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Friday, March 25, 2016

Circle Jurk - An Obscure Recording by a Member of The Nylons

Billy Newton-Davis

I could go on several tangents when talking about the 2008 EP released by Billy Newton-Davis. First, Davis is the award-winning Canadian artist and long-time member of the hit group The Nylons. That group formed in 1978 and in 2014 did a reunion concert including every living member of the group (there have been twelve different members over they years, and five have died). Davis joined them from 1991 through 1994. Before and after that time he won several Juno Awards, one being for a duet with Celene Dion, in 1989. The Nylons released over a dozen albums.

But this blog is about a VERY obscure and VERY out of the closet solo project, with VERY explicit lyrics, from 2008, called "A Boy's Life / Circle Jurk."

Here's a review from that time, from Now Toronto

Here are the songs:
(and as they are near impossible to find, you can hear them here)

                                                                           I've Got a Dream

Here's a review from that time that goes into more detail

And, note that on the EP the songs were written by "B Kate Amesbury".....she's got  Quite a history of her own, releasing several recordings in the 1970's under her then name Bill Amesbury. That's right, Bill became Barbara. More on those records, and on a song about her.
And, two of the songs in question can be heard on this show. 

Barbara was looking for someone to record her new songs, and finally found Billy, produced the album and among the songs was included a remake of "A Thrill's a Thrill."

Habanita, from Le Carrousel de Paris

As the liner notes indicate, Habanita was a performer at the world famous female impersonation club Le Carrousel of Paris, and I'm dating this release (on a Belgian label) from the 1960s. I really do not know anymore about this performer, except to say that not too many of the performers also released recordings (among them Coccinelle, Bambi, Sonne Teal and Michou).

Listen to "Dieu Soit Loué"
Listen to "Mon Coeur N'Était Pas Fait Pour Ça"
Listen to "Les FLonsflons du Bal"
Listen to "Tais-Toi Marseille"

Friday, February 5, 2016

Ramblin' Jack Elliott's Gay 45


Some of you may have heard of Ramblin' Jack Elliott, who has been a prolific recording artist since the 1950's, winning Grammy Awards in 1995 and 2009. I'll let Wiki go into a lengthy bio, or those with interest can visit his own website.

But how many of you knew in 1979 he had a "gay" song? ...or at least one about gender confusion?

This was actually not a rare theme in country music, as I can easily
point out several songs that used that twist:

Richard Thompson - Woman or a Man (1982)
Michael Doucet - Woman or a Man (1987)
Rodney Carrington - Dancing With A Man (1998)

and you can hear all of those and more on a QMH show I did
about homophobia in country music, in April 2005.


Trivia: If you are questioning if "Jack Elliott" is the same artist as
"Ramblin' Jack Elliott," so was I. And I am thinking it is as
I was able to find an image of another 45 on the same label.



Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Queer Theory - 1960s Style, Homosexuality on LP


Pre-Stonewall Spoken-Word Documentary LPs
Queer Theory, 1960s style

"Homosexuality in the American Male"
by Lawrence Schiller, 1967, narrated by George Kennedy

"Homosexualité Masculine au Canada Français"
by Christian Delmas, 1968, in French

Here are two "documentary" LPs on the subject of homosexuality in the 1960s, with definitely different viewpoints than we see fifty years later. In the Schiller study many gay people (always gay men) are interviewed and most reflect guilt, shame and internalized homophobia at their "condition." The second LP is on male homosexuals in French Canada, and as I do not speak French I would be grateful if someone would send me a few sentences of a summary of its findings.

You can hear both records and see more information here:
Male Homosexuality in American and French Canada

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Gay Teenager

From the 1967 film "Teenage Rebellion" comes the now campy and humorous track "The Gay Teenager," narrated by movie director and announcer Burt Topper. He did not direct this film though; that was Mike Curb, future Lieutenant Governor of California. I could not find this on Youtube, so thought that was overdue.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

"Mad About the Boy"....Who Is Singing This Version???

I adore the Noel Coward song "Mad About the Boy," and over the years have collected many, many versions of it. But I have one that's a mystery to me, and I need help!

Years ago I acquired a mp3 of a Very camp version, sung by a man, and it was identified as sung by Yul Brynner, from the 1969 film "Magic Christian." Well, I just realized that's not correct, by comparing it to a Youtube clip from the film. It's not the same voice at all. So that leaves me with not knowing who is singing the version I have...that sort of thing drives a collector crazy (not a long drive in my case).

Can someone please tell me who is singing this, and any other info about it (year, etc) would be helpful. Thanks!

I am including the song on my March Queer Music Heritage radio show on "Camp Music" and would really love to be able to identify the singer.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Willmer "Little Axe" Broadnax: Gospel Singer and Secret Transman

And here's some history I learned only last year, of the transgender kind. It may remind you of the story of Billy Tipton, a jazz musician who only at his death it was found that he was a woman, passing as a man for decades (see my blog entry and website page). The same secret truth existed for Willmer Broadnax, known as Little Axe. Born and raised in Houston, he started his career young. During the 1940s and 50s he sang with some of the finest groups in gospel music, including the Golden Echoes, the Fairfield Four and the Blind Boys of Mississippi. By the 1960s the popularity of the gospel quartets was fading and he retired to Philadelphia, though he did perform once in a while during the 70s and 80s. He met a violent death at age 75 in 1994 when he was stabbed by his girlfriend. It was only then discovered that he was a transman.

I believe racism plays a hand when you compare the Tipton and Broadnax stories. Tipton's death received a lot of publicity, a big article in People magazine, and a book on him was written, despite him being almost unknown as a musician when alive. Tipton released only two albums, on a budget label. Broadnax, in his genre of gospel, performed in several very prominent groups, recorded for decades, and died five years after Tipton. Little publicity, no book...but then he was black.

I learned about Willmer Broadnax from Transgriot, the wonderful blog
of Monica Roberts. Check out her much more detailed telling of his story.