Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Louis Farrakhan is Quite The Charmer

By request: Ray Schmitt's music for tree-huggers is back up.

Before Louis Farrakhan was the hate-mongering nut-job running The Nation of Islam, he wasn't even Louis Farrakhan. He was Louis "The Charmer" Wolcott, calypsonion. His brief show-biz stint in the mid-'50s didn't exactly pack stadiums the way The Million Man March did, so clearly the religion biz proved to be the more lucrative career choice. His music was actually pretty decent, tho. There just wasn't much to distinguish it from all the other records made to cash in on the post-Belafonte '50s calypso craze.  "Is She Is, Or Is She Ain't" is the most well-known of his recordings, a parody of the then-recent phenomenon of sex-change operations! Countless religious leaders have made recordings, from the Pope on down, but I don't believe too many have touched upon this important subject. "Female Boxer" is another new one to me, in which our protagonist recounts the time his butt was kicked by, yes, a female boxer. (Actually, I believe the Pope did sing about "foxy boxers," but it was in Latin, so few knew.) Otherwise, calypso fans will recognize most of these songs as oft-recorded standards. But hey, they're still good: can't have too many versions of "Zombie Jamboree" (aka "Back To Back Belly to Belly") or "Ugly Woman," a song famously remade by Jimmy Soul in the '60s as "If You Wanna Be Happy."  The rockin' version of "Hold 'Em Joe" is as good as any, and the energetic piano + percussion musical backing is fun. Charmer's voice is rarely more than adequate, tho his occasional hiccuping vocal accents are a nice touch. 

As evidence that he is perhaps losing what's left of his mind, Farrakhan has embraced Scientology in recent years, encouraging members of the Nation to get themselves "audited"!  As regular readers of this blog know, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard made some awful albums that we posted here within the last year or so. Farrakhan is just what Scientology needs!  Next time, John Travolta and Chick Corea should forget Hubbard's terrible music and sing calypsos about transsexual zombie boxers!

The Charmer is Louis Farrakhan

1. IS SHE IS, OR IS SHE AIN'T
2. BROWN SKIN GAL
3. DON'T TOUCH ME NYLON
4. ZOMBIE JAMBOREE
5. FEMALE BOXER
6. FIRE DOWN THERE
7. UGLY WOMAN
8. DON'T LET ME MAMA KNOW
9. STONE COLD MAN
10. MARY ANN
11. HOLD 'EM JOE
12. TRINIDAD ROAD MARCH


Thanks to Count Otto Black for reminding me of this album - more of his bizarro British comedy rarities to come.

2 comments:

FredrikO said...

Great stuff, this one! He has quite a unique voice, this charming man. Just wondering, is there any liner notes in the album? Would really love to read them, if possible.

Mr Fab said...

Alas, I don't have the CD, just the mp3s. (I often trade in CDs after I mp3-isize them.)