Just in case you missed hearing it live, the good folks at KBOO-FM have kindly archived Monday Sampler host Fortunato’s interview with me and my daughter Rebecca from last Monday (the segment with us begins at the 58:00 mark). There was chat about my new book, Everybody Gets it Wrong! : David Chelsea’s 24-Hour Comics Volume 1., as well as strange and exotic A Capella records from my collection, interspersed with charming live performances from the group Boy & Bean.
For those wanting to know a bit more about the music played on the program, here are some notes:
“If”, The Modern Barbershop Quartet:
The Modern Barbershop Quartet was a group of studio singers assembled by producer Snuff Garrett for one recording in 1974. Here are the original liner notes by Laugh-In announcer Gary Owens:
The magnificent history of the Barbershop Quartet is a complex story that has many facets… Unfortunately, I don’t know the story, so I’ll tell you about the album instead. The Modern Barbershop Quartet (or the MBQ, as it is seldom referred to) has recorded some of the greatest song hits of our day (Friday) in the style of those turn of the century hirsute foursomes, and the result is a delight! You may recall the big Barbershop Quartet craze when you or your parents were in college and some of the names synonymous with harmony…. the Buffalo Bills,for example,… somehow you can imagine four energetic, kinetic singers gathered together with big handlebar mustaches drooping or lifting with the voice of the individual… I had in mind one of the great groups of the 50s, the Turgleman Sisters: Patty, Lou-Ann, Sheila-Jean, and Fred! The man who thought up this fun concept is a radio producer whose accomplishments in the industry are legion… Snuff Garrett. Thomas Garrett has always been several years ahead of his time (and several miles ahead of the law), and his creation of the Modern Barbershop Quartet deserves kudos from all of us! He has gathered together some of the greatest singers in the world… Ron Hicklin, Thurl Ravenscroft, Gene Merlino, and Gene Morford…. and they have recorded a most pleasant sound that will make any Barbershop fan want to plotz! You may want to practice with your own throbbing uvula as the MBQ belts out today’s favorite hits in the style that blossomed anywhere in a time when America looked forward to what we now call nostalgia.
(By the way, bass Thurl Ravenscroft is better known as the singer of “You’re A Mean One, Mister Grinch”, and the voice of Tony The Tiger).
“Jesus Met The Woman At The Well”, The Songbirds Of The South:
The Songbirds Of The South were an all-female Gospel group from Memphis, Tennessee, active in the late 1940s. Not much is known of them, and they have left only a few recordings. One of their members was Cassietta George, who went on to a long career with The Caravans.
“Dig My Jelly Roll”, The Virginia Four:
According to several sources, “The Virginia Four” are actually an alias for The Norfolk Jubilee Quartet, a popular Gospel group from Norfolk, VA, who began their recording career in 1919. This recording is from 1939.
“Selcric”, Tetes Noires:
Tetes Noires are reputedly the first all-female rock band from Minneapolis. They released three albums in the mid-1980s before disbanding. Most of their output is straight-ahead rock and roll; as far as I can tell they released no other A Capella songs recorded backwards. Despite their Minnesota pedigree, they seem never to have performed on A Prairie Home Companion.
“Serenada de Ierru”, Tenores de Oniferi:
From Amazon. com:
The polyphonic singing of Sardinia is one of those art forms that hits you like a lightning bolt the first time you hear it. You sit and ask, “What is that sound? How do they do it?” It is ancient (maybe dating back as far as 1,000 years), with a dependence on dark, not-quite minor-key harmonies and rich overtones. Key to the sound are the rough-hewn su basso and sa contra singers, whose guttural quality defines everything else about the music. That is countered by a crystal-clear third voice and a classic tenor lead vocalist. The blend is unique in the world of singing. It’s an acquired taste for those who are used to simple harmonies and tight choral arrangements, but given a chance, the sound can be quite addictive. Although less known and hyped up than the Tenores di Bitti, Tenores de Oniferi are every bit their equal. –Louis Gibson
Rebecca and I talked about the most recent 24 Hour Comics session at Things from Another World, and it would be nice to be able direct you a link to both comics online. Patience, people! Webmaster Brad Smith of Hot Pepper promises to post both of them, along with other stories from that session by Rachel Nabors, Paul Guinan, Tom Lechner and others, as soon as he returns from WebVisions Barcelona.
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