I developed a taste for oddball records early in life. I have two older sisters who were both teenagers by the time I was old enough to use a turntable. They left home when I was still quite young, but left behind some unusual 45s. One of these was Jack Paar's "Blue Wiggle." Paar, as you might already know, hosted THE TONIGHT SHOW from 1957 to 1962. His early broadcast background included stints as a "humorous disc jockey" at various Midwest radio stations, and stand-up comedy on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW. With "Blue Wiggle" (1958) he seems to be poking fun at the "beatnik"-style poetry that was in vogue at the time. My young friends & I thought the record was extremely weird & funny. After this, I was always on the lookout for similarly unique & transcendent discs…
Jack Paar - Blue Wiggle
Another childhood favorite was "Suffocate," by Ralph Smedley & the Breathers, a parody of teenage rock 'n' roll dance crazes…instead of encouraging listeners to learn the twist or the frug, the singer instructs listeners to stop breathing: "You'll feel great when you suffocate!" Some other kids in the neighborhood had the record, and once I'd heard it I knew I had to have it…I finally convinced them to sell it to me, and I still own it. Both sides of this sick 45 are included on the REAL GONE GARBAGE compilation LP. The flip side, "Drown," is equally demented.
Ralph Smedley & the Breathers - Suffocate
One day my mother came home from shopping downtown & brought me a box of "bargain" 45s. Some retailer got the bright idea to buy up a bunch of unsold "cut-out" singles, package 10 or 12 of them randomly in a box, & sell it for 99 cents. My box contained a record that permanently blew my mind: "Paralyzed," by the Legendary Stardust Cowboy. At first, my friends & I couldn't believe that adult humans had actually gone to the trouble to record & release this little slice of insanity. Nothing "The Ledge" has released since then matches the wild savagery displayed on this recording--flailing, pounding drums & unintelligible shrieking--this is like primal scream therapy, or something…
The Legendary Stardust Cowboy - Paralyzed
Later on, I selected the Stardust Cowboy as my subject for the WFMU "Crackpots & Visionaries" card set.