Friday, June 28, 2013

Silly 78s pt2

Count Otto Black returns!  With a further batch of awesome audio oddities and atrocities from the first half of recorded history. Perhaps even more spectacular than part one. The Count sez:

Firstly, for no reason at all, Oscar Quam the professional bird impersonator demonstrates in all seriousness that he can convincingly call crows. Why would anyone go to a lot of trouble to learn how to attract crows? Are the edible? Anyway, Oscar Quam could do it. Perhaps he was a sort of anti-scarecrow who made a living standing a long way away from the crops decoying crows? Who knows!

And now for something completely different. I haven’t the slightest idea who Mister Goon-Bones was, except that he plays a mean set of spoons! And it’s not often that you encounter a band consisting of spoons, piano, banjo and organ.
Moving swiftly on, Irving Aaronson and his Commanders go very convincingly insane over “Wimmin Aaah!”,  and Kenny Roberts telling us how "She Taught Me To Yodel" because - well, just listen to him! - why was a vocal style this bizarre every popular, however briefly???

Ever onwards and upwards - here's a very ancient recording from the Van Eps Banjo Orchestra, who give us "My Hindoo Man" - obviously nothing evokes the Mystic East like massed banjos and loud mysterious scraping noises. And we can't not have another one from at least half of the Two Leslies (Leslie Holmes is the tall one with the glasses).

Moving swiftly on, the Milt Herth Trio inform us for no particular reason that "The Monkeys Have No Tails In Pago Pago", and in a throwback to a much more innocent age, George Beaver solemnly explains that he likes to ride a camel because it goes bumpity-bumpity-bump.

"The Laughing Policeman" is sung by, of all people, Paul Robeson! (Given his commitment to fighting for the rights of black Americans, I can't help feeling that there may be a certain amount of intentional irony involved...)

The original version of a record which I presume must once have been a big hit, since it was parodied by Spike Jones as "Hawaiian War Chant". I don't speak Hawaiian, but it sounds to me as though it wasn't terribly serious to begin with, and may not be in any language at all. [Indeed, every other Hawaiian and exotica record of the '50s had a version of 'Hawaiian War Chant' - MrF]
And another one from the Two Leslies. This was a big hit for them, and spawned a catch-phrase that was still around as late as the 1980s, when on the occasion of the sinking of the General Belgrano during the Falklands War, British tabloid The Sun printed the magnificent headline "Umpa, Umpa, Stick It Up Your Junta!"

"You Gotta Go Owww!" was the first and most obscure of the singles released as Goon Show spin-offs, and was sung by Spike Milligan.

And of course the song with possibly the best title ever: "Who put the benzedrine in Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine?"

Silly 78s pt2

1. Leslie Sarony - Ain't It Grand To Be Blooming Well Dead (Side B)
2. Rex Stewart - B.O. Blues
3. Nora Bayes - Cheer Up, Eat, & Grow Thin
4. Mr. Goon-Bones - Crazy Bone Rag
5. Basin Street Six - Everybody Loves That Hadacol (Side Two)
6. G. H. Elliott (The Original Chocolate-Coloured Coon) - The Ghost Of The Yodelling Coon
7. Helen Kane - Hug Me, Kiss Me, Love Me
8. Mr. Goon-Bones - I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles
9. George Beaver - I Love to Ride a Camel
10. Paul Robesonn - The Laughing Policeman
11. Harry Champion - Little Bit Of Cucumber
12. Al "Jazzbo" Collins - Little Red Riding Hood
13. Milt Herth Trio - The Monkeys Have No Tails In Pago Pago
14. Van Eps Banjo Orchestra - My Hindoo Man
15. Ozie Waters - Old Man Atom
16. Oscar Quam - Oscar Quam Calling Crows
17. Three Earbenders - The Parade Of The Little White Mice
18. Kenny Roberts & The Pinetoppers - She Taught Me How To Yodel
19. Andy Iona & His Islanders - Ta Hu Wa Hu Wa I
20. Helen Kane - To Have You
21. Two Leslies - Umpa, Umpa (Stick It Up Your Jumper)
22. Bertha Willmott - Up Aroun' The Ole North Pole
23. Harry "The Hipster" Gibson - Who Put The Benzedrine In Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine?
24. Irving Aaronson and His Commanders - Wimmin Aaah!
25. Count Jim Moriarty - You Gotta Go Owww!

Part 3 coming soon.
Much thanks once again to Count Otto Black!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

RE-UP: Strange Instruments For Jesus

If today's Scientology post isn't your cup of religion, try the Musical Betts:

Much thanks to the blessed Maniac who sent us this!

L. Ron Hubbard & Friends "The Road To Freedom"

We interrupt our usual assortment of good music for this...this...well, it's a Scientology album, whaddya expect?  Following up on our "Joy of Creating" post: clunky amateurish lyrics, horribly dated '80s wimp-pop that makes Toto sound like the Ramones, vocals by b-list actors, brothers of celebrities, washed-up child stars, never-made-its, a children's chorus, and John Travolta...yep, it's another musical pep rally/indoctrination tool from America's wackiest cult, with a truly jaw-dropping vocal from El Ron himself. If you've never heard one of these Scientology albums, you should check one out, at least once (in fact, once is probably all you'll be able to take!) to really experience how far over the edge seemingly sensible people can go. As Travolta sings: "Reality is me, reality is you, yeah yeah yeah..."

Listen with horrified fascination here:
All songs written by L. Ron Hubbard.
1. The Road To Freedom (w/Frank Stallone, Leif Garrett, John Travolta)
2. The Way To Happiness (w/Leif Garrett)
3. The Worried Being (w/failed soul singer Amanda Ambrose in a laughable approximation of funk)
4. The Evil Purpose (w/Frank Stallone)
5. Laugh A Little (the sound effects get disturbingly psychotic; I'm pretty sure that was not the intention)
6. The Good Go Free (Bang yer head! This one "rocks 'n' rolls" like John Tesh trying to go heavy metal.)
7. Why Worship Death? (jazz/prog with Chick Corea; Julia Migenes unleashes hair-raising operatic vox that will send animals scurrying)
8. Make It Go Right
9. The ARC Song (w/a straining John Travolta really trying to, y'know, emote; and Karen Black)
10. L'Envoi/Thank You For Listening (w/L. Ron Hubbard)
Much thanks to ma main Thetan Rich, from KillUglyRadio!

Friday, June 21, 2013


A hardworking, generous Maniac known to us commoners as Count Otto Black has bequeathed unto us an old wooden chest crammed full of mp3s. As I picked each one up and blew the virtual dust off them, my eyes grew wide: 'twas a treasure-trove of bizarre and funny antiques from the shellac era, including a few I was going to include on my own 78rpm strangeness collection (that I never got around to completing, but this is inspiring me) and plenty that were new to me. A plethora of British and America music hall/vaudeville, hillbilly and jazz hepcat novelties. I'll let His Countship tell the tale of a few of these gems:

"here are some very silly 78s, including the banned gay cardboard record, "Let's All Be Fairies"!

The Durium Dance Band were a curious ensemble that existed purely to promote durium, a form of liquid bakelite that never really caught on. The best use they could think of for it was to impregnate cardboard with it, making it tough enough for records to be pressed out of the stuff. The idea was that music magazines could print records on their covers, and this was actually done for quite a while - there was even one by the Monkees! You can instantly spot durium records (many of which are by this band) because they're an unfortunate shade of brown that suggests they may be made of poo...

You probably know "Serutan Yob", but if not, the Unnatural Seven are actually Red Ingle's Natural Seven - a spin-off from Spike Jones' City Slickers - and this is the B-side from their somewhat better-known hit "Cigareets and Whiskey and Wild, Wild Women".

Al "Jazzbo" Collins' quartet of Hipster Fairy Tales are surely unique - who exactly were they aimed at? People who wanted their children to grow up to be beatniks? Anyway, I'm pretty sure that these four sides are the genre in its entirety!

I've added a merry comedy number about eating disorders...[and]...both sides of a record officially issued to promote Hadacol. [side 2 will appear on "Silly 78s pt2" - ed.] You'll notice that the claims made for this substance are so ludicrous that even the manufacturers don't seem to take its medicinal virtues seriously - but they do mention several times that it contains alcohol and honey, implying that it's a legal way to get drunk during prohibition (true) and it tastes jolly nice (false). Shades of Lily The Pink!

A comedy song about the Scopes Monkey Trial, though your guess is as good as mine whether the composer was rooting for Darwin or God - personally I think he's just having fun!
Also, a couple of numbers that at the time must have seemed daringly risqué, a cautionary tale about the marital problems faced by circus performers, two howling failures in the political correctness department, a desperate attempt to write a comic song about the latest developments in Egyptology..."

Silly 78s - pt1

1. Leslie Sarony "Ain't It Grand To Be Blooming Well Dead (Side A)"
2. Cactus Pryor & The Pricklypears "Cry Of The Dying Duck In A Thunderstorm"
3. Basin Street Six "Everybody Loves That Hadacol (Side One)"
4. Leo Teel and his Teel Billies "He's Gazing At Daisy Roots Now"
5. Carol Chapell "I Married An Acrobat"
6. Two Leslies "I'm A Little Prairie Flower"
7. The Jesters - "I'm My Own Grandpa" [anyone know who does this version? UPDATE: thx to Our Pal Doug for identifying the band]
8. Four Lads "Istanbul" [yep, the tune They Might Be Giants scored with]
9. Al "Jazzbo" Collins "Jack And The Beanstalk"
10. Bob Pierce "King Of The Bungaloos"
11. Durium Dance Band "Let's All Be Fairies"
12. Two Leslies "Miss Porkington Would Like Cream Puffs"
13. International Novelty Orchestra with Billy Murray "Monkey Biz-ness (Down in Tennessee)" [GOTTA have some Billy Murray in any survey of 78s- he was the early 20th century's biggest recording star, and certainly one of the most prolific]
14. Edith Clifford "No Wonder She's a Blushing Bride"
15. Billy Jones & Ernest Hare (The Happiness Boys) "Old King Tut"
16. Winnie Lighter "Pingo Pongo"
17. Comedy Dance Orchestra "Rambling Wreck From Georgia Tech"
18. Unnatural Seven "Serutan Yob"
19. Carol Chapell "She Lost It"
20. Al "Jazzbo" Collins "Snow White And The Seven Dwarves"

Part 2 coming soon.  A thousand thankyous, good sir Count!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Forgotten Fish Memory Orchestra

It took me a while to track down some albums by this very obscure group, but it was worth it - The Forgotten Fish Memory Orchestra is as wonderfully strange and unique as its name. They are (were?) apparently based in Amsterdam, tho I'm not sure about that.  I'm not sure about anything with these guys, except that they are a fairly large ensmble that utilizes unusual and invented instruments to create exotic, dream-like instrumentals. There's a large Asian influence, Eastern European/gypsy touches pop up as well, but it's all too surreal to approach 'authenticity.'

Here's a seven song sampler of tracks from the three albums of theirs that I do have. It looks like their site is gone, but bandleader Makmed the Miller is selling CDs on his site. "Atlas" sports some exciting ethnic pounding percussion, but "The Devil's Fishwife" is a sad waltz for accordion and toy piano. Songs like "First Japanese Landing on the Moon" and "Mexican Day of the Funeral" actually do sound somewhat like their titles. Just when you think that you're in some cloud-shrouded ancient land, the title track to "Our Tin Tribe" delves into - surprise! - electronica.

Their many videos attest to their highly developed theatrical sense. The "Performances" section of Makmed's site seems to include a video from every show they did. Visit America, won't you, fine Fishies?

Forgotten Fish Memory Orchestra sampler

Atlas                                                 (from "Our Tin Tribe")
The Devil's Fishwife                           (from "The Bicycle Lesson")
First Japanese Landing on the Moon   (from "Iron Shoes")
Hu Dy Da                                           (from "The Bicycle Lesson")
Mehmed's Your Uncle                              (from "Iron Shoes")
Mexican Day of the Funeral                (from "Iron Shoes")
Our Tin Tribe

Thanks to outaspaceman!

Monday, June 10, 2013

EVERYBODY DANCE WITH MEEEEEE! MusicForManiacs Returns To Radio Misterioso

I once again guested on Spacebrother Greg's crucial show Radio Misterioso recently, and I think it was one of our best ones yet. As Greg wrote on his site: "The wonderfulness began with a piece which incorporated audio from early UFO “abductee” Herbert Schirmer. We followed with such nuggets as a five-year old singing about why “You Make Me So Crazy,” a refreshing ripoff of “In A Gadda Da Vida/ Wild Thing” by a Bollywood singer, and a song about sex with hamsters. Of course William Shatner makes an appearance covering “Silver Machine,”a 1967 composition by the Brit hippie band Hawkwind." Yep, plus Spike Jones goes musique concretesinging saws, "singing" dogs, Black Sabbath goes Latin, song poems, 78 rpm novelties, music for "furrys," a really bad female Elvis impersonator, one of the most offensive records ever, and Greg's field recording of a pipe organ built into a cave. An animal theme ran throughout, tho not on porpoise, er, purpose.

M4M on Radio Misterioso

Hugo Montenegro "Rocket Man"
Richard Pickman "Me Again"
voice of UFO "abductee" Herbert Schirmer
Da Hip-Hop Rascalz "I Don't Want You No More"
from "Running In Place", a collection of locked grooves from WFMU (other cuts occur throughout the show)
Bappi Lahiri "Everybody Dance With Me"
The Miracles "Ain't Nobody Straight In LA"
Ellery Eskelin/Rodd Keith "Green Bermudas"
Spike Jones "Memories Are Made of This"
K-9 Fusion "Dirty Dog Love"
Caninas "Brindle Is As Brindle Does"
from "Running In Place"
Tiger Lillies "Hamsters"
Bucktown Tiger "Throw Your Paws Up"
Ondatropica "I Ron Man"
Amy Beth and the Hound Dogs "Heartbreak Hotel"
the Stalacpipe Organ: "A MIghty Fortress Is Our Lord"
Jim "Supersaw" Leonard "Bye Bye Love"
Rudy Vallee "Kitty From Kansas City"
Tennessee Madonna and the Full Life All-Stars "I Wish I Was In Tennessee"
Ernie Brookings/Victor Banana "Wizard of Oz"
Dick Kent "Octopus Woman Let Me Go"
One Ring Zero "Lip Dog"
Collins and Harlan "Bake Dat Chicken Pie"
Michael Hearst "Honey Badger"
Hoosier Hotshots "Washboard Stomp"
Tiger Lillies "Flies"
Irving Aaronson "I'm Just Wild About Animal Crackers"
Jan Terri "Fax My Love"
Gary Wilson "6.4=Makeout"
Harp Twins "Star Trek theme"

Wednesday, June 05, 2013


The New Age pseudo-Hindu bluegrass album Hindu Kush Mountain Boys is back up, by request. I say! Does anyone have: The Full Life All-Stars, "Ya No Hay Beatles," The Musical Betts, March Fourth 2012. They were requested and I cannot find them - they sank with both my hard drive crash and the heavy-handed Mediafire/Rapidshare take-downs. Muchos grassy-ass! And now let's listen to a dazzlingly talented Australian boy/girl team who play "music from 'the golden age of the xylophone,' classic jazz and pop standards from the 1930s and 40s and novelty hits from all time periods!":


The 78rpm roots of the Sticks and Tones sound can be found in the intimidatingly vast archives of the US government Library of Congress' National Jukebox project: dozens of sides by xylophone legend George Hamilton Green, Master of the Marimba (aka the 'mellorimba'), streaming for free under his various guises, to whit:

Green Brothers Novelty Band

or over 60 (!) recordings with various groups, mostly the All Star Trio:

George Hamilton Green

Many more antique oddities and novelties coming your way soon, courtesy of Yours Truly, and a fine Maniac with a large assortment of bizarre vintage recordings. Am still organizing our collections, but hopefully in the coming weeks the 'Silly 78s' project will get under way. It should be simply ripping!