2003 JULY 28 #209
This may be my most favorite piece of audio in my collection. (Other than maybe my old dubbed cassette of Guckenheim's Sauerkraut Band and their incredible cover of "The Stars and Stripes Forever"; if I ever stop being too lazy to copy it to my PC, I'll share it with the world. But until then...) I can take no credit for discovering it; that would go to Kurt Riemann at <!a href="http://www.surrealstudios.com/" target="_blank">Surreal Studios in Anchorage, AK.
Back in 2000, Kurt originally posted to the rec.audio.pro newsgroup about this demo, which he had received back in late 1997. He had no idea why he was chosen to receive this tape, as Kurt is in Alaska and the gentleman (who shall remain anonymous until he can be given a record deal) is from the US southwest, and they share no connections or common acquaintances. However it came to him, the cassette is filled with rambling narrative and occasional original songs. "I Sing About Blue" is obviously intended to be the first single, and it is a wonder. Eschewing such niceties as accompaniment, rhythm, melody, and diction, Anonymous still manages to create a song that instantly finds a permanent home in your subconscious. And it even includes an impromptu donkey appearance. (Okay, he may actually say "doggie," but I much prefer the image of a donkey interrupting the recording process, so I don't listen to that part too closely.) This is the original copy posted by Kurt, who edited the "text" slightly for brevity, but the "music" is exactly as it exists on the tape.
I contacted Kurt the other week, and he was kind enough to also pass along a scan of the original cassette and packaging (artist's name and address Photoshopped out to protect his privacy). As you can see, Side A is cleverly labeled "This Side"; Side B is labeled ""Cowgirl", and apparently doesn't actually have anything on it. In some of the other rambling on the tape, it is revealed that the whole thing was recorded on a 1995 Wal-Mart tape recorder, which again only enhances the overall effect.
This song can also be found at <!a href="http://www.datachief.com/" target="_blank">DataChief.com, along with numerous "I Sing About Blue" remixes (my personal favorite being the "<!a href="http://www.datachief.com/blue2000.mp3">2000 Remix"), and another classic from Anonymous, ""<!a href="http://www.datachief.com/chicago.mp3">Chicago My Home". Kurt has also hinted that, in honor of the 5th anniversary of his receipt of the demo, he might release more of its contents to the eager public. And wouldn't that be just like a "fat cat?"
- Paul Sabourin
TT-2:14 / 1MB / 64kbps 22khz
(Image courtesy of Paul Sabourin)
I Sing About Blue is fantastic! The best yet? It actually reminds me of one of Cap't Beefheart's acapella numbers. I'll have to hear Chicago before I hail Mr. Anonymous as a genius, but damn, what a geat piece of naive hollerin'!
The memories the song, "BLUE" conjures up are amazing. I still think the episode of "The Andy Griffith Show", where Goober eats an Amsterdam Space Cake, and joins a punk band, is the all-time funniest! The highlight of that particular installment is when Goober (wearing a T shirt with an exploded disco ball on it and a pair of ripped jeans.) launches into this number, whilst pogoing on Aunt Bea's coffee table. What made the bit even more hilarious were the looks on Andy's, Barney's and Aunt Bee's faces. Caught in extreme close-up, Don Knotts goes so slack jawed that you can practically see his tonsils! Opie is seen in the background looking like Howdy Doody bouncing around on a vibrating bed from a cheesy motel. As the late, great Bob Hope once sang: "Thanks For The Memories".