Wednesday, November 01, 2017

WACKY WEDNESDAY: A Belated Birthday Celebration of Peter Stampfel

Photo by Joe Mabel
Last Sunday was the 78th 79th birthday of a musician who I believe has done more to keep folk music
alive, relevant and fun as much as anyone alive. I love practically every song I've heard him sing.

Happy late birthday, Peter Stampfel!

With his most famous band, the psychedelic-folk crusaders known as The Holy Modal Rounders, as well as the various groups that followed (The Du-Tells, The Bottle Caps, The Worm All-Stars, The Ether Frolic Mob ... and let's not forget a stint with The Fugs back in the Daze), Stampfel discovered an important secret about folk music:

It sounds so much better when it sounds a little crazy.

Here's a bunch of my favorite Stampfel songs. Listen, sing along and share with your friends

Let's start off with an appearance by The Rounders on -- you bet your sweet bippy -- Rowan & Martin's Laugh In. (Yes, Laugh-In was a lot hipper than many people gave it credit for. That probably was the first time I ever saw Stampfel. Laugh In was the first place I ever heard The Legendary Stardust Cowboy too.) Too bad The Rounders never took Ruth Buzzi on the road with them.



I'm not sure why this Rounders favorite "Spring of '65" -- based on an old folk tune about drunken craziness -- works so well with The Fabulous Fury Freak Brothers. But it does.



One of the greatest records that Stampfel had anything to do with was Have Moicy!, which he recorded as The Unholy Modal Rounders along with Michael Hurley and Jeffrey Frederick. We're a day late for Halloween, but I've always loved that album's "Hoodoo Bash."



Stampfel goes disco!



I played Stampfel's version of this Stephen Foster song a few months ago when my old dog Rocco died and cried like a baby, God dammit to Hell, the same thing happened when  I played it a couple of days ago.

 

And speaking of death, here's Stampfell covering one of Lou Reed's greatest under-appreciated songs, a sweet little meditation on mortality called "Cold Black Sea"





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