QMH August 2006 Script
Jeff Krassner - Son of a Preacher Man (1995)
Welcome to Queer Voices on KPFT. I'm JD Doyle and this show is called Queer Music Heritage. This month's show is in a way a continuation of my June show. It's another Songs I've Been Meaning To Play show, and on shows like that, well, you're likely to hear just about any type of music from any decade. But every song will be very queer and I hope entertaining.
We started off
with Jeff Krassner's version of the Dusty Springfield song "Son
of a Preacher Man." That's from his wonderful album from 1995
called "Strong For You."
Norma Tanega - Walkin' My Cat Named Dog (1966)
That was Norma Tanega with her song "Walkin' My Cat Named Dog." The song reached number 22 on the Billboard charts here, but was a much bigger hit in England, so she moved there for several years, and during that time had a relationship with Dusty Springfield, and wrote music with Dusty and Dusty's brother Tom Springfield.
And it's Tom Springfield who sings the next song. Now I have no reason to believe Tom Springfield is gay, but I found this song by him that could be read that way. It's called "Charley," which I suppose could be either a male or female name. I'll let you decide.
Tom Springfield - Charley (1970)
Now for some queer R&B. You wouldn't expect the Miracles to record a song about homosexuality. Well they did, in 1975, on their album "City of Angels." That was three years after Smokey Robinson left the group. The song was called "Ain't Nobody Straight In L.A."
- Ain't Nobody Straight in L.A. (1975)
I followed the Miracles with an artist who was a member of another popular Detroit act, the Chairmen of the Board. Harrison Kennedy sang with them for several years and released several solo albums, including one called "Hypnotic Music," in 1972, the source of his song "Closet Queen." By the way, those two songs appear on a brand new compilation album just released in Germany called "Queer Noises 1961 - 1978: From the Closets to the Charts," and it's packed full of esoteric queer songs, many of which I've featured on past shows.
Another R&B act I've been wanting to play for you is the Dynamic Superiors. They had a number of albums on the Motown label and they are notable because their lead singer, Tony Washington, was openly gay. I've read articles that describe his very over the top effeminant performances, and on the covers of their albums he's shown wearing make-up. I've read that on stage when they covered the song "Me & Mrs. Jones" he sang "Me & Mr. Jones." Alas, nothing so blatant made it to their recordings, where most of their material was written by Ashford & Simpson. So I might have well share you one of that writing team's best, the song "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing." The Dynamic Superiors recorded it on their 1975 album, "Pure Pleasure."
Dynamic Superiors - Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing (1975)
This next artist recorded around 1976, and talk about obscure. He called himself Smokey. He recorded four 45s around that time, on a Hollywood label called S&M Records and while I have no real information about him, I do have a photo of him, and it screams gay hustler. Naturally I've got the photo on the web page for this show. Here are both sides of one of Smokey's 45s, with the songs "Miss Ray" and "Leather"
- Miss Ray (1976)
I remember exactly where I was when I first heard this next song. I was with my partner, Jeff, in a gay bar in San Antonio called El Jardin, at the time the oldest gay bar in that city. This was around 1998 and I was looking at their jukebox and saw a title I'd not heard of that looked very queer, so I played it. It was called "Bruiser LaRue" and was by comedy duo Hudson and Landry, and, I found out later, was from their 1971 album, "Losing Their Heads." And very queer it was, meet Bruiser LaRue.
Hudson & Landry - Bruiser LaRue (1971)
During the 70s Hudson & Landry released several more comedy albums, and visited Bruiser a couple more times, with titles like "Bruiser LaRue Meets Count Dracula," but I'll spare you that one.
This next selection is gay-related comedy and it's from 1972. I don't know if the artist, Sandy Baron, was gay, but his album from that year got a lot of attention in the gay press, and that's not surprising. It was called "God Save the Queens." It was mostly good-natured comedy and my favorite track was called "Do You Take This Man."
Baron - Do You Take This Man? (1972)
Following Sandy Baron was Alan Cumming and the song "Married." That was from a concert CD called "Wed-Rock," which was a benefit for the organization Freedom to Marry. Cummings of course is the Tony-winning star of the Broadway revival of "Cabaret," and this CD also included Sandra Bernhard, Margaret Cho, Lady Bunny, Lou Reed, Sleater-Kinney, Le Tigre and others.
And here's another song about gay marriage. Pat Humphries writes political and beautiful songs, as was evidenced by her first two albums, called "Same Rain," and "Hands." But in 2004 she and her partner Sandy teamed up and released an album just called "One," under the name Emma's Revolution. The song was nominated for an Outmusic Award for Out Song of the Year. Here's "This Love."
Emma's Revolution - This Love (2004)
Emma's Revolution and "This Love."
And those interested in more songs about gay weddings and gay marriage should visit a special section of my website that I've set up just for that. You'll find a link from my home page, at www.queermusicheritage.com.
Some of you have probably heard about the site myspace.com. I've found that site to be a wonderful resource to discover new artists. One I found there is from Atlanta and his name is Barry Brandon. This month he's ready to release his debut CD, called "The Musical Theatre Album," and I found this song from the album to be quite appealing. Here's Barry Brandon and "Taylor the Latte Boy."
Barry Brandon - Taylor the Latte Boy (2006)
This next set of songs is very political. And I'm starting off with a track from a landmark album from Olivia Records. In 1977 that label released a various artists compilation of lesbian music, the first of that nature. It was called "Lesbian Concentrate" and included works by Meg Christian, Teresa Trull, Linda Tillery, Sue Fink and others, including a poet, Pat Parker. Her stirring reading was called "For Straight Folks," and you'll hear her at the beginning sarcastically dedicate it to Anita Bryant. And it will be followed by a very new artist making her own political statement. But first, Pat Parker.
Parker - For Straight Folks (1977)
Following Pat Parker was a spoken word, performance artist who goes by the name Jen/Ed, and the track "One-Breasted President" was from her 2005 album, "Exposed." I got to see her perform in New York City in June, and she was riveting.
And here's one more spoken word artist, a transman who performs under the persona of the Athens Boys Choir, and his latest album, from last year, is "Rose Cuts the Cake." From it you'll hear "Homeland Insecurity."
Athens Boys Choir - Homeland Insecurity (2005)
The Athens Boys Choir. That song was obviously only for my internet audience, as is this next one, by a probably straight Australian duo calling themselves the Self-Righteous Brothers. Their 2004 album is called "Songs for the Wrong at Heart" and this track is called "The Only Gay Soldier."
Self-Righteous Brothers - The Only Gay Soldier (2004)
Another military-themed song is by a Dutch band that called themselves Eton Crop, which was also the name of a woman's hair style. Their song, from 1984, is "Gay Boys on the Battlefield."
Eton Crop - Gay Boys on the Battlefield (1984)
Welcome back to my Songs I've Been Meaning To Play show, and hour number two. And I thought it fitting the hour starts with a song called "Number Two." It's humor is very tongue in cheek and was written and sung by Julie Gold. You may not know her name but you definitely know the grammy winning song she wrote, "From a Distance," which Bette Midler turned into a megahit.
Julie Gold - Number Two (2005)
Julie Gold, and it's a little hard to imagine that she wrote both "From a Distance" and that song.
Well, as that song had kind of a country flavor I'm going to slip in another country song, and it's by a straight artist. From 1984 here's a novelty song by country artist Pat Garrett, apparantly trying to capitalize on the then new media hype that Boy George was getting, as he sings "By George, I'm Glad I Ain't Boy George." And it will be followed by an unreleased song by Boy George himself.
Garrett - By George, I'm Glad I Ain't Boy George (1984)
That was a very nice duet from 2004 called "Pretty Boys" done Boy George and a drag artist known as Miss Guy. Miss Guy is more known for her hardcore punk music with her band Miss Guy and the Toilet Boys.
And the title of their song reminds of me of another unreleased track in my collection, called "Pretty Boy." It's done by Daniel Cartier and he told me it was the first song he wrote, when he was around 15 and before he had even come out. I'm glad he finally recorded it. Daniel Cartier and "Pretty Boy."
Daniel Cartier - Pretty Boy (2005)
Next is a rap song, and you may have heard in recent years that so-and-so was the first openly gay or lesbian rap artist. T'ain't so. In 1981, at the very beginning of rap music, a group was formed in Los Angeles that called themselves Age of Consent. The members were John Callahan, David Hughes and Thea Other, and a CD has recently been released collecting their recordings, which spanned from 1981 to 1985. The one I chose to share with you is "History Rap."
Age of Consent - History Rap (1982)
That was "History Rap" by Age of Consent.
Sandy Rapp is an author, songwriter and grassroots activist and I'm closing this very policital set with one of her best known songs. She originally recorded it in 1995, but this version is from her album from last year called "Still Marchin'." In the true tradition of folk music, here's "Everyone Was At Stonewall."
Rapp - Everyone Was At Stonewall (2005)
Frances Faye - The Man I Love (clip, early 50s)
Yes, "the man, what am
I saying?" That was just a clip but I want you to hear all of
one of her signature songs, called "Drunk With Love." And
I picked it for another reason as well. It was written by an early
gay comedian, named Bruz Fletcher. And Bruz was spelled B-r-u-z. He
was popular in the 30s in night clubs in Hollywood. His life ended
tragically in 1941 when he committed suicide. One theory on that was
that due to increasing police crackdowns on gay performers and clubs,
Bruz Fletcher and many others could not find employment. So here's
his song "Drunk With Love," as done by Frances Faye in 1953.
Faye - Drunk With Love (1953)
Following Frances Faye was popular New York City cabaret artist Alix Korey. I don't think she's lesbian but the song certainly was. It came from the the off-Broadway show "The Wild Party," from 2000. It was called "Old Fashioned Love Story."
Next are two very romantic songs. The first is by an artist named David Lasley. Now, you may not know his name but you have heard his voice, countless times. For the last 26 years he's been a prolific background vocalist on the albums of James Taylor, Bette Midler, Bonnie Raitt, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell, Cher, and on and on. He's released a number of recordings on his own and I've picked one from his 2001 album, "Expectations of Love." The song is called "Joey, I Believe In Our Love." David Lasley.
Lasley - Joey, I Believe In Our Love (2001)
After David Lasley you heard the song "Goin' All Out of My Way." That was by an artist named Arnold McCuller, and he's another very in-demand background vocalist, and you're likely to see his name right beside Lasley's on all those recordings by James Taylor and the others I mentioned. And McCuller and Lasley both sang backups on Michael Callen's last album.
I'm going to follow those very mellow songs with one more, by a singer from the UK, named David McAlmont. He's attracted attention there both as a solo artist and as a duo with Bernard Butler. And he got a lot of press in 1997 when he performed on television his cover version of the song "Diamonds Are Forever," dressed like Shirley Bassey. His latest album, from last year, is called "You Go To My Head" and I can't resist playing his rendition of Whitney Houston's song "Saving All My Love For You."
McAlmont - Saving All My Love For You (2005)
That was just a little of one of the megahits by the boyband N Sync. That one was from 2000 and was called "Bye Bye Bye." Of course you've heard by now that one of its members, Lance Bass, has come way out of the closet, on the cover of People magazine. But you may not have heard that another pop star came out last month. From the million-selling Aussie band Savage Garden Darren Hayes posted, on his website, the following announcement: "On June 19th 2006 I married my boyfriend of two years, Richard, in a Civil Partnership ceremony in London. I can honestly say it was the happiest day of my life." He dedicated his latest single to his partner, and it's called "So Beautiful."
Darren Hayes - So Beautiful (2005)
I've always loved this next song, but I had never heard it arranged this way before. The song is "Where the Boys Are" and this version is slow, acoustic and I think very nice. It's by a group called The Czars, led by gay artist John Grant. The Czars have released a number of albums but their latest one, called "Sorry I Made You Cry," is all cover versions. I'm so glad they included "Where the Boys Are."
Czars - Where the Boys Are (2006)
I've got time to slip in a song my a duo who certainly wrote interesting songs. Their names are Pete Sturman and Paul Cowgill, but they performed under the name Pistol Pete & Popgun Paul. They were together for about ten years, releasing two albums. From their first one, from 1998, is a very short song called "Never Be Straight."
Pistol Pete & Popgun Paul - Never Be Straight (1998)
Pistol Pete & Popgun Paul will
never be straight.
Time for some more history. You all should know about the killings of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk by Dan White, in San Francisco in November of 1978. In May of the next year White went on trial and when he was only given a sentence of seven years the city erupted and the riots that followed were called the White Night Riots. These events inspired two songs. First, by Lenny Anderson you'll hear "The Ballad of Dan White" and following it will be "White Night Riot" by the Mondellos.
Anderson - The Ballad of Dan White (1979)
Both from 1979, Lenny Anderson and the Mondellos singing about Dan White. White was paroled in 1984 and committed suicide the next year.
In 1998, Zoe Lewis included a song tribute to Harvey Milk on her album called "Sheep." She's originally from England and now lives in Provincetown. The song is just called "Harvey"
Lewis - Harvey (1998)
Zoe Lewis and "Harvey" and after that you heard a very gay song by Mara Levi. It was called "The Homo Song" and is from 2005 and so far is only available at her website, but she really needs to release that one.
And here's one more very outspoken song, by a duo known as The Other Side, and that's also the title of their 1994 CD. Individually they are Chris Weipert and Carin Anderson, and their song is called "Here To Stay."
The Other Side - Here to Stay (1994)
From folk-pop to punk. Are you ready? This next group is from Australia and is called the Mavis's. From their 1996 album "Venus Returning" is the very catchy song, "Do You Have a Brother?"
Mavis's - Do You Have a Brother? (1996)
Up next is a straight artist with a very gay sensibility. I've seen him several times and never miss him when he's in town. His name is Eric Schwartz and I interviewed him a while back. I've been saving those quotes for just this opportunity. He recorded an album in 1999 called "That's How It's Gonna Be" and it contained a really neat song called "Hattie & Mattie," and I got him to tell me how he came to write it.
Schwartz - Interview Comment
And his next album, in 2000, was called "Pleading the First: Songs My Mother Hates." It contains some very funny songs, way not ready for radio, but I can play his song called "Charliesomething," and he'll also tell us about that one.
Schwartz - Interview Comment
Again, you heard "Hattie & Mattie" and "Charliesomething" by Eric Schwartz.
I'm calling this next set my Gertrude Stein set, and it opens with a song from 1995 dedicated to her. It's by a lesbian artist named Jess Hawk-Oakenstar, from her album "Leave a Little Light Behind." It's called "Dear Gertrude Stein."
Jess Hawk-Oakenstar - Dear Gertrude Stein (1995)
Okay, how many of you have heard the voice of Gertrude Stein? Raise your hands. That's what I thought. She's very famous for one of her quotes "A rose is a rose is a rose." Well, you'll notice right away the repetitive styling in this reading by her from 1934, just a snippet from a piece called "Valentine for Sherwood Anderson."
Gertrude Stein - Valentine for Sherwood Anderson (1934, excerpt)
Besides her writings she was famous for entertaining in her salon in Paris artists and writers such as Picasso, Ernest Hemingway and Thornton Wilder. Her book "The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas" was a huge success, and of course was not an autobiography at all. Alice B. Toklas did have her own writing success, with her famous cook book. I have to share with you a reading by Toklas, also from around 1934, describing her first meeting with Gertrude Stein.
Alice B. Toklas - On First Meeting With Gertrude Stein (1934, excerpt)
In case you're curious, Gertrude Stein died in 1946 and Alice B Toklas died in 1967.
Finally, I've one more piece on Gertrude Stein. In 1980 actress Pat Carroll starred in the much-acclaimed production "Gertrude Stein Gertrude Stein Gertrude Stein." The album set recorded from the show itself won a Grammy Award. From it is a very short clip of Pat Carroll, as Gertrude Stein.
Pat Carroll - clip from Act I (1980)
One of Australia's treasures is queer playwright, songwriter, and performer Alex Harding, who for over 25 years has been contributing his own brand of gay musicals to the culture. A compilation CD called "Just One More and Then I'll Go" was released in 1996 covering his career, and from it I've chosen two tracks, the wistful "Perfect Stranger" from his 1991 show "Beauty and the Beat" and from 1978, from a show called "Double Exposure" is the bittersweet song "There's Nothing Like a Fairy to Make Sure the Party's Gay."
Harding - Perfect Stranger (1996)
Again, that was Alex Harding.
One of the neat things about doing a show like this is that sometimes I play a song by an obscure artist, and then I hear from the artist. That happened again after my June show aired, when I played a couple songs by Philadelphia singer songwriter Hank Baron. He sent me two more, one is a vintage song of his that he wrote about Anita Bryant, called "Standing Before the Judge," and it will be followed by a new song by him.
Baron - Standing Before the Judge (1982)
Hank Baron, singing "Standing Before the Judge" and "You Want Me" and I especially thank him for sending me those to share with you.
Okay, here's one more comedy song, by Lisa Koch and Peggy Platt, going by the name Dos Falopia. In 1992 they recorded a very funny album called "My Breasts Are Out of Control," and from it is one called "A Camp Song"
Falopia - A Camp Song (1992)
I followed Dos Falopia with another odd duo, who call themselves Seaman & Queerfunkle. Their song "Heteros Who Like Rainbows" is from last year.
What? I've not played any dance music yet? I can fix that, of course with my own bent toward obscure releases. From 1998 is German artist Manuel Sanchez and his very infectious updating of a familiar song, but his rendition was called "Oh Happy Gay."
Manuel Sanchez - Oh Happy Gay (1998)
And here's one more very out of the closet dance song, and it's brand new, the album is being released this week. The artist is Thomas Bickham and he lives in Denmark, but he performs under the name Tomboy. On his site he says he tried to work as many gay cliches into the song as possible, wanting to use humor to reach people. And that's especially true of the video, camp for days, you'll definitely want to check that out. Here's Tomboy and his new song "OK2BGAY"
Tomboy - OK2BGAY (2006)
I'm down to the last song, but before I get to it, I want to thank you all for tuning into the show. I always enjoy doing one of these shows, as I get to share so many songs I've been meaning to play. And my internet listeners get to hear a much expanded version, which includes many more songs, including some that due to lyrical content are just not ready for regular radio.
If you have questions or comments about any of the music I've featured, please write me. And please check out my website, logically enough, at www.queermusicheritage.com, where you can see photos of the artists and recordings I've played tonight. This is JD Doyle for Queer Voices on KPFT in Houston, and I'll be back on the fourth Monday of next month with another installment of Queer Music Heritage.
I'm closing the show with the same artist who opened it, Jeff Krassner. Again, from his 1995 album "Strong For You," here's one that will grab you. It's called "The Powers That Be."
Krassner - The Powers That Be (1995)