Sunday, November 15, 2009
What the Hell???
It's Tin Pan Alley Blowout Day here at the home of Song Poem of the Week, with six for the price of two. And the usual two are free!
Was there any other song-poem label which displayed more variety during its years of operation than Tin Pan Alley? From 1950's efforts in doo-wop, they moved into the sounds of the day, taking stabs at calypso, topical song, novelty pop, and 1960's pop, among many other genre's, and plenty of hard to define releases.
Beyond that, Tin Pan Alley records' lyrics can be among the weirdest I've found on song-poem records. Here, in chronological order, are three supremely odd releases. First up, an almost comical pairing of marital complaints, both from the pen of the perfectly named Larry Loco. First up, Billy Grey offers up Mr. Loco's views of Marriage, from the male perspective.
Then, on the flip side, Eleanor Shaw presents Larry's conception of the complaints of a woman, not only about her marraige, but about all men. The sound quality here is terrible, by the way, but the words more than make up for it.
Moving up several years now: Near the end of their days as a label, Tin Pan Alley stopped identifying the performers by name, and started slapping a couple of group names on their labels. The last four songs are by "New Image".
First up is "Pride", with the lyrics shoehorned - no, pistol-whipped - into a rockin' backing track. I've listened to this nearly a half-dozen times, and have no idea what the hell she's singing about.
No such problems with the flip side, "A Girl and a Guy in Love", the problems here, instead, being the sheer banality of the lyrics (have there ever been worse or more obvious rhymes than those featured in this record?), and the barely in tune vocal.
Leaving the best for last, here's one of the highest numbers I've ever seen on a TPA record - meaning it is among their last releases. Beyond that, it's easily one of the most unhinged things I've heard on a TPA record (on both sides) - in both cases, my first thought, again, was "what the hell???". But I think I'll let both sides speak for themselves. Here's "Fortune Teller":
And perhaps my favorite of the six, this little slice of Steppenwolf wannabe rock, "Lady Wildcat".