Script for November 2000, QMH:
I'm starting off tonight's show with several pop and cabaret artists. The first is Michael Callen, whom I consider one of the saints of gay music. I've played his music on the show before but have not had a chance to play his song "crazy world." Callen died of AIDS in 1993 and this song is from a collection of his material released in 1996, called "Legacy." I'm following it with a song by a new artist, Kurt Wieting. He was nice enough to send me an advance pressing of his song "bring him to me", from his CD which is to be released in the spring. And after Kurt's song is a beautiful version of the old Shelley Fabares song, "johnny angel." This time it's by Patrick Arena and Andy Monroe, from their CD "Night Cap," from 1999.
- crazy world (1996)
"Johnny Angel," as I mentioned, is from the CD called "Night Cap," which is a wonderful cabaret/jazz album with Patrick Arena on vocals and Andy Monroe on piano. That CD won a GLAMA award last year for best debut album.
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.
Now for a change of pace. On this show I will also play songs by straights singing about gays, because how we have been portrayed is also part of our culture. There have been a lot of gay parody songs recorded over the years. Some were borderline homophobic, and some I can remember being a little offended by at the time that I can now look back on with amusement. The first of these that I'm going to play even made it into the BillBoard top 100, but only to #97 and only for one week. It did it in late July of 1969, just a month after Stonewall. It was Steve Greenberg singing "Big Bruce." And I'm following it with "The Ballad of Ben Gay" from 1974 by, according to the label, Ben Gay and the Silly Savages. And Ben Gay is followed by a song that I doubt ever made the radio.
- big bruce (1969)
That last song was called "homo the range" and was from 1955 by Bob Peck from his album, "Songs That Never Made The Hymnal." My next song is from a very rare album from Germany from 1975. The name of the group is the Flying Lesbians, so you can guess that their music is very out lyrically. Only three songs on the album were not sung in German. This one is called "I'm a lesbian, how about you?" I think it's quite early for an openly lesbian song, and I wouldn't be surprised if this is the first time it's being played on the radio in America.
- I'm a lesbian, how about you? (1975)
This would be a good time to take a
break and remind you that you are listening to Queer
Spotlight Artist: Madeline Davis
Tonight's Spotlight Artist is Madeline Davis. She has a long history of activism, and music. She is credited with writing and recording the first explicitly Gay Liberation song. The song is called "Stonewall Nation." It was written after she participated in her first gay march in Albany NY in June of 1971. And she got to sing it at her second gay pride march, and for years she sang it at many pride venues. She related to me that during those early years it was often heard at the Oscar Wilde Bookstore in Greenwich Village during Pride month. She wasn't just singing during those years. She was one of the early members of the Mattachine Society of the Niagara Frontier, joining just a few months after its start in Buffalo in 1970. She was president of that chapter in 1972 and was very active in various capacities until if finally folded in the late 80s.
One of her biggest accomplishments was in 1972 when she was elected as the first openly lesbian delegate to a major national political convention. It was of course the Democratic convention that nominated McGovern, and Jim Foster from San Francisco was first gay male delegate, elected that same year. Also in 1972 she co-formulated and taught the first course on and entitled Lesbianism, at a major US university, State University of New York, in Buffalo. There's more to tell about her, but you've waited long enough to hear the first gay liberation song, "stonewall nation", by Madeline Davis.
Madeline Davis - stonewall nation (1971)
Here's a little more of the Madeline Davis bio. In 1993 she co-authored, with Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy, the book "Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold," the history of the lesbian community in Buffalo from 1935 to 1965. It was the first history of a working class gay community and the book won a Lammy award for Best Lesbian Studies, and several other national prizes. In recent years she's also been active in an all-lesbian theater group, singing in a choir, and writing music. She says she has about 40 more songs she has written that she wants to record. And, here's another interesting sidelight. In 1995, she was chosen poster girl for a tattoo show held by an arts theater center. The poster made of her was not only a big hit, and was stolen as soon as any were put up, but it was chosen best color poster of the year by an industry association and won a gold medal. She gave me permission to showcase the poster on my website for this show. It's quite a revealing and surprising photo.
I want to play two more songs by Madeline Davis. They are both from her 1983 cassette "Daughter of All Women." I asked her about these songs and I'd rather quote her words to describe them. She said,
"Boots of Leather" was written
for all of the butch women I have ever known and loved. I think it
depicts their beauty, their strength, and their core of pain to have
grown through the difficulties of their adolescence both physically
and socially. Of course these were women who came out in the 40s,
50s and 60s...and perhaps a few in the 70s. Not much beyond. After
that the world changed so much that although women can still be butch
and strong and beautiful, they can't be any of those things in the
same way they were pre-Stonewall. The world was so different then
and you can't step into the same river twice.
So here is Madeline Davis singing "Boots of Leather" and "My Mother Was A Lady".
- boots of leather (1983)
I want to follow Madeline Davis with a song by a friend of hers, Leah Zicari. Leah recorded one of our anthems in 1990 on her cassette "Wouldn't That Be Fun?" and I've been meaning to play it for some time. The song is called "glory glory" and if you listen closely to the end of it you can hear Madeline Davis singing the counterpoint melody.
Leah Zicari - glory glory (1990)
That was "glory glory" by Leah Zicari. This has been a mostly historical show, but I now want to play two songs from what I consider to be the best openly gay CD of this year. The artist is Mark Weigle. In 1998 he released his first CD, called "The Truth Is," which was one of my favorites of that year. It's a wonderful folk CD, with glimpses of country on some tracks, and the songs are very Out lyrically. So, I was very ready for his follow-up album this year, and wasn't disappointed. His new release is called "All That Matters." The two songs I picked are not only my favorites from the album, but show a variety of content. The first song, called "A Good Day" celebrates waking up in the morning with the man you love. Here's a recording of Mark giving it a more proper introduction.
Mark Weigle - intro
I promised two songs by Mark Weigle. The other one I'm playing is a song that I especially appreciate because there are just not that many songs written to honor older gay people, and this song honors a love between two men that lasted decades. So, here's Mark Weigle introducing and then singing the title track from his album, "All That Matters."