Saturday, March 12, 2011

Woe Is He

I was surprised to find that it has been just about exactly a year since I featured that most inaccurately named of song-poem groups, "The Real Pros", or their home label, Cinema.

Today's offering comes from my favorite era for the group and label - their earliest releases, most of which feature what appears to be a one man band, playing one of those cheesy 1970's home keyboard/organ things that had preprogrammed beats and accompaniments. A few of my all time favorite song-poems come from this fairly tiny subset of records, and while today's offering doesn't reach the heights of "I'm Having My First Heartbreak" or "Deep Freeze Mama", it has some of the same qualities that make both of those records so special.

The better of the two, I think, is the song identified as the B-side, "Woe-Men", with it's mechanical swinging keyboard beat, heartfelt vocal, and fairly non-musical lyrical choices. Plus there's the way the way he sings "Divorce!". Oh, and the whole misbegotten concept on which the lyrics are built, of course...

The flip side, "What Good is the Moon?", has an equally artificial beat - a samba this time - and a more standard (and therefore less unusual/interesting) set of lyrics.

The singer on these songs is the same person who sings on those much beloved records I mentioned earlier, and while he sometimes sounds like Gene Marshall, I don't think that's who this is, and I'm not sure I've ever heard this singer on any other (non Real Pros) song-poem records. What do you think?

1 comment:

Stu Shea said...

Definitely not Gene Marshall. I don't know who it is. I also don't know who thought that the "now" sound involved a wheezy melodica. "Woe-Men" is kind of amazing, giving the vocalist a chance to shine on those long notes. "A divorce" is not the "payoff" line one usually hears to wind up a song.

Seems like all the Real Pros records ended in weird fashion.