Amoeblog

Raymond Scott

Posted by Whitmore, September 10, 2008 02:07pm | Post a Comment


One hundred years ago today the weirdly brilliant American composer and one of the pioneers of contemporary experimental and electronic music, Raymond Scott, was born. While his name may not be instantly recognizable, his musical compositions are, and though Scott never actually composed music specifically for cartoons, most anybody -- any age, anywhere -- who ever watched an old Warner Brothers’ Bugs Bunny cartoon or a Ren & Stimpy episode or even the Simpsons or Animaniacs would recognize some of Scott’s extraordinary pieces like “Powerhouse” and “The Toy Trumpet.”

He was born Harry Warnow in Brooklyn, New York, September 10, 1908. After graduating from The Institute of Musical Art (later renamed Juilliard) in 1931, Scott was hired as a staff pianist with the CBS Radio network orchestra conducted by his brother Mark Warnow; he took the name Raymond Scott specifically to avoid talk of nepotism. Scott soon began presenting his own bizarre and quirky compositions like “Confusion Among a Fleet of Taxicabs Upon Meeting with a Fare.” By the mid 1930’s these unexpected eccentricities started creeping into the CBS Radio broadcasts and the American subconscious. For the next four decades he would go on to record for several major labels including Brunswick, Columbia, Decca, MGM, Coral, Everest, and Top Rank. He always managed to sell records, even with such Duchampian-like song titles such as "Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals", "Reckless Night on Board an Oceanliner", "New Year's Eve in a Haunted House", "Bumpy Weather Over Newark", "Celebration on the Planet Mars", and "Siberian Sleighride".

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Poisoning pigeons in the park

Posted by Whitmore, April 9, 2008 09:00am | Post a Comment

TOM LEHRER - HAPPY 80TH BIRTHDAY

Posted by Whitmore, April 9, 2008 08:42am | Post a Comment


When I was growing up, my grandmother had a pretty good record collection. She owned all the albums you’d expect from a former party girl-Hollywood starlet-blonde bombshell who liked her mixed tropical drinks: Yma Sumac, Chaino, Esquivel, Julie London and of course every Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman and Les Baxter you could find at the May Company on Wilshire and Fairfax. And when I got little older, I dug a little deeper and conveniently found all her stag party albums on Fax Records featuring cover art of lovely and beautifully naked women, and at age eight discovered the musical charms of Terri “Cupcakes’ O’Mason! … but I digress! The best records she owned, that for me have stood the test of time, were the Tom Lehrer Albums.

Today the great man turns 80. Happy Birthday Tom Lehrer!

Music historian, record geek and novelty song guru, Dr Demento, has called Tom Lehrer “the best musical satirist of the 20th Century”. Even Mr. Lehrer, a Harvard Graduate, who taught mathematics at UC Santa Cruz until retiring in 2001, has been somewhat amused by the longevity and impact of his music career, though he retired from that vocation back in the Sixties. He’ll be the first to point out that his ‘career’ consisted of 109 live shows and the writing of 37 songs in a twenty years span! But these aren’t just any old songs! Songs like “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park”,  “I Hold Your Hand in Mine”, “The Masochism Tango” and “The Vatican Rag” are all timelessly classic, (at least in my interpretation of the construct called the space-time continuum, being three-dimensional and timelessness plays the role of the fourth dimension-- actually I should just ask a mathematician about that…)

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Beware the Ides of March

Posted by Whitmore, March 15, 2008 01:09am | Post a Comment

March 15th is the Ides of March, best known as the date that Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, retold most famously by William Shakespeare's in Julius Caesar. But instead of printing out the Bard’s “Marc Antony's Funeral Oration” (Act 3, Scene 2, lines 74-108), I thought I’d take the high low road and present to you the version, updated and serrated, by the truest hipster saint, double-frantic sphere-gasser, the maddest bon vivant extraordinaire, joyous jazz monologist, and the most exquisite hepcat that ever breathed fire on this fair square planet, His Majesty … Lord Buckley!

 


"Hipsters, flipsters, and finger-poppin' daddies, knock me your lobes.
I came to lay Caesar out, not to hip you to him.
The bad jazz that a cat blows, wails long after he's cut out.
The groovy is often stashed with their frames,
So don't put Caesar down.
The swinging Brutus hath laid a story on you
That Caesar was hungry for power
If it were so, it was a sad drag,
And sadly hath the Caesar cat answered it.
Here with a pass from Brutus and the other brass,
For Brutus is a worthy stud, Yea, so are they all worthy studs,
Though their stallions never sleep.
I came to wail at Ceasar's wake.
He was my buddy, and he leveled with me.
Yet Brutus digs that he has eyes for power, and Brutus is a solid cat.
It is true he hath returned with many freaks in chains
And brought them home to Rome.
Yea, the looty was booty and hipped the treasury well.
Dost thou dig that this was Caesar's groove for the putsch?
When the cats with the empty kicks hath copped out,
Yea, Caesar hath copped out, too, and cried up a storm.
To be a world grabber a stiffer riff must be blown.
Without bread a stud can't even rule an anthill.
Yet Brutus was swinging for the moon. And, yea, Brutus is a worthy stud.
And all you cats were gassed on the Lupercal
When he came on like a king freak.
Three times I lay the wig on him, and thrice did he put it down.
Was this the move of a greedy hipster?
Yet, Brutus said he dug the lick, and, yes, a hipper cat has never blown.
Some claim that Brutus' story was a gag.
But I dug the story was solid.
I came here to blow. Now, stay cool while I blow.
You all dug him once because you were hipped that he was solid
How can you now come on so square now that he's tapped out of this world.
City Hall is flipped and swung to a drunken zoo
And all of you cats are goofed to wig city.
Dig me hard. My ticker is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And, yea, I must stay cool til it flippeth back to me."

christmas records you should own

Posted by Whitmore, December 25, 2007 10:20pm | Post a Comment
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