Script for January 2001, QMH:
Well, this is my first anniversary show, and I've thoroughly enjoyed doing Queer Music Heritage for the last year, and hope to do it for quite some time. I'm starting off tonight's show with a blues artist. Now, I haven't played much blues on my show, but this CD really caught my attention. It's by Gwen Avery and the CD is called "Sugar Mama." This is her first CD, but not her first recording. She first recorded the title track in 1977. It appeared on the landmark Olivia Records album "Lesbian Concentrate," which was the first various artists lesbian album. It's amazing it took 23 years for her first solo release, but she spent those years doing women's music festivals and performing in clubs, mostly near her home in the San Francisco Bay Area. She wrote it and she sings it, here's Gwen Avery with "sugar mama."
Gwen Avery - sugar mama (2000)
The Gwen Avery album also features excellent versions of such songs as "the thrill is gone," "georgia on my mind, " Leonard Cohen's song "Suzanne," and several of her own compositions that keep the woman to woman pronouns intact.
Next up is another debut CD that I admire, in fact, it was good enough to be nominated for best debut album at the GLAMAs, the Gay & Lesbian American Music Awards, last year. It's Amy Simpson's album called "Circumstances Strange," and I'm playing the title track, and following it with her song called "The End," which is about the best one minute song I can think of.
- circumstances strange (2000)
That was two songs from Amy Simpson's album "Circumstances Strange."
Since there will be so many obscurities heard on this show, I thought those of you on the internet would like to be able to see photos of the artists and recordings, and view the playlist.
The next artist I'm pretty sure you've never heard before. His name is John Hurley and he's much more well known for one of the songs he wrote that was sung by someone else. But first I'm going to play just a little of a song sung by him. It's from an album he released in 1973 called "Children's Dreams," and the song is called "Wailin' and Moanin'"
John Hurley - wailin' and moanin' (1973)
That should give you a little flavor of his style. He struck gold with a song he and his lover, Ronnie Wilkins, wrote that in 1968 became one of the biggest hits for Dusty Springfield. The song is "son of a preacher man," and was a masterpiece of writing and singing. You're all familiar with her version, so I'd like to play a version I also like by a gay artist named Cam Clarke, and I'll tell you more about him after the song.
Cam Clarke - son of a preacher man (1999)
Cam Clarke has had a varied career. His mother is Alyce King of The King Sisters, and as a child he found himself singing in The King Family, a popular group that had many TV specials in the 60s & 70s. In 1995 he sang this song:
Cam Clarke - we are one
No, that wasn't a gay pride song, it was Cam Clarke doing the voice of Simba from Walt Disney's "Lion King II: Simba's Pride." Clarke is a much-in-demand voice over actor, with a slew of animated credits such as Leonardo in "The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and in TV cartoons such as "The Tick" and "Gargoyles." But I'm more interested in Clarke because of the CD he released last year called "Inside Out." It got a GLAMA nomination for debut album of the year and is excellent. I want to play perhaps my favorite song from it, which may remind you a little of "son of a preacher man." It's called "Palamino Road."
Cam Clarke - palamino road (1999)
Again, that was Cam Clarke, singing "palamino road" from his album "Inside Out."
This would be a good time to take a
break and remind you that you are listening to Queer
From "Lovers": celebrate (1974)
What you just heard was called "celebrate"
and it starts off a set of songs from gay musicals of the past. That
was from a fairly obscure musical from 1974. I'm kind of surprised
an album was even released for it. The play was called "Lovers,"
and the subtitle was "the musical hit that proves it's no longer
sad to be gay." Next up is a ballad from the 1977 musical "Joseph
McCarthy Is Alive and Living In Dade County." That play was obviously
referring to the Anita Bryant campaign, and the song I picked is sung
by Gerrard Wagner and is called "who have you loved today."
And I'm following it with Brad Whitaker singing "my leviticus."
That was from the 1993 musical "Get Used To It," which was
written by Tom Wilson Weinberg. Tom had a couple albums on his own,
one called "Gay Name Game," and also wrote the musical "Ten
After "my leviticus" was a very short song from the 1978 movie "The First Nudie Musical," which starred Cindy Williams, this is after her "Laverne & Shirley" days. That odd little number was sung by Broadway actress Debbie Shapiro.
And now I've got something from a brand new musical CD. It's from a live cabaret act and the CD is called "Caruso, Live and In Person." It features Jim Caruso, accompanied on piano by Billy Stritch. Stritch is a well-known artist on his own right, dating back from his days with the local trio Montgomery, Plant & Stritch, to Broadway and Liza Minelli's inner circle, and has gotten a couple of Grammy nominations. He showcases Caruso's singing well. The album features standards and several lively numbers that really bring out his humor, like the song I picked, "the boy from fire island."
Jim Caruso - boy from fire island (2000)
Next is my Spotlight Segment, and this
month's feature is on Hollywood Queers. You're going to hear four
songs by actors who were stars and who spent varying amounts of time
in the closet. They weren't necessarily singers, as you'll soon see,
but they nevertheless had records released by their studios. First
up is the biggest star of the bunch, Rock Hudson. He released an album
in 1970 called "Rock Gently" that was produced by Rod McKuen
and contained the song "open the window and see the clowns."
I'm following it with Tab Hunter. Tab had a huge hit in 1957 with
his version of "young love." It's success was not due to
his singing, and I have a little trouble listening to it, so instead
I'm playing another record he put out in 1957 called "ninety
nine ways," which made it to #11 on the BillBoard charts. In
the early 70s I remember seeing a feature on Tab Hunter on television,
probably one of those "where are they now" spots. They showed
him at his ranch and showed a good-looking male in his 30s who he
referred to as his "secretary"
After Tab Hunter you'll hear Sal Mineo, singing "secret doorway." That's from his 1958 album called "Sal." He's probably best known for the movie "Rebel Without A Cause," where his character adored the character played by James Dean. He was probably the most out of the closet of these actors, and later appeared in the Broadway play "Fortune In Men's Eyes" in 1969.
- open the window and see the clowns (1970)
In addition to playing songs by these gay actors, I also found some choice photos of them, which you'll find at my website for tonight's show. They include a photo of Sal Mineo in the shower, and one photo shows Tab Hunter and Anthony Perkins on a double date with two girls, a date set up by their studios to try to dispel the rumors of their homosexuality. But my favorite photo shows Tab Hunter getting ready to hand a sausage to Roddy McDowell. <rimshot>
For the rest of the show I'm going to feature music from CDs that were released last year. One of my favorite male folk singers is Martin Swinger, whom I've played several times in the past year. His latest CD is called BearNaked, and that's "bear" spelled b-e-a-r. It's aimed at the bears in our community. I had a chance to ask him about one of the more unusual songs on the CD and here's his response:
- interview clip
Thanks, Martin, and I want to thank you all for tuning in to the show. If you have questions or comments about any of the music I've featured, including maybe where to track them down, I'd be glad to help, so please email me. This is JD Doyle for Lesbian & Gay Voices on KPFT in Houston, and I'll be back on the 4th Monday of next month with another installment of Queer Music Heritage.
My last song for tonight is from a brand
new album by Holly Near, called "Edge." She was one of the
founding four of the women's music movement, the others being Meg
Christian, Cris Williamson and Margie Adam. And Holly has been consistent,
with over 20 albums released since her first in 1973. I couldn't resist
buying this album when I saw it contained one of my favorite gay anthems,
"love don't need a reason." The song was written by Michael
Callen, Peter Allen and Marsha Malamet. They all have recorded it,
but I consider Callen's version the definitive one. So I was very
pleased to find that on Holly Near's album she used a never-before
released introduction to the song sung by Michael Callen. Here is
"love don't need a reason."