so bad it's good, for sure
November 1, 2011 12:43 AM   Subscribe

Folks, tunes like Scotch Tape (by Lana Johnidas with the Swinging Strings) and Portland Rose Song (by Bert Lowry with Orchestra and Chorus) could only have come from a "vanity" record label like Film City, who provided us and future generations with a plethora of endearingly awful little masterpieces.
posted by flapjax at midnite (7 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, wow. The Song Poem scam(mish) thing is fascinating; I can't believe I didn't know anything about this.

In addition to the explanation from the Song Poem Music site linked to in the WFMU article, I found this page that has a lot of info, and led me to this PBS documentary about the Song Poem industry on YouTube. I love this.
posted by taz at 1:53 AM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Off the Charts (the documentary taz linked to above) is a must-watch if you find this sort of thing interesting. Honorable mentions to Florence Foster Jenkins and The Shaggs, whose questionable talents were preserved for posterity in the days before it was cheap and easy to produce recordings at home. (With enough money, you can record whatever you want!)
posted by usonian at 5:56 AM on November 1, 2011

The Lana Johnidas tunes actually sound kinda cool. Makes me think of Rosemary Clooney ad libbing, with that weird Chamberlin vibe going on. Bert Lowry otoh, is pretty funny. Good post.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:24 AM on November 1, 2011

I am certain that the neighbors walking by my open windows as I listened to these selections are now completely convinced that I am out of my mind.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 11:16 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

I really liked Scotch Tape. Am I tone deaf or do people think it's awful because the subject is banal?
posted by Hal Mumkin at 12:06 PM on November 1, 2011

I really liked Scotch Tape.

So did I. I thought it was hilarious, and I imagine that Lana imagined herself as the next Joey Heatherton.

Am I tone deaf ...?

Possibly. She's rather out of tune, after all, and if you can't hear that, well, that's pretty much the definition of 'tone deaf'. But perhaps, like me, you find the out-of-tuneness to be part of its charm. Like say, the horn section in a Fela song. Nothing wrong with that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:08 PM on November 1, 2011

Bert Lowry with Orchestra and Chorus

Orchestra and Chorus, read Mellotron and Piano Bass.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:42 PM on November 1, 2011

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