Showing posts with label Wacky Wednesday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wacky Wednesday. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Keeping the Holidays Wacky


Krampus is looking for your children.
(Thanks to my friend Morgana for this photo)

It's the last Wacky Wednesday before Christmas and all through the house ...

In spirit of the season here are just a few holiday songs to keep you properly twisted as the eggnog flows and the reindeer fly.

Let's start with this sweet Christmas memory from Billy Childish's youth:


In this classic song poem, Linda Cassady asks an important question: Is Santa Claus a hippy?

They actually used to play this next one by one-hit wonder Little Cindy frequently during the Christmas season on WKY radio in Oklahoma City when I was a lad. I'm grateful to John Waters for including this on his Christmas album in 2004 ...


While we all love Jesus and Santa Claus, some Christmas spirits aren't all that friendly. Especially that guy named Krampus. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica:

Krampus, in central European popular legend, a half-goat, half-demon monster that punishes misbehaving children at Christmastime. He is the devilish companion of St. Nicholas. Krampus is believed to have originated in Germany, and his name derives from the German word Krampen, which means “claw.”

Here's a brave, courageous and bold tune by someone named "Wild Earp" that you can use to frighten your children (Thanks to my friend B.C. for alerting me to this song):


And for all my Pagan friends here's an ancient holiday hymn by Karina Skye to another horny creature of yore ...


As Billy Childish's dad said, 
"Merry fucking Christmas to you all!"

Wednesday, November 01, 2023

WACKY WEDNESDAY: It's Kinky's Birthday Again


It was 79 years ago today, Nov. 1, 1944, that singer, songwriter, humorist, novelist, failed political candidate and cigar aficionado Richard Samet Friedman was born in Chicago. A few years later the Friedman family moved to Texas and a little later still, young Richard became Kinky Friedman, king of the wild frontier.

I've previously, in Wacky Wednesday, celebrated Kinky's birthday, back in November 2016, where I explained how God led me to Kinky back in 1973 and how a couple of decades later, I got to open for him a couple of times at Albuquerque shows.

So today I'll just say "Happy birthday, Kinky!" and post a few songs that I hadn't previously, 

To start off, here's a tune that didn't make Kinky popular in the hospitality industry. Oh, waitret ... :

With the current rise in anti-Semitism, this Kinky Klassic might be even more relevant than before: 

This one explains an alternative use for religious pamphlets left in restroom stalls:

And, from the same concert as the video above, is another Kinky waitress song. But, though obviously satirical, it's full of pathos and full of heart. (But one thing I've always wanted to know: how many American truckdrivers actually order corn and how many truckstops actually offer beef on rye?):

Happy birthday, Kinky!




Wednesday, October 04, 2023

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Satellite of Love

 


Sixty six years ago on this date, the Godless communists of the Soviet Union launched the first man-made satellite into space, a 183-pound metal sphere called "Sputnik 1."

I was barely four years old at the time, so if I do any memories of it, they're buried under tons of rock 'n' roll, television commercial jingles and odd recollections of Andy's Gang episodes.

But all my life I've had it drilled into my head that Sputnik caused a wave of paranoia in the U.S.A.

"... Sputnik struck fear into the hearts of Cold War Americans, who realized that the Soviets could just as well have lofted a nuclear-tipped missile to North America," declared a 2003 reminiscence on NBC.  

A 2005 dissertation by Ian Kennedy called The Sputnik Crisis And America's Response looks at how the satellite affected America's psyche:


But how did the American reaction unfold? Did hysteria follow immediately after the launch of Sputnik I, as so many sources on the event would lead us to believe? An examination of the public reaction, combined with analysis of it in the proper contextual framework, suggest that the public reaction may not have been immediately fearful. There is evidence to suggest that many Americans were concerned after their communist foes launched the first Sputnik, but not really afraid. Other than the shame of being beaten to the achievement, a large portion of the public felt that they would soon be back on top and that Russian satellite did not pose an immediate threat.

This “not too much to worry about” mentality did not last long into the following month. When the Soviets repeated their achievement with the launch of Sputnik II in early November 1957, a much larger and heavier satellite that included a canine passenger, Americans had more cause for concern. As that month drew to a close, further events would breed a more worried reaction. … 

On 25 November, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a bulwark of leadership that had almost always inspired public confidence, suffered a stroke, causing many to speculate whether the aging leader could still fulfill the weighty obligations of the presidency. Finally, as if to add  insult to injury, the first attempt by the United States to match the Soviets in the new space race resulted in spectacular failure. On 15 December 1957, American rocket technicians attempted to launch their nation’s first satellite. This small sphere, called Vanguard I, barely made it off of the launch pad before the rocket carrying crashed back to Earth in a massive ball of flame. Once Americans saw this highly publicized disaster, most of the “not too much to worry about” feelings that may have existed after the first Sputnik were replaced by genuine concern.

So how did this genuine concern affect American music?

In my quick and not-very-scholarly look at this issue, I found many songs obviously inspired by Sputnik. But what I didn't find was much real paranoia. 

In the world of country music, Ray Anderson, with his band The Homefolks,  declared that "Sputniks and Mutniks" (almost certainly a reference to Laika the space dog, who the Soviets sent to into orbit just a few weeks after Sputnik) "have got me scared." 

But still, considering the title and the upbeat tempo of the song might lead a listener to believe his fear was tongue and cheek. Hear for yourself:

Rockabilly Jerry Engler in his song "Sputnik (Satellite Girl)" didn't seem scared at all:"

Likewise, bluesman Roosevelt Sykes was inspired by Sputnik to celebrate his sexy girlfriend, a "hot rocket baby [who] will leave you flyin' blind":

Another rockabilly, Carl Mann, sang of "Satellite No. 2," I guess a successor to Sputnik 1. Mann's reaction was not to run in fear, but to "dance, dance, dance / Let's dance, to that satellite no. 2":


Even pop star Teresa Brewer saw satellites as something new and cool. "I'm spinning around like a satellite/  And I can see the sun for the stars / Everyday is as gay as a Saturday night / Or a ride on a rocket to Mars":

So if Sputnik caused panic and paranoia, it was my kind of panic and paranoia!

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

WACKY WEDNESDAY: The Punk Rock Crisis on Network TV

 



There's no panic like a moral panic.

Back in the late '60s, the hippies with their long hair and marijuana inspired Jack Webb to try to warn the nation of the dangers of peace and love and their threatening new music on Dragnet. In the' 70s and '80s, punk rock inspired overwrought television episodes trying to shock Mr. Marvin Middleclass about the unhealthy phenomenon destroying the nation's youth.

Actually on sitcoms, punk-rock generally was treated as weird but essentially harmless fun for the kids. The humor came not only from  the stereotypical Mohawks and slam dancing, but from the squares' reactions to it. 

This was the case with case with Don Rickles in CPO Sharkey. A 1978 episode titled "Punk Rock Sharkey" actually featured The Dickies. This video of the band's song "Hideous" features clips from that show:


On WKRP in Cincinnati, in a 1978 episode there's a British punk band called Scum of the Earth (which featured musician/actor Michael Des Barres) dress all spiffy, but that's only a guise. Under those 3-piece suits there are rascally punk-rock hearts who like to spray their audiences with fire extinguishers, much to the dismay of Mr. Carlson, who prefers Benny Goodman, and Andy, who yearns for Crosby, Stills & Nash: 

But on television dramas, things got serious. 

Punk rock became a backdrop for murderous violence and destruction.

On CHiPs, for instance, a band called Pain, in a 1982 episode called "Battle of the Bands" thinks it's funny to throw an electric bass off a rooftop causing traffic mayhem. (I was sympathetic though, because one band member is named "Potatohead"!)

All the way up to 1987 -- long after the heyday of actual punk rock -- an ABC After School Special called "The Day My Kid Went Punk" warned of the danger of "Punk Syndrome," which apparently is even worse than the Woke Mind Virus! Here, a meek, soft-spoken high school orchestra nerd transforms himself into a punk rocker to try to win the heart of a cute blonde girl in the orchestra. Here's an abbreviated version of that episode:


But perhaps the craziest punk rock depiction of all time was on Quincy ME, that Jack Klugman vehicle about the crime-solving medical examiner. In one episode called  “Next Stop, Nowhere,” a kid is stabbed to death at a punk rock show and Quincy is convinced that the evil music was at least partially to blame. “Whoever killed that boy was listening to words that literally cried out for blood,” he says at one point during the episode. Here are some clips from this infamous episode:


But I'll let Jack Webb have the last word:



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

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Happy (Un)Birthday to Alice in Wonderland

 


On this day, July 26 in 1951, Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland, Walt's feature length animated adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, premiered in London.

The film would open in New York two days later and start playing in theaters around the rest of the country in September. So, unless you're British, I guess today would be Alice in Wonderland's UN-birthday.


Let's celebrate by going down the rabbit hole and playing some Alice-related songs, starting with this sappy little 1963 schlock-rock hit from Neil Sedaka:

Of course, I prefer this 1954 R&B ode to one of the most beloved characters in Alice, "Tweedle Dee." (The song mentions his brother "Tweedle Dum," as well as another Disney character, Jimminy Cricket:

Five decades later, Bob Dylan would honor both brothers with "Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum." Here we learn the sad and bitter fate of the two ("Tweedle-Dee Dee is a lowdown, sorry old man / Tweedle-Dee Dum, he'll stab you where you stand") Here's the song from Dylan's 2001 album Love & Theft:


Of course if you want to know the best-known Alice song you'll have to go ask Grace, Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane, that is. Here's a worthy cover version of that from another San Francisco-area band, Shannon & The Clams, who recorded it in 2012.


So happy (un)birthday, Alice. You're always welcome on this blog, because, as they say, we're all mad here!


Wednesday, July 12, 2023

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Mash-Ups for the Mind and Body

How long has it been since I posted a bunch of mash-ups?

About three months, I think.

But as the Wolf Brand Chili guy would say, "Well friend, that's too long."

So here ya go!

Let's start out with a soul-metal mash (by the masterful Bill McClintock) featuring The Temptations and Danzig:


Another McClintock soul/metal mash-up, this one featuring Edwin Starr and Slayer:


Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Velvet Underground go together better than you might think:


True story: Jim Morrison faked his death and reemerged in the early '90s to team up with Nirvana. (Then he murdered Kurt Cobain!)

Speaking of the '90s, anyone out there have nostalgia for commercial grunge? Me neither. But here's a pretty good mash-up of what they used to call "alternative rock" during the Clinton era:


More fun with mash-ups from this blog, HEREHERE, HERE, HERE and HERE


Wednesday, July 05, 2023

WACKY WEDNESDAY: A Vacation Quickie -- Just a few Doo-wop Novelty Songs

The Golden Era of The Doowops series on Relic Records has been
a major source of doo-wop for me for several months now


Howdy gentle readers. By the time you read this, I'll probably be heading for the airport so I can return to New Mexico from my vacation.

So for this Wacky Wednesday I'll just  present a bunch of doo-wop novelty tunes for your listening pleasure.

Let's start off with Lydia Larson & The River Rovers. This classic ode to a chrome-dome will make you want to shave your head:

Hey, battle axes need love too, no matter what The Charmers say!

Next time some jerk pisses  me off, I'm going to take a tip from The Jumping Jacks and call him a "Long-head leggy rascal"!  


And remember what The Nobles, as well as McGruff the Crime Dog, told us, kind readers: Crime Don't Pay:


Finally, I'm not sure what this is, but I do think it's Disturbed enough to qualify for Wacky Wednesday. Get down with the sickness and enjoy:


If you want to read something I wrote years ago about my decades-long awe of doo-wop, CLICK HERE

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Happy Birthday Eddie! (Or Were You Flo?)

 

Mark Volman & Howard Kaylan

Tomorrow, June 22, 2023, will be the 76th birthday of Howard Kaylan, though everyone knew him as Eddie.

Kaylan, a native New Yorker, first rose to fame in the mid sixties band The Turtles. First touted as a 'folk-rock group (their first hit was a Bob Dylan song), The Turtles today are best known for their schlock-rock juggernaut "Happy Together."

A book I haven't read
So it was surprising to me -- and I assume millions of Frank Zappa fans across God's gray Earth -- when Kaylan and fellow Turtles singer Mark Volman turned up in 1970 as the new frontmen for The Mothers of Invention.

And in their new band Kaylan & Volman were christened "The Phlorescent Leech & Eddie," later shortened to "Flo & Eddie." According to Wikipedia -- and I cringe when I write those words -- Kaylan originally was The Phlorescent Leech. 

But he and Volman "were appalled to learn that the printer had mistakenly printed the duo's stage names in the wrong order above their photograph. ... The label refused to reprint the cover, saying that it would cost too much money. Thus, Kaylan and Volman decided to professionally swap stage names." 

(Wikipedia attributes this anecdote to Kaylan's 2013 autobiography Shell Shocked. I haven't read it, so I can't verify it. It might be true but it's always good to be skeptical of Wikipedia as a sole source.)


Besides their solo work and their efforts with Zappa and The Turtles, Kaylan and Volman also contributed background vocals to an impressive array of musical acts, a few examples being T. Rex (on "Get it On"); Bruce Springsteen "Hungry Heart"); and a couple of songs on The Ramones' Mondo Bizarro.

But let's look at some tunes where Flo and Eddie -- whichever is which -- are out front:

Here's a tune, from Zappa's 200 Motels, that I believe is one of the best non-comedy tracks from Zappa's Flo-and-Eddie period.

"I'm coming over shortly because I am a portly...":


"WE ARE NOT GROUPIES!":


Here are Flo & Eddie riffing on an old classic. Ethel Merman would be proud:


Finally, here are the boys singing a Beach Boys song with one of their idols they mentioned in the above version of The Mothers'  groupie routine:


No, not THAT Flo!


Wednesday, June 07, 2023

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Challengers of the Duke


 

Nothing can stop the Duke of Earl. 

That's what Eugene Dixon, better known as Gene Chandler, proclaimed in his 1962 hit "Duke of Earl." 

You gotta admire the guy's regal confidence: "As I walk through the world nothing can stop the Duke of Earl ..." 

And that confidence is contagious. Sometimes I sing that verse on my afternoon walks as I survey my own Dukedom.

Back in the early '60s "Duke of Earl" was the kind of song that was bound to inspire answer songs. Chandler himself might have been the first, quickly releasing "Walk On With the Duke" as a follow-up just a few months later. Of course it wasn't nearly as successful as the original "Duke."

On the original song, Chandler told his girlfriend, "And when I hold you /You'll be my Duchess, Duchess of Earl/ We'll walk through my dukedom /And a paradise we will share ..."

Apparently Bobbie Smith of the Dream Girls wanted to take the Duke up on this offer:

However, a group called The Pearlettes begged to differ over who was the true Dutchess of Earl:

Meanwhile, Dorothy Berry -- who was married to Richard Berry (the "Louie Louie" composer, not the former mayor of Albuquerque) claimed to be "The Girl Who Stopped the Duke of Earl." I sense a doowop catfight in the air!

However, a male group called The Upfronts claim that they are the ones who stopped the Duke of Earl -- perhaps by including riffs from The Monotones' "Book of Love" as well as the original "Duke".

Somehow not even the Duke of Prunes," (which appeared on The Mothers of Invention's second album, Absolutely Free) could stop the Duke of Earl:


Wednesday, May 17, 2023

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Happy Birthday, Mr. Mothersbaugh!


 I guess he's Devolved into an old man now, (happens to the best of us), but today Mark Mothersbaugh, the voice of Devo, turns 73 tomorrow.

Happy birthday, Spud Boy!

Mothersbaugh was born May 18, 1950 in Akron, Ohio. Attending Kent State University, he fell in with future Devos Gerald Casale and Bob Lewis.

Casale was at the May 4, 1970 where he saw two people he knew -- Allison Krause and Jeffrey Miller -- right after they'd been shot by Ohio National Guardsmen. That was impetus for creating Devo -- a band based on the concept of the "devolution" of the human race -- as Casale explained in The Washington Post in 2018.

Mothersbaugh, Casale and various other Devos (including at various points Mark's brothers Bob and Jim) performed around the area for several years. In 1976, they filmed the 9-minute The Truth About De-Evolution, which won a prize at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. It featured two Devo songs and an appearance by Mothersbaugh's dad, Robert Mothersbaugh, Sr. as "General Boy."

Here's a clip featuring the the original version of "Joko Homo," the first Devo song that asked the age-old musical question, "Are we not men?":

The film stirred the interest of David Bowie, who along with Brian Eno, produced the first Devo album, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!  

The group's second album includes this bit of madness. I wonder whether Spud Boy ever found his "real tomato":


The only time I got to see Devo was at the 1996 Lollapalooza in Chandler, Ariz. Devo was great, but many of the macho mosh-pit metal heads, didn't appreciate them. This came following an awful Arizona dust storm that caused The Ramones to cut their set short and postponed the rest of the show for a couple of hours. 

Between that and the regular July heat, anger was rising But Mothersbaugh and crew seemed to feed off the foul energy. Following Devo's set, Soundgarden came on, with singer Chris Cornell (RIP) scolding the dumbfucks who's booed such a great band.  (A not-very good-quality video of Devo's entire set is up on Youtube. Nearly gave me PTSD just watching it.)

Here's "Uncontrollable Urge" from another '96 Lollapalooza show:

Getting back to the show I saw, what really got the metalhead mob angry was when Mothersbaugh assumed his identity of Booji Boy. He ended that set with some confrontational humor, pulling what some said was bacon out of his diaper (and some assume was worse) and throwing it into the crowd. 

So to close this birthday tribute, here's Mothersbaugh as Booji Boy in a movie, Neil Young's Human Highway:

Happy birthday, Mark Mothersbaugh!

Wednesday, May 03, 2023

WACKY WEDNESDAY: My Life in AI

 


Just about everywhere you look in 2023 you see overstuffed think pieces and sometimes dire and paranoid warnings about the dangers of artificial intelligence or "AI." I actually hate that acronym worse than I hate most acronyms because I always read it as "Al," as in my friend Al Faaet.

Why only yesterday I saw fearful headlines -- like this one from the BBC -- about "AI Godfather" Geoffrey Hinton's ominous departure from Google, which he announced in a statement to the New York Times, that spelled out how he now regrets his work. 

He told the BBC some of the dangers of AI chatbots were "quite scary".

"Right now, they're not more intelligent than us, as far as I can tell. But I think they soon may be."

What else could make a man give up what had to be a lucrative job?

Dr Hinton also accepted that his age had played into his decision to leave the tech giant, telling the BBC: "I'm 75, so it's time to retire."

Hinton envisioned nightmarish scenarios like Vladimir Putin giving "robots the ability to create their own sub-goals." 

Robots with sub-goals? Oh no!

But, Hinton warned, some of those sub-goals might be "I need to get more power." 

And thus began the long march of our robot overlords ...

I dunno. 

My only interaction with AI at this point has been frustrating "conversations" with chatbots on my cell phone company's website. I wish that robot would acquire a sub-goal of being more helpful to customers.

But my brother Jack has played around quite a bit on ChatGPT, a popular "artificial intelligence chatbot" unleashed to the unsuspecting public late last year. Recently he and our friend Al -- not AI -- Faaet asked the chatbot to tell them what it knew about Jack. 

Nada.

Then they asked it what it knew about Al.

Same nothing.

But then Al suggested asking the AI about me. Three was a charm, even though Jack typoed my first name as "Streve". Thus sprach the robot:

Here's that conversation:

User:

Tell me about journalist/musician Streve Terrell

ChatGPT:

Steve Terrell was an American journalist and musician who was born on July 11, 1952, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and passed away on December 28, 2017, at the age of 65. He was a well-known journalist in New Mexico, where he worked for over 30 years at the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper. In addition to his work as a journalist, Terrell was also an accomplished musician and songwriter.

Untitled
The Steve or "Streve" Terrell who
lived-- and apparently died --
in ChatGPT
Terrell began his career as a journalist in the 1970s, covering local politics and culture for various newspapers in New Mexico. He joined the staff of the Santa Fe New Mexican in 1980, where he worked as a reporter and columnist for many years. He was known for his insightful commentary on politics, music, and popular culture, and he was a fixture in the Santa Fe community.

As a musician, Terrell was best known for his work with The Rounders, a country-rock band that he co-founded in the early 1970s. The Rounders released several albums and toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe. Terrell also recorded several solo albums and collaborated with other musicians throughout his career.

Throughout his life, Terrell was a passionate advocate for music and the arts. He was a regular attendee at concerts and festivals, and he wrote extensively about music in his journalism. He was also a mentor to many younger musicians in the Santa Fe area, and he was known for his generosity and kindness.

Steve Terrell was a beloved figure in the Santa Fe community, and his contributions to journalism and music are still celebrated today. He was known for his wit, his intelligence, and his passion for life, and he will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

O.K., a few things ...

It got the date of my birth and I'm pretty sure the date of my death wrong. Also, I didn't begin my career in journalism until 1980 but didn't start working for The New Mexican for another seven years. My influence on younger musicians is exaggerated, to say the least.

As far as my band "The Rounders" goes, what the living heck? I was never in any such band. I didn't make any albums with or tour with any such band (I never even made it to Europe until about 10 years ago).

Maybe there was a Streve Terrell who led The Rounders and died in 2017. Any of my local musician friends remember such as person?

So, at least for the time being, I'm not going to lose much sleep over AI or its sub-goals. 

Which might just be exactly what the lurking robot menace wants!

Meanwhile, enjoy a tune from some real Rounders:




Wednesday, April 05, 2023

THE RETURN of WACKY WEDNESDAY !!! (Mash it good!!!!)


Yes, Wacky Wednesday is back. I took a near year-long break from doing this little blog feature -- as well as my Throwback Thursday feature -- nearly a year ago. Burned out, I guess.

I'd like to say that I'm resuming this due to popular demand. truth is, hardly anyone noticed it was gone. (Same is true for The Big Enchilada podcast, which I stopped doing nearly two years ago.)

So to Hell with you guys! I'm doing this again just for my own amusement whether anyone cares or not.  

Now let's get to some crazed mash-ups.

The Maharishi of the mash-ups, Bill McClintock  did this one to show the country side of Van Halen:


Have you ever wondered how the Wu-Tang Clan would sound with  B.B. King? 


If you listen to this Pink Floyd/Bee Gees mash-up while watching The Wizard of Oz, YOU WILL DIE!


My only complaint about this next one, featuring Laurel and Hardy dancing to a mash-up of the Red Hot Chile Peppers and Aerosmith is that they should worked in an actual Laurel & Hardy song. I mean, come on, "Shine on Harvest Moon" or "Trail of the Lonesome Pine" would have sounded great here.


Mash-a-palooza! Find more fabulous mashups HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

WACKY WEDNESDAY: One-Name Wonders

 


Cher! Madonna! Prince! Adelle!

Those are just a few of the major musical superstars who perform and record under their Christian name alone. You could reach back and add Melanie, Lulu and Ann-Margret or reach not-that-far back for Sylvester, Jewell, and Alisha. 

But there are other one-name wonders who deserve our attention.

For instance, back in the mid 1960s there was James Barry Keefer, but you might have heard him under his stage name "Keith," singing his AM radio hits like "Ain't Gonna Lie" or this one:

 

Then there's the goddess of bad-album-cover buffs, Joyce. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) the only Joyce video I could find is less than a minute long.


But there's another Joyce, a singer from Brazil who has been performing since the 1960s. I guess she's not as well known as the artist I'll call "Joyce (U.S.)" because her album covers aren't that bad. Here's a Brazilian Joyce tune from 1980, "Feminina":



In the '70s there came a force of nature from Spain named María Rosario Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza -- but you can call her Charo. Here she is singing a song by a fellow one-namer:



Finally, here's a one-name wonder from Japan I just discovered a couple of years ago. Here's Degurutieni with a little song called "Shanghai":


Wednesday, April 20, 2022

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Alice Cooper, 1970s TV Star


When the world first became aware of Alice Cooper, he was known as a fiend from Hell with a woman's name, a shock-rocker who bedazzled vulnerable youth with guillotines, snakes and demonic imagery. 

Alice was a killer. But Alice also was a clown.

And by the end of the decade Alice no longer was a threat to God-fearing, flag-waving Americans. He was a cuddly, kooky comic, bringing his weirdness, with a wink in his eye and tongue in his cheek to national TV.

And Americans welcomed the friendly weirdo with open arms into our living rooms. He appeared on Hollywood Squares, Dinah, Phil Donahue and all sorts of tacky shows you probably wouldn't expect.

For example, here's Alice making fun of his own image on an episode of Tony Orlando & Dawn. Here he is in 1976 with the future New Mexico Music Commission member. (Music starts at 2:30, but the ound quality is pretty bad here):

As you saw, in pre-QAnon America, you could joke about "children chained to the wall" on a network variety show without any blowback.

Here's a clip of Alice on The New Soupy Sales Show in 1979:

Alice joined The Muppets in 1978


On April 25, 1975 ABC gave Alice his own national TV special, Alice Cooper: The Nightmare. It basically was an hour-long television commercial for Alice's latest album, Welcome to My Nightmare

On the show, Alice played a guy named "Steven," who is trapped in some kind of nightmare world. His co-star was none other than Vincent Price who plays the "Spirit of the Nightmare."  On the show, Alice performed all the songs from the new album, as well as this classic, my favorite Alice Cooper song:


Wednesday, March 16, 2022

WACKY WEDNESDAY: '70s Variety Show Beatles Covers

 


The Beatles broke up in 1970. And yet their music lived on. Why weren't they forgotten by the masses like The Dave Clark 5 or Gerry & The Pacemakers?

The answer is obvious: The stars of 1970s TV variety shows made a bold effort throughout the Me Decade to make sure Beatles songs would be remembered through time.

The Beatles may have been over and done as a band, but the tacky variety shows, which were on the rise, threw their music a necessary lifeline.

Old school variety show host Ed Sullivan might have helped launch The Beatles in 1964. But Donny & Marie and their contemporaries helped preserve the Fab 4's legacy.

Actually, even before the '70s, some variety programs displayed a sincere affinity for The Beatles' music.

For instance, this 1967 clip from the Carol Burnett Show, starring Carol along with Phyllis Diller, Gwen Verdon (best known as a dancer), and Bobbie Gentry -- all of whom grew mustaches for the occasion --  might have been the template for the variety shows that followed. 

On one hand, how cool was it, seeing Bobbie Gentry and Phyllis Diller in the same "band"? On the other hand, this reinforces a line in The Dictators' song "Who Will Save Rock 'n' Roll"

"I wish Sgt. Pepper had never taught the band to play." 

Skip ahead to 1975 and here's Cher, on her popular television program, singing a Beatles medley with Tina Turner and ... Kate Smith???????

And in 1978, Donnie & Marie were joined by none other than Kris Kristofferson for another rollicking Beatles medley.

But as far as I'm concerned, the best variety-show Beatles song was the 1970 appearance by the beautiful Juliet Prowse (hey, this lady dated both Sinatra and Elvis). She did a crazy Bollywood-style "Tomorrow Never Knows" -- one of my favorite Beatles tunes, that rarely gets covered -- on The Engelbert Humperdinck Show.

Top this, Phyllis Diller!

And if you enjoyed this post, check out the crazy Beatles covers HERE and HERE

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Up With People Deep Cuts

 

They never had a radio hit, they never made the cover of the Rolling Stone,  they've somehow eluded the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame (though I'd argue that several inductees in recent years are just as lame, if not worse). 

But since the mid 1960s, the traveling musical troupe known as Up With People has traveled the world, including, probably, a high school auditorium near you spreading their weird, clean-cut cheer and saccharine platitudes. They played not one, not two but five goddamn Super Bowl halftime shows between the mid '70s and mid '80s. They've performed for presidents and foreign leaders.

There have been more than 22,000 members from more than a hundred countries.

Dazzled yet?

And yet some people -- including former member, actress Glenn Close -- have compared Up With People with religious cults. And in fact, the group sprang from an "alternative" religious movement called Moral Rearmament. (Close's parents belonged to that group, and Glenn spent her teenage years and early 20s under its spell.)

Up With People was started by a Moral Rearmament member from Arizona named J. Blanton Belk, According to a 2012 story from Inside Tucson Business:

During the turbulent 1960s, a prevalent scene in the U.S. was one of hippies occupying university presidents offices. It was a time of demonstrations, around the world from the University of California in Berkeley to the Sorbonne in Paris, and to San Marcus University in Lima, Peru.

Belk was at a point in his life when he was ready to take on a big challenge. He gathered student leaders from half a dozen universities challenging them to find a “positive voice” as an alternative to what he regarded as the negativism of the times.

Chances are you've probably heard Up With People's self-titled theme song, the one that goes "Up up with people, you meet 'em wherever you go ..." -- and possibly you even agree with the song's sentiment "If more people were for people" the world would be a better place. And maybe you remember one of their better known songs, "What Color is God's Skin?"

But I'd be willing to be bet that you probably haven't heard many of the other 300 songs or so written for Up With People over the past 50-whatever years. Well, that's what this blog is for.

Let's start with one written and sung by a young Glenn Close, "Run and Catch the Wind" (no relation to the similarly-titled Donovan song from that era.) And check out the endorsements from John Wayne, Pat Boone and Walt Disney on the album cover!

Here's one from Up With People's snazzy orange sweater period, "Where the Roads Come Together":

Up With People Get funky with this 1970 tune called "Man's Gotta Go Somewhere":

Finally, here's "Stand Up Now," a fairly recent one (2012) that has an anti-bullying message:

So I hope you agree with me that UP WITH PEOPLE KICKS ASS!

Check out other "Deep Cuts" posts from this blog:

* Freddie & The Dreamers

* Sgt. Barry Sadler

* The Village People

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Mashed Up Again


To mangle a quote from Edgard Varèse (or was it Frank Zappa? Ruben Sano?),  the 21st Century Mash-Up refuses to die!

Here's a small sampling of Youtube mash-ups to amaze and delight, a sweet reminder that no matter what musical styles and genres you prefer, it always can be combined with something ridiculous or disturbing to create something even more ridiculous or disturbing.

Let the music bring us together!

Let's start with a little fun in Acapulco with this little monstrosity from Shahar Varshal featuring Elvis, Queen, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Flo Rida and Gnarls Barkley.


Let's Rage Against the Bee Gees with this William Maranci mash-up:


What if Ozzie Osbourne had a little funk in his trunk? If Earth, Wind & Fire rode the Crazy Train? DJ Cummerbund has the answer! 


Remember when The B-52s met Slayer? Mash-up master Bill McClintock does:


Finally, this battle royale (from 2003!) features a Canned Heat classic aided by Blondie, The Jackson 5, Metallica, The White Stripes Devo, and Credence Clearwater Revival. It's by a Youotuber called "TWENTYTHREEAD," who composes "music for TV Commercials and film and create videos graphics for corporate in-store installations and events."


More fun with mash-ups from this blog, HEREHERE and HERE.

And for you true nerds out there who are curious about how mash-ups are made, here's a Facebook video from Bill McClintock showing how he created "Raining Lobsters."

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