Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Clowning Around

Howdy, y'all, 

Well, before I get to this week's feature, I wanted to offer up two more song-poem ads that my correspondent Pete was nice enough to send along. These are truly ancient ads, coming from "Film Fun Magazine. The first one is from 1922, the second is from 1926. The latter makes note of a couple of gigantic then-recent hits allegedly written by amateurs - in neither case does this appear to be provably true, and, in the case of "Dardanella", is demonstrably false.

Second, I want to link you to a new project that Sammy Reed has started. For a long time, I've had a link up to his strange music site, but that has now been shuttered. In its place (and in its place within my links) is a new project, featuring some wonderful oddities, including plenty of song-poems, called Music from the World of the Strange the Bizarre. That can be found in my links, to the right, and also with this link right here

And now, on with the countdown: 

I wish I had more Norm Burns 45's. I wish there WERE more Norm Burns 45's, actually. But more often than not, when I obtain another one, it's worth sharing here.

In this case, the song is "They Call Me the Clown". And actually, for this one, as much as I enjoy Norm, my attention is drawn to the slight extra effort that the folks at Sterling put into this one. The song isn't much - draggy and drippy, to be blunt - but someone had the bright idea of adding a trebly organ to the arrangement, and to have it play that famous circus tune (the name of which I don't know), although would it have been that hard to play the lick from that tune all the way through, rather than screw it up? And then, they actually dropped in some sound effects of people giggling and laughing. That's a nice touch!

Download: Norm Burns and the Satellites - They Call Me the Clown

For the b-side, we're in for some real drama, and Norm and the band do a decent impression of a supper club group, and whoever set the words to music and arrangement certainly seem to have had Bacharach and David in mind. The words tell a sad, sad story, and there are some nice turns of phrase, which may get lost when the record goes on and on and on for almost four minutes. But this is an attempt at something stately, and to my ears, it doesn't fail entirely, which, within the song-poem universe, has to be considered a sort of victory.

Download: Norm Burns and the Satellites - It Wouldn't Last Too Long


Stu Shea said...

I'm not a huge fan of either side. The intro of the b-side leaves me totally flummoxed, too. The circus tune is called "Thunder and Blazes," and from what I hear, it's the same misplayed notes nearly every time, making me think either that they got it wrong, that they deliberately changed it so as not be charged with ripping it off (although it's probably P.D.), or thought it was cuter, or jazzier, that way!

Steve McMullen said...

The Download link for the B side is not working. Can you please reset. Thanks.

Bob Purse said...

Thanks for pointing that out - it's fixed - Bob

Sammy Reed said...

Thanks VERY MUCH for the plug! I hope to have some good stuff on there in the near-future.

Poucopelo said...

The circus tune is "Entrance of the Gladiators" op. 68, a military march composed in 1897 by the Czech composer Julius Fučík.

Congratulations. Great blog.