Friday, April 21, 2006

beats a steamed ox penis, right?


First off, I'm embarrassingly late in spreading some props to my audioblogging brethren at music for robots, lemon red and soulsides; these cats got the gumption to go out and drop honest-to-god CD mixes of their favorite tunage for discriminating listeners. I'd like to take a moment to heartily applaud, endorse and give love to their enterprises; we're still in the early days of the internet and I'm always excited and curious to see where this strange little ham-radio-stylee audioblog adventure will lead us.

I'm neither bright nor economically-minded enough to release a Tofu sampler for the non-internet savvy, but all this wonderful audioblogging action got me thinking that it's been far too long since we here at the Hut have dropped a cohesive series of tracks. Well wait no longer, Hutsketeers!

Today's entry marks the beginning of a four week cycle of posts that I'm calling 'The Lucky 13'; it's a twenty-six song, seventy-minute collection of fairly obscure and lovingly handpicked favorites that spans the years 1945 to 1960, offering what I consider to be a pretty impressive selection of R+B flavored rock from luminaries and unjustly forgotten artists alike. And what's a better way to start our piecemeal than with a wacky snack? Let's kick off the Lucky 13 with two 1956 Brooklynite doo-wop tracks about oddball edibles.

glisten - Lucky 13 Pt. 1: Amazing Appetizers

#1: The Rays - Moo Goo Gai Pan

The Rays heyday came at the tail end of the fifties; they toured heavily on the strength of their massive 1957 hit 'Silhouettes' (tip of the tofu hat to The Central Oklahoma Classic Chevy Club for the realaudio link). 'Silhouettes' solidified The Rays as a perennial doowop touchstone; you can find the band's music in as recent a nostalgiafest as the currently-running Broadway show Jersey Boys.

Awful hard to believe this track came from the same guys, eh? The band's first release in 1956 was 'Tippety Top' on the Chess Label; 'Moo Goo Gai Pan' was that disc's nutty B-Side. It's a bouncy, relentlessly dumb song that shouldn't hold your attention for five minutes and yet, fifty years later, it still rocks the house.

tell me more about it...

A Rays best-of collection titled 'Silhouettes' does exist, but it appears to be long out of print. No luck finding any of their material other than their big hit on iTunes or eMusic or much of anyplace else, but if you'd like to hear more nostly unknown doowop with a foodie bent, you could buy 'Delicious Doo Wop and Tasty Treats' Volume 2' direct from Dead Dog Records.

I've not done business with them and can't vouch for the sound quality of the disc, but the price is right (fourteen bucks, delivered to your door) and the titles are temptingly absurd. If anyone DOES buy this disc, drop me a line and tell me what you think; I might follow suit.
Read a bit more about the history of The Rays.

And here's a trick that you might find useful: hold down the control key and roll your mouse's scroll wheel. Better?
Explore this absurdly broad collection of "nonsense syllabses" songs from 1930 to 1969.

Google cache; I loves ya.
For the record, Moo Goo Gai Pan is NOT a traditional Chinese dish; it's an American riff on the Cantonese Mah Gu Gai Pin, which apparently translates roughly as 'button mushrooms with chicken'. If you'd like to make your very own Moo Goo Gai Pan, there are any number of recipes for this popular stir-fry: you could do a low-fat version or one that's low in sodium; whip some up with family or, heck, even make it WITH family.

Just don't scrimp on the Crisco, y'hear?
Listen to some "authentic Shanghainese dinner music" from Zhou Xuan, China's Golden Throat of the forties.

The site housing these excellent bonus tracks was found on eatingchinese.org, which features dozens of fascinating resources for those who would like to learn more about the history and art of Chinese cuisine, Americanized or otherwise.

#2 - The Chips - Rubber Biscuit

As little-known as The Rays are today, the Bed-Stuy kids of The Chips always had them beat on the count of obscurity; the band made only one record with its original line-up... but what a record! 'Rubber Biscuit' was released in '56 and never charted, but was kept alive for decades by late night and Dr. Demento-esque DJs on the East coast as an essential go-to non-sequitur.

The song had an unlikely revival in 1979 when Dan Akroyd and John Belushi, in full Blues Brothers regalia, performed it on Saturday Night Live. The Blues Brothers cover became a top-40 hit, spawned a like-named tribute band and even spurred a brief Chips reunion tour.

More's the pity then that the original remains such a rarely heard gem; it's THE novelty song, one that made the cut for Dave Marsh's Top 1001 Greatest Singles of All Time and that Frank Zappa dubbed "the ultimate in nonsensical music". He knows whereof he speaks; 'Rubber Biscuit' is one for the ages.

tell me more about it...

'Rubber Biscuit' has appeared in all manner of compilations and soundtracks (most recently in the docudrama Super Size Me). It also turns up in the aforementioned Delicious Doo Wop and Tasty Treats but if you simply MUST own a copy of the song on CD, why not buy 'Rubber Biscuits and Rama Lama Ding Dongs: Doo Wop For Kids' from Rhino Records via Amazon? It's sure a lot cheaper than trying to get the original on vinyl.
Apparently, you can't even get a rubber biscuit for nothing anymore.
They start at five bucks.
Read the transcribed lyrics.
Woody woody pecka pecka, y'all!


This is why I finally gave in and got an emusic account: they appear to have the entire catalog for Document Records.
Which is FUCKING AWESOME. Go get you some.
I imagine this already got boingboinged, but if you haven't taken a peek around Kondoff's Records, you've a treat in store (pun intended).
MC Spookytooth: The Rapping Deputy Prosecutor of Arkansas
Surely someone could say something here about what this means in the grander scheme of the history of hip hop, but I ain't the one.
Dert is an LA DJ who's mashed Hut favorite Jose Gonzalez with Nas, Common, Kanye, Talib and Madlib to make the Gonzalez-approved / Nice and Smooth-inspired 'Sometimes I Rhyme Slow', which is about a hundred times better than it has any right to be.
Seven bucks seems about the right price for this; I should get my copy shortly.
The internet has a lot to offer, but few sites offer quite as much bounce per ounce as The Bounce-o-Meter.
Much more bounce for the NSFW ounce, kids.
Biblioddysey is an excellent clearinghouse for all manner of plates, prints, maps, charts and illustrations from the musty tomes of yesteryear.
Primo desktop fodder and a great time-sink to explore.
Ten full minutes of Oscar(TM)-Winning "Crunchy Black Talking Much Shit"
Quoth Darnell: "Crunchy sez 'You Lost In the Sauce'."
The Avalanches 'Frontier Psychiatrist' is much fun; positing a universe in which all samples are not only cleared, but live.

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