Year: 2021
Original Format: mp3

Ringo in the “Back Off Boogaloo” video, looking like the world’s grooviest Yeti.

The nice thing about the “& Pranksters” part of this concept is that if you loosen your mind enough, you can squeeze in just about anything. I took some liberties here but the result sounds pretty damn good, to my ear at least.


Old Gangsters Never Die (excerpt) The Sinister Ducks
“Sinister Ducks consisted of Alan [Moore], myself and Alex Green, a saxophonist. Also there was a floating member, (no pun intended!) Glynn Bush, who now is with Rockers Hi-Fi. We did two performances. Alan’s role was chief provocateur. He came on dressed like a head waiter — penguin suit — and heavy leather motorcycle gloves. We performed the two pieces that’d we recorded, ‘March of the Sinister Ducks’ and ‘Old Gangsters Never Die.‘” —David J

Black Raoul The Jazz Butcher Conspiracy
I see that the Butcher just did a show last week in Preston (England), which leads me to hold out hope that I may one day have the privilege of seeing him again. Maybe he’ll even do this song, which as far as I can tell is about a cat, and somehow fits in perfectly here.

Angel Face Ennio Morricone Feat. Maurizio Graf
I recently watched the movie this is from — Una Pistola per Ringo, a.k.a. A Gun for Ringo — and found it very entertaining. It’s full of energy and moves along smartly, in contrast to the Sergio Leone movies, which are beautiful to look at but take forever. It’s also a Christmas movie, so there may be another viewing come December.

Back Off Boogaloo Ringo Starr
Back off Boogaloo is a tribute song to Ringo’s long-time friend Marc Bolan, who was the lead singer and guitarist for the glam rock back T. Rex. Ringo explained on the program VH1 Storytellers that Marc ‘was an energised guy. He used to speak: “Back off boogaloo … ooh you, boogaloo.” “Do you want some potatoes?” m“Ooh you, boogaloo!”’ Many critics and music commenters think that there are darker meanings to Back Off Boogaloo and that the track was a targeted attack on his former bandmate Paul McCartney. This theory stems from Ringo’s public criticism of Paul’s solo albums. The lyrics ‘Wake up, meathead, Don’t pretend that you are dead, Get yourself up off the cart’ are supposedly meant to be a plea for Paul to make better music. Moreover, the lyrics ‘Get yourself together now, And give me something tasty, Everything you try to do, You know it sure sounds wasted’ is meant to be a dig at Ringo’s feeling that Paul is too wasted on cannabis use and sounded wasted in his recordings. Ringo has repeatedly stated that the song has nothing to do with Paul and instead simply is a fun song.” —

Murder in My Heart for the Judge Moby Grape
“In the end, after the book has been thrown by the mean old judge, the guitars take over. There’s a solo in one speaker, while the rhythm guitars remain slightly disjointed, like they can’t believe they’re going to spend the rest of their lives in the joint. Then suddenly one of them thinks ‘fuck it’ and launches into a solo the other speaker, just as the drums start kicking into a short sharp rave up that just as you think is going to take off gets slammed shut behind the jail guitar doors.” —Jim Connelly, Certain Songs

When They Come to Murder Me Black Francis
“For this album, Black Francis wrote around the idea of demi gods, starting with Cú Chulainn of Eire, who apparently had seven fingers and seven toes on each hand and foot. [Says BF:] ‘It’s stripped down, minimal soloing, short, to the point, good for 20 minutes at a high rate of speed to get you the fuck out of town if only just.’” —Demon Music

Gun Siouxsie and the Banshees
Does it make me a Philistine that I prefer Siouxsie’s streamlined, popped-up version to John Cale’s sprawling, unsettling original? Well, so be it.

Vocal Projection (excerpt) Coyle & Sharpe
I just this moment discovered that there are — sweet Jaysus — 100 episodes of a Coyle & Sharpe podcast, which I guess I now have to listen to. Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop smoking meth.

Gun Problem Railroad Jerk
“With an intriguing declaration — ‘Well I’m hi-fi and I’m low-brow/I’m history but you know I’ll make it somehow’ — [Marcellus] Hall kicks the band into gear on One Track Mind, a dandy album that can’t decide whether it wants to be loved, hated, feared or simply ignored. Coming on like a post-punk resurrection of the Band or a scum-rock Beggars Banquet but too singular and erratic to characterize, the record uses Hall’s acidly ironic intelligence and gritty singing as an accessible spindle in ‘Gun Problem,’ ‘The Ballad of Railroad Jerk,’ ‘Home=Hang,’ ‘Zero Blues’ and other tracks.” —Ira Robbins, Trouser Press

Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun Beastie Boys
“In their irresponsible, exemplary way they make fun of drug misuse, racism, assault and other real vices fools might accuse them of.” —Robert Christgau

Fight Them Back Steve Mason
Of all the songs on my shortlist for this mix, this is the one I was most dubious about. It’s a nasty little piece of work; I kept trying to leave it out and it kept insisting on being included, and eventually I just surrendered.

Zilch (excerpt) The Monkees
Mistadobalina Del the Funkyhomosapien
I remember being mind-blown, some years ago, to learn that the hook to Del’s song was lifted from a Monkees record, of all things. I may never have entirely recovered.

He My Cousin, Man/It Was a Good Day Ice Cube
The first bit here is from Del’s I Wish My Brother George Was Here, which Cube — yes, they are indeed cousins — produced. That led me to think of “It Was a Good Day,” and how could I resist?

One comment on “Gangsters & Pranksters III, Part 3

  • Dr.+Von+Funk+Nyugen

    In college, I had a cassette tape player that had misaligned heads that caused whatever was on the other side of what I was listening to to bleed through, backward.
    I was listening to Back Off Boogaloo and on the other side was a Led Zepplin song and I heard something that to me sounded like the words My sweet Satan.
    I took the tape to my Rock History teacher all cued up to what I told him were backward masked satanic lyrics and told him to play it, all he heard was Back Off Boogaloo.
    He thought I was being a smart ass and trying to make some clever critique of his class.
    I think I passed that class.

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