Script for QMH September 2004:
Walter Mayes - Johnny Get Angry (1998)
Those of you old enough will recognize that song, but not that version of it. In 1962 a singer named Joanie Sommers had a hit with it, but that cover version is very different. It's by a male singer who really camped it up, and he's not even really a singer. His name is Walter Mayes and he's a writer of children's stories, and the song came from a various artists compilation from 1998 called "Stranger Than Fiction," where the gimmick was to have authors sing, folks like Stephen King, Dave Barry, Amy Tan, Maya Angelou and a number of others.
Welcome to Queer Voices on KPFT and I'm JD Doyle. By now you probably have already figured out that this edition of Queer Music Heritage is going to be a little different. Like all my shows it's still devoted the music of our culture, but on tonight's show I'll be playing some very obscure selections. I'd kind of be surprised if you've heard any of these songs before, and a lot of these recordings just would not have fit on my other shows, like the opening number. I'm calling this my Songs I've Been Meaning To Play Show. I did a similar show in June of last year and had a lot of fun with it. But this time I'm doing two shows. Tonight I'll feature music all by male artists, and next month the women get their chance.
We're going to next dabble in some very gay cabaret, and some with the earliest openly gay lyrics, which in cabaret usually means male artists singing songs like "My Man" and "The Man I Love." According to my research the earliest example of this was an album called "Mad About The Boy," issued by the Camp Records label in the mid-60s. I featured that label very thoroughly on my March of 2003 show, so tonight I'm honoring some of the other early efforts. Around 1966 an album was released called "Love Is A Drag," and it was subtitled "For Adult Listeners Only." Among its songs were "Mad About the Boy," "Can't Help Lovin' That Man," "Lover Man," and "Bill." I'll read you a little from the album jacket: "At long last a male vocalist with great talent has decided to take the big step-that is, to record the classics using their original lyrics. In doing so, he has broken the barrier which has confronted so many other great singers who, for lack of courage, have not attempted." Well, my comment is, if he had so much courage why didn't the record identify him. But this was 1962. From the album "Love Is A Drag," here is "My Man."
From "Love Is A Drag" - my man (1962)
The next album was released in late 1969, and this time the artist did identify himself, though he used a stage name. Under the name Edward Earle he was a Broadway actor, director, songwriter and choreographer. And for the cabaret album he went by the name Zebedy Colt. The album was called "I'll Sing For You" and, get this, was recorded with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. According to an interview in The Advocate in 1977 he was working with a record producer who wanted to do an album using the stereotypical limp-wristed approach, and it was Zebedy Colt's idea to record it without camping it up. The album is a collector's item, and was even reissued within a short time with a different cover, and retitled "Zebedy Sings For You." From it, here are "The Man I Love" and from "South Pacific," "I'm In Love With A Wonderful Guy."
Colt - The Man I Love (1969)
In 1975 a gay porn producer heard the album and asked Zebedy Colt if he could use some of the songs in a film. Why not? And then asked him if he'd like to be in a film. Again, why not? A star is porn. And he ended up starring in what I gather is a rather famous porn movie called "The Story of Joanna," in which our boy Zebedy is a trooper and has sex with both men and women. It's just been released on DVD, but my research has not gone that far.
I've got one more album to tell you about in my mini-salute to openly queer cabaret. In 1975 an album was released out of Torrance, California, called "This Is Me Mickey." And Mickey, whose last name does not appear on the album, says on the jacket "Dear Friends, I'd like to dedicate this album to gay people everywhere. It's my story, an honest story about gay life and love, the beauty, the heartaches. This is my life, perhaps it's yours. This is me Mickey." He narrates introductions to every song on the album, tying together sort of a story where he finds love and loses love. Maybe he went to the Hollywood School of Drama Queens. Here's Mickey with the opening song "If He Walked Into My Life."
Mickey - If He Walked Into My Life (1975)
I found an article
about Mickey in a copy of "In Touch" magazine from June
of 1975. The article revealed his full name, and a lot more, as several
nude shots appear. Also on my website for September you can view the
playlist and see photos of all the artists and recordings. That's
Teddy Boys - He Only Goes Out With Boys (1980)
That was the Teddy Boys. In 1974 an English group called the Rubettes had a big power pop hit with "Suger Baby Love" so it was very odd that they released a down tempo song in 1976 about a runaway teenager who was taken in by a drag queen. It was predictably not a hit. [Note: it reached #40 in the UK, their poorest showing out of their 9 UK charting 45s.] And I'm following it with a song from Sweden apparently about a gay guy who missed his straight friend.
- Under One Roof (1976)
You first heard "Under One Roof" by the Rubettes and I followed it with "Jimmy Don't Need Me Anymore," from Sweden, by JP West.
Next is a story without a happy ending. Starting in 1965 and for about the next 20 years Jonathan King was a one-man pop industry in England. He became a multimillionaire and as a producer his band and pop act discovery successes have included Genesis, Peter Gabriel, The Bay City Rollers and 10cc. He was so prolific that in 2001 an 8-disc box set was issued of his work. I've got parts of three of his songs to share with you that seem to deal with his being gay. In 1971 he was only 24 and may have been dealing with his sexuality when he recorded the song "I Don't Want To Be Gay."
Jonathan King - I Don't Want To Be Gay (1971)
But by 1973 he was apparently okay with it all, since the song "Be Gay" appeared on one of his albums.
Jonathan King - Be Gay (1973)
And by 1975 when George Harrison was being sued for plagiarism for reportedly basing "My Sweet Lord" on the 60s song "He's So Fine," Jonathan King could not resist releasing his own version, keeping the male pronouns.
Jonathan King - He's So Fine (1975)
But I told you his story did not have a happy ending. In 2001 he was sentenced to seven years in prison on a series of child molestation charges dating back to the 80s, where he used his celebrity to entice teenagers.
I'm pleased to share with you that on July 21, 2005, I was contacted by Jonathan King, and he has permitted me to post his email here:
fighting (isn't life difficult in Houston?).
and when I wrote him back, thanking him for the email an asking if I could post the first email and if he had been released, he responded:
indeed I'd be delighted for you to post it.
I've got one more English song for you, sent to me by my friend Scott in New York City, and it's a campy little number from 1967 by a duo called the Brothers Butch, who apparently are singing to someone named Kay.
Brothers Butch - Kay, Why? (1967)
Well, that was the Brothers
Butch, and that song may make more sense if you go to my website and
check out the picture cover for the 45. Again, that's at www.queermusicheritage.com.
And here's some trivia, the last 12 songs you heard were all on vinyl.
You remember vinyl, don't you?
Ted Fox - When We Were Friends (1992)
Ted Fox, with "When We Were Friends" from his album "One Of Us."
And, here's a demo recording I just received, thanks to a friend of mine, David Young. It's by an artist named PF Sloan. That name will probably draw a blank with most of you, as he didn't really have any big hits on his own. But with his writing partner, Steve Barri, it was different. Sloan & Barri wrote scores of songs, including "Eve of Destruction," "Secret Agent Man," and the Grassroots' "Where Were You When I Needed You." Now, about the demo. It's called "He's Just That Kind of Guy," and is from 1965. I've no information Sloan was gay, and the explanation for the same gender lyrics would be that it was common for writers to record their own demos of their songs, so that artists could hear them and hopefully want to record them. But, boy, I sure would have loved to have heard a song like this on the radio in the mid 60s. Here's PF Sloan with "He's Just That Kind of Guy."
PF Sloan - He's Just That Kind of Guy (1965)
I'm closing the show with an artist I've liked for a long time. He is from Canada and his name is David Sereda, and in 1981 he released his first album, called "Chilvary Lives." My two favorites from the album were called "Underage Blues" and "Mark." The first song deals with a gay teenager trying to cope with his sexuality, and being only 17.
David Sereda - Underage Blues (1981)
Great voice, great lyrics. And remember this was 1981 that he was dealing with these subjects, and in those times it was rare, in fact it still is, to hear an artist sing a song that named the object of his love, in this case, a guy named "Mark"
David Sereda - Mark (1981)
I've got one more song for you to hear by David Sereda, but before I play 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, logically enough, at www.queermusicheritage.com, where you can see photos of all of the quite unusual 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. And that will be the second part of my "Songs I've Been Meaning To Play" theme, that time all with songs by women.
In 1994 David Sereda released
an excellent CD called "The Blue Guide." It contains a great
song with which to end the show, and it would be hard to find a song
that could follow it. I'm guessing that it was inspired by the AIDS
epidemic, because for that its lyrics would certainly be appropriate.
Here's David Sereda with "Powerful Love."