American Song-Poem Celebration Playlist
Why is it that jazz is always trotted out as the pillar of uniquely American musical forms? I hereby declare that we have a national duty to do more to celebrate the genre that could only have its roots in the USA (or maybe Nigeria). I'm talking of course about the American Song-Poem.
Oh yes, the American Song-Poem. The divine musical progeny of capitalistic chicanery and populist creativity. Magazine ads common in the 1950's to 1970's offered Americans fame and fortune if they submitted their poems for possible recording as hit songs. In reality, all were offered the opportunity to record their creations, no matter how sublime, incoherent, or profane: for a fee.
A crack team of musicians found a way to turn all paid submissions into a recorded track in as short a time as possible. The results are illuminating, inspiring, and a rightful part of our national heritage. So move over Louis Armstrong, and step aside Mister Ellington. It's time to share the spotlight with another true American Sound.
Rhapsody has a small sampling of the American Song-Poem, which we celebrate in playlist form here. The WFMU Web site has a whole collection of classics in mp3 form in a retrospective page. A great page with more information about Rodd Keith, master of the form, is maintained by his son Ellery Eskelin.
American Song Poem Celebration Playlist
Blind Man's Penis (Peace And Love) - Ramsey Kearney
General Custer's Story Remains Legend - Rodd Keith
Human Breakdown of Absurdity - Norm Burns and Singers
Run Spook Run - Rodd Keith
Maker of Smooth Music - Dick Kent
How Long Are You Staying - Bill Joy
Jimmy Carter Says Yes - Gene Marshall
Ecstasy To Frenzy - Rodd Keith
I Am A Real American - Rodd Keith