In 1965, at a studio in Philadelphia, a most unusual novelty dance number was cut called “Peanut Duck.” The tune was shelved, but survived as an acetate. The record was discovered by a British DJ in the 1980s, who issued the track on a dubious release with misleading information. It’s now fifty years later, and the identities of all those who appeared on “Peanut Duck”—including the lead vocalist—is still a mystery. And boy, is this song bonkers!
When “Peanut Duck” was pressed in the mid-1980s, it was credited to a singer named Marsha Gee, though it was later revealed to be untrue (more below). It’s fairly obvious that it’s not the same Marsha Gee who released a song called “Baby, I Need You.”
“Peanut Duck” follows the template of novelty and fad dances like “The Loco-Motion” and “The Twist”—to a point. The unknown female vocalist does explain how to do the goofy dance, but doesn’t go into very much detail, and some of the lyrics are completely unintelligible. It’s also unclear as to what George Washington Carver’s favorite legume has to do with anything. The track really goes off the rails once it passes the 2:00 minute mark, with the singer free-forming it like you won’t believe.
In 2005, the song was said to have received its first authorized release when it was issued as a 45 on the Penniman label (with writer and publishing credits that don’t match the Joker version, but still attributed to Marsha Gee). That same year, Rhino included it on their boxed set, Girl Group Sounds: One Kiss Can Lead to Another. Here’s Rhino’s liner notes concerning the track in question:
At Virtue Sound Studio in Philadelphia, a mystery girl singer cut “Peanut Duck,” a feverish soul stomper that trailed the Loco-Motion, Mashed Potato, Twist trend. But the track was never released, and Marsha Gee was not the actual singer. The only proof of “Peanut Duck” lay in an acetate discovered by a British Northern Soul DJ who took the disc back to England and released it as a bootleg on Joker Records in the ‘80s. Not wanting his rival DJs to infringe upon his precious find, he christened the unknown singer Marsha Gee (who incidentally had a single out on Uptown Records in 1965). The true voice behind “Peanut Duck” has yet to be revealed. Anyone?
The mask, valued at $100,000 (yeah, OK), was signed for by an unknown person and is now missing. Along with the mask is an original photograph of the Residents which is valued at $20,000 (yeah, OK).
SFPD has included an anonymous tip line, should you happen to see the famous eyeball in your local pawn shop.
The missing mask
And the case it came in
A local San Francisco resident had a famous “Eyeball with Hat” mask and an original album cover photo from the musical band called the “Residents” taken from him by an unknown suspect.
In this incident the victim loaned the mask, which was valued at $100,000.00, to a museum in Seattle for a predetermined period of time. On May 5th, at the conclusion of the loan, the curator sent the mask back to the victim using a major delivery courier service. Unfortunately, the victim was traveling and was not present to receive the shipment.
The package was delivered and signed for by an unknown person using an illegible signature. The mask has been used on a record album cover and is periodically displayed throughout the country. The pictured top hat is now black instead of white and was contained in a shipping crate (photo attached). Stolen along with the mask was the original album cover photo which the victim values at $20,000.00.
Anyone who recalls seeing the mask, photo, or crate or has information on this case is asked to contact the Anonymous Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 or Text A Tip to TIP411 and include “SFPD” at the beginning of the message.
Ultimate Classic Rock reports that Roger Daltrey threatened to stop a Who concert at New York’s Nassau Coliseum this week when he smelled marijuana smoke coming from the audience. The singer claims he is allergic to the smoke and it stops his voice from working.
You can see Daltrey scold the audience member with the wicked bud in the [below] video. He asks him to stop puffing or he would walk offstage. Then Pete Townshend gets a few words in too, before the fan apparently put away his stash and let the band continue on with its 50th-anniversary tour show.
Newsday‘s review notes that “the smoke’s impact was almost immediate on his voice, which went from crystal clear and potent for the opening ‘I Can’t Explain’ to something rougher and more limited during ‘I Can See for Miles.’”
Talk about their generation—apparently Daltrey and Townshend have managed to get old before dying.
There are few releases I’m looking forward to this year like the self-titled debut from Algiers. There are past and current bands that have edifyingly fused the energies of southern gospel and rock, but Algiers? Theirs is some potent stuff, absolutely worthy of all the discussion they’ve been generating. The band is made up of expats from America’s deep south, and is built around the nexus of singer Franklin James Fisher, an expressive blues howler whose calls for radical social change can turn on a dime from guttural grunts to righteous wails. In answer, the band combines HOT soul tropes with the loftiest ideals and gnarliest noises of experimental post-punk. And I’m tellin’ you, good people, the alloy is as strong as the forge is hot.
He had a mime act and used to open up the show. He didn’t sing at all but had a tape going and he’d act out a story about a Tibetan boy.
Mime act? Tape going? Tibetan boy? It can only be another reminiscence of David Bowie’s early years in showbiz. But this one is special: it comes from a Melody Maker feature by Bowie’s friend and sometime rival Marc Bolan. It appeared in print just six months before Bolan’s tragic death in a car crash.
I came across Bolan’s article, “Music-Hall Humorist,” in the foxed and brittle pages of David Bowie, A Chronology, a relic from the Let’s Dance era. “Music-Hall Humorist” first appeared in the March 12, 1977 issue of Melody Maker, a number that was heavy with Bowie-related news. Published during the Thin White Duke’s annus mirabilis, the issue featured both Iggy and Bowie on the cover, and the headline screamed LOU REED DUE.
The article reads more like a transcript of Bolan talking to a reporter than something he sweated out over a typewriter, but who knows? Maybe it was laboriously composed over a period of several weeks. Sure it was…
David is a great singer . . . he can sing anything, almost. I remember him when he was in The Lower Third and he used to go to gigs in an ambulance. I used to think he was very professional. He was playing saxophone then and singing. I suppose it was a blues band then and he was produced by Shel Talmy.
He did a record which I’m sure everybody has forgotten. It was ‘Pop Art’ – yer actual feedback. I can’t remember what it was called.
After that he went to Decca around the time I was doing ‘The Wizard’. He was into . . . bombardiers then. Don’t you remember ‘The Little Bombardier’?
He was very Cockney then. I used to go round to his place in Bromley and he always played Anthony Newley records. I haven’t spoken to him about it, but I guess that was how he got into mime.
Newley did mime in Stop the World I Wanna Get Off. The funny thing is that ‘The Laughing Gnome’, which was one of David’s biggest singles here, came from that early period.
It came at the height of his supercool image. And that’s very ‘Strawberry Fair’ . . . ‘the donkey’s eaten all the strawberries!’ That was his biggest single, so it just shows you it doesn’t pay to be cool, man!
Rock ‘n’ Roll suicide hit the dust and the laughing gnomes took over. We were all looking for something to get into then. I wanted to be Bob Dylan, but I think David was looking into that music-hall humour.
It was the wrong time to do it, but all his songs were story songs, like ‘London Boys’. They had a flavour, with very square kinda backings.
But in those days there weren’t any groovy backings being laid down. I think if he played back those records now he’d smile at them, because he was an unformed talent then. He was putting together the nucleus of what he was eventually going to be.
When he had ‘Space Oddity’ he was on tour with me in Tyrannosaurus Rex. He had a mime act and used to open up the show. He didn’t sing at all but had a tape going and he’d act out a story about a Tibetan boy. It was quite good actually, and we did the Festival Hall with Roy Harper as well.
I remember David playing me ‘Space Oddity’ in his room and I loved it and said he needed a sound like the Bee Gees, who were very big then. The stylophones he used on that, I gave him. Tony Visconti turned me onto stylophones.
The record was a sleeper for months before it became a hit, and I played on ‘Prettiest Star’, you know which I thought was a great song, and it flopped completely.
But I never got the feeling from David that he was ambitious. I remember he’d buy antiques if he had a hit, when he should have saved his money. David got his drive to be successful once I’d done it with the T. Rex thing. At the beginning of the seventies it was the only way to go.
“It’s so easy, a baby could learn to play it in fifteen minutes”: an ad for the Stylophone
David Bowie, A Chronology also includes this unsourced anecdote from March 1977:
While in London, David is taken for lunch to Toscanini’s in the Kings Road by Marc Bolan. After the meal, David and Bolan, both slightly drunk, wandered down the Kings Road singing. At one point, when in view of a packed open-topped double-decker bus full of school children, the two jumped up and down trying to attract the children’s attention shouting alternately, ‘I’m David Bowie’, and ‘I’m Marc Bolan’. Although the school children were none too interested in their antics, they did manage to attract some Bowie fans who couldn’t believe their luck when David obliged with an autograph and a chat.
I’m not sure if this is the “pop art” single Bolan was trying to recall, but here’s Bowie (in the Manish Boys) singing “I Pity The Fool” in 1965. Shel Talmy produced and Jimmy Page played lead guitar. (Be warned: there’s six seconds of silence before the song starts.)
Surely you know by now whether or not My Bloody Valentine’s pivotal Loveless album is in your zone. When it dropped in November of 1991—just as Nevermind was temporarily blurring the line between mainstream and underground—I was in the thick of my college years, and the gauzy, gooey, heavy, trippy Loveless was completely unparalleled as a soundtrack for having sex, getting high as fuck, and having high-as-fuck sex.
Famously, it took band leader Kevin Shields two years to assemble the album’s dense mass of sounds that often defy their guitar origins, and it’s sometimes difficult to tell whether any given sound or even any sung phrase is as performed or the result of post-production studio manipulation. So when an adventurous fan posted the album backward in its entirety, it was a given that it was going to sound a whole hell of a lot like the album forward. But listening to it backwards subverts the album’s two and a half-ish decades of utter familiarity, and I rather enjoyed hearing it that way.
And I had to wonder if this inspired the idea, but it was posted two weeks after the backwards album was, so it may well be the other way around, if not just coincidence:
(That Twitter feed, by the way, is fun to follow if shoegaze in-jokes are your bag.)
Backward Loveless was posted by NeutralMilkHotelArchive, who describes his/her YouTube channel as “An archive for all Neutral Milk Hotel. Formerly a channel for reversed music,” though it boasts only two NMH shows so far compared to two dozen pieces of reversed music, 7 of which are by Bach. If you’re going to get all high to listen to backward Loveless anyway, it couldn’t hurt to peruse that channel for further fodder, no?
David Letterman’s last show is tonight and so I thought it would be a good time to post a musical highlight from the hundreds, if not thousands of bands that have performed on his show. I searched the ‘net for awhile and found plenty of memorable performance I could I have linked to for your enjoyment. But thanks to The Gothamist, I came across something altogether different than what I set out looking for: a band described—by one of its own members—as “the worst to ever air on the show.” We’re talking about Guns N’ Roses cover band… Mr. Brownstone.
Dave Godowsky (Izzy Stradlin in the group) writes quite candidly and hilariously of what it was like to make a complete fool of himself on late night TV on November 19th, 2008:
I remember taking a shot of whiskey while being escorted to perform on the stage of The Late Show with David Letterman, and a hair from my wig was stuck in my mouth. Having a hair stuck in your mouth is gross and annoying, but the combination of A) wig hair and B) an impending audience of millions can exacerbate that. I plugged in my guitar but no sound would come out of the amp, the production crew was scrambling. I looked up desperately and saw Paul Shaffer just staring at me, confused. In hindsight his confusion was probably less about my inability to turn on an amp and more about why the hell a Guns N’ Roses cover band was playing there.
You can read the rest of Godowksy’s foggy recollections of that historic night at The Gothamist. It’s a blast.
‘‘I’ve sung, I’ve entertained, I’ve pleased your children, I’ve pleased your wives, I’ve pleased you—YOU SONS OF BITCHES!’’
The 2 CD quasi-bootleg set, Judy Garland Speaks!, has to be one of the single most demented things that a major celebrity has ever left behind for the world to discover several decades after their death. Even people who would normally never care about something Judy Garland-related marvel at the incredible pathos and dark insanity of these tapes, which come off like Garland performing in a one-woman show written by Samuel Beckett.
YES, they are that good.
Recorded between 1963 and 1967 when the great performer was down on her luck financially for the purpose of helping Garland write her autobiography, the tapes are a part of the Judy Garland archive at Columbia University. It wasn’t until Gerald Clarke made use of the recordings in his excellent—and ironically titled—book Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland in 2000, that they escaped to the outside world.
The tapes start off slow, with Garland, alone, obviously drunk and having a hard time figuring out how to use the reel to reel tape recorder that literary agent Irving “Swifty” Lazar had given her for the task. We hear her confused, turning the machine off and on and addressing it as an “obvious Nazi machine.” Soon, though, she’s drunkenly ranting and raving about her ex-husband Sid Luft (who stuck Garland with his gambling debts), how the entertainment industry has ripped her off, speaking to her frustration at the public’s perception of her problems with drugs and alcohol and generally laying her tormented soul bare in a way that can alternately produce titters of nervous laughter or sorrowful tears in the listener.
At the peak of his fame and influence, from 1964 to 1966, Andy Warhol created somewhere around 500 (the number 472 popped up in my research, as seen below) so-called “screen tests.” Every screen test was a single close-up take of an individual in front of the camera lasting a little shy of three minutes—the idea was that Warhol would run them at two-thirds speed, which resulted in movies about four minutes long each. The short movies that resulted had a consistency of aesthetic feel and featured a wide variety of people, who can be roughly classified into three groups: Factory mainstays, famous people, and un-famous people. Warhol said that he did screen tests for anyone who possessed “star potential.”
As Geralyn Huxley, curator of film and video at the Andy Warhol Museum, wryly points out, “none of them appear to have been used for the purpose of actually testing or auditioning prospective actors.” Some notable people who consented to undergo the Warhol screen test treatment are John Ashbery, Marcel Duchamp, Cass Elliott, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Yoko Ono, Salvador Dalí, Donovan, and Susan Sontag.
The track titles on the album are very redolent of the Factory as well as the general VU scene: “Silver Factory Theme,” “Teenage Lightning (And Lonely Highways),” “Incandescent Innocent,” and “Knives From Bavaria.” In addition to much original Luna-esque music of the gorgeous and dreamy variety, the album featured covers of Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Keep It With Mine” and VU’s “I’m Not a Young Man Anymore.”
In 2012 LuxeCrush asked Dean and Britta about the project:
LuxeCrush: How did this “13 Most Beautiful…” project, pairing your music with Andy Warhol stills, come about? I love the interdisciplinary film/music idea!
Wareham: We were approached by Ben Harrison at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh; he described the hundreds of films that the Museum had access to (Warhol made 472 Screen Tests) and asked could we pick thirteen of them and create soundtracks to perform live on stage.
LuxeCrush: What is your favorite Warhol art work, moment or saying? And did either of you ever get to meet Andy?
Wareham: Neither of us ever met Andy. But I love watching him answering interview questions. Where most artists are trained to give long-winded theoretical explanations of why they paint a particular way, he would just say “because it’s easy.” Warhol never ceases to amaze me. We are used to seeing the same famous images again and again (Marilyn, Coke Bottles, soup cans, etc.), but there is so much more, from his early drawings for department stores to his late paintings, paintings for children, TV shows, films. He had a way of turning things upside down.
Lots of lovely and stirring videos of Dean & Britta scoring the screen tests after the jump…...
Having worked in record stores most of my life, the one question I’ve been asked more than any other is the dreaded “what are you listening to lately?” I say “dreaded” because there’s this entire process of cold-reading the asker before an answer can be formulated. Generally the person posing the question is looking for shopping advice, and I find myself lying about my current playlist, simply because the Dave Matthews fan trying to pick my brain doesn’t really need my Flux of Pink Indians The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks recommendation. I always get a little neurotic when asked this question, because I feel like giving a legitimately truthful answer only serves to make me look like the pretentious record store asshole that I might actually be.
Being one of those uberhip “you’ve probably never heard of them” douchenozzles is the last thing in the world I want to be identified as, so all I can really do is try to share and never judge. But sometimes, unintentionally, the answer to that dreaded question just sounds like you’re a too-cool-for-school try-hard. Go ahead. Ask me what I’m listening to lately.
OK, I’ll tell you.
Lately I’m listening to a lot of Hungarian goth.
See?! I can’t even say it out loud without feeling like “that guy”—but I digress. With it right here out in the open, I can at least tell you about this best band ever that’s currently rocking my world—or, as is the case with Hungarian goth—is currently reflecting the blackness of my empty soul.
Going directly to the Internet to learn more, I found that there’s very little information on the group—and what little information there is, is in Hungarian. Thank the gods of technology for Google translate.
F.O. System was one of many bands that came out of a scene centered around Fekete Lyuk, or “The Black Hole,” which was a Budapest nightclub. The group was founded in 1986 by Attila Matyas and Csaba Jerabek, and existed until 1991. F.O. System are considered one of the first goth bands out of Hungary. They quickly outgrew The Black Hole club, playing several major festivals, and opening for New Model Army and Christian Death. They toured what was then West Germany, before disbanding. Years later, they played a series of reunion shows, having performed as recently as 2013. Their 1988 demo tape is a total fucking classic of the genre.
“Day of the Gloom” demo cassette
F.O. System’s influences are apparent in their sound. You’ll hear shades of The Cure, Sisters of Mercy, and certainly Bauhaus—but the sum of these parts is something totally unique, and undoubtedly eastern European. There is something very bleak and grey about the region that is reflected in the sound of bands such as F.O. System. You get the sense that this is no ennui-inspired suburban affectation—this is the real deal.
F.O. System’s website has information on the group’s releases. You can purchase digital tracks of the first album and demo here.
This video for their song “Ne Félj” is as good as anything the entire goth genre has to offer. It’s one of those songs I find myself putting on and just replaying over and over. Judge for yourself: