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bronwynbishop on 07/22/2013 at 10:45AM

The Wonderful and the Obscure Volume 1: Rodd Keith

Rodd Keith, the most infamous of all song-poem composers

"Poems urgently needed to set to music! Write clever poems, catchy rhymes. Achieve fame, money in popular music field!" screamed the advertisement in the March 1955 issue of Popular Mechanics. Aspiring songwriters all over the country sent their lyrics and varying sums of money to the New York address at the end of the ad, lured in by the promise that their words would be turned into stellar songs which would be sent to radio stations and record executives- but as it turned out, the music was thrown together in minutes by bored studio musicians, and the songs would be left to languish in obscurity. This was the modus operandi of the song poem industry, a scam which started at the turn of the 20th century and has lurked at the fringes of the music world ever since. 

Many song poems have become cult classics, including "Virgin Child of the Universe", "Jimmy Carter Says Yes" and "Green Fingernails". The singers and songwriters who recorded them have gained infamy as well, such as Ramsey Kearney, singer and composer of the infamous "Blind Man's Penis (Peace and Love)". But one man is revered over all others by song poem aficionados. Troubled genius, acid casualty, known as "the Mozart of Song Poems"- Rodd Keith. His weird and wonderful recordings have been compiled in the releases I Died TodayEcstasy to Frenzy, and Saucers in the Sky. Now Happy Puppy Records has put together a new collection of Rodd's best, from the private archives of collector Bob Purse. This collection includes such gems as "Country Boy," which showcases Rodd's attempt at a Southern twang, the Muzak-esque "Before I Go Out," and the syrupy "If I Had A Million Dollars" (not to be confused with the Barenaked Ladies song, or the Eminem song).

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bronwynbishop on 07/12/2013 at 08:30PM

Eclectic Composer Monk Turner's New Album of Instrumental Songs Inspired by His Friends

Demented Dustin and Monk Turner

Monk Turner is a Los Angeles-based composer and musician best known for the concept albums he’s been putting out for over ten years. These include Kaleidoscope (2012), an album about color that Monk produced in collaboration with over 40 artists from all over the world, and Calendar (2007), which features a song for every month of the year. He also won a little contest we held trying to overtrow the most popular song in the world.

For his latest release, Instrumental Friends Part 3 (2013), Monk wrote and performed twelve instrumental pieces about twelve of his friends. We caught up with Monk to chat about the album and his inspiration for the project. 

Fill in the blank: ____ Monk

Musical Monk

Are the people in the track titles (eg. Demented Dustin and Kind Katie) inspired by real friends of yours? 

They are friends of mine who took the time to fill out a questionnaire about themselves. They were asked to choose their adjective and musical selections. Other information biographical obtained from the questionnaires has been listed on my blog. On every post is a YouTube playlist for each Instrumental Friend that includes the tunes that their song is based on.

How does being a musician affect the friends and relationships in your life?

I have a joke amongst my friends that if you know me long enough, you’ll end up on a concept album. Many of those close to me have ended up on my albums including my parents! Also, many of my friends are gifted musicians and I see this as a fun way to showcase their talents.

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on 11/10/2014 at 01:18PM