In Song Poem, There Is No East Or West
:: Huckleberry Finn ::
:: The Red Skidoo ::
:: Generation Gap ::
No matter when today was, these sounds were never now. They were never any time or any place for that matter, and that in itself is what makes song poems so cool. Fact is, any given song poem record barely exists at all until you drag a needle in it's groove. At that point, it exists for you, the guy or gal who wrote the "poem", and the musicians and engineers who participated in the recording, and by now all those other motherfuckers are probably dead anyway. Which makes song poems nearly the same thing as found sounds. Like a home recorded cassette found in a thrift store of somebody's Aunt Madge describing the weather in Poughkeepsie on a winter afternoon in 1972, never intended for some stranger to listen to in 2006. Song poems were made to be listened to by as many people as possible, they just weren't. Yes, it's the old "if a tree falls in the forest, but no one's there to hear it, ...", except this time the falling tree was recorded.
So here we go: "Huckleberry Finn" was written by George A. Herbert and sung by the great Ralph Lowe, lounge singer extraordinaire. I'm not sure if ol' Huckleberry and his dog named Crackle are the best kind of material for a lounge singer to tackle, but that's the beauty part, innit? My personal favorite here is "The Red Skidoo", written by the smitten Myrtle Moorehouse. The "female voice" is that of Lee Scott, who gamely accepts the challenge of singing the phrase, "...the handsome man in the red skidoo" eleven times during the course of a two minute song. Scott appears again, this time interpreting Allegra Pope's "Generation Gap". It wouldn't be a song poem album if it didn't have one of these kinda songs on it.
I always wonder what the author thought of the finished product when they heard it for the first time. Were their hopes and dreams dashed, or were they encouraged? Did they even bother to listen to the rest of the album, and if so were they intimidated by the other lyricists' work? Did they look for it the next time they visited the record department at Woolworths? I always wonder how many copies of each album were pressed. Surely not many, but even if there were a hundred, what did they do with them? Hopefully I'll never learn the answers to any of these questions.