Tag Archives: music

CALIFORNIA LADY: FRANK LARRABEE’S NEGLECTED BUT VERY CATCHY SONG

frank larrabeeRegular readers of Balladeer’s Blog know that all – or at least most – roads lead to bad movies with me. Since 1976 the movie Track of the Moon Beast has been a cult hit for the Psychotronic-minded and for those people who were lucky enough to catch it at various drive-ins during their heyday.

Hidden away inside that piece of 1970s schlock was the song California Lady, a catchy and fun song written and performed by Frank Larrabee. In the way that the song Recipe for Romance is associated with the movie Bloody New Year (aka Time Trap) and the song More is associated with Mondo Cane, California Lady has been bound to Track of the Moon Beast.

frank larrabee on stageFrustratingly, the song was not quite complete and had a few interruptions by dialogue from the film. For decades clearer versions of California Lady were incredibly rare. Mike Wolfer found and has uploaded two versions of the song at his YT Channel (subscribe HERE).

FRANK LARRABEE EPThe first was the studio recording of the song (below) and the second was the entire EP from Frank Larrabee. California Lady is at the 10:03 mark and is a much smoother, less worn recording of the song and is MUCH MORE LIKE THE PERFORMANCE IN THE MOVIE. No interruptions in either case, so you can enjoy this cult item the way it was meant to be heard.

Click HERE for the EP with the song at 10:03 and HERE for the version below. FOR THE GClephMusique REMASTER, with California Lady as the first song click HERE.   

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Filed under Bad and weird movies, opinion

KIRSTEN DUNST GOES BANANAS

Mascot FOUR original pics

Balladeer’s Blog

“What an eccentric performance” as they said in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Forget William Shatner singing Rocket Man, hell, you can even forget Tim Robbins singing Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

No, this is more like if Morgan Freeman sang Like A Virgin or Linda Hunt performed One Night in Bangkok. It’s the thoroughly bizarre – yet oddly arousing – music video of Kirsten Dunst singing the Vapors’ hit song Turning Japanese … while wearing a blue wig. The song starts at the 19 second mark.

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MEAT LOAF: HOT PATOOTIE, BLESS MY SOUL

The singer Meat Loaf has passed away at age 74. While most sites are going with the expected musical salutes, Balladeer’s Blog is instead selecting the rock star’s iconic moment as “Eddie” in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It’s Hot Patootie, Bless My Soul.

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HOORAY FOR SANTA CLAUS: SEVERAL VERSIONS

Mascot and guitar

Balladeer’s Blog

Yes, it’s the song from that notoriously bad movie Santa Claus Conquers The Martians. Long years ago The Christmas Martian supplanted this flick in my Bad Movie Lover heart but Hooray For Santa Claus is still a butt-kicking song.

Starting us off is the movie version of the song by the poor man’s Skitch Henderson – Milton De Lugg – and The Little Eskimos.

And here’s the version by Al “Green Hornet Theme” Hirt: Continue reading

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Filed under A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Bad and weird movies

MUSICAL MUTINY (1970): IRON BUTTERFLY, A GHOSTLY PIRATE AND A MAD SCIENTIST

musical mutinyMUSICAL MUTINY (1970) – Halloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog with a Barry Mahon movie that’s more frighteningly bad than it is frightening. I’ve recently become obsessed with this made in Florida wonder that features the ghost of a long-dead pirate, the deskbound narrator from Blood Freak and a mad scientist intent on taking over the world with his new beverage which gets drinkers higher than marijuana. There are also three on-stage performances by Iron Butterfly (yes, really), including the full-length version of In A Gadda Da Vida.

pirates worldPerhaps most importantly for me and my fellow Bad Movie geeks, this is the earliest movie release done as a promotional piece for Pirate’s World, the long-defunct Florida amusement park featured in notorious Grade Z films like Jack and the Beanstalk, Thumbelina plus Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (reviewed in 2010 here at Balladeer’s Blog). In fact, Musical Mutiny is so obscure that as of this writing there are only five user reviews at IMDb. Continue reading

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Filed under Bad and weird movies, Halloween Season

TOP ODDLY-NAMED BANDS FROM THE PAST

mascot chair and bottle picIf I ever formed a rock band of my own I would, needless to say, base the name on something from Bad Movie Lore. Something like Renegade Belgian Cardinals – based on a line of dialogue from the Serial-Killer Priest flick The Confessional.

Putting that aside here’s a quick Balladeer’s Blog list of Oddly-Named Bands of the Past. It’s strictly for people who sometimes wake up at 3am and wonder if Gene was only pretending to love Jezebel.

Trash Can SinatrasTHE TRASH CAN SINATRAS

When you hear the name Sinatra you immediately think of … Scotland? Well, no you don’t, but that’s where this band hailed from.

Used in a Sentence: “The Trash Can Sinatras is a hell of a mean-spirited way of referring to Nancy and Tina!”

FRONT 242

For decades this band was known as THE influence in Belgian Industrial Rock, complete with all the massive cultural firepower that implies. (Oh, sure, Balladeer, pick on the Belgians!) Continue reading

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MARK GORMLEY: WHO’S FOOLING WHOM?

Mascot new lookBalladeer’s Blog’s fans know that I don’t consider myself a music expert. I may enjoy anything from operas and symphonies to all categories of pop and rock, etc but I never claim that my tastes are governed by some overriding musical aesthetic. I just know what I like and what I don’t like.

And that brings us to Mark Gormley. At first this guy’s work struck me as music’s answer to oddball filmmaker Neil Breen and I assumed that his cult following loved Gormley in an ironic way. The more I look into it, though, there are many people who seem to be providing actual, profound justifications for considering the man genuinely talented. Those same people even praise his “Power Stance,” which I have always found incredibly silly.

Below is one of Mark’s music videos preceded by a brief introduction from the Uncharted Zone‘s hosts. Let me know if you think I’m a musical Philistine for laughing at the Gormster or if you think those who hail him as a genius are just keeping the straightest faces this side of Leslie Nielsen. I’m open to being set straight if I’m missing something about this guy but he strikes me as a hybrid of Ned Flanders, Floyd R Turbo and Tiny Tim. Here he is with his song Little Wings

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HARRIET, THE WOMAN CALLED MOSES: OPERA BY THEA MUSGRAVE

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

HARRIET, THE WOMAN CALLED MOSES – This opera, with music and libretto by Scottish composer Thea Musgrave, was first performed March 1st, 1985 at the Virginia Opera in Norfolk, VA. The conductor was Musgrave’s husband Peter Mark. 

Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog will remember my articles about Thea Musgrave’s 1979 opera version of A Christmas Carol. I consider Musgrave one of the few genuine giants of opera from the late 20th Century. (Yes, I’m so boring I’m even into opera.) 

Of Republican Harriet Tubman, the famed former slave who worked with the Underground Railroad to lead other slaves to freedom, Musgrave said “Harriet is every woman who dared to defy injustice and tyranny. She is Joan of Arc, she is Susan B Anthony, she is Anne Frank, she is Mother Teresa.”

Harriet, The Woman Called Moses is a two-act opera which uses a non-linear narrative structure, jumping back and forth in time while highlighting powerful episodes in Tubman’s life. A chorus representing slaves remains on stage for the entire performance. Continue reading

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OLIVER! FOR THANKSGIVING EVE

"Please, sir, may I have some more?"

“Please, sir, may I have some more?”

It’s that time of year again! Just a note in the spirit of the holiday season to mention my favorite Thanksgiving Eve movie.

Every Wednesday before Thanksgiving I make a point out of watching the musical Oliver!

I know the musical sentimentalizes  several characters that Dickens portrayed in a sinister way in the book (especially Fagan and The Artful Dodger) but the finished product has always seemed very holidayish to me. Continue reading

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ACE OF SPADES: HALLOWEEN SONG

Mascot FOUR original pics

Balladeer’s Blog

Halloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog. Today I decided to take time out from my magnum opus titled Was Paul McCartney Really John Lennon? to send a musical shoutout to Motorhead’s Ace of Spades.

This is my favorite song about a gravedigger. Not even those songs in Repo! The Genetic Opera come close. But let’s face it, I think we’d all LOVE to hear Paul Sorvino and  Paris Hilton performing a duet of Ace of Spades for Lemmy’s birthday.

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