Friday, September 16, 2011
Camp Records Was Totally Gay
(Don't forget to vote in the M4M Idol contest!)
The Queer Music Heritage site sez: "Almost nothing is known about the mysterious 60's record label Camp Records. They released an album and ten 45 rpm records of gay parody songs, most done with effeminate voices. I believe they were issued in the early 60's, as they all appeared in an ad in the gay magazine Vagabond, dated 1965... The artists singing most of the songs were uncredited, or with names obviously made up, like Byrd E. Bath and B. Bubba, but one name stands out, Rodney Dangerfield...This would have been very early in Dangerfield's career, as his website bio says he decided to devote his career to comedy at age 40, which would have been in 1961. But I don't think it was the comedian we know..."
This is not only funny stuff, a must for novelty music fans, but a peek into an underground world all but unknown to mainstream society at the time. Hard to believe now in this age of RuPaul, but this type of music was extremely rare - it was practically illegal. "The Queen is in the Closet" album often takes familiar public-domain melodies and sets new lyrics to them, e.g. "A Naughty-cal Tale" is based on the old sea chanty "What Do You Do With A Drunken Soldier." The 45s sometimes get into rock 'n 'roll territory. "Homer The Happy Little Homo"? "Stanley the Manly Transvestite"? What are you waiting for, you silly savages? They're all free for your downloading pleasure at this fabulous site here:
Don't forget to scroll to the very bottom of the page for a more recent (1980) single. I've known about this site for a while (thanks to Spacebrother Greg) but was reminded about it after recently reading John Rechy's classic autobiographical novel "City Of Night," which deals with the same underworld of hustlers and drag queens. It was a surprise best seller in the early '60s, pulling the lid off the scene, and tho some of it hardly seems shocking to modern sensibilities, it's still pretty fascinating. Rechy's genuine experiences invest the book with an authenticity that will make reader feel thoroughly familiar with this world by the end of the book. The next step in your low-life lit journey, after you've absorbed Chandler, Bukowski, et. al.