Wishing happy birthday to the 39th President, with one of my favorite M.S.R. oddball disco jams. I first heard this on the highly recommended collection Beat of The Traps, compiled by NRBQ’s Tom Ardolino, which remains an excellent starter for anyone interested in the song poem phenomenon. For those unfamiliar with M.S.R. Records and certain other private press/vanity labels, budding lyricists and artistes could pay to have their poems/prose/rambling insanity, set to music created and recorded with little, if any, stylistic direction taken from said words, nor any direct input from the writer. Hence, you have a song like Jimmy Carter Say Yes set to a disco beat, coz why not? Certainly this should have been burning up dancefloors at your local discotheque.
Well, funny thing happened on the way to total obscurity, certain discerning record buyers began to take notice of the bizarre sounds and lo and behold, a cult following was created. While most of these writers may have written only one single, others like Rodd Keith and Dick Kent created sizable catalogs, and are considered the trailblazers of the style. I’d be hard pressed to call these recordings a genre, as the music varies wildly from record to record. That’s one of the great things about these recordings; you never know what you’re gonna get, but it’s gonna be alotta fun finding out. Jimmy Carter Says Yes, remains one of my favorites, and most frequently quoted song poems.
Feeling this autoharp cover
The now deceased, though still archived, WFMU Blog has numerous MSR comps available for free download online, and if this sounds like your bag, you’re gonna have a blast checking them out.