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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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happypuppyrecords on 04/10/2012 at 11:00AM

The Many Moods Of Bob Purse

I love collecting song-poems, as does Bob Purse. 

Not just song-poems, but Bob is a music collector of the strange, the odd, the outside.  And not only has he collected for years, he shares a lot of it on the infamous WFMU Beware The Blog, as well as his own blog, The Wonderful and the Obscure

On the occasion of his 50th birthday, he posted some of his original material on his blog that he had recorded privately over the years.  They came from a cassette he originally shared with friends and family back in 1997 called The Many Moods Of Bob.

After hearing Bob's songs, I was very interesting in hearing the rest of the tracks, and I contacted him with the idea of releasing the entire album for free download.

What follows is a truly fantastic DIY album, up there with the likes of R. Stevie Moore, the weird 4-track stuff by Ween, etc.  Not only does Bob has a knack for writing off-the-wall tunes, but he's also covered a song-poem, a handful of obscure commercials, and a couple of parodies, recalling my younger-days of hearing this kind of stuff on Dr. Demento ("Bad TV Acting" [mp3] was even played by Dr. D on May 16, 1999).

Time to dim the lights, pour a glass of your favourite beverage and enjoy the Many Moods of Bob Purse!

 

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