Wednesday, August 30, 2023

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Classic American Filthy Songs

 


Today is Robert Crumb's 80th birthday! I've saluted Crumb's musical career a couple of times on his birthday on a couple of previous Wacky Wednesdays (CLICK HERE and HERE), so today let's do something different.

I was reminded recently of a song I first heard done by Crumb and His Cheap Suit Serenaders many decades ago. It was Harry Roy's "Pussy," sometimes known as "My Girl's Pussy"  from back in 1931. And that reminded me how, despite all the moral outrages over music through, well since the recording industry began, smutty songs have been part of American life.

Makes me proud to be an American!

First let's look at a tune by Gov. Jimmie Davis, years before he became Louisiana's chief executive. Though he's far better known for his signature song "You Are My Sunshine,"

The late Nick Tosches wrote of Davis in his book Country: The Biggest Music in America (1977): "He sang a country music that drew heavily  from the blues of the deep South, more heavily even than that of his idol, Jimmie Rodgers."

 Here's a tune describing the interactions between a pussy and a cock:

Here's a classic by Butterbeans & Susie (Jodie and Susie Edwards), which received frequent airplay on the KUNM blues show back when I was at the University of New Mexico in the early '70s:

O.K., this one, "Shave 'em Dry" by Lucille Bogan, which opens with the notorious rhyme, "I got nipples on my titties big as the end of my thumb / I got somethin' 'tween my legs 'll make a dead man come" is perhaps the raunchiest tune in the American songbook. But it doesn't really count because it never was publicly released in her lifetime. 

Bogan, under the name of "Bessie Jackson," recorded "Shave," (which had been done previously by Ma Rainey as well as Papa Charlie Jackson)  in the mid '30s (I've seen it listed as 1933, 1934 as well as1935). But Melotone Records released a relatively mild version (no reference to nipples, etc.) in 1935.

According to Dick Spotwood's liner notes to Columbia Legacy's 2004 CD, Shave ’Em Dry: The Best of Lucille Bogan:

Bogan made two triple-X rated pieces for her own amusement and that of others in the studio. `Shave `em Dry' and `Til the Cows Come Home' were surreptitiously entered in the [American Record Corporation] recording book as trial recordings with no indication of their contents. A few pressings were made for studio workers and friends and the masters destroyed. Until recently, no copies were known to have survived.

The dirty version started appearing on blues compilations inn the early 1990s. But even though there were no available versions back in the early '70s, I remember hearing about the song when I was in high school. You can hear it now:


But now let's get back to that song that Crumb taught us:

And, like I said above, something recently reminded me of this classic. It was when I watched the movie Babylon a couple of weeks ago. Actress Li Jun Li sings a reimagined lesbian version (with the help of soundtrack composer Justin Hurwitz.) 

Later in the film a snatch (sorry) of the original Harry Roy version can be heard.

But Babylon wasn't the first time the song has appeared in a drama in recent ears. Here's Michael Zegen as Bugsy Siegel in Boardwalk Empire in 2014



Sunday, August 27, 2023

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST




Sunday, August 27 , 2023
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrell(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Star Collector by The Monkees 
Bloody Mary by Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
Bigger and Better by The Fleshtones
Ain't No Pussy by Pussycat & The Dirty Johnsons
Out Of Our Tree by The Wailers 
Without You by The Grawks
Rocky by Butthole Surfers
Love by Country Joe & The Fish

John Henry by Snakefarm
Dreaming Party by Degurutieni
Drop Dead Gorgeous by Knoxville Girls
Leaning On The Everlasting Arm by Rev. Gatemouth Moore and His Gospel Singers
Like A Chicken by WITCH
Streets Of Lusaka by WITCH
Black Rat by Big Mama Thornton

On Trial by The Fugitives 
Fire Walk With Me by Archie & The Bunkers 
Huboon Stomp by Devo
Bad She Gone Voodoo by Chief Fuzzer
I'm In With) The Out Crowd by The A-Bones
Banned in Boston by Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs 
Waking The Lion by Iriebellion

Torn Curtain by Television 
Cosmic Queries by Willis Earl Beal 
So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad) by The Everly Brothers 
Through It All by Lady Wray 
You Were A Friend of Mine by Eilen Jewell
Murder's Crossed my Mind by Desdemona Finch
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

All instrumental "bed" music on this show is by Dave Del Monte & The Cross Country Boys


Saturday, August 26, 2023

The Twisted Groove




Saturday, August 26, 2023
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Saturdays Mountain Time
Substitute Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrell(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist:

Earth Died Screaming by Tom Waits
Masquerade by Willis Earl Beal
Love Is Like Gravity by Pere Ubu
Chimelong by Danger Cutterhead
Pinky's Dream by David Lynch with Karen O 
13th Floor City by Degurutieni
Dropout Boogie by Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band 

Heartbreak Hotel by The Residents 
That's When Your Heartaches Begin by James Chance & Pill Factory 
Draygo's Guilt by The Fall
Stuttering Wind by Johnny Dowd 
I Gotta Get A Fake I.D. by Barnes & Barnes
Evil Alligator Man by Jad Fair
Pyschoticbumpschool by Bootsy Collins 
Nude Sexuality in the Afternoon by John Trubee & The Ugly Janitors Of America
Life Drawing by Old Time Relijun

AFRO-PSYCHEDELIA SET 
Home Town by WITCH
WITCH at Meow Wolf last week
Avalanche Of Love by WITCH 
Acid Rock by The Funkees
Akoko Ba  by Gyedu Blay-Ambolley
Ekassa 25 by Victor Uwaifo
Ifa by Tunji Oyelana & The Benders 
Extraordinary Woman by The Psychedelic Aliens

Brand New Special and Unique by Stan Ridgway
Starlight by Lou Reed & John Cale
Emergence Of The Spirit by Harry Partch
Lightning’s Girl by Lydia Lunch
Camp Orange by Cornershop
Tikor by Cankisou
Valerie by Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention
The Beat Goes On by Giant Sand



Thursday, August 24, 2023

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Happy Birthday, Wynonie Harris

 


On this day, August 24, in 1915 in Omaha, Nebraska, Wynonie Harris was born.

Happy Birthday, "Mr. Blues."

Harris isn't nearly as famous as he ought to be. But those familiar with his works know a special joy, a special dirty joy!

As Bill Dahl wrote in AllMusic:

No blues shouter embodied the rollicking good times that he sang of quite like raucous shouter Wynonie Harris. "Mr. Blues," as he was not-so-humbly known,  joyously related risque tales of sex, booze, and endless parties in his trademark raspy voice over some of the jumpingest horn-powered combos of the postwar era.

Harris started out his show biz career as a dancer, but, inspired by the like of Big Joe Turner and Jimmy Rushing, he soon became a professional singer. And he left Omaha for Los Angeles in 1940.

He made his recording debut in 1944 fronting Lucky Millinder's band on the song "Who Threw the Whiskey in the Well" -- though by the time it was released the next year, Harris had left the band. Here's that song:


By 1945, Harris had a solo career, signing first with Philo Records. Most of the tunes I know and love, however, came from Harris' time on King Records. 

Harris had many R&B hits in the late '40s and early '50s. But his career began to fade. Harris died at the age of 53 of esophageal cancer in 1969.

Here are some songs from Wynonie Harris' glory years. Let's start with "Good Morning, Judge":

Here's a sweet ode by Harris to his grandmother:


I don't know how much air play this song, "Kept on Sittin' on It" actually got back in 1947. But I'd like to think a lot.


And finally, here's one in which Harris expresses his fondness for sweet, gelatin-based desserts: 


Sunday, August 20, 2023

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST




Sunday, August 20, 2023
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrell(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Sinner Man by Esquerita 
Bloody Mary Morning by Willie Nelson
Sheela-Na-Gig by PJ Harvey
Floor is Not Wall by Danger Cutterhead
Wise Ol' Man by The Fall 
Ego Arcade by Herzegovina

Lawyers, Guns And Money by Warren Zevon
You Made It Weird by Quintron & Miss Pussycat
Monkeyheart by Kevin Coyne & The Pine Valley Cosmonauts
Rodeo Chica by Boss Hog
You're Still Joe by The Flat Five
Water & Wine by X
Gilligan's Wake by Mal Thursday Quintet 
I Took You Up the Mountain by Slackeye Slim

Stop the Rot by WITCH
Can't Delete Nightmares by Degurutieni 
Feel Real Good by The Oblivians
Vault by Sleeve Cannon 
In My Brain by Pierced Arrows 
Hold Watcha Got by Deano & Jo
When the River Runs Dry by The Sandstoners
U.S.A. by Memphis Slim
Pussy by Harry Roy & His Bat Club Boys 

Little Ship by Loudon Wainwright III
Touch The Sky by Black Pumas
Come On In by Lady Wray 
Where I Fell by Robbie Fulks
Terra by Caetano Veloso
Baby, Let Me Follow You Down by Bob Dylan & The Band
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis




Sunday, August 13, 2023

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

 



Sunday, August 13, 2023
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrell(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Sharkey's Day by Laurie Anderson
Samson And Delilah by Edison Rocket Train
Hungama & Khamoshi by Tandoori Knights
Black Mold by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
$ Bill the Cowboy by Waco Brothers
Hot Pearl Snatch by Magnetix 
Drug Train by The Cramps
Long Tall Daddy by Big Time Sarah

Stage Fright by The Band
A Most Disgusting Song by Rodriguez 
It's Your Voodoo Working by Eilen Jewell 
Thunderbird ESQ by The Gories
Come Out Come Out by Angry Johnny & The Killbillies
Feelin' Good by The Minks
Dead Man's Curve by Jan & Dean

Joy and Pain by Lady Wray
Tidal Wave by City of My Death
Skip a Rope by Kentucky Headhunters
Crazy Horses by Pere Ubu
Sleepless Nites by Lonesome Bob
Lonely Man by Stinky Lou & The Goon Mat With Lord Bernado
Lone Warrior by Movie Movie
Festa Do Interior by Gal Costa

Black Sun by Stud Cole
Tuesday Near Death by Robbie Quine
Anthem For Old Souls by Chuck E. Weiss
Some Broken Hearts Never Mend by The Righteous Gemstones
Empty Bottle by The Calamity Cubes
So Long Marianne by Leonard Cohen
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis



Wednesday, August 09, 2023

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Keep Popping Your Weasel

 

Pop? Goes me?

Back when I was a "musician," in the early 1980s, I used to do this schtick between songs. I'd warn the audience about the "secret drug lyrics" in the beloved children's song -- you guessed it -- "Pop! Goes the Weasel."

In a phony stern voice, in which I tried to sound like a weird cross between Jack Webb, Paul Harvey and Sonny Bono (from that weird anti-marijuana movie they made us watch at Santa Fe Mid High -- I'd recite the lyrics that threatened our children.

"Around around the mulberry bush" I'd say, usually using air quotes for those last two words.

"The monkey, meaning the monkey on your back, chased The Weasel, who apparently is some sort of drug dealer or pimp,

"The monkey thought it all was good fun"  Again, dripping with sarcasm.

Then I'd jab an imaginary hypodermic into my left arm.

"Pop goes the weasel," I'd say, half singing the line.

But wait, there's more!

"A penny for a spool of thread," I'd say,  again with the air quotes, as if I'm explaining drug lingo. Then my voice would turn ominous: "A penny for a needle,

"That's the way the money goes ..."

Then again the fake jab"

"Pop goes the weasel," with my sing-song voice drifting off as if from some dope stupor.

Yep, it all was good fun. Fortunately there are no known recordings of me doing that.

"Pop! Goes the Weasel," probably my favorite song with an exclamation point in the title, has a long history, documented in a 2022 article in American Songwriter by Jake Uitti.

1937 sheet music
Pop! Goes the Weasel” is a traditional English-language nursery rhyme and singing game. It’s become so popular and stood the test of time when it comes to the enjoyment of young children, that the melody is often used in Jack-in-the-box toys to this day.

While there are many different versions of the rhyme today, in England, where the song originated, most understand the basic verse to be:

Half a pound of tuppenny rice,
Half a pound of treacle.
That’s the way the money goes,
Pop! Goes the weasel.

Tuppenny rice? Treacle? Them Brits sure have some weird food. (Uitti explained, "Tuppenny rice is cheap starch and treacle is a cheap sweetener. Doesn't make it sound any less disgusting.)

In many early versions the "mulberry bush" was a "cobbler's bench." And, instead of the "penny for a spool of thread" part, some versions have this refrain:

Up and down the City Road,
In and out the Eagle,
That’s the way the money goes,
Pop! Goes the weasel.

The Eagle Tavern supposedly was a swinging joint in London that's still around today. The webpage for The Eagle at the Know Your London site even includes an interpretation of the lyrics:

One explanation is that the word ‘weasel’ was slang for a tailor’s iron and the word ‘pop’ was slang for pawning goods. The lyrics basically allude to pawning items in order to gain money for alcohol and loose-living. They date from the 1850s. Another explanation claims that ‘weasel’ refers to a purse made of weasel-skin, which opened and closed with a snap or ‘pop’. The ‘popping of the weasel’ in the song, therefore, refers to the opening of the purse, and consequent spending of money. 

That's kind of like my old drug dealer interpretation.

In 1852 there was a dance craze in England. They didn't yet know the Twist or the Funky Chicken, but all the cool Brits were doing the "Pop! Goes the Weasel." 

In a Library of Congress Performing Arts Blog blog post in 2016, Sharon McKinley wrote of sheet music from 1856 she had found. "What I found amusing was that it had exhaustive dance directions printed on the last page," McKinley wrote.

She also talks about earlier sheet music from 1853, which also had dance instructions and said "the dance has been `lately introduced at Her Majesty’s and Nobilities balls' in England ..."

Again from McKinley:

By the time the rhyme and tune arrived on [American] shores, I’m sure the origin of the text had already been lost. The words developed in various ways here, as they did back in England. From an English nonsense rhyme with any number of verses, it turned into an American blackface minstrel song with equally nonsensical verses. We own a few different arrangements of this version. Charley Twiggs’s 1855 song includes what seem to be the “standard” minstrel show verses, with the addition of a few more verses with topical political overtones.

Uitti's article lists several versions of the lyrics. I like these he found in autobiographical novel by Laura Ingalls Wilder's autobiographical Pioneer Girl, which Wilder wrote for her daughter in 1930.

All around the cobbler’s bench,
The monkey chased the weasel.
The preacher kissed the cobbler’s wife—
Pop! goes the weasel!

Early recordings are hard to find. Here's an instrumental version by British-born, French-named American violinist Charles D'Almaine. The usually reliable Discogs dates the record to 1904, though whoever posted it on Archives.org says it's from 1909. D'Almaine's version includes some nice Irish reels.

Naturally The Three Stooges were fans of the song. In their 1934 short Punch Drunks,  Curley goes wild -- and apparently gets supernatural strength -- every time he hears the song. Here's the climax of that exciting Stooge adventure.


Bill Haley & The Comets in 1952 did a rock 'n' roll version of a Weasel variant called "Stop Beatin' Around the Mulberry Bush" which had been recorded a couple of decades earlier by Les Brown, Tommy Dorsey and others. It's different words to a different melody (basically the kiddy song "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush", but close your eyes and you'll see a monkey chasing the weasel:)


The ever-cool Anthony Newley in 1963 performed this swinging version of Weasel, using the British lyrics, in 1963:


The Beatles recorded this instrumental for the BBC radio show Pop Go The Beatles in 1963:


In the early '90s, the forgotten white rap group 3rd Base brought "Weasel" into the hip-hop universe. Supposedly the Weasel in this version was 3rd Base's arch rival Vanilla Ice, who was depicted in this video by Henry Rollins:

And finally, Andy Kaufman in the '70s used to lipsych to a record of the song by something called The Crown Records Studio Group:

Check out Alan Sherman's parody of "Pop! Goes The Weasel" on this early Wacky Wednesday post

For more deep dives into songs, check out The Stephen W. Terrell Web Log Songbook

Sunday, August 06, 2023

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

 



Sunday, August 6, 2023
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrell(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Wiener Dog Polka by Polkacide
The Sky Is A Poisonous Garden by Concrete Blonde 
Mr. Executioner by Tandoori Knights 
Mystery Plane by King Automatic
Snatch It Back And Hold It by Buddy Guy & Junior Wells
Born to Win by Movie Movie
Garaje o Muerte by Los Peyotes
Pee Wee Where Have You Gone? by Ukulele Man 

When That Helicopter Comes by The Handsome Family 
Johnny & Bo by The Dustaphonics
Don't Freak Me Out by The Darts
Dirty Li'l Dog by Pussycat & The Dirty Johnsons
Fingernails by Joe Ely
That's What Keeps Me Rockin' by Robert Cray Band
I Smell a Rat by King Salami & The Cumberland 3
Alive by Eilen Jewell
Time Won't Let Me by The Plimsouls

Bad Reputation by Woody Guthrie
Bad Reputation by Joan Jett 
Questioning My Sanity by L7
Deathwise by Catfish Knight & The Blue Express 
She's Mine by Children of Darkness
The Devil Made Me Do It by Duane Williams
Out on the Western Plains by Erik Darling, Lynn Lucas & Sid Hausman 
Beaten and Broken by The Mekons
Crazy Mixed Up World by Little Walter

Pero Te Amo (But I Love You) by Reverend Beat-Man & Izobel Garcia
Three Stars by Kult 
Is This My Happy Home? by Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks
Hickory Wind by Bob Mould & Vic Chesnutt
Muriel by Eleni Mandell 
Innocent When You Dream (Barroom) by Tom Waits
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis




Thursday, August 03, 2023

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Remembering Erik Darling

 

On this day in 2008, folksinger Erik Darling died at the age of 74 after suffering with lymphoma. Those who loved his music believe he just walked right in and sat right down in Heaven.

And though he died in North Carolina, he lived in Santa Fe during the 90s and early 2000s. Unfortunately, I only got to meet him once, when he came to my office to give me his latest -- and sadly his last -- album, Child Child.

It's likely that most people aware of Darling probably remember him for his role in a folk-pop group called The Rooftop Singers, who had a huge crossover hit called "Walk Right In," a cover of a 1929 song by Cannon's Jug Stompers.

Here's the original: 

And here's the hit version by The Rooftop Singers. According to The New York Times, this version was "rearranged by Mr. Darling with twin 12-string guitars, played in a pounding, percussive style. The song became a No. 1 hit and created a fad for 12-string guitars." (A "fad" I guess that Roger McGuinn picked up on):

But while technically Darling was a one-hit wonder, Darling had quite a history in the Great Folk Music Scare of the 1950s-early 60s. Before starting The Rooftop Singers, he was a member of two popular folk groups, The Tarriers and, for more than four years, The Weavers, where he took the place of Pete Seeger. 

Seeger told The Washington Post that Darling was "tremendously talented musician with a subtle sense of poetry and musicianship. . . . He wasn't loud, he wasn't flashy, but very sensitive."

Though not as well known as The Weavers or even The Rooftop Singers, The Tarriers was an influential little trio. For awhile the group included Alan Arkin -- another celebrity Santa Fe resident -- before his acting career took off.

They recorded a Jamaican folk tune called "The Banana Boat Song" in 1956, the same year that Harry Belafonte released what would become his signature song, "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)." 

Darling and fellow Tarriers said they first heard it done in Washington Square by folk singer Bob Gibson, who had recently heard it during a visit to Jamaica. According to The New York Times, the Tarriers combined it with another Jamaican song called "Hill and Gully Rider" and retitled it "The Banana Boat Song." Darling and pals "watched in amazement as it climbed the pop charts and set off a craze for calypso music, fueled in part by Harry Belafonte's reworked version of their song, `Day-O.'"

Here's The Tarriers version:

And here's The Tarrier's take on "Tom Dooley." Hang down your head, Kingston Trio, The Tarriers did it first: 


Darling also recorded several solo records. Here's a salty little song from his 1958 self-titled album

After the Rooftop singers broke up in 1967, Darling drifted in and out of the music biz. 


I don't know the precise time Darling was in Santa Fe, but in 1994 he released an album called Border Town at Midnight at Stepbridge Studios (now Kitchen Sink) in Santa Fe with local musicians Sid Hausman and Lynn Lucas. Also playing on this album were bassist Laurianne Fiorentino, fiddler Gretchen Van Houten and drummer Jeff Sussmann.

 (Unfortunately I couldn't find any of this album's songs on Youtube or Spotify, so I'll just post the album cover.)

Below is a song Erik did with the Kossoy Sisters in 1997. It's called "The Wagoner's Lad" and contains some lyrics, ("My horses ain't hungry, they won't eat your hay ...") that later appeared in Peter, Paul & Mary's song, "Pretty Mary":


Finally, here's the title cut from the CD Erik Darling gave me 20 years ago. RIP Erik. I wish I'd gotten to know you better.



TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

Sunday, June 9, 2024 KSFR, Santa Fe, NM, 101.1 FM  Webcasting! 10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time Host: Steve Terrell Email...