Looney Tunes

It’s a looooonnnnnngggg time since I posted anything from this album, so allow me to refresh your memories as to how it came into my possession.

I have family who live in the good ol’ US of A, and many, oh god so many, years ago, my aunt who lives on the other side of the pond, came to visit. This would have been when I was around 10, maybe a little older, maybe a little younger.

She came bearing gifts, namely this album on the legendary K-Tel Records label. Until last year, I’d only had a digital copy I managed to track down to call my own. But regular readers will recall that last year, my brother moved back to the UK, took all of his wordly possessions out of storage, and decided he no longer had any need for his vinyl, which he generously donated to me. (I do get to keep all these, right…?)

Imagine my delight when, as I sorted his vinyl out and slotted each record into it’s rightful place on the shelves, I found I was reunited with this record from my childhood.

This one always made me laugh as a kid, simply because it’s one of those where you think lyrics are going to include a swear word, but dodges the bullet at the last minute.

The Hustlers – Shaving Cream

Play this to your kids. See if they giggle at the swear-dodging bits. Ground them for knowing (admittedly, quite mild) swears.

More soon.

More Looney Tunes

Here’s another tune from that album my Aunt Barb (hello, and Merry Christmas if you’re reading this!) bought me when I was a nipper, this time by a bunch of characters who’ve enjoyed quite the lease of life recently, earning themselves a film franchise, TV series and five Grammys.

I think I identify with Alvin the most:

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The Chipmunks – The Chipmunk Song

I bring this up now, because professional Indie waif Zooey Deschanel and perennial under-achiever M Ward have released yet another album under their She & Him guise, a Christmas one this time, which includes a cover of the aforementioned rodent-based tune:

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She & Him – Christmas Don’t Be Late

Cut out the annoying squeaky voices, and that’s quite lovely really, isn’t it?

More soon.

More Looney Tunes (How to Do a Cover Version edition)

Back on Halloween, I posted a song from a compilation album , called “Looney Tunes” that I got given as a kid, which sparked a bit of interest, so as requested, and as promised, I said I’d post a few more tunes from it.

A few of the acts feature twice: The Coasters, David Seville (although on one of the tunes he’s accompanied by The Chipmunks), Nervous Norvus, and the starting point for this post: The Rivingtons.

When I posted back on Halloween, regular Chain Gang contributor Alyson from “What’s It All About, Alfie” commented thus:

“I’ve been trying to work out what that song that goes Papa-Oom-Maw-Maw is called for years and it turns out it’s just that – Don’t know how it could fit into The Chain but I’m going to try as I want to hear it again! One of the tunes of my childhood listening to Junior Choice.”

(Me, my brother and two of our friends had a joint birthday party when we were kids; my Mum wrote into Junior Choice and the sadly missed Ed “Stewpot” Stewart – another victim of 2016 – read it out. But that, my first glimpse of fame, is a story for another time. Although I have pretty much just told you all of the key points.)

Now Alyson has just reached the milestone of her 100th post, so it seemed an apt moment for me to fulfil my promise to post said tune. Congratulations Alyson. And the rest of you, if you don’t already, you should pay her blog a visit.

Here you go. No, in fact, have both of their songs from that album:

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The Rivingtons – Papa Oom Mow Mow

The Rivingtons – Bird’s The Word

There’s a reason I posted both, of course. In 1963, The Trashmen amalgamated the two tunes into what is almost definitely the first example of a mash-up:

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The Trashmen – Surfin’ Bird

There are two – actually, there’s probably many more than two, but two will do for now – versions of that by more recent, much cooler bands. From 1979, this lot of utterly demented weirdos who I can’t believe I’ve only started to get into in the last five years or so – what on earth was I thinking?

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The Cramps – Surfin’ Bird

And from a couple of years earlier, 1977 to be precise, the coolest rock’n’roll band to ever grace this planet, and a again a band I was shamefully late to, a situation which my old mate Johnny Groves (hello, if you still read this!), who couldn’t believe I didn’t own anything by them, rectified by furnishing me with a cassette of “All the Stuff (And More) Volume One”:

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Ramones – Surfin’ Bird

More soon.

More Looney Tunes

A couple of weeks ago, on Halloween, I posted a tune from a compilation album I had been given as a child, and I happened to mention a couple of the other songs on the same album.

These attracted a little attention, so I promised I’d post the stuff you’d asked about. And here I am. Man of my word and all that.

So, Track One Side One (remember those days, folks?) is by Napoleon XIV (it’s not really: if you don’t already know the record, you’ll understand why the singer claims to be that historical figure soon enough).

Anyway, for narrative purposes, Track One Side One is by someone claiming to be Napoleon XIV.

And it goes like this:

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Napoleon XIV – They’re Coming To Take Me Away

Now. Do you like The Stone Roses? In which case, like me, you’ll consider their debut album to be one of the finest records ever made. Even that sort-of backwards version of the gorgeous “Waterfall” they called “Don’t Stop” just so they could claim it was a different song, rather than write an actual tune as majestic as the rest of the album.

Don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean:

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The Stone Roses – Waterfall

The Stone Roses – Don’t Stop

Now, as I said, I love that album, it’s one that bonds people of a certain age. A few years ago, I went to a barbeque at a friend’s place and someone put that album on. Nobody spoke of it but everybody sang along, not in a rousing, communal “we all know this” way, more in an under your breath “this is my record” kind of way. To the whole album. It was odd but lovely that we all had a shared love of this one record.

But there are many who would call it derivative, and I would fight those people…well, not to the death, but I might offer to buy them a pint and have a chat about it.

The Stone Roses were not, of course, the first people to release a backwards version of a song. I don’t doubt there are earlier examples of the Devil’s work, but here, from 1966, is Napoleon XIV doing just that, the B-side to the properly enunciated, mental but not quite as mental as this version:

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Napoleon XIV – !aaaH !aH yawA eM ekaT ot gnimoC er’yehT

I guarantee you won’t listen to that more than once, if that.

Now, just to prove that not everybody who calls themselves Napoleon is a bit of a head case, here’s a bloke I saw supporting the ever wonderful Los Campesinos! back when I lived in  Cardiff. This is unusual, but brilliant and well worth three and a half minutes of your time. Give it a listen:

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Napoleon IIIrd – Hit Schmooze For Me

More soon.