Monday, April 16, 2012

THE GODZ - WIFFENPOOF SONG

There's really nothing I can say about The Godz that wasn't already said by Lester Bangs in his brilliant 1971 Creem magazine piece "Do The Godz Speak Esperanto?" If you've never read it, go find yourself a copy of "Psychotic Reactions And Carburetor Dung" (Vintage books, 1988),which is a compendium of the greatest work by the greatest rock critic ever (who, unfortunately, left us way too soon at age 33 in 1982).

The only thing missing from the essay is, well, the music itself. There was no such thing as a blog in 1971 (if there was, Lester would probably have the noisiest one of all), so you had to do things the old-fashioned way - you read the article, then hit the STREET to SEARCH OUT whatever Lester was writing about, instead of YouTubing it or downloading it or going on Amazon to order the CD. Or clicking on the sound link below.

This record was originally released as a 45-only stopgap between the Godz' second LP, "Godz Two" and their third LP, "The Third Testament". It was eventually re-released on the "Godzundheit" LP in 1973, but of course we all know the #1 rule of rock and roll record collecting - EVERYTHING sounds better on the mono 45.

A little history here: "The Whiffenpoof Song" is the theme song of The Whiffenpoofs, Yale University's traditional a capella group. The tune was written in 1909 by Tod Galloway, with lyrics by Meade Minnigerode and George S. Pomeroy. Rudy Vallee had the first hit version of it in 1927, and Bing Crosby had the biggest seller with it in 1947. Since then, there have been countless versions recorded (supposedly, even Elvis Presley did a version, though I've never heard it). But The Godz' version stands completely on its own (which probably accounts for the deliberate misspelling of "Whiffenpoof" as "Wiffenpoof", and also for lead guitarist/flautist Jim McCarthy's writing "credit").

So here it is, in all its cacaphonic glory, the best sheep record ever made.

(NOTE: please excuse the noise on this record; like most material originally released on the ESP label, it's ridiculously rare.)

The Godz - Wiffenpoof Song (ESP 4547/4548) - 1967

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