Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Roger Miller Month Hangover Special!

Attention all "Whovians!" Check out this contestant on Britain's Got Talent and his... er... different approach to "King of the Road!" All I can say is that these limeys are amateurs! Jaye P. Morgan and Jamie Farr would know how to deal with this sort of thing.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Goober Talks About Roger

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"Peggy and the Snowman By the Sea"

     A clever enough gimmick song that probably went over pretty well live. Don't know if there are alternate verses, or whether he just used confederates in the audience to feed him the answers he was looking for (though the choices offered to the listener aren't really all that broad). 
     While unsuccessfully searching for an actual live recording, however, I found a fascinating discovery by one "." Listen and have your mind blown, man:

     Pretty trippy, huh?  Also, if you look at the cover of Words and Music By Roger Miller upside down in a mirror while striking yourself on the head repeatedly with a seasoned cast-iron skillet, you'll see the phrase "Paul is Dead, and I don't feel so good, either." Go ahead... try it!  Let me know how that works out for you.

POSTSCRIPT: I still couldn't find a real, live performance "in the wild," but I did find him performing it on The Dino Crocetti Show:

There's no significant deviation from the record here, but it's still worth a look.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ruby Wright - "Dern Ya"

    As you may recall, the headmistress of this institution posted Jody Miller's "Queen of the House" a couple of days ago. Ms. Miller is okay, I guess, but she's never been a personal favorite (I prefer Mrs. Miller). And while "female vocalists performing Roger Miller-themed answer records" is not a crowded field, I'm afraid that, to my ears, the best she can hope for is second place.
    I assert that the clear winner in this race would be none other than Ruby Wright, whose destiny would seem to have been predestined, given that she sprang from the loins of Kitty Wells, the singer of perhaps the greatest answer record of all, "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels." And of course, her father was none other than Johnnie Wright, of Johnnie and Jack fame (as well as a distinguished solo career). 
     While she had earlier recorded as part of the trio Nita, Rita, & Ruby ("Nita" being Anita Carter and "Rita" being Ruby Winters, sister of Don Winters), and would perform with her parents on stage and on their TV show through the years, Ruby only had one big hit, as featured above. It was written by another scion of Nashville royalty , Justin Tubb (who was an ex-roommate of Roger Miller's!), and was also recorded without chart success by faded '50s pop singer Teresa Brewer.

     While assembling material for my various Miller-related posts for the month, I was going through one of my myriad souvenir booklets of country star photos and discovered a forgotten one with a bunch of autographs on the back page, presumably acquired at an appearance by the Kitty Wells/Johnnie Wright Family Show. They include Ruby, her parents, her brother Bobby Wright, fellow member of their show Bill Phillips, fiddler and Jimmy Martin sideman Vernon Derrick, bass fiddle player Bill Yates (I think this is the right guy) and Chris Warner (this is my least certain I.D., but all of these last three seem to have played with Jimmy Martin , so I imagine he must have been on the bill with them backing him).

Ruby with Bill Phillips

And more, backing up her daddy in a number from SECOND FIDDLE TO A STEEL GUITAR
(Available on DVD from Time/Life!)

     Outside of Bobby's string of hits in the '70s, the family ceased to be a force in the recording industry, but remained popular as a stage act until Kitty and Johnny's retirement in 2000.  Sadly, Ruby never lived to inherit the mantle of "Queen of Country Music," dying in September 2009. Her father followed in 2011, leaving Kitty a widow after nearly 74 years of marriage. Their grandson still maintains their recording studio in Madison, TN.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Jim Reeves Sings Roger Miller

Co-written with Bill Anderson in the back of Roger's station
 wagon on tour in Texas. Title inspired by the 1951 film 
version of the Philip Wylie novel.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Two More Things About Jim Reeves

    (1) This didn't really fit into my previous piece, but I didn't want  to abandon it: Reeves was and remains a HUGE star in certain other countries, including Great Britain, Germany and Norway, but especially  so in South Africa, India, and Sri Lanka. If I may quote from Wikipedia:

"Robert Svoboda, in his trilogy on aghora and the Aghori Vimalananda, mentions that Vimalananda considered Reeves a gandharva, i.e. in Indian tradition, a heavenly musician, who had been born on Earth. He had Svoboda play Reeves' "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" at his cremation."

(I'd like to note that this was entirely unsolicited, unlike Stephen Seagal's promotion to "reincarnated lama" status. I don't anticipate that any such honors will be bestowed on Trace Adkins or Lady Antebellum any time soon.)

     A year or two ago, I was playing a Roger Miller album at work when a young South Asian woman walked up to the counter and asked if it was Jim Reeves. In talking to her, I learned that while she wasn't that knowledgeable about Reeves, that her parents and other family members were big fans, and that her aunt had gone to the Jim Reeves Museum while on vacation in America. Back home in either Pakistan or Sri Lanka (I forget which), this was seen as a big enough deal that she was asked to write an article for the local newspaper about her experience.

    (2) On a more personal note, my grandfather was not a major music fan (he didn't own more than a dozen records and a handful of 8-tracks), but his two favorite singers were Jim Reeves and Jimmy Rodgers. He had spent some time as a hobo in the 1930s, and as a result, this was his favorite song by either of them:

I still prefer my grandfather's off-key rendering of it, but Jim does it pretty well, too.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Jerry Landis Belongs in the Hall of Fame

Let's not exhaust this space to quibble over whether the mere existence and propagation of a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is warranted or not. And we shall similarly pay minimal heed to the immutable truth that Paul Simon is in said Rock Hall not once but twice (as a solo performer and as half of Simon and Garfunkel), which to some may indicate he's been inducted either one too many times or two too many times. All that concerns this author is that as long as they let Rhymin' Simon in, those doors should open even wider to accommodate his late-'50s/early-'60s rockin' incarnations Jerry Landis, True Taylor, and Tico and the Triumphs.

It may be difficult to reconcile that the very same person who composed "A Simple Desultory Philippic" could also give birth to "Get Up and Do the Wobble," but one doesn't require a postage stamp contest à la Elvis to determine which manifestation of the singer and songwriter in question the typical Ichiban reader and listener would favor. So now that your preference has been duly presupposed, please enjoy this guaranteed Garfunkel-free trio of top teen tunes from the days when Paul Simon resided on the greaseball side of Music Town (all songs YouTube).

True Taylor — "True or False" (Big, 1958)
Here Paul yelps a rockabilly bopper that alternately could have been titled "Blue Moon of Kew Gardens."

Tico and the Triumphs — "Motorcycle" (Amy, 1961, Billboard No. 99)
Simon's sonata for the 'Sicle Set puts the "J.D." in early Jan and Dean.

Jerry Landis — "The Lone Teen Ranger" (Amy, 1962, Billboard No. 97)
His "Western Movies"-referencing dum-dum doo-wop ditty exposes a different kind of Olympics doping.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Jerry Reed Hubbard

In a better world, he'd be blowing out 73 candles on his birthday cake today.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!!

Top o' the morning to ye all, from the whole Ichiban Gang, but especially from yours truly, Patrick Devlin Thompson!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Rocky Fellers sing "Little Darling"

   Everybody's favorite Filipino kiddy rock band is back, this time on the Dinah Shore Show.

  There was once a video of Maurice Williams performing the song (which he composed for his first group, the Gladiolas) here, but, like so many You Tube videos, it was taken down. C'est la guerre.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I Knew You When

Written by... you guessed it! Joe South.

Now With Added Goober!

From The Johnny Cash Show

Games People Play

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Weather Man

From Soundac Studios, the folks who brought you Colonel Bleep.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Astonishing Cab Calloway

I actually got to see him perform at Atlanta's Chastain Park around 1992 (with The Professor and some friends), but Betty Boop wasn't there.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Frank Tashlin Would Have Been 97 Today

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The (Filipino) Kingsmen

Not as good as the American Kingsmen when they recorded "Louie Louie", but better than a lot of their later work. And probably better than the gospel Kingsmen, but I'll have to admit that I've never actually listened to them, just snorted with irritation when I found them filed in the "oldies" section (other irritants: black Roger Miller, reggae Donovan, the reggae Wailers, and, of course, Vivaldi's The Four Seasons).

More Phun Phrom The Philippines: a commenter on a previous post sent us this link to a cool Tagalog cover of "Long Tall Sally." Thanks, Pat!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy President's Day

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy 39th Birthday, Benjamin Kubelsky!

...his 78th 39th birthday, if my math checks up. Here's the birthday boy performing with the greatest underage Filipino rock group of all time, the Rocky Fellers:

Note that the M.C. is the great Jack Soo!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Let's Pretend "Like A Rock" Never Happened