Friday, July 01, 2005
It's "Getting Hit on the Head" Lessons in Here.....
So far, I've offered up records that, however odd they may be, I also find marvelous through and through - musically, emotionally, intangibly, etc.
But now, I've chosen to write (and not for the last time, I'm sure) about a record I love primarily because of its complete and total weirdness. As you can no doubt tell from the above, this is a kids record, one which I can recall being in my possession (or perhaps it was my brother's, first), as far back as I can remember. (As always, it's available at the gmail site, linked to the left, with the instructions at the top of this screen.)
Several records from my childhood collection will no doubt make their way to this forum, and there were plenty of them that I thought were weird (and a few I considered scary), even in early childhood. But this was weirder than most of the others. For one thing, it's FIFTY FOUR SECONDS LONG!!! It's the whole side of the single, and it times out at well under a minute! I can literally see the spaces between the groove as it moves towards the center of the record.
Just as odd is the performance of the song. First, there is the fact that (to me, at least), it sounds like we join the song in progress, almost in mid-breath of the singer, and certainly after some sort of music has already been played.
Then there is the deeply weird lead vocal, the overly peppy chorus, singing in such jolly spirits about being conked on the head (I particularly like the happy way they sing "He's a grouch", which is repeated three times), and the wacky sound effects. Not unheard of in kids records, but the feel of this one is sort of different, and the sudden ending just makes it weirder.
In addition, although the singer is presumably a cartoon character, singing about an occurance which is not uncommon for cartoon characters, I have no clue who he's supposed to be. Most of the kids records I've ever seen, if they are in character, have the name of that cartoon personality on the label, whether it's "Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans sing..." or "Popeye Sings....". But this one is by "Don Elliot and the Cartoon Cowboys".
This last point sent me, quite recently, for some answers. There is a famous Don Elliot, who is apparently primarily known as a jazz trumpet player, but who is also listed as a vocal talent in some searches, and was one of the hipsters behind the Chipmunks-meet-Bebop project "The Nutty Squirrels", in late 1959. So I'll assume this is the same guy.
But I still don't know what the hell led to this record, or who it was that listened to it and said something along the lines of, "yup, that's perfect - that'll be GREAT for our next kids' 45"...