Still Dead! is the second volume in our lively series of light-hearted looks at the dearly departed. This second cortege features another 24 gems from the Grim Reaper’s Jukebox, including some chart hits and some we’ve dug up for your pleasure. If you paid your respects with volume one you’ll not want to miss this one, and we’ve even included the classic and bloody tale of the ‘Leader Of The Pack’, which garnered some reviews last time despite actually missing from the collection. We were afraid to be too obvious last time; our mistake. Joining the Shangri-Las, we have Del Shannon, the Cadets, the Dominoes and Dickey Le , plus another visit to the parlour of Joe Meek. All in the best possible sound quality from the boys in the Sound Mastering Crypt, with the booklet lavishly illustrated in shocking colour together with all the gory details. All this and Mitch’s wonderful front cover art once again.
Even long before the advent of the “death disc” and its controversial moment in the spotlight in the early 60s, songs about death were as old as the hills. Not in popular song, but in the world of folk. The American country music genre borrowed liberally right from the outset from the tragedy of English, Irish and Scots ballads of murder, execution and death from disease. Consequently, we do not feature more than a sprinkling of country in this series. To cover that area we would need a much bigger plot. In blues and jazz there were many songs of loss which passed into standards, like ‘Frankie And Johnny’. For various reasons black music’s approach to violence and death tended to be a little more pragmatic, sometimes downright hilarious. It was left to the white man to vent mourning and sorrow in his laments. In other words, there is a world of difference between the approach of ‘I’m Gonna Murder My Baby’ and, say, ‘Put My Little Shoes Away’. Or try, as an example of joviality, the jazz standard ‘Pistol Packin’ Mama’.
Our follow-up to the first successful volume in this ‘short-lived’ series, includes Little Caesar’s ‘Goodbye Baby’ and ‘The Ghost Of Mary Meade’. Ron Dante, he of the Detergents’ great spoofs, ‘Leader Of The Laundromat’ and ‘I Can Never Eat Home Any More’ which parody the Shanri-las’ great death discs, with his own ‘In The Rain’; Cobey Carson’s ‘Too Young To Be A Widow’; ‘Tragedy’ by Thomas Wayne Perkins. Bernadette Carroll’s school bus sports-related minor hit, ‘The Hero’. And many more we’re sure you’re dying to hear!
So, until the day that this fun genre is resurrected, sit back and enjoy these deadly examples from an innocent past when two minutes of low-brow culture went further than a casket full of political correctness.
By Brian Nevill