Someone please sample the first 5 seconds of this track!
Happy Fridays in the center of summer call for extreme 70’s Israeli psych-funk! I don’t know too much about Lehakat Tsliley Haud. I only know that he is crazy-cool and I want to buy him beers. Check out more of his stuff on Victor Kisswell here.
Los Zafiros (The Sapphires) started out in 1961 in Havana, Cuba. Maybe it was the revolutionary atmosphere or just the nature of true fucking rockers, but these boys stopped making music in 1970 and fell to individual paths of destructive behavior. Only two of em are alive today.
The harmonies are so fucking tightly bound together they resemble The Coasters at their finest, but then the melody takes a somber samba twist and grounds you back in Cuba. Fucking cultural ‘splosion success story. There’s bossa nova, calypso, traditional cuban, and western doo-wop all hanging out together with these boys’ noises. The guitar substitute for what would have traditionally been a piano (probably) definitely moves this light-years in the rock direction.
I will always be delighted to hear recordings of people who were born many decades before me saying vulgar things. Before any old schmo with 20 bucks could find a way to record his bawdy limericks and let the world hear them, recording had to fit certain standards of taste and decency.
Hearing old-timers laugh while singing about “cocksuckers” and “motherfuckers” are a good reminder that crassness and vulgarity in music wasn’t invented by The Sex Pistols.
There’s so much more I could say about Will Shade, the leader of the legendary Memphis Jug Band. This recording was made in 1962 by music historian George Mitchell, who traveled around the South recording tracks from aging blues musicians. By my estimation, Mitchell was 18 when he recorded this, and Will Shade was 64. Despite being the founder of the most successful and influential jug band of all time, Shade died in poverty in 1966.
Jug band music was extremely popular in places like Memphis and Louisville in the mid-to-late 1920s, and outfits like the Memphis Jug Band were equally adept at playing riverboats and picnics, and rowdier, alcohol-fueled juke joints.
I’ve done a little research, and its unclear how this song, called “The Dirty Dozens” etymologically relates to the African-American tradition called “the dozens”- a verbal insult contest (think “yo’ mama” jokes), but it seems like there might be some connection, since it sounds like Shade is trying to be as vulgar as possible. “Suckin’ on grandpa’s dick?” DAMN!
The lyrics in this are definitely much cruder than anything The Memphis Jug Band could have recorded commercially in the 20s and 30s, but I’m sure a lot of musicians had dirty songs in their repertoire that they’d play while hanging out drinking with their buddies. And my guess is this is one of them.
Apart from being a serious fuckin shaker of a song, this number by The (not-so-google-friendly) Olympics is one that belongs to a class of these kinda cute songs about TV in the 50s/60s. These guys, all high school chums save for one, are also responsible for the more successful single “Western Movies”, a similarly guided diddy loaded with gunshot SFX. It’s about losing one’s partner to their interest cowboy movies. There’s another one they do romanticizing/envying the roles on the big screen called “Private Eye” that follows the same idea.
Whatever happened to songs about TV? I’m not talking about specific shows, or some cocky dissenting commentary about TV culture. I mean songs about TV as a new and exciting medium, which I understand can never again have the same novelty it had back then. I get it. But I just like the idea of it being this powerful narrative force that can plant crazy ideas into one’s head, dragging them away from their loved ones. Maybe it’s time to re-read Infinite Jest.
This is why I ride a bike! Born Theophilus Woods in Grenada, (~1920s), SIP made his mark in the Trinidad and Tobago tents in the late 40’s, and recorded this diddy in 1951. He died ten years later.
One of the most interesting parts of calypso music from the 40s and 50s are the tents that were set up around carnival time. These were little independent venues - often covered by a tent - where various calypso artists from Trinidad and Tobago would perform. Sometimes there would be a political message in these songs, but they generally served more as informational news broadcasts than dissent. I often wonder if most calypso artists gave themselves the first name “Mighty” or “Lord” or “Sir” as part of a specific character that was only ever fully revealed in those unrecorded tent-shows. Lord Melody and Lord Kitchener used to have little faux spats on stage as part of their act, which was very well received. Maybe the titles were part of a half-joking effort to be recognized as the best.
left to right, Small Island Pride, Mighty Sparrow, Sir Galba