"Wicked circus" - 16 wicked wonders of exotica and novelty



In The Trashcan Records       GARBAGE92
"On this wicked race to the flea circus with Mustapha and Elvira, Jennie Lee was doing the twist, the mambo and the guapacha while the jungle drums were pounding..."

Barclay 60913 from 1968 1. mustapha – freddy sunder

A hilarious Flemish sung version of the Bob Azzam classic oriental, normally sung in French. Freddy Sunder was a well known Belgian musician during the 50 and 60s. On vol 43 I already selected a Dutch translation.The b-side of this Belgian 45 is “Al wat telt in de liefde”.
9. wicked race – elete jewels

Simply sublime gospel laden rhythm ‘n’ blues by a band also known as Song Birds Of The North. I haven’t got any information on this band or this recording. The sound is so catchy that I can’t stop dancing when I play this. A more traditional kind of gospel you can find on the b-side, “There is a fountain”.
Simpson 420
London 5668Y 2. endless sleep – the poppy family

This b-side of “Which way you goin’ Bill”, indeed a rendition of Jody Reynolds 1958 hit, sounds like a late 60s recording. This is is the Belgian release. Susan Jacks and Terry Jacks both went on to their own and more successful careers in the 70s.
10. manhattan mambo – danny kaye
This is the flipside to “In my neck o’ the woods” and is perhaps the finest Danny Kaye, the well known redhead comic actor from the 40s/50s. This is mambo Cugat style, early 50s Cuban blend.
Decca 960996
Liberty F-55136 from 1958 3. jennie lee – billy ward & his dominoes

You might know the original recording by Jan & Arnie (pre-Jan & Dean) about a local stripper legend called Jennie Lee. So I was pleasanty surprised to find out that well known Billy Ward had the guts to cover this song in 1958. I can’t tell which version I prefer as both are terrific. The b-side is “Music Maestro please”.
11. elvira – tito rodriguez
Mix the guapacha with the cha cha cha and you get Tito Rodriguez. “Elvira” is the best track from this 50s EP. Exciting rhythms on an exotic background: honey, fetch me a mojito, por favor.
America M55
Mercury MCF 127183 from 1960 4. mule skinner blues – rusty draper

And here’s another fabulous cover version of a late 50s tune. Well, not exactly late 50s but most people think the original was recorded by The Fendermen in 1959 and thus they’ve never heard of Jimmie Rodgers who recorded it as “Blue yodel n°8” in 1930. On vol 22 you can find the frenziest 60s cover version of this classic rock ‘n’ roll tune, which has been covered by The Cramps as well in the 90s.
12. mailman blues – lloyd price

I think this was his first recording after his Specialty period.  “Mailman blues” is first class RnB, great sax, swirling piano and of course Lloyd’s terrific voice. The b-side is “Oh oh oh”.
ABC-Paramount 45-9653 from 1955
Ariola 15826AT from 1978 5. 96 tears – gladys pink

Surprise surprise; a late 70s version of the best known Question Mark & The Mysterians song.  This is so bad that it’s good. The singer can’t sing, the guitars don’t sound right and even the sleeve looks disgusting. Absolutely no taste at all!!
13. the thing pt2 – curtis & the creepers

Part 1 already appeared on at least two compilation albums. Part 2 "Whoaa... this is The Thing again!" is even more demented. A scorching sax, growling vocals and utter madness make this song a Halloween favourite and one of the creepiest tunes I know.
Dauntless 45-032
Barclay 620.026 6. twist and shout – johnny

I have always had a strange interest in weird and unusual cover versions, especially covers of well known songs. This “Twist and shout” rendition is, again, a perfect example of how things shouldn’t be done. Johnny was the singer of the French hard rockin’ psych band The Tritons (see vol
10) This easy-going rendition however works perfectly for 70s parties and as it is not so evident to find, I’ll always love this 45; on the b-side you’ll find “My child”.
14. the gremmie pt2 – the hollywood tornadoes

Frat rock mixed with surf novelty and an unhealthy dose of insanity and yet this song has remained uncompiled for all those years.
Dauntless 45-032 from 1963
RCA 47.6496 from 1956 7. jungle drums – esquivel

I've always been an Esquivel fan and you should too, if you like exotica the way I do. Juan Guarcia Equivel, Mexican, was already 38 when he recorded this in 1956. One year later he was 'discovered' by US deejays. His recording output is huge and all recommended, certainly the pre-1963 period. This jungle exotica classic is the b-side of “Nightingale".

15. flea circus – winifred atwell
Winifred Atwell will also be remembered as a honky tonk pianist and still this song brings this little bit extra that it’s too good to be ignored; also Piltdown Men fans will love this. Wanna look for this? It is the b-side of “Snow bells”.
Columbia 4-43472 from 1965
Vargal G315 8. brigitte bardot – trompette cocktail

If you love this BB song, I strongly recommend to check out vols 23, 54 and 88. No, this is no instrumental: the trumpets are singing lead while a few studio people are doing the backing vocals.
16. dansons mon amour – les compagnons de la chanson

And yes, this is another cover: it starts as a traditional version of “Hava nagila”, but halfway they start to sing in French; other versions you can find on vols 1, 30, 82 and 135. The title means “Let’s dance, my love”. Ok then, go back to track 1 and let’s dance.
Columbia ESRF1209