And yes, once again there is that special bonus CD. This year it's Basement Tapes No. 6! It features a big stack of hits from the show, including "Star Wars Cantina," "Insane And The Brain," "The Knuckle Song" and "Really Safe Sex." There are songs by Barnes & Barnes, Henry Phillips, Judy Tenuta and The Four Postmen.
And -- once again "Weird Al" Yankovic has given us a rare item from his private archives. This time it's the original 1981 version of "Yoda," which was a #1 hit on our Funny Five four years before Al re-recorded it for the Dare To Be Stupid album.
For the first time, the CD cover and the disc itself will be in full color, with a handy booklet replacing the separate flyer we've used in the past. The CD itself has more music than ever, with 23 tracks in all, and 70 minutes of playing time.
Though many record companies are phasing out tapes, Basement Tapes No. 6 is available on cassette.
If you're already a member, you don't have to wait until your membership runs out to get the new package. Renew now, and get the package with Basement Tapes No. 6 right away! Your membership will be extended one year beyond the original expiration date.
Renew by December 31, and get the 1998 package for the 1997 price of $17.95!
The book is entitled Heavy, Man: A Cruise Through The World Of The Blues. It's one of a series of guidebooks to different types of music to be published by Rhino Books, an affiliate of Rhino Records and the General Publishing Group. It will be published sometime in early 1998 -- the exact date was yet to be determined as the News went to press.
Heavy, Man will tell the story of how blues developed since its origin around 1900, with brief biographies of outstanding blues singers such as B. B. King, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and Stevie Ray Vaughan, numerous record reviews and lots of photographs including reproductions of record labels from Dr. Demento's collection.
Though not overly serious, Heavy, Man is not a comedy book. Therefore, the author is being credited as Barry Hansen, Dr. Demento's real name. It was the only name he had at the time he began collecting and studying blues as a teenager, years before The Dr. Demento Show came into being. He learned a whole lot more about blues while earning a master's degree in Folk Music Studies at UCLA, and met many great bluesmen while working at one of Los Angeles' top folk music nightclubs, the Ash Grove.
Blues is more popular than ever today, and Dr. Demento/Barry Hansen hopes many Dr. Demento Show listeners and readers will come to enjoy blues as much as he does. But rest assured -- the radio show is not switching to blues. It will remain as weird and wacky as ever -- though the Doctor does plan to spin a few especially Demented blues records in celebration when the book comes out.
DODOO WAH: Live!
If you haven't yet gotten acquainted with the sharp but good- natured humor of this Gold Rush Country acoustic duo, here's a great place to start. This live CD revisits old favorites like "Working For The Japanese," "B. A. R. F. Construction," "Since My Baby Turned Gay" and "Odor In The Court" and introduces new material like their salute to Mike Tyson, "He Bit Him On The Ear." Lively, fresh and entertaining.
BALLUM RANCUM RECORDS, PO BOX 1500, COLUMBIA, CA 95310.
THE FOUR POSTMEN: Looking For Grandpa
There are five of them, and only three dress like postmen. The other two portray a dog and a bone. With all that, they make superior music. Their vocal harmonies are right-on tight, and they rock out on their instruments. About half the songs on this exceptionally well-produced CD are humorous, including "Rabbit Valley," "I've Got A Tan (Like David Hasselhof)," "Catbox" and "Four Years Of High School Spanish" (different from the version on Basement Tapes #5). You may well find the "serious" songs just as entertaining as the funny ones. A winner.
THE FOUR POSTMEN, 4335 VINELAND AVE., SUITE #323, NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA 91602. firstname.lastname@example.org
THE THERAPY SISTERS: Beyond Prescription
This Austin duo creates original songs, based on offbeat news stories, which range from charmingly whimsical to flat-out funny. They sing beautifully in a variety of musical settings on this album, produced to major-label standards. "Weenie Wacker," the song about the Bobbitt business which made our year-end Funny 25 back in 1994 as an unreleased tape, is here in a fine finished version. "(Avon In The) Amazon" is another standout.
THE THERAPY SISTERS - 512-HI-SISSY (447-4779). HiSissy@aol.com
GOLDEN THROATS 4: Celebrities Butcher Songs Of The Beatles
Possibly the most entertaining entry yet in this series of unintentionally hilarious performances by celebrities a little out of their element. "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" by William Shatner is here, the long version this time, along with Bing Crosby (his incredibly misbegotten "Hey Jude"), George Burns, Joe Pesci, Mae West, and many more. "Michelle" by Xaviera Hollander (aka The Happy Hooker) is a real sleeper.
RHINO 72593 - IN STORES.
GRAVIKORDS, WHIRLIES & PYROPHONES
An amazing collection of music played on elaborate home-made instruments. We're not talking cigar-box guitars or washtub basses here -- these are cleverly and beautifully crafted inventions that truly expand the vocabulary of music, and are often works of visual art as well. Hans Reichel's "Le Bal," played on the Daxophone, has become a Funny Five favorite, and there's a whole lot more like it here. The CD comes with a beautiful large-format 96-page book. The package sells for about $25, but it's a real ear- and eye-opener.
ELLIPSIS ARTS 3530 - IN STORES.
SONG POEMS - absurdity or reality?
THE HUMAN BREAKDOWN OF ABSURDITY
I'M JUST THE OTHER WOMAN
Have you ever seen a small magazine ad offering to set your "song poems" (lyrics) to music, release them on an actual record, and (who knows) make you a star -- all for a price? Companies offering this service have existed on the fringe of the music biz for the past half century, despite their utter lack of success in making anyone a star. Not surprisingly, many of the records wind up in thrift shops. I've been picking them up for years. Many are banal and boring, but now and then there's one that's so bad it's hilarious. And once in a great while, you find one that displays some hidden spark of genius and/or insanity that makes it a real treasure. You'll find insanity, hilarity and amazing absurdity on these two well-chosen compilations of mainly 1960s examples, from a label run by latter-day song-poem aficionados. Both CD's have extensive, well-researched booklet notes introducing the genre and its would-be stars. Priceless documents of American culture, and great fun
CARNAGE PRESS, PO BOX 627, NORTHAMPTON, MA 01060.
Meanwhile, the unofficial "The Doctor Is In" site
maintained by Jeff Morris has moved. The new
Other sites of interest:
"Weird Al" Yankovic - Latest News (maintained by Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz):
David Tanny's site has loads of info and general Dementia:
"Ray Stevens is one of the real giants of funny music," says Dr. Demento. "It's incredible how he's sustained his popularity all those years -- and never really changed his style. And now he's bigger than ever, on home video. All his big hits from the 1960s and 1970s are here -- 'The Streak,' of course, and also 'Ahab the Arab' and 'Gitarzan' not to mention 'Jeremiah Peabody's Poly Unsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green And Purple Pills.' We've also included a few of his best 'non-comedy' songs like 'Everything Is Beautiful' and 'Sunset Strip.' And we have included that song we get so many requests for -- 'In The Mood' in which Ray imitates a flock of singing chickens, under the name 'The Henhouse Five Plus Too.'
The Best Of Ray Stevens may be ordered from The Demento Society. It is available on CD only. Price is $15.98 plus shipping.
Complete track listing: Jeremiah Peabody's Poly Unsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green And Purple Pills - Ahab, The Arab - Santa Claus Is Watching You - Harry The Hairy Ape - Unwind - Mr. Businessman - Gitarzan - Along Came Jones - Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down - Everything Is Beautiful - America, Communicate With Me - Sunset Strip - Bridget The Midget (The Queen Of The Blues) - Turn Your Radio On - The Streak - Moonlight Special - Misty - I Need Your Help Barry Manilow - Shriner's Convention - In The Mood.
GET YOUR FRIENDS TO WRITE LETTERS TOO. Get a bunch of them to sign a petition! Many radio executives are simply not aware how many people enjoy Mad Music and Crazy Comedy. Let 'em know!
Limited supply - $1.00 each