Thursday, September 15, 2022

RBF’s Eclectic Excitement Playlist: Other Music Edition – September 2022

RBF’s Eclectic Excitement Playlist: Other Music Edition – September 2022

Text © Robert Barry Francos / FFanzeen, 2022
Images from the Internet

This edition of the playlist are songs that tend to be considered Other Music, as they don’t necessarily fit comfortably in a category. Most of these artists have the delusion that what they are doing is mainstream and palpable to the general public, but it’s more a cult following that is interested. This is different from just odd stuff like Barnes and Barnes “Fish Heads,’ the Residents’ “Satisfaction,” or Christopher Milk’s “Locomotion” in that these three, for example, were purposefully made to be odd, whereas Other Music is more organic to the artist’s style. What I find surprising is how many of the tunes below are actually on major labels, perhaps as loss leaders? Despite my brief comments, I am interested in listening to the obscure music arena than prattling on about it

The songs are listed alphabetically by first letter of the artist or group and not in a “ratings” order. Art is subjective, so I hope you like these as much as I enjoy them.

Note: There is no advertising on this page, so I will not be making anything off the work of others.


Edith Massey
“Big Girls Don’t Cry” / “Punks Get Off the Grass”
Egg Records
The “Egg Lady” from John Waters’ Pink Flamingos was as bad a singer as she was an actor, but man, she had personality. She was celebrated and integrated into the punk scene down at Max’s, so this single, both sides of which are on this video, makes so much sense. The cover of the Four Seasons’ classic is straight out of the Heartbreakers’ playbook, and the flip reminds me of Cherry Vanilla’s “The Punk,” but from an older perspective. Both songs are ridiculous and fun.

Gloria Balsam
Richmond Records
Gloria worked for Richmond Records back in the 1980s, and had the chance to record this. She is a comedian, but did this straight. I loved it from the first time I heard it, and it has a strong cult following, but it can also clear a room as she reaches for those high notes. I never tire of this.

John Trubee
“A Blind Man’s Penis”
The Only Label in the World
In the back of a country magazine in the ‘80s, Trubee had an advert that stated he would put anyone’s original poems or lyrics to music. Someone sent in a ditty called “Stevie Wonder’s Penis.” Wisely, the name was the only thing Trubee changed, and was born a psychedelic punk country song that was pure gold.

The Legendary Stardust Cowboy
Mercury Records
I still remember hearing this 45 for the first time at a friend’s house when we were in high school in the early 1970s. I couldn’t quite grasp what I liked about it, having been mostly a folkie before then, but its energy and off-beat drumming/trumpet just kept it getting weirder and weirder. Now I find the song kind of relaxing, in an odd way, as I came to appreciate its punk sensibilities.

Mrs. Miller
“Green Tambourine”
Capitol Records
Mrs. Miller’s high, vibrato voice first came to notice in the film The Cool Ones (1967), where she sang the standard, “It’s Magic.” This is the number she is most known for, but her cover of the Lemon Pipers is mind-boggling. She seems to be playing over the actual tracks for the original song, and she definitely gives it her all.

Sam Chalpin
“Leader of the Pack”
Atco Records
This elder cantor is the father of Ed, who first recorded Jimi Hendrix. I worked for Ed for a brief time at his studio.  Sam believed he was a better singer than anyone on the Top 10 at the time, so Ed had him sing along to some background tracks and created pure magic. Sam’s version of “Satisfaction” is better known, but I’ve always like this one better.

The Shaggs
“My Pal Foot Foot”
Light in the Attic
This quad of sisters are, without question, the queens of Other Music. No sense of rhythm, melody or lyric form, they coalesce into something new and different, that is both disturbing and enjoyable at the same time. Their album, Philosophy of the World, is packed solid with attitude and being off-key.

Tiny Tim, Gary Lawrence and His Sizzling Syncopators
“Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”
Sure, Tiny Tim is widely known for his falsetto renderings of standards like “Tip Toe Through the Tulip,” which made him famous, but his later, modernization as it were, was equally bizarre in another direction, such as this Rod Stewart cover. It was for an MTV promo and is an attempt at “straight” radio.

Wild Man Fischer
“Merry Go Round”
Bizarre Records/Reprise Records
Larry Fischer was a street guy who found his way into Frank Zappa’s prevue, and Frank took him under his wing to record him. Whether Zappa was serious or messing around with the guy, Larry took it very sincerely, leading to a rift between Fischer and the Zappa empire to this day. But the music is bubbly if crackling, and the songs total nonsense. But that is what is the charm.

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