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Noteworthy Recordings

Hipsters, Flipsters, and Finger-Poppin' Daddies

Lord Buckley
A mad comic genius, Lord Buckley looked a little like Salvador Dali, dressed in a tux, and performed hipster interpretations of well-known scences and speeches. "The Nazz" (which Todd Rundgren later took as the name of his first group) was his riff on the crucifixion of Jesus (the Nazarene). This page's title comes from Lord Buckley's translation of Mark Anthony's funeral oration in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar:
Hipsters, flipsters,
and finger-poppin' daddies:
Knock me your lobes.
Buckley always rubbed the establishment the wrong way, and his death in 1960 came from a stroke his family said was brought on by the seizure of his union card by the New York City Police for some misdemeanor.

Mose Allison
Brother Mose started as a jazz pianist, but he soon became known more for his vocals, delivered in a distinctive laid-back Southern drawl. Although he first stuck to standards, he quickly began introducing country and blues tunes such as Percy Mayfield's "Lost Mind" and Willie Dixon's "Seventh Son." He started writing his own songs, the best known of which is the classic hipster put-down tune, "You Mind is On Vacation (But Your Mouth is Working Overtime)."

Bobby Troup
One of the seminal cool cats, Troup was the first to advise Americans to "get their kicks" in his song, "Route 66," which was a big early hit for the Nat "King" Cole Trio. Troup worked as a songwriter ("Daddy," "Girl Talk," "Baby, Baby (All the Time)"), a pianist with his own trio, a vocalist, and a television personality, first in the 1950s as host of the pioneering series, "Stars in Jazz" and later alongside his wife, singer/actress Julie London, in the early 1970s series, "Emergency."

Rod McKuen
Years before he became terminally maudlin and generated a production line full of drippy poetry books and albums, Rod recorded a classic slice of hip culture, Beatsville. Beatsville has him reading his own poetry in front of a small jazz combo led by versatile reedman Buddy Collette. The poems range from choice bits of hipsterism ("I knew a girl who didn't like to be liked, like") to sketches of the sexually polymophous lifestyle of San Francisco bohemians. "Beatsville" has been reissued on CD. Rod also contributed a few choice oddities to the rare Bob McFadden comedy album, Songs Our Mummy Taught Us, including the "Quiet Village" parody, "Noisy Village."
Beatsville is available on CD from www.jackdiamond.com.

Mark Murphy
Jazz vocalist Murphy's style was reminiscent of Mose Allison's--detached, ironic, self-deprecating. Based in San Francisco for most of his career, Murphy actually stuck to standards for most of his material, although one of his earliest albums, Bop for Kerouac,is now considered one of the essential artifacts of beatnik jazz.

Ken Nordine
What would space age pop be without Ken Nordine's Word Jazz?
Would it be blue? Or yellow?
Nordine's albums of his own free-flowing meditations, spoken in what has to be one of the all-time great radio voices, sometimes in front of a musing jazz theme written by cellist Fred Katz, are now legendary and command ethereal prices. Fortunately, several CD collections are available for us peons. Truly a Zen experience. Please hold your finger-snapping until the end of this piece.

Del Close and John Brent
Close and Brent created the essential guide for squares, How to Speak Hip, (Mercury). On How to Speak Hip, Brent plays Geets Romo, a hipster who consents to guide the square interviwer, Close, through the basic lexicon of hip. Close went on to write a musical revue of life among the hip, "The Nervous Set," which was produced in New York starring a very young Larry Hagman. He also recorded a satiric self-help record, "How to be Your Own Psychoanalyst," as "Doctor Del Close, B.M.T., I.R.T."
How to Speak Hip came with an invaluable "Hip Manual" to use for further self study. It's been posted to the Web and can be dug at http://www.howtospeakhip.com.

Shorty Petterstein
Petterstein was the comic creation of San Francisco producer Henry Jacobs, who had a big part in assembling the incredible array of jazz, folk, Latin, and spoken word talents released by Fantasy Records in the 1950s. On "The Weird, Wide Wonderful World of Shorty Petterstein," Jacobs adopted the persona of Shorty Petterstein.
Both How to Speak Hip and The Wide Weird World of Shorty Petterstein are available on CD from Jack Diamond Music

Jack Sheldon
Sheldon was one of the best trumpeters on the West Coast jazz scene, but he had an exhibitionist streak that led to a parallel career in acting and comedy. In the early 60s, he collaborated with Jack Marshall on some stand-up bits that he delivered in a laid-back drawling mumble on Oooo...But It's Good! (Capitol). In one bit, he describes his hobby, falconry. Written on paper, it's probably not the least bit funny, but when hep-cat Jack relates it, you can hear the audience rolling on the floor.

Al "Jazzbo" Collins
THE great hip DJ. Jazzbo settled in San Francisco and served to bridge the beat generation with the Haight-Ashbury scene. He broadcast from a mythical studio called the Purple Grotto, and contributed choice hip patter to several records, including a series of singles for Capitol on "Great Moments in Hipstery" and a take on Grimm's Fairy Tales for Coral. In the late 60s, he narrated a classic bit of hippy culture that must have been the inspiration for Dick Shawn's bit in "The Producers": The Power of a Flower (Impulse). All power to Jazzbo, up there in his eternal Purple Grotto.
For a great tribute to Jazzbo, check out "Jazzbo on the Radio

Don Morrow
Another DJ/TV announcer, Don Morrow, copped Jazzbo's bit and released his own interpretation of three Grimm's tales on Grimm's Hip Fairy Tales (Roulette). Morrow had to call in a merry band of New York session men, including Phil Bodner and Doc Severinson to fill up the flip-side of his disc with some imitation "swinging [Greenwich] Village jazz."

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