The Roots of Punk Drinking Songs

The last time we took a look at drinking tunes we divided them into 2 kinds, the upbeat, celebratory hymn to Bacchus and the reflective, dirge-like ode to alcohol as (to estimate Homer– the Springfield one, not the ancient Ionian) “the reason for, and service to, all life’s issues.”

Our option for the best drinking tune of them all, Roger Ferris’s “The King is Gone (So Are You)” as cut by the magnificent George Jones, fell strongly in the latter classification, as do a number of the best drinking tunes. The Bacchic hymns, loaded as they are with excitement, condition and anarchic liberty, have their minutes, too.

Many of those minutes are discovered in a neighborhood of the classification, the one dedicated not to applauding liquors jointly or separately or to proclaiming drunkenness in basic, however rather to narrating and commemorating one specific drinking session. Call it– to utilize German, the language of category theory and extreme drinking– the Sauforgienepos; the “swill-session impressive.”

There are numerous great examples of the category, from the Hibernian hilarity of the Dubliners’s “ Finnegan’s Wake ” (as mentioned in our previous short article) to Virginia O’Brien’s jaunty toe-tapper, “ Did I Get Stinkin’ at the Club Savoy ,” from the 1942 movie Panama Hattie, to “ Drunk ,” Jimmy Liggins’s significant military-spec floor-pounder from 1953.

My preferred example, nevertheless, is “Peter and Paul,” a 1931 rarity by the Gene Kardos Orchestra that is both hotter than a shot of upcountry corn shine as well as among the weirdest tunes ever tape-recorded. The weirdness lies not in the music itself, the instrumentation and even the efficiency, however rather in that it was taped at all. Check out the lyrics, provided here completely, and you’ll see exactly what I imply.

One summer season day it occurred

That Peter and Paul upon an ass

Went up to town to take a glass

And goof off Jerusalem

O Jerusalem,

O Jerusalem,

O Jerusalem,

Jerusalem the golden!

Then Peter began falling in:

” Come on, let’s have a hooker of gin.”

” Brother,” states Paul, “it would be a sin

To alcohol in Jerusalem.”

O Jerusalem, and so on

But when they entered the bar,

Says Paul, “O appearance, Pete, here we are–

We need to have followed the Hennessy star *

Instead of that of Bethlehem.”

[* Until the 1960s, a Cognac’s age was typically suggested by the variety of stars on the label– ed.]

O-o Bethlehem, and so on

The barmaid had an ankle cool;

It quickly started to obtain to Pete,

He got her right behind the seat–

The seat of old Jerusalem.

O Jerusalem, and so on

Says Peter, “Paul, I have a concept:

Time to have the tendency to my dedication.”

Says Paul, “you’re rolling like an ocean–

You’re all damp in Jerusalem.”

O Jerusalem, and so on”

. It’s seldom you come across scurrilous fanfic about the Apostles. What offers?

About the tune itself, little is understood. It was copyrighted– or a minimum of the tune was– in November, 1931, by one “F. Arnold.” The label of Kardos’s recording– the just one the tune has actually ever gotten– broadens that “F” to “Florence.” After substantial browsing, I think that this is likewise the only tune Florence Arnold ever copyrighted or released.

As to who she was, besides an outstanding wiseass, I can not state. There was a Florence Arnold, alias “the Irish nightingale” and “the blonde pony,” who danced and sang in vaudeville in the 1910s and 1900s and after that married Charles Koster, the king of American circus press agents. Koster was a well-known wiseass himself, and it would not be unexpected if he wed another one, however beyond that there’s no evidence we’re discussing the very same Florence Arnold and even if that was the author of the tune’s genuine name.

We understand a bit more about the tune’s entertainers. Yugin “Gene” Kardos (1899-1980) is not one of the excellent names in jazz. He was neither a fantastic author nor a paradigm-shifting musician nor a flamboyant, epic character. He was a Hungarian Jewish kid born and raised on the then-tough Upper East Side of Manhattan who dealt with his moms and dads. He talked with a thick, dese-dem-and-dose New York accent and had actually worked as an accountant. He might play the saxophone and the violin and he understood how to lead a band; how to keep it together; how to focus its energies; how to make sure everybody zigged when they were expected to zig, zagged when they were expected to zag, and went BRAP! BRAP! BRAP! When they were expected to go BRAP, with their horns specifically! BRAP! BRAP!

On the strength of that, Kardos got his Orchestra– any band too huge to suit the back of a taxi was an “orchestra” at that time– a long-running gig at the Gloria Palast, a German casino on East 86th St., an agreement with Victor records and a weekly half hour on nationwide radio. In the depths of the Depression, that wasn’t absolutely nothing– undoubtedly, those were the examples that made most typical bands who had them well-known.

That didn’t occur with these men, although in the beginning glimpse, Kardos’s band appeared completely typical. In its instrumentation, it was the basic eleven-piece dance band of its day. 2 trumpets, a number of men who doubled on alto sax and clarinet, a tenor sax, a trombone, a rhythm area– banjo, tuba, piano and drums– and, naturally, Kardos, who primarily waved a baton.

Most of the band’s product was quite basic, too, a minimum of on record: the method things worked, the A&R person offered you the tune and you played it, and the majority of those tunes were corny, “synco-pep” (as it was in some cases called) dance numbers with novelty “singing refrain.” For records, Victor even teamed the band up with Dick Robertson, their A-list singing refrain-suppliers and a star in his own.

It need to have worked. I cannot state why it didn’t, however I believe the recording session Gene and the young boys hung on October 23, 1931; the one where they cut “Peter and Paul,” provides us a respectable idea, as does a band picture taken 8 days later on. The picture, which can be seen here , was undoubtedly handled Halloween. The band, although dressed in matches like everybody back then, come off as a lot of stone punks.

One person’s drinking a beer, a couple seem chomping on sandwiches, all are disheveled and there is a befuddling variety of flat, “yeah, so?” gazes into the cam, consisting of from Kardos. The person beside him, trumpeter Sid Peltyn, who appears intoxicated (and he’s not the only one) is pointing a toy weapon at his head and leaning on a walking cane. Since he got shot in the leg throughout an affray at the Gloria Palast a couple of weeks prior to, he had the walking cane. Yeah.

During the session, they cut 5 tunes, 4 which were launched. The one that wasn’t was a ditty called “Sweet Violets,” a novelty number where the verses set the listener as much as anticipate the word “shit” just to have it changed with “sweet violets.” Not amusing, however a sign of the method things would go that day. I think the routine A&R person, who was expected to keep a tight leash on the procedures, was hungover or out with the influenza that day. In any case, the band did a minimum of plod its method through an entirely forgettable ballad of the most business sort. That left 3 tunes: a college number, a thing called “You’ve Got to Sell It,” and our scriptural Sauforgienepos.

They play “a Hot Dog, a Blanket, and You,” the college number, for laughs, including a few fabricated college cheers, one in a ludicrous falsetto (” Riddledy tiddledy tootsy toot/ We are the kids of the institute/ We are not rough, we are not difficult,/ But we are detoimined”). The other cheer, nevertheless, offers a hint to the quantity of fuck you that the band, comprised of 9 Jews and 2 Italians, had in reserve:

Ikey, Moses, Jake and Sam

We are the kids that do not consume ham

Baseball, football, swimming in a tank

We’ve got the cash however we keep it in the bank!

At this point, Kardos closes things off by including, in his East Side honk, “The only method to make us cheer/ Is to offer us back our prewar beer.”

” You’ve Got to Sell It” is a fast-tempo flag waver, as they utilized to be called, with the band riffing while Kardos describes the truths of the band organisation (” Now many people have no idea a great band when they hear it, bad or great/ They most constantly state it’s the last woid when it’s actually extremely unfortunate … I’ve hoid some coahny bands who knock ’em off theah seats/ And I’ve seen Paderewskis tossed out in the streets”).

And lastly, “Peter and Paul.” You do not require electrical guitars, leather coats and bangs to play hard rock. With the best mindset, a mess of brass and reeds, a piano, a banjo and a drum set will make a lot of sound. The blisteringly quick double time here, the chords punched out at optimal volume, the shrieking trumpet solo, the yelled choruses, the scurrilous, even blasphemous topic, the sex and the drinking– pure punk. The Ramones didn’t originated from no place.

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