Released in time for Halloween, Dead Good crooks a withered finger to beckon you into a graveyard-cheatin’, midnight-creepin’ collection of crypt-kickin’ classics.
Walking a fine line between saccharin sincerity and knowing black humour, death discs were one of Rock’n’Roll’s more bizarre sidebars and a regular – if often frowned-upon – fixture on the US Pop charts from the late 50s until their peak in the mid-60s. Taking their lead from real-life events such as the untimely demises of Buddy Holly and Marilyn Monroe, or the all-too prevalent incidence of automobile fatalities, some, denied the oxygen of airplay, fell stillborn from the presses when their content careened too far into bad taste territory. Naturally this did their appeal no harm at all and many became massive hits despite the censor’s opprobrium.
With cynical 21st-century ears it’s all too easy to dismiss these records as purely kitsch and whilst some were undoubtedly blatant cash-ins, most retain a wide-eyed charm and poignancy that is almost unimaginable in today’s High Definition world. Moreover, the death disc was truly democratic, finding a home among Folk, Country, Pop, Easy Listening and R&B catalogues and eliciting heartfelt waxings from some of the era’s biggest stars. Whatever the morbid fascination, teenage tear-jerkers and tales of ghostly goings-on struck a chord with record-buyers on both sides of the Atlantic, with British producer Joe Meek behind several of the UK’s best-remembered including ‘Johnny Remember Me’.
With tongue firmly in cheek and Kleenex in hand, slip a nickel in the grim reaper’s jukebox to discover some of the best and worst of the bunch; from The Cheers’ full-throttle tale of highway terror ‘Black Denim Trousers’ to the frankly absurd ‘Transfusion’ by Nervous Norvus; Mark Dinning’s perennial weepy ‘Teen Angel’ to Cody Brennan’s magnificent ‘Tragic Honeymoon’ (possibly the only Pop song to date to include the word ‘abutment’); Chase Webster’s original version of ‘Moody River’ to Skeeter Davis’ lesser-heard ‘Tell Tommy I Miss Him’.
Available now on Fantastic Voyage!
“A Halloween treat for those who love a bit of crypt creepin’ kitsch. A perfect soundtrack for a bit of apple bobbing.” Vintage Rock
“… story-songs of teen tragedy…there is camp and kitsch appeal aplenty.” Record Collector