Script for September 2002, QMH:
Hello, welcome to the show. This will be a very unusual edition of Queer Music Heritage, as there will be no gay or lesbian artists played. No, I haven't run out, but the theme of this show is, are you ready? Straight Artists, Queer Songs. That's right, all of the artists I play tonight are, as far as I know, heterosexual, but they are singing about gay subject matter. Now, this isn't always a good thing, as there have been many songs recorded over the years that were at least borderline homophobic.
This was often done as a comedy song, and was common in the 70s. On one of my earlier shows I played two of the most famous of these, "Big Bruce," by Steve Greenberg and "Ben Gay," by Ben Gay & the Silly Savages. I'm going to continue that tradition with three more. First is a duo from 1966 called Teddy & Darryl. They released a whole album of parodies called "These Are The Hits, You Silly Savages," and camped and swished their way through many of the hit songs of the day, and this one they even released on a 45. Here's Teddy & Darryl singing a version all their own of "strangers in the night."
Darryl - strangers in the night (1966)
Following Teddy & Darryl was Rod Hart, who tried in 1976 to cash in on the success of the hit song "convoy" with his gay take on it. As you noticed, the song had kind of a surprise ending, as did this next song, which you might call a "fake gay song." It's Jim Stafford singing about "My Girl Bill"
Jim Stafford - my girl bill (1974)
I have a personal memory of that song. Now, remember that this was not a song about two gay guys, it was just a joke. But this was 1974, and I was at work and the song came on the radio. A male coworker, about my age, heard it and just started to get so angry, and I'm sure he expressed that very colorfully. From deep in my closet, I didn't say a word, but I sure knew what subject to stay clear of around him.
Next, I'm going to play a song I've been meaning to play for quite a while. It's actually a parody of a commercial for Chesterfield Cigarettes, and it's from an obscure comedy album from the 50s...you won't believe it.
Chesterfield ad (50s)
Time now for a couple of straight R&B artists. First up is Joe Tex. You remember him, he's the guy that sang about wanting his girl, skinny legs and all. Well, here he's singing a somewhat tolerant song, at least for 1977, called "Be Cool (Willie Is Dancing With A Sissy)," and by "sissy" he really means a man dressed as a woman, a fact that his friend Willie may or may not know.
Joe Tex - be cool, willie is dancing with a sissy (1977)
That was a little bit of Joe Tex, with a song from his album called "Bumps & Bruises".
That was from Joe Tex' album called "Bumps & Bruises." Now I've never known quite what to think of this next song. It's by Barbara Lynn. She's a Louisiana artist best known for a wonderful top 40 hit from 1962 called "You'll Lose A Good Thing." But on this 45 from that same year she's singing a song called "Dina & Patrina," which sure sound like two female names to me.
Barbara Lynn - dina & patrina (1962)
That was Barbara Lynn, singing "Dina & Patrina."
Okay, now for two songs that are definitely gay positive. These are from the early 80s and the first is by Peter Alsop, and with his tongue planted firmly, ah, in his cheek, here is his song called "Hopelessly Heterosexual."
Peter Alsop - hopelessly
Peter Alsop's song was from his 1981 album "Uniforms," and I followed it with Geof Morgan singing "homophobia," from his album "It Comes With The Plumbing," from 1980. Both artists have recorded several pro-gay songs.
On the other side of the pendulum, from 1993, is the group called the Disturbingly Lonesome Cowboys, singing "I Ain't No Okla-homo"
Disturbingly Lonesome Cowboys - i ain't no okla-homo (1993) (part)
Okay, that's enough of that. They really don't deserve any more air play than that, but I wanted you to hear at least that much of it. From their CD I could have also played one called "The Deisel Dykes of Dixie." I'm not playing it, and you'll thank me.
This is a good time to remind you to be sure to listen to After Hours with Jimmy Carper, every Sunday morning from 1 to 4 am, on KPFT, it's Queer Radio, with attitude. Also, I invite you to check out my website, at www.queermusicheritage.com where you can view the playlist and see photos of the artists and recordings, and listen to the show anytime.
As you heard with the Disturbingly Lonesome Cowboys, many of the parody songs are country, and here are two more that are definitely a lot more positive. Country singers must be a little insecure, because these two have similar themes. Here are the Bellamy Brothers, and Pinkard and Bowden.
Bellamy Brothers -
my wife left me for my girlfriend (1997)
The Bellamy Brothers sang "My Wife Left Me For My Girlfriend," from 1997, and from 1992 came Pinkard & Bowden with "Since My Baby Turned Gay."
This next song has never been released as a recording. I got it from the video of the 1997 movie, "Bent." So, for radio, this is probably an exclusive. Here's Mick Jagger in his role as a drag queen, not exactly a stretch, singing the song "The Streets of Berlin."
Mick Jagger - the streets of berlin (1997)
The group Weezer is one of the more popular groups of the last few years, and in 1996 they included on their "Pinkerton" album the song "pink triangle." And I'm following it with another modern, very positive song by the Lemonheads, called "Big Gay Heart."
Weezer - pink triangle
Gee, why didn't some gay group record that song. Incidentally, if you want to track it down, it's on the Lemonheads 1993 CD "Come On Feel The Lemonheads," but the recording I played was a special acoustic version, from an EP they released a little later.
Another positive folk song with gay subject matter is by Ellis Paul, and is called "She Loves A Girl." When he visited the KPFT studios earlier this year he was nice enough to give me some comments about it.
Ellis Paul - comments
That was from the album "Translucent Soul," by Ellis Paul.
Lyrics to "She Loves a Girl"
grew up thinking you knew her
took your parents' religion
and white invitation
preacher sang "hallelujah"
take a seat
think more of the future
I want to squeeze in a couple of local artists, both from the year 2000, and both singing about dykes. Take a listen to Mean Gene Kelton and Tim Walker.
Mean Gene Kelton - texas city dyke (2000) part
From a couple years ago, Mean Gene Kelton singing "Texas City Dyke," Next is Tim Walker, singing one called "Klondyke." You'll want to pay close attention to the ending of this song.
Tim Walker - klondyke (2000)
Again, that was Tim Walker. I just love that surprise ending.
I've got time to slip in a 46 second song by the comedy duo Barnes and Barnes called "Homophobic Dream #23."
Barnes & Barnes - homophobic dream #23 (1991)
Well, despite the title, I sure don't know what's homophobic about it...I kinda wish they would have developed a whole song out of it. It's from their 1991 CD called "Loozanteen."
Well, I've really enjoyed doing this show, I could easily do several shows on gay songs by straight artists. Before I play my closing song I want to thank you all for tuning in to the show, and I want to thank Ellis Paul for his comments about his song. If you have questions or comments about any of the music I've featured, please write to me. And, again, my website, with more info about all the songs you heard, is, logically enough, at www.queermusicheritage.com. This is JD Doyle for Queer Voices on KPFT in Houston, and I'll be back on the 4th Monday of next month with another installment of Queer Music Heritage.
To end the show, here is a song that was kind of a surprise hit in 1981. From her album "Convertible Music" here's Josie Cotton with "Johnny, Are You Queer?"
Josie Cotton - johnny are you queer (1981)