Friday, December 31, 2010

Stunning!



Today, to celebrate the end of the year, I have something I consider very special. Truly horrible, mind you, but special nonetheless. Today's first song, a late-era Tin Pan Alley single by the awkwardly named group "The Melodiers", features what may be the most mind-numbingly bad lyrics I've ever heard on a song-poem.

There may be worse individual lines or verses, but this song, "We Like the Kentucky Hills", piles one poorly worded, incomplete, obvious, ridiculous and/or (particularly) inane line after another, for four and a half minutes!

I don't want to give all, or even many of the joys of this song away - there's too much pleasure in hearing this for the first time. But consider a few examples, such as the opening section:

Me and my woman met on a blind date
I can't remember her name
See I live in the hills of Kentucky
and she lives in another state
When I go to see her
I'm allllllll ways late
So weeeee don't haaave
much time to date

And another favorite:

So I went home and told my dad
Just... just what I had done
My dad said..... "son...
you know.... you're right!"

The song contains an abundance of lines which sound as if the writer, having come up with the last line (or word) for a verse, then worked backwards to figure out something - anything - which might rhyme, and built the rest of the verse that way. The subject matter meanders, never really focusing on the title concept for more than a moment, but not really staying on anything else to inspire a better title, either.

A plus for me is that the guitarist, who only has to be able to play three chords, regularly misses the correct fingering or fret, turning what could have at least been a nice do-it-yourselfy sort of backing track into just another layer of incompetence.

I hope you enjoy this record as much as I do!



The slip side, "Don't Shout, Just Get Out", written by the same wordsmith as the A-side, features some of the same on-the-fly lyrics and performance as its flip, but the results, while entertaining to a degree, can't match "Kentucky Hills".






Updates to older, broken links will return with the next post.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas With Sammy

First off, I've fixed a few more of my previous postings. None of these were song-poem entries, because I decided that today would be a good day to fix several Christmas related posts which had broken. They can be found here:

Fun With Decorations
The Family Christmas
Toby Deane
My Favorite Christmas Song This Year
O Holy Night
Christmas Music: The Sublime and the Ridiculous

Thanks also to those of you who made recommendations - I will be making some changes soon, I think, but not until Christmas is over....

Back to the matter at hand:



Silver Records was the record label of the John Koproski family, of Cleveland. Another family member, Mr. Koproski's son, John, Jr., was the writer behind the killer double A side known to song-poem fans everywhere as "Rock And Roll Boogie Beat" & "Twist And Turn", but here, the senior Koproski takes his turn with two more serious, Christmas related tunes. As with his son's record, they are sung by Sammy Marshall, although both Mary Kaye as well as the Party Crashers (heard on "Twist and Turn") took the night off for this recording. Here's "Holy Day":




The flip side, sounding a lot like "Holy Day", is "Manger of Bethlehem". Perhaps the most interesting thing about this record is that the production and arranging credit goes to John Koproski himself, which seems extremely unlikely, as Sammy Marshall recorded for the Nashville-based Globe Records company - this record has all the hallmarks of that company's work, and was likely made many miles from Cleveland, by those behind the Globe song-poem factory.



Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Christmas Wish

Howdy, everyone,

First, (more than) a bit of housekeeping. I want to thank the many people who wrote with comments and/or solutions to the Mac problem which had been expressed to be by a few readers. I've passed that along, and I really appreciate it.

Second, I am VERY appreciative to a reader named Sammy, who, in attempting to gather all of the older material shared on this site, found upwards of 40 posts (!) where one or more tracks were no longer working, either to play or to download. A few others have alerted me to a track here and there in the past, but I had no idea there were so many failed links. I am very grateful to have this pointed out to me, and have today started a project to replace all of the broken links that I've been told about. Apologies to others who have asked me to repair one or two tracks in the past - this is the first time in months that I've had any sustained time off, and just getting new stuff up has been a challenge at times.

The fact that so many tracks have ended up broken is a great frustration to me. If anyone can direct me to a more effective way to post these tracks for download, one which is just as simple and just as free as Divshare, by all means, please let me know.

In the meantime, here are the posts that I have fixed today:

What Dance Did You Dance?
One Year In
Norris Mayhams: The Early Years
For All You Rodd Fans
It's Norm Time!
A Late One From Rodd
What the Hell?
A Song For Jackie
Mayhams Mayhem
Daddy!

I will update the remaining posts in upcoming days and weeks, and will post links to the repaired posts.

And now....



Today's post is a double offering for Christmas, both songs being courtesy of writer Elvie Rowland, via performer Mike Thomas, of Tin Pan Alley Records. The better of the two is "A Christmas Wish", a record typical of the minimilist style of TPA's records during this period, and a song which flies past us in less than 90 seconds:



The flip side is the far more ponderous "The Nite (sic) My Savior Was Born":



Friday, December 10, 2010

When He Says "Go Out", He Means It!

Before sharing this week's record, I wanted to ask for help. A couple of people have written to me, saying that they cannot see, much less play or save the files, when viewing this site from a Mac. The most recent of these stated that the writer just "sees a lot of flash code".

What I'm wondering is if this problem is familiar to anyone with more knowledge than me about computers, and particularly, if anyone using a Mac does not have a problem viewing, hearing and/or saving these files, and if so, if there's a fix for this. Any answer I receive will be posted when I receive it, and will be added to the "how to save these files" text.

And now, Heeeeeere's Rodd!



Here's a great one from Rodd Keith, masquerading as Rod Rivers and the "Big Action Sound", on the Action label.

This song title "Before I Go Out" isn't all that intriguing, but the lyric is great - when lyricist Valliere Hancock uses the phrase "Go Out", she adds "Like a Light", and the rest of the words make it clear that she's talking about all the things she wants to do and learn before she dies!

Rodd's brilliant use of the Chamberlain, as well as his vocal stylings, only add to the fun. I'd be surprised if this wasn't recorded around the same time as the equally jazzy and atmospheric "Tom Dooley Last Will and Testament" (from the Norris the Troubadour album, and which everyone reading this words should hear, if you haven't already). Like that song, this has a cool, laid back vocal that nonetheless fits the unusual words.



For the B-side, the same writer submitted another song, "The Splendor of Love". She shows none of the spirit that makes the A-side so interesting, going so far as to borrow the opening line from a former #1 song which was heavily identified with that same opening line, "Love is a Many Splendored Thing".

Easily the best thing about this song is the Chamberlain track that Rodd created for it. At times, it reminds me of some of the John Lennon Mellotron experiments which are available on bootlegs (the Mellotron being essentially the same instrument as a Chamberlain). There is a moment in the backing track from about the 1:45 point to the 2:00 point which I find to be nothing short of gorgeous, and which certainly shows off Rodd's keyboard genius.



Saturday, December 04, 2010

Delicksious!

First, I'd like to say that that the world is suddenly a lot less wonderful, following the death on Thursday of Ron Santo. Those we call sports heroes - and he certainly was one of those - are rarely really heroes, and even with that, their time in the spotlight is usually fairly brief. Ron Santo was a true hero, as a person, if for nothing more (and there was so much more) than for maintaining a positive, infectious outlook, and a real joy in living, despite experiencing an often extremely difficult life. Baseball won't ever be quite the same without you, Ronnie.

...

On a separate side note, I appreciate the reader who let me know that a couple of links were broken on this post. They are now fixed.

And now, on with the countdown:



There were few releases on the Delicks label - two 45's and an album that I'm aware of. Everything released on the label was written by Francis E. Delaney, who appears to have been more self-aware than most song-poets, as witnessed by the name of that Delicks album, "The 12 Most Unpopular Songs" (which I'm also lucky enough to own a copy of).

Today, in honor of the holiday season (and the first snowfall we've received today, in my home town), the only songs I'm aware of on Delicks to not be contained on that album. Both are sung by someone identified on the label as "Betty Bond", although I'm sure those of you more familiar than I am with female song-poem singers can tell me who she might be.

And although the "Unpopular Songs" album was done through Lew Tobin's Sterling label, this single was produced through National Guild, a separate song-poem factory, run by Bob Quimby in Florida (although this record sports a suburban Chicago address - go figure).

First up is a rather obvious take off on Rudolph's song, "Blinky, the Blue Nosed Snowdeer":



Apparently someone either really enjoyed this record, or took exceptionally poor care of it - it's beat to hell. Here's the flipside, "Little World of Snow":






I get a kick out of the fact that this record came to me housed in a Stax Records 45 sleeve.