Net Nuggets 1: WFMU

First, anyone who's anyone and their pet guppy became a DJ; now everyone has one of these darn tootin' music blogs. And it's easy to get sucked in, the nights flying by in a labyrinthine daze of illegal downloads of mash ups and rarities that are usually rare for a reason. Before you can say «namby-pamby middle class nerd» you've become one of those dateless wonders in the offensively insipid universe of High Fidelity. Which is precisely the reason I intend to kill this blog dead soon.

In the meantime, here's a series in which I bring to the people the goodies I come across while loitering aimlessly on the Internet. Like Jesus dying for all our sins, I've trawled the web (world wide!) for weird and wonderful things, so that you may reap the dubious fruits of my pointless labour. US radio station WFMU's blog alone contains a wealth of absurd, bizarre, poignant and disturbing material. Luckily, you don't have to sift through its garbage and its flowers, because I've generously taken it upon myself to collect and select the most (or is that the least?) worthwhile stuff there, for your alternately chin and head scratching entertainment—interspersed, I hope, with some laughs. Prepare to be bemused and amused in equal measures…

Welcome to THE BIZARRO MONDO OF W.F.M.U. [.zip file] [Download disabled.]:

1. Quarteto Nova Era: «De repente»
Starting out nice'n'easy with some Brazilian psychedelic sunshine pop from 1968.

2. Nahid Akhtar: «Toune Kaha Aa Aa Aa»
Check the grit on this one! Appreciators of vintage Bollywood soundtracks will love this song. It's got everything: Pakistani melody set to Blaxploitation groove, grunts reminiscent of exotica diva Yma Sumac, Urdu(?) scat, some guy interrupting with Kung Fu screams… and a singer who, at one point, sounds really, really horny.

3. The Apollo Stars: «The Power of Source»
This is from a '70s jazz album produced by sci-fi author and
Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, recorded onboard the Scientology flagship Apollo, out of which Scientologists worked (probably for tax purposes, or perhaps to make it impossible for members to escape). Surprisingly, it's kind of groovy and gutsy—or maybe I'm just writing that because the recording's got a subliminal message brainwashing me into believeing this isn't so bad.

4. Rudy Ray Moore: «The Human Tornado»
This is cold stone wikkid! Half-Muhammad Ali, half-Mr. T, Blaxploitation comedian and proto-rap sex therapist Rudy Ray Moore passed away earlier this year. This track is a promo for an action flick that makes Charles Bronson vehicles seem subtle and sophisticated, The Human Tornado:

«See me delayed, relayed, mislaid and parlayed! Jumped, thumped, bumped and mugwumped!» Wow. I repeat: wow!

5. Debbie Lori Kaye: «Iron Cross»
This track represents a genre I would never have dreamt existed: call it teenybopper '60s Neo-Nazi bubblegum go-go pop. «Mama, I'll do anything you say / Don't make me throw my Iron Cross away!» Jeez… But the music's not bad!

6. Ashcroft & Bacon: «Why Me, Lord?»
I can't vouch for the genuineness of this, but apparently fundamentalist Christian and human rights encroaching Bush administration Attorney General John Ashcroft—you probably know him as Satan's gimp—recorded a gospel album back in the day. You might well ask, Why us, Lord?

7. Clancy Hayes Dixieland Band: «Go Vote Nixon-Lodge»
And on that scary political note, here's a gem that was sent out to potential voters in anticipation of the 1960 US election. If there's a Hell, and if Hunter S. Thompson's in it (which surely a sinner like he would be, if such a place exists), this is what he's made to listen to for the remainder of Eternity.

8. Cab Calloway: «Hepster's Dictionary»
OK, back to something genuinely cool: Cab Calloway was a proto-rapper if I ever heard one, and the hippest conductor to ever toss his hair about:

Here's a 1945 lecture on the correct use of hipster jive. Get hep!

9. Del Close & John Brent: «The Loose Wig»
A beatnik lets a straight intellectual in on the secrets of hipster lingo. Dig!

10. Jimmie Riddle: «Eefin' Lesson»
Who would've thought human beat boxing stems from hillbillies? Eefin' is a US American tradition dating all the way back to the 1800s. They had to amuse themselves somehow:

This is, as the title suggests, a lesson in how to eef. Go home and practice.

11. Jerry Lee Lewis: «Lust of the Blood»
Original rock'n'roll maverick and incestuous paedo with the great, big balls on fire tackles Shakespeare's Othello to great effect. Who woulda thunk it? That the Great Bard could come across as so cool?

12. Chevalier Jay: «Castro Rock»
More politixploitation. At least the chevalier but satirical Jay doesn't sugarcoat the Cuban dictator. Rock'n'rollers were persecuted by Che
Guevara's servile dogs and routinely placed in supposedly rehabilitating, educational concentration camps, which dreadlocked stoner rockers with Guevara's face on their chest and bedroom wall seem blissfully ignorant of. Wishful thinker and Socialist daydreaming of the Cuban health care system: Pick up a book, whydontcha?

13. The Scotsmen: «Beer Bust Blues»
Possibly the most stupid song ever put to vinyl, even for '60s frat rock, I love this track! (Especially the fact that the narrator hardly sounds convincing as a teenager.)

14. Jackie Wilson & LaVern Baker: «Think Twice» (X version)
In general, imaginative euphemisms, suggestive metaphors and double entendres are much more fun than curse words and explicit content. But this one is irresistable due to the improvising singers' cracking up laughing all the time. Obviously, this was late '60s studio tomfoolery that remained unreleased until the '90s. That last line about someone being a «stone queer from outta here!» gets me every time.

15. Kitson & Company Ltd: «Narrated Bermuda Tour»
This is a commercial in the form of a 7". An interesting approach: the sounds make you conjure up beautiful images perfectly in sync with your own wishes and desires. My favourite part is how the songs segue into each other during the intro. Perfect!

16. Victor Brady: «Hallucinodream»
Psychedelic drugs weren't made for steel drums and lyrics like «Floating through galaxies of popcorn sliding down a rainbow». This is the most pathetic attempt at jumping on the '60s counter-culture bandwagon I have ever witnessed with any of my senses. A crime against drugs (not to mention taste and intelligence). But funny! From the revoltingly titled Brown Rain(!).

17. Buddy Knox: «I Think I'm Gonna Kill Myself»
The stereotype cast against Country & Western music is that all the songs are about break-ups and/or infidelity. So it's only natural that this here C&W singer's cause for wanting to off himself is heartbreak. In any case, suicidal ideation never sounded this cheery!

18. Dexter Gardner: «Last Testimony of a Teen Age Dope Addict»
The last words of a suicide released as a single(!), ostensibly as a cautionary tale against LSD. (See the '50s-style pulp title.) Obviously, though, there's more going on here than just acid abuse—if the recording is at all genuine (which I actually think it is). How sad that he wasn't understood, even afterwards…

19. J. Martin Kohe: «Being Your Better Self»
Ah, American motivational speaking at its infancy! A self-help record from 1961 to nurse anyone depressed by my blog.

20. Dmitri: «The Stud»
Continuing our theme of mental disorder, here is a purported answer phone message making the rounds on the Internet, supposedly from a guy called Dmitri (who by the sound of it has taken J. Martin Kohe's inane advice seriously and is trying to be his «better self»). Guys: drop your dog-eared copies of The Game at once to observe the correct way to go about wooing a lady. Learn from The Stud.

21. Gil Trythall: «Folsom Prison Blues»
And while we're on the subject of serious mental disorder, here's a Moog version of Johnny Cash's classic «Folsom Prison Blues». Some
people consider the Moog a great and musically rewarding instrument. They should be locked up alongside Dmitri and forced to endure the «therapy» of J. Martin Kohe. That said, if this were a song recorded and released by, say, an avant-garde noise artist like Nurse With Wound or Foetus, I would adore this track! But I'm afraid it's a serious, albeit seriously misguided attempt at being hip. I'm not quite sure whether that makes it better or worse, but there you go: the best awful track you're likely to hear anytime soon.

Hope you've enjoyed the ride. For more madness, go check out WFMU's Beware of the Blog.

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