* New Hope for the Wretched/Metal Priestess by The Plasmatics. I recently rented a DVD of the late Tom Snyder’s Tomorrow Show interviews with “punk and New Wave” groups — which also includes the performances of the bands and musicians, In fact, it includes the entire shows. The Rev. Rex Humbard, the world’s first televangelist was a guest on the show the night that Wendy O. Williams and the boys blew up a car in the NBC studios while performing the song “Masterplan.”. The good Rev.was surprisingly mellow about the band. Less tolerant preachers would have condemned them as porn-rock demons from Hell.
And, oh yeah, they played music — basically a metal edged punk rock — or punk-edged metal. Undoubtedly they were more impressive live — with all their explosives and chainsaws and Wendy wearing nothing on her breasts but band-aids, etc.– than in the studio.
Still, The Plasmatics are a lot of fun on record. I like “Monkey Suit,” which reminds me a little of “The Electric Prunes’ “Get Me to the World on Time” and “Black Leather Monster.” And this album, which includes their 1980 album and a 1981 EP (Metal Priestess) includes several live tracks, including “Sex Junkie,” “Squirm” and “Masterplan,” which unfortunately isn’t the Tomorrow Show version.
* ’50s Rockabilly Hellraisers. Here’s another impressive rockabilly obscurities bargain from a mysterious re-issue label called Rock-A-Billy. Just a few months ago, I got another one from eMusic — 1950s Rock N’ Roll & Rockabilly Rare Masters.
That one had 56 tracks. Hellraisers has 70, for a mere $5.99. Sure, I already had a handful of these, but still, what a bargain!
Some of my favorites here include “Switchblade Sam” by Jeff Daniels, which tells a tale tale involving Stagger Lee and Charlie Brown (The Coasters’ hero not the Peanuts character. I assume); “Boppin’ Wig Wam Willie” by Ray Scott (Are these cartoonish 1950s depictions of Native Americans actually racist or innocent fun. Talk amongst yourselves); “Move Over Buddy,” a space travel novelty by Billy Jack Hale a no-wonder-you-never-hear-this-on-the-radio rocker, “Quicksand Love” by Macy Skipper, which features the immortal line, “I’m like an elevator, I’m goin’ down all the time.” YIKES!
There also are hree tunes by Mississippi rockabilly Andy Anderson, who lived a few years in New Mexico, including “Johnny Valentine,” “Tough Tough, Tough,” and “You Shake Me Up.”
Back when I was a kid in the ’60s, I considered music like this to be somewhat of a guilty pleasure. This was your parent’s music. So here’s a lesson for today’s youth: Wipe your nose, junior. Your parents probably are a lot hipper than you thought.
* Nine tracks from Cameo Parkway 1957-1967. I heard The Dovells’ “You Can’t Sit Down” for the first time in years in a supermarket a few days ago and I was shocked and ashamed that it wasn’t in my collection. I looked it up on eMusic and found this four-disc treasure trove.
Cameo-Parkway was a Philadelphia label best known for hitmakers Bobby Rydell and Chubby Checker — neither of whom I’m particularly wild about. But they also were home to Dee Dee Sharpe and The Orlons, two acts that twisted my head off as a youngster. In fact, in the early ’60s, before Motown dominated the soul-pop market, Cameo-Parkway was the true “sound of young America.” (And by the mid ’60s, it also was the home to ? & The Mysterians — though I already have all three of the songs on this collection.)
The Orlons always created a musical party that sounded like a lot more fun than most parties I’ve ever been to. “So Much in Love” by The Tymes still is one of of the most soulful doo-wop songs I’ve ever heard. And Dee Dee’s “Gravy on My Mashed Potatoes” sounds as if it’s based on a double entendre that I still can’t quite figure out.
Among the other tunes I picked up are selections by Screamin’ Lord Sutch (“She’s Fallen in Love With the Monster Man”), Johnny Maestro (“I’ll Be True,” apparently from that period between The Crests and The Brooklyn Bridge) and Don Covay (“The Popeye Waddle,” apparently a dance craze that never quite caught on.) And there’s a great R&B version of Hank Williams’ “Hey Good Lookin'” by a group called Billy Abbott & The Jewels. I’ll be coming back for more here.
* Three tracks from Soundway Records Presents The Sound of Siam : Leftfield Luk Thung, Jazz and Molam from Thailand 1964 – 1975. I’ll write in detail about this next month when I pick up the rest of the tracks. Let’s just say for now that this is a step or two beyond the wild and wonderful Thai Beat a Go-Go series, two volumes of which I downloaded on eMusic years ago. And, judging from what I’ve heard, it’s worthy of Soundway’s collections of African funk and psychedelia I’ve loved in recent years.
And for the holidaze …
* “Christmas in Las Vegas” and “Jingle Bells” by Richard Cheese. (Both from Silent Nightclub) and “Christmas Lights” by Wild Billy Childish & The Musicians of the British Empire (from Christmas 1979 I’m slowly acquiring the whole album.)