Pokey LaFarge? I was seeing that guy back when he was still wearing the clown suit! Was that schtick? Maybe, who cares? Is wearing old timey clothes now a schtick? Maybe,who cares? I forget who it was, but someone amongst the facebook-o-sphere questioned whether they’ve ever heard anybody who says thing like “Oh, all props to that guy for his hustle, I just think blah blah snide comment blah blah old timey joke” ever actually give any props to that guy for his hustle without cutting him down in the second half of that very sentence. It’s easy to be a dick, even when you’re pretending to not be a dick. Cut it out.
On Mr LaFarge’s newest 45, he gives us Goodbye, Barcelona from the latest album, backed by the unreleased Blue Morning Lullaby. Both find him working in the more full band swing mode that he’s moved into, with the a-side being especially horn-heavy. It falls well shy of being a novelty song, though the horns (which I think actually sound more Mexican than Spanish, but what do I know?) & those little clicky-clacky percussion things definitely put it into a set scene piece. It’s a perfectly good song, but almost comes off as a “this is my Spanish-tinged song” exercise. I like the b-side a lot more, a smooth little moody number that seems like it should be sung in some Golden Age Hollywood sad after hours barroom. Conspiracy theorists/Pokey-haters will surely be quick to point out that only two of his old South City Three backing band appear on Goodbye, Barcelona, & none of them play on Blue Morning Lullaby, but conspiracy theorists & Pokey-haters are a sad lot.
I wonder if good old Skeets Yaney had to put up with that kind of bullshit. A featured cowboy singer on KMOX during the 30’s & 40’s, Skeets cut a dozen or so 78’s that are pretty square, but still pretty dang great. They’re billed as “hillbilly” records, but they’re mostly pretty clean & citified, way closer to Eddie Arnold than Dock Boggs. Did the “real” hillbillies call him a sellout for not arriving at the studios in an old wagon or for playing concerts at places that didn’t have dirt floors or for having most of his teeth? Ugh, probably…
Pokey LaFarge-Goodbye, Barcelona
Skeets Yaney-Candy Coated Lies