Script for October 2004, QMH:
DykeAppella - Lesbian Picnic (1998)
What a wonderful song. That was of course the old song "Teddy Bear's Picnic" done with very modernized lyrics by the group DykeAppella.
Welcome to Queer Voices on KPFT and I'm JD Doyle. This edition of Queer Music Heritage is going to be a little different from most of my shows. As usual it's still devoted the music of our culture, but on tonight's show I'll be playing some very obscure selections. There are a number of them that I'd be amazed if you've ever heard before. I'm calling this my Songs I've Been Meaning To Play Show. And it's really a continuation of the show last month. That show featured music all by male artists and this time the women get their chance.
And I was telling you about the group DykeAppella. They only released one album, in 1998, called "At The Gates of Heaven," and it's excellent. I'm also closing the show with one of the songs from their album. But let's move right along on one of this show's obscurities.
In 1980 lesbian folk artist Ginni Clemmens produced an album on her own label, Open Door Records, in Chicago, and Folkway Records also issued the album that same year. It was called "Gay & Straight Together" and contained a mix of gay and straight, young and old, and male and female artists. I've tried to research the artist I'm playing from it tonight, but found nothing about her except that this song appeared on this album, but it's a neat song. It's called "Lezzie Queer" and is by Judith Carsello.
Judith Carsello - Lezzie Queer (1980)
Judith Carsello's "Lezzie Queer." And it seems appropriate that I should follow it with two more very lesbian songs. And songs can't get much more lesbian than these two, since their titles are "I Like Being A Dyke" and "Obvious Dyke."
Farrell - I Like Being A Dyke (1994)
The first track, "I Like Being A Dyke" was by Alison Farrell from 1994, from an album called "Tomboy." She's released two albums and I've not been able to find either one, which often happens with independent releases by gay & lesbian artists. So few copies are pressed, with so little distribution, that they become instant collectables. The only reason that I have a recording of that song at all is because of the publication Hot Wire. That wonderful magazine was subtitled "The Journal of Women's Music and Culture" and did a superb job of documenting our culture while it was issued, from the years 1984 through 1994. They also gave our culture the wonderful gift of including sound sheets with almost every issue. Sound sheets are those flexible music discs that some magazines today still include. So I am grateful that I was able to get Alison Farrell's song from one of those.
The second song was easier to obtain and the album is still available, but you have to know where to look. The song was called "Obvious Dyke" and was from a 1999 album called "Make It Sound Easy." The artist is a lesbian comedienne from England named Clare Summerskill.
Next up is a lesbian anarchist. Well, that's what she called herself on the cover of her 1978 album, which got major distribution since it was on the Folkways label. Here's the album full title: "Songs of Fire: Songs of a Lesbian Anarchist" and it was by Kathy Fire. From the album, here's the song "Crazy."
Kathy Fire - Crazy (1978)
That was Kathy Fire from her album "Songs of Fire." Now we're going to head back to the 60s for some unintentional lesbian songs. What do I mean by that? Well, they were written by well-known singer songwriters and intended as demo recordings only. They were to be used to play for producers and artists of those days to get them interested in recording the songs. So the gender of the singer on the demo didn't really matter. I've played many of this type of recording on my show before, and I love it. For example, I've played Neil Sedaka singing "Where The Boys Are." This time the artists are Jackie DeShannon and Carole King. Jackie DeShannon had hits with "What the World Needs Now" and "Put a Little Love In Your Heart" but she was also a prolific writer. The mega-hit "Bette Davis Eyes" is an example. So here are two by her from the early 60s. I can just imagine Bobby Vee singing the first one.
DeShannon - Nothing's Gonna Stop Me (early 60s)
Those demos by Jackie DeShannon were called "Nothing's Gonna Stop Me" and "There's Gonna Be A Fight" and were likely from around 1962 or 1963. As far as I know the first one was never recorded by a male artist, and the second one only got very obscure releases by the singers Dick Lory in the US and Ken Kirkham in England.
But these next two demos definitely did get recorded by male artists, and were big hits, for Steve Lawrence and Freddy Scott in 1962 and 1963. Here's Carole King singing her versions of "Go Away Little Girl" and "Hey Girl."
King - Go Away Little Girl (1962)
Now, judging from the production values of that last track, I'd say that Carole King re-recorded her song "Hey, Girl" before it was ultimately released on her 1980 album collection "Pearls."
Okay, you may have heard these next two songs, if you were listening to the radio in 1967. And they never made the charts. That's because they were commercials. There was a milkshake product then called Great Shakes, and they got top artists of the day to record their jingle. These were artists like The Tokens, The Yardbirds, The Chiffons, The Who, and the artist I'm playing next, Dusty Springfield. And I'm following Dusty with another artist you'll probably recognize, you can't miss, her name is announced right away.
Springfield - Great Shakes commercial (1967)
Of course that was Lesley Gore singing one of the more original Coke commercials. It was from 1967 and was obviously tailored for her singing style. And I've got another song by Lesley Gore to share with you. It was recorded in 1964 but was not released for 30 years, until it showed up on a German box set of her work. A lot of gay and lesbian people identified with the song "Secret Love."
Lesley Gore - Secret Love (1964)
Lesley's version of the Doris Day classic was obviously updated to give it a 60s sound. And next is a song that also should sound very, if you will, Lesley Gore-ish. In 1996 a movie came out called "Grace of My Heart," which was loosely based on the story of Carole King when she was a young songwriter. In the movie you see a young singer do the following song, and it is obvious that the style was modeled after Lesley Gore. And furthermore, in the plot the singer was a very closeted lesbian, and the lyrics were calculated to play on that secrecy. The song is called "My Secret Love" and in the movie Bridget Fonda played the role of the teenaged angst-ridden lesbian, but the singing was dubbed by Miss Lily Banquette.
Miss Lily Banquette - My Secret Love (1996)
"My Secret Love" from the movie "Grace of My Heart." Now here's what I didn't tell you before that makes playing that song in this connection even more fun. It was co-written for the movie by Lesley Gore and was obviously in homage to her hits like "You Don't Own Me."
Before we leave the 60s oriented segment of this show, here's one more clip and it's another commercial, this time for the 1968 movie "The Killing of Sister George."
of Sister George movie commercial (1968)
And this is a good time to invite you to visit my website, at www.queermusicheritage.com, where you can view the play list, and see photos of the artists and recordings, and listen to the show anytime. And also, be sure to listen to After Hours with Jimmy Carper, every Saturday night from midnight to 4 am, on KPFT, it's Queer Radio, with attitude.
This next song has a simply wonderful title, "I Was A Teenage Lesbian." It's sung by an artist named Judy Fjell, whose been recording for almost twenty five years. Oh, her last name is Norwegian and is spelled f-j-e-l-l, but pronounced f'yell. The song comes from her 1993 album "Best of Times."
Judy Fjell - I Was A Teenage Lesbian (1993)
Okay, let's get local. Here are two songs by Houston artists, and they are both very talented. Sarah Golden is only 20 but is already working on her second album, to be released around January. So, until it's ready we'll have to make do with her album from two years ago called "Truth," and the song I picked is "I Love You More Than Jello."
Golden - I Love You More Than Jello (2000)
Following Sarah Golden, who is young and talented, was Nancy Ford, who is .oh, that's too easy. Nancy is a friend of mine and she's been a guest on Queer Voices many times over the years. She also grew up within ten miles of where I did, in Ohio must have been something in the water. Besides being a singer, Nancy is a writer and is Associate Publisher of the magazine Texas Triangle, and may be more known for her comedy, as she hosts an open mike show in Houston called The Dyke Show. Sounds like she's kind of a renaissance woman.
Up next is a rare track by an artist I like a lot, named Allison Tartalia. Her first album came out in 2002 and was called "Ready," and promptly won an Outmusic Award for Best Debut Album by a Female. A couple years before the album came out she had several songs available to hear at the old site mp3.com, back when that site was useful and fun. No charge for the editorial comment. She told me that she left the song you'll hear off of her album because it has a "Wizard of Oz" reference, and there was already another song on the album that did also. You mean you can get too much "Wizard of Oz"? Who knew? Anyway, here's her song called "Mr Wizard."
Allison Tartalia - Mr Wizard (2000)
Allison Tartalia, with "Mr Wizard." I've got one more song left for you on my special lesbian edition of Songs I've Been Meaning To Play, but before I get to it, I want to thank you all for tuning into the show. If you have questions or comments about any of the music I've featured, please write me. And please check out my website, at www.queermusicheritage.com, where you can see photos of all of the artists and recordings I've played tonight.
And I want to plug another of my shows. I've just uploaded to my website a sort of bonus show, for internet listening only. I call the show "I'll Be FCC-ing You," and it's packed full of songs that in no way can be played on daytime radio, songs that FCC regulators would have abortions over. I'm sorry, it's for adults only. You can get to it from the 2004 page of my site.
This is JD Doyle for Queer Voices on KPFT in Houston, and I'll be back on the fourth Monday of next month with another installment of Queer Music Heritage. On that show I plan to honor in much more depth two of the lesbian music pioneers.
I'm closing the show the way
I opened it, with the group DykeAppella, with a song from their 1998
album "At The Gates of Heaven." The song directly pays tribute
to the lesbians of the 50s & 60s who made it easier for those
who came after them. It was originally written and recorded by Judy
Reagan in 1983. Here's the DykeAppella version of the song "Hollywood