Friday, October 07, 2005
Pinky is a Loser
Hot off the turntable, it's a pair of fabulous recordings by Pinky Pinkston and the Dixie Drifters, two sides of the one 45. This has long been one of my favorite "way out there" record releases, one I've always figured to have been a vanity pressing, especially given the two addresses on the label, one in Chicago and one in rural Illinois.
On the other hand, I've recently learned that there exists at least one other Pinky Pinkston release, one which has been anthologized in the past, in a collection put together by Wavy Gravy, of all people, so many Pinky had some sort of musical career.
Such a concept is hard to fathom based on this record. This easily ranks at the bottom among the worst records in my collection (particularly when soul-challanged artistes as such Tony Martin, Fabian, Jay and the Americans, Benny Mardones, Yes, AC/DC and Billy Ocean are removed from consideration for "The Awfulness Awards", and are entered into the (sadly) far more competitive "Horrid But Successful Hitmakers Awards").
Yes, there are few obscure records in my collection which are more cringe inducing than Pinky's song "I Am A Loser", although one of the songs which is even worse is "Beggar Or A Clown", which is conveniently located on the other side of the record, and which also, just like "Loser", features a ferret being tortured, or perhaps that's Pinky's voice. I've yet to be able to make out every last word of these lyrics, due to the unique delivery of the lead singer. If my clock radio alarm were to switch on, and a radio station was playing either of these songs at that moment, I have no doubt whatsoever that I would be positively scared out of my wits.
There's something to be said for the random way that the "I Am a Loser" starts up, and the way that the band members sometimes seem to be playing different songs at the same time, but it is on "Beggar or a Clown" where the true incompetence shows up. Once it gets going, in addition to the spectacularly bad vocal, every now and then, the drummer pounds a bit harder, as if he's suddenly playing a polka, and the guitar solo at the end seems to be made up of almost randomly picked notes. Then the song simply comes to a stop, first with the guitarist deciding he's done, then with the drummer offering a final downbeat.
Perhaps you've noticed a lack of gender identification, on my part, for the Pinkster. Well, I was recently amused to discover, after years of enjoying this record with one of my oldest friends, that he (my friend) had always assumed that Pinky was of one particular (and marvelous) gender, while I had always thought of Pinky as the other (equally fabulous) gender.
I'll let the readers/listeners have a bit of fun listening (I certainly shouldn't be the only one to have the rare chance to listen to this record any time I want), and offer up their guesses as to whether Pinky is/was a lady or a gentleman. Please do tell!
I have no memory whatsoever of when or where it was that I came across this record, but given that the Chicago address on the label is not far from a highway I take every few days, the aforementioned friend and I went to that address one day, and found a rather upscale apartment in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, where the listing on the door did not show any sign of anyone named "Pinkston".