Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ogden Edsl: Ogden Edsl Wahalia Blues Ensemble Mondo Bizzario Band


Ogden Edsl were the comics/musicians behind “Dead Puppies”, which should be on every American’s shortlist for the New National Anthem (next to Mojo Nixon’s “Tie My Pecker To My Leg” and Beat Farmers’ “Happy Boy”). The song's source album was unknown to me until this month. Originally released in a slightly different form on Omaha’s Sunburn label in 1977, the group repackaged and reissued the LP in 1979 on Los Angeles’ ALA label when they moved to southern California. It’s great from top to bottom – their better-known cuts (“Daddy’s Money”, “Kinko the Clown”) are terrific, but the linking material is equally wonderful. “FM Late Night D.J.”, in which a disk jockey follows the “before that” trail to the point where he's back-announcing his whole life, is so good you’re going to make a mix just so you can end it with it.

Daddy’s Money
Fort Hemophilia Drive-In
Lube Job
Drive-In Welcome
G.W.F. Hegel Waltz
Pacific Ocean
Pig Pit
Jean Paul
Jamaican Holiday
Charnel House
Dead Puppies
Kinko the Clown
FM Late Night D.J.
Black Beauty
139 Degrees / Dial-a-Vibe / Holy Trinity
Russian Roulette Giveaway
Sweet Breeze
The World Is Gone


DISCLAIMER: To the best of my knowledge, this work is out of print and not available for purchase in any format. If you are the artist and are planning a reissue, please let me know and I’ll remove it from the blog. Also please get in touch if you’ve lost your art &/or sound masters and would like to talk with me about my restoration work.

Adrian Mitchell & Leon Rosselson: A Laugh, A Song & A Hand-Grenade

Two progressive poets on one damned disc! Adrian Mitchell was a poet and playwright, a socialist and a pacifist. He wrote lyrics for the songs in the Royal Shakespeare Company's original English-language production of Marat / Sade, as well as the film’s screenplay. Leon Rosselson is a children’s book author and singer/songwriter whose extensive catalogue is full of folk, satire, and protest. In 1968 the two went on tour together performing poems and tunes, and this LP released the same year on Transatlantic Records is taken from live recordings at the Universities of Bradford and Lancaster. Funny and dangerous and poignant and crackling with the spirit of ’68.

Leon Rosselson: Flower Power=Bread
Adrian Mitchell: Take Stalk Between Teeth / Pull Stalk From Blossom / Throw Blossom Over Arm Towards Enemy / Lie Flat And Await Explosion
Leon Rosselson: She Was Crazy, He Was Mad
Adrian Mitchell: A Party Political Broadcast on Behalf of the Burial Party
Leon Rosselson: Judgements
Adrian Mitchell: An Oxford Hysteria of English Poetry
Adrian Mitchell: To Whom It May Concern
Leon Rosselson: Jumbo the Elephant
Adrian Mitchell: Ode on the Assassination of President Johnson
Leon Rosselson: History Lesson
Adrian Mitchell: Vroomph
Leon Rosselson: Palaces of Gold
Adrian Mitchell: To You
Leon Rosselson: The Rules of the Game


DISCLAIMER: To the best of my knowledge, this work is out of print and not available for purchase in any format. If you are the artist and are planning a reissue, please let me know and I’ll remove it from the blog. Also please get in touch if you’ve lost your art &/or sound masters and would like to talk with me about my restoration work.

Victor 17222: Nat Wills “No News, Or What Killed the Dog” / Tom McNaughton “The Three Trees”


Nat Wills (1873-1917) was a vaudevillian famed for his Tramp character. He cut discs for Victor and Columbia and cylinders for Edison. He recorded “No News, or What Killed the Dog” for his first Victor session in 1908. It was a popular title and the label kept it in print for years. (James Thurber mentions it in his autobiographical essay “More Alarms at Night”, where he talks about playing the record so often as a child that its grooves locked.) It is also unfortunately solidly in the wheelhouse of the Delightful Racist Monologue that was so popular a century ago. Here’s the setup:

Once a man was honored by his position to go away to the mountains for a rest. He went home and told his members of his family what the doctor had said, and he said “While I’m away I don’t wish to be annoyed by letters or telegrams – in fact I don’t want to receive any news of any kind.” So he went away and was gone about six weeks…returned to the city very much improved in health, and very anxious for some news from home. Got off of the train at the depot, was met by his colored servant, and the following conversation ensued:

He said, “Well, Henry, how is everything at home? Is there any news?”

“No suh, there ain’t no news, suh. Everything is just about the same as it was when you all went away.”

“Nothing happened?”

“No, suh, ain’t nothing happened, ain’t no news.”

“Well you know I’m just dying for some word from home, now. You can tell me any little thing, no matter how trifling.”

“No, suh, there ain’t no news, there ain’t nothing to tell you suh…except, uh, there’s just one little thing. Since you been away your dog died.”

“Oh, my dog died, eh? Well that’s too bad. What killed the dog?”

“Well, suh, the dog eat some burnt hoss flesh. And that’s what killed the dog.”

“He ate burnt horse flesh? Where did he get burnt horse flesh to eat?”

“Well, suh, you know your barn burned down…”

Etc., etc. As the conversation proceeds, the servant inadvertantly reveals that the barn got torched because some sparks flew over from the house, because the house burned down, because they had candles all around the coffin, because his mother-in-law died, and rooty mctootie boom boom these are the jokes folks. Nat’s timing is impeccable, but one should not play this in mixed company.

I’m posting it now partially as a basic archaeological find from my collection (originally from my Dad’s collection, and before that probably from his mother’s), but mostly because I have a challenge for you, dear reader. Wills plays the servant as completely oblivious, skittering from one awful revelation to the next because he has no idea that any of it is bad news, because yuk yuk yuk, oh those charming negroes (does it surprise you that Wills cut a side for Victor in 1915 called “Darky Stories”? no it does not). But there’s another way to play the servant, and you don’t have to change a word of dialogue. Try playing this yourself, but before you start, picture the servant in the carriage on the way to the depot with his hands over his eyes, muttering over and over “Do NOT. SAY. ANYTHING.” Then when he starts talking, think to yourself “I must NOT mention the dead dog.” Then after you mention the dead dog, think: “Okay, I must NOT mention the barn burning down. Okay, I must NOT mention the house burning down. I must NOT mention the coffin…” You’ll end up with a servant who’s making an absolutely superhuman effort at diplomacy, but whose world slowly, inexorably falls apart until he cracks. Try it, and you’ll find this can actually be a beautiful bit. No doubt Key & Peele could rock it today.

On the flip is Tom McNaughton and orchestra performing “The Three Trees”, wherein through the power of storytelling we are transported back to a magical Bohemian grove and nothing happens. Karlovy Vary (a.k.a. Carlsbad) is a spa town with a hot springs that was founded in the 14th century in Western Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic). Local legend describes its inception in a story involving a wayward fawn, a determined hunter, a bevy of capricious nymphs, and a sympathetic water sprite who brings forth tonic water from the rocks with a touch of her wand. By 1911 the spa had 71,000 annual visitors. Heinrich Reinhardt was a Viennese composer who had helped establish a new song-and-dance phase in Viennese operetta with his hit Das süsse Mädel in 1901, and in 1909 he wrote an operetta about Carlsbad, Die Sprudelfee, wherein broke royals, moneyed royals, actors, fans, cops, and visitors with various ailments gather for the festival season at Carlsbad and wackiness ensues. Brothers Harry B. Smith and Robert B. Smith adapted it into English as The Spring Maid, and producers Louis Werba and Mark Luescher put it on Broadway where it became a smash hit that played for two years. In the Broadway production, McNaughton plays Roland, an English tragedian in love with Ursula, his fan. I don’t know the context of this routine in the play, but Roland describes a forest scene involving a spring, a rabbit, a hunter, and three trees (“There…there…and there”). The rabbit doesn’t die. The trees don’t move. If you don’t get it, you certainly also won’t enjoy “The Salt Herring” by Charles Cros.

This record is Victor 17222; the date is uncertain but Dr. Internet provides evidence of two American newspapers advertising it in 1913.

Sheet music for "Day Dreams, Visions of Bliss" from The Spring Maid (from a photo by eBay user admatha) 

Nat Wills “No News, or What Killed the Dog”
Tom McNaughton “The Three Trees”

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Bonzo Dog Band: Loose Caboose

This first caught my eye when I discovered Goldmine and started devouring their dealer ads in the mid-90s; it's a bootleg on the Amazing Kornyfone Record Label from 1976, full of out-of-print tracks by the Bonzo Dog Band and its various members. It popped up on eBay recently so I grabbed it...you, uh, don't need to do likewise. Consider this reference-level material only for the dedicated fan.

"Button Up Your Overcoat", "I'm Gonna Bring a Watermelon To My Girl Tonight", "Alley Oop," and "My Brother Makes the Noises for the Talkies" were originally released by Parlophone as singles in 1966, and were later remixed for stereo and collected on the 1971 various artists comp The Alberts / The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band / The Temperance Seven. Interesting to note that the original version of "My Brother Makes The Noises for the Talkies" apparently included the "Cuckoo Song" made famous by Laurel and Hardy, which was cut from all future CD reissues, no doubt for copyright reasons.

"Fiddle About" / "Tommy's Holiday Camp" is from a 9 December 1972 performance at the Rainbow Theatre, London, of the London Symphony Orchestra under the direction of David Measham performing The Who's Tommy, featuring Viv as Uncle Ernie.

"Death Cab for Cutie" is from the movie Magical Mystery Tour. "The Young Ones", "Are You Havin' Any Fun?" and "Paper-Round" are Viv Stanshall singles. "What Noise Annoys a Noisy Oyster" and "Oo-Chuck-a-Mao-Mao" are Neil Innes singles. "Trouser Freak", "Trouser Press" and "Dropout" are all Roger Ruskin Spear solo cuts.

And everything else is from...Do Not Adjust Your Set, or Beat-Club, or possibly other TV or radio broadcasts. That's the trick with bootlegs, is that they're never well-documented, because the sources weren't well-documented, because who cares it's a bootleg wheeee look at us we're bootlegging. Sound quality is OK to poor throughout. So, not much of a keeper, but I had to satisfy my curiosity!

Button Up Your Overcoat
Shirt
Hello Mabel
Fiddle About / Tommy's Holiday Camp
The Young Ones
Oo-Chuck-a-Mao-Mao
I'm Gonna Bring a Watermelon To My Girl Tonight
Alley Oop
What Noise Annoys a Noisy Oyster
Death Cab for Cutie
My Brother Makes the Noises for the Talkies
Da Story of Da Bonzo Itself [aka The Bride Stripped Bare By "Bachelors"]
Ready-Mades
Canyons of Your Mind
Trouser Freak
Trouser Press
Dropout
Paper-Round
Are You Havin' Any Fun?
Urban Spaceman

Album audio & artwork

Vivian Stanshall & Kilgaron: The Young Ones / Are You Havin' Any Fun? / The Question


I've no idea how and why Viv hooked up with the band Kilgaron and recorded these cuts for EMI's Harvest Records imprint in 1976, but bless 'em both for doing it. Cliff Richard and the Shadows recorded "The Young Ones" in 1962 and gawdalmighty it's a bucket of effluent, and Viv's drunken delivery gives it exactly what it deserves (when Rik Mayall was helping create a show about four youthful post-punk oiks sharing a flat in 1982, his character's obsession with Cliff naturally led to them naming the show after the song). "Are You Havin' Any Fun?" is a foxtrot from Jack Yellen and Sammy Fain's 1939 musical George White's Scandals, and Viv's cover is very much in the wheelhouse of the Bonzo-ic tendency to recusitate pre-war dance tunes. And "The Question", which has never been reissued on CD, is a return to Viv's penchant for doing oddball vox-pop interviews with confused civilians on the street as he once did in the classic "Shirt". (For higher-quality versions of the first two cuts, please be sure to pick up EMI's fine 2007 remaster of The Bonzo Dog Band's Keynsham.)



The Young Ones
Are You Havin' Any Fun?
The Question

Record audio & artwork

DISCLAIMER: To the best of my knowledge, this work is out of print and not available for purchase in any format. If you are the artist and are planning a reissue, please let me know and I’ll remove it from the blog. Also please get in touch if you’ve lost your art &/or sound masters and would like to talk with me about my restoration work.

Vivian Stanshall: Labio-Dental Fricative / Paper-Round


In the UK this single was credited to the Sean Head Showband; in the USA it's just credited to Viv Stanshall. It's an utterly charming pair of tunes by Viv, who was on the rebound from the recently-defunct Bonzo Dog Band, but this eclectic group of collaborators (Viv, Eric Clapton, bassist Dennis Cowan, and percussionist Remi "Mr. Magic" Kabaka) never produced any other material. The A-side of this 1970 single survives on CD in many Bonzo collections, but "Paper-Round" has never been officially reissued.

Labio-Dental Fricative
Paper-Round

Record audio & artwork

DISCLAIMER: To the best of my knowledge, this work is out of print and not available for purchase in any format. If you are the artist and are planning a reissue, please let me know and I’ll remove it from the blog. Also please get in touch if you’ve lost your art &/or sound masters and would like to talk with me about my restoration work.

Neil Innes: What Noise Annoys a Noisy Oyster / Oo-Chuck-a-Mao-Mao

I've been chasing one of these for years: the last of 4 singles that Neil Innes recorded for United Artists, with an A-side that's never been reissued on CD. Neil's 1973 United Artists album How Sweet to Be an Idiot and most of the rest of those singles' non-album cuts were collected on a CD you should get, Re-Cycled Vinyl Blues.

What Noise Annoys a Noisy Oyster
Oo-Chuck-a-Mao-Mao

Record audio & artwork

DISCLAIMER: To the best of my knowledge, this work is out of print and not available for purchase in any format. If you are the artist and are planning a reissue, please let me know and I’ll remove it from the blog. Also please get in touch if you’ve lost your art &/or sound masters and would like to talk with me about my restoration work.