Thursday, November 18, 2010

When Worlds Collide:
Pop Culture in the Late 60s and Early 70s

David “Iowahawk” Burke is the mad genius of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, and one of the most hilarious blogger-pundits in the known universe. The Iowa native and vintage car buff brought this little number to Facebook, which I myself had actually found a few years ago. It was from the "polyester era" of The Lawrence Welk Show (the early 70s would be my guess). When you hear these two kids singing Brewer and Shipley's "One Toke Over The Line," you have to wonder what got into the "Champagne Music Maker." Especially when he closes out the episode by announcing: “There you've heard a modern spiritual by Gail and Dale.”

It was here that the "Greatest Generation" was confronted with its own demon spawn, and the juxtposition manifested itself in the strangest ways in the late 60s, even on into the early 70s. This was the substance of a Facebook conversation involving several of us aging Boomers. One guy pulled out this November 1976 segment of The Mike Douglas Show. Frank Zappa appeared to promote his then-new album "Black Napkins." Here he performs a selection from the album, "Black Napkins." Notice he has to use the studio band instead of his own. The musicians union kicked some serious @$$ in those days.

From there ensues a conversation about musical influences and eclectic musical tastes, with an august panel of experts consisting of Douglas, Zappa, obligatory hip black dude Jimmie Walker, and Kenny Rogers, looking ever so sharp in his bell-bottomed zoot suit, still going through his post-sychedelic-early-disco phase. They get to see a claymation film that Zappa had produced. He may have been obscene and obnoxious, definitely controversial, but Zappa was probably one of the most astute and intelligent guys in rock at the time, even as his life was cut short from prostate cancer in 1993, at the age of 52.

“What a long strange trip it's been,” don't you think?

Or don't you?

1 comment:

Dymphna said...

I wonder if this was a prank..."Let's see what we can get past Mr. Welk?" Somebody had to know what the song was about but didn't tell him.