The immigration debate got me thinking about a song my college friend Jesse Davis gave me once on cassette. Jesse comes from a musical family (you can check out his LA-based indie band, The Karabal Nightlife, here)... one of his relatives even composed the score for Star Trek IV (the one with the whales). Anyway, here's the story of this song, in Jesse's words:
I don't know too much about it but from what I understand, my great-grandfather Herb Zwicker started something called the "Black Talent Workshop" in the 70s. He went down to Watts and recruited talented black musicians and recorded some records of their music. I guess he was big on funk and soul music. In addition he had them perform their renditions of some of the songs that he wrote including "Go On Home You Foreign Communist" He was a real character from what I understand. He was a nationalist and a big union leader. In his 60s he was on the news bashing two young Neo-Nazi's heads together. A real bruiser.
Its a great song though I'm glad its getting some play. I think it's the great lost soul hit of the 70s.
Needless to say, I've uploaded the song for you to hear. It's truly remarkable how Mr. Zwicker decided that the late-60s/early-70s funk sound was the best idiom for lyrics like: "Hey Commie! I'ma tell you something you should know... this is AMERICA... the country where I was born! You're not welcome here!" and "Lemme tell you somethin'... I'm a HAAAARD HEART! And I DON'T like COMMIES. So you better get the HELL outta here!"
There's some pretty killer bass work on the record, too.
This upcoming week's Sound of Young America broadcast features two Jonathans I admire greatly: Jonathan Katz and Jonathan Goldstein.
Katz may be more familiar to you as Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist. I talked with him about his career (more on that tommorow).
What I didn't know was that they'd worked together.
Katz has long had a fascination with audio, something we touched on in the interview. He had a huge cache of recordings of himself, both today, and in childhood, with his family. Goldstein explains how he ended up on the project, and why it was amazing to work on (download):
Anyway, with Goldstein producing and his sister along for the ride, Katz went back to his childhood neighborhood to compare what was on the tapes with real life. The results made for a great piece, which was on this This American Life Episode, "Return to Childhood."
We hear a bizarre message left on Matt's voicemail by a Briton looking for someone named "Harry." Then a woman, who says Harry is "in trouble!" calls. Who is Harry?
Jordan improvises a poem with a yutz at the candy store.
Jordan shares some Bold Statements
Jesse "Runs the Numbers"
Jesse and Jordan ask local businesspeople how they plan to make their business more XXXtreme
Then a guy calls in to "pay allegiance to you guys."
Overall, we learn that The Sound of Young America used to be surprisingly ambitious.
Is it just me, or is Keifer Sutherland a lot like Donald Sutherland, only slightly less good in every way?
One of my favorite tracks by my favorite MC, Devin the Dude. How did being a stoner become so sweet and vulnerable?
Here's a remarkable video of Frank Zappa's band doing whatever it is that they do, with some help from John Belushi.
Related on TSOYA: "Belushi" with Tanner Colby and Judith Belushi Pisano (MP3)
Corbin Bronson, Bernsin, what's his name? Anyway, he collects those snow cones that you shake and make it snow in. No one could guess what my secret was.
What was it?
You have to guess.
Is it about your... [stares at wig] um... [stares at wig] hair?
About your early career? Where you grew up? Something about your, um, lifestyle?
Rip, come on in.
Before you go in, tell me what your secret is.
I used to be a page in the Senate.
KERA-TV in Dallas was the first PBS station to broadcast Monty Python's Flying Circus, and it was the Pythons' first stop in the US after the premier of Monty Python and the Holy Grail in Los Angeles in 1975. This interview footage first aired live on KERA that year, and hasn't been seen by the public since. It was discovered on an old reel that had been saved by an engineer, and as you can see, it cuts off after about 14 minutes... the engineer taped over the rest. It's a look at the group being candidly questioned by fans at the peak of their fame and creative powers.
If you prefer not to watch the video in-line, it can be downloaded in iPod-ready format. You can also download the video or subscribe to our free podcast from iTunes. Our show, of course, features many in-depth interviews with folks in entertainment and the arts, and particularly comedy.
Please share this blog link, but understand that KERA and the Python folks retain the rights to their footage, so please refrain from redistributing the file itself.
If you're coming from outside the blog, I encourage you to check out our radio show / podcast, The Sound of Young America. We've interviewed many comedy legends, from Bob Odenkirk & David Cross to, just last week, Terry Jones of Monty Python. It's totally free, so take a look at our archives and see if something interests you. You can also check out our blog for news and views from the world of art & entertainment.
My thanks go to KERA in Dallas for sharing the footage with us, especially to Kim and Bill Young, who made the arrangements. Also to the Python organization for giving us clearance to share the Flying Circus footage seen in the clip. Also, thanks to Tyler MacNiven and Jessica Jardine for their help shooting the introduction.