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".


Gary said...

sorry I'm a bit late on the scene (hmmmm the story of my life....)but would there be any chance of a re-post of 'Lady Wildcat'?



Sammy Reed said...

"Pride", "Fortune Tenner", and "Lady Wildcat" aren't working",
I'd love to experience that confusion over "What is she singing about?"!

Sammy Reed said...

"Don't let your ghetto burn too high a flame, for my cattle ad-riddo."
"What the...", indeed!

MSR had Bobbi Blake, Columbine had Kay Weaver, Royal Master had Linda Lane, Hollywood Artists had Stephanie Allen, and I guess Tin Pan had... this gal. The question is- What's her name?!?

Sammy Reed said...

It's been a while since my last comment here, but I've been hearing these Tin Pans again. One thing about these New Image songs is how they go into a rockin' guitar solo - during the fadeout.
Anyway, do you have anymore by New Image, or the group with this too-late-for-Ronstadt, too-early-for-Benatar lead singer under another name?

Sammy Reed said...

I'm glad to announce a couple of things: First of all, As of today, I now have my first New Image 45! Also, as I found out when I got it out of the box, it happens to be 211-1366 - the one right after "Lady Wildcat" / "Fortune Teller"! And I have another one on the way

My other announcement: Because of these and other records I have or are on the way, after 2 months off, I plan on having new episodes of "Music from the World of the Strange and the Bizarre" for at least the next couple of weeks. Tomorrow (Mar. 29, 2014) will be my "No Top Teeth Episode" - or I guess the first of 2 of them. I got my top teeth taken out a month ago, waiting for a new upper denture and bottom partial, and figured you-all would love to hear me try to DJ a show with no top teeth. Keep watching my website for more details, and I'm glad to be commenting on this one! Keep it up, Bob!

Sammy Reed said...

(4/2/14) First of all, I put a link to this blog on my main "Strange and Bizarre" page this week, as well as on the playlist for this episode. Sorry I put that off until now, but I'll put it on next week from the start so it gets a fair mention. Again, like I say, keep up the GREAT work!

I got my other New Image 45 today. From some of the words in one of the songs, this thing is from at least 1987. By this time, Tin Pan seems to be using updated equipment, and this record generally has a better sound quality. There's also this pounding late-80's synth drum heard throughout both songs. Musically, there are differences and similarities, but after awhile the similarities are probably more noticeable. For example, they still used the same "puke-blue" label with plain lettering.

Like the other New Image 45 I have, this one has "Ms. New Image" on both songs, one of which sounded better-suited to Mike Thomas (Perhaps he wasn't with Tin Pan anymore). The other one, "Still the Same" is the kind of thing we expect from New Image. I plan on playing this 45 on the next episode of my show on Apr. 5.

It's pretty sad, though, to think of how things got for Tin Pan in the 7 years, tops, between this record and "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been in Love with Me?"

Graham said...

Downloaded Lady Wildcat from Sammy Reed's blog and all I can say is that one is not bad at all, certainly better than I expected for the period. Makes me wonder what Fortune Teller sounded like.