumonia. They were trying like hell to keep him alive. He'd been at Columbia Medical Center since November...." and Glenn was even placed in an induced coma, to try and give his body a chance to heal. It was reported that Frey had undergone intestinal surgery, which would be the most desperate option for acute ulcerative colitis. It would mostly likely involve removing the colon and creating an opening for a colostomy bag. With someone already having a compromised immune system, pneumonia could be a hazard.

Yeah, combine constant pain and having to run to the bathroom with being too arthritic to run to the bathroom, and you have hell on Earth. As for pneumonia, my late father called it "the old peoples' friend." Meaning, when you're so aged that life is nothing but misery, pneumonia comes along and puts you into a lovely coma, sometimes pretty quickly. But Frey was, at 67, not old. Not by today's standards.

And so, the inevitable happened: TWEETING.

Almost as deadly as the above diseases, are tributes from well-meaning but moronic celebrities and D-list idiots. Below, picked at random from the "Tweeting" that serves as an easy way of sending condolences and a fine publicity ploy, we find three examples. There's media whore George Tacky Takei throwing in some kind of "Star Trek" space-type reference. We find Rita Wilson, a singer better known as the wife of Tom Hanks and proof that he isn't gay, offering something even a Muppet would find maudlin. Yeah, that "rainbow above you" line is actually a glaring clinker in "Desperado" but it is much worse pulled from its comfy musical moorings and thrown on a Tweet like a Hallmark card through the letter slot. And last but not least, Steve Martin. Let's believe he knew that Glenn's last name was spelled FREY but typed FRYE so that everyone would pronounce it right.

The song "Hotel California" is often considered, along with "Stairway to Heaven, "Whiter Shade of Pale," and "The Laughing Gnome," to be a masterpiece of progrock. As such, the blog acknowledges its main creator, the unfortunately disease-ridden-to-death Glen Frey. And also as such, the blog offers a tasteless and stupid parody of the great song.

Hotel California Parody Mexican Illegals: Welcome to South California