Thursday, September 02, 2010

Of Course, It's Also True That the Word "Duck" is 3/4 Obscene

An interesting and alarming postscript to last week's tribute to the artistry of Stephen Friedland, AKA Brute Force:

From an Apple Corps. press release, also last week:
Come and Get It: The Best Of Apple Records, a 21-track compilation of singles, ranging from the folk-rooted tunes of Mary Hopkin and James Taylor, to the energetic rock of Badfinger (also The Iveys) and Jackie Lomax, to the deep soul of Doris Troy and Billy Preston, will also be released in the physical and digital marketplace on October 25th 2010. Among the tracks will be "King Of Fuh" by Brute Force. Brute Force is a New York songwriter and this single was championed by John Lennon and George Harrison, but ‘Fuh’ rhymes with ‘Uh’, and "The Fuh King’ was therefore banned back in 1969....

Brute Force - King of Fuh .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine
And yes, this was a real record. Really released (sort of) on Apple.

But here's Mr, uh, Force himself with the backstory (from an interview over at his website):
I had a girlfriend, Joanna. We were both at Monmouth College (now University) in West Long Branch, NJ. Around 1965, I moved to NYC. Joanna also moved to NYC, and by that time had met and hooked up with Tom Dawes. He was a member of The Cyrkle, who toured with the Beatles in the mid sixties, and were managed by Nat Weiss, a friend of Brian Epstein. I wrote a poem which turned into the lyrics, then composed a melody around 1967. Through Joanna I met her then-husband, Tom. Tom and I got to be friends and he said some good words about me to John Simon, who had been recording The Cyrkle for Columbia. I went to Columbia, played some songs live for John and that led to the, I, Brute Force, Confections of Love album. When I recorded “King of Fuh,” late ’68, I got the idea to bring a tape to him and see if he could get it to Nat and, who knows, maybe the Beatles. Well, that’s just what happened. A 1/4″ mix of the multitrack session of “King of Fuh,” recorded at Olmstead Recording Studios, was given to Tom. He brought it to Nat, who, I have learned, played it for George Harrison. George thought it was great, and he added strings from the London Philharmonic and kicked up the drums a bit. They released Apple 8 in May 1969, but Capitol/EMI censored it.
Words fail me.


pete said...

The 20th Century is really over.

Edward said...

Produced by The Tokens?

THE Tokens?

steve simels said...

The very same.

Gummo said...

OMG, never head the song OR the story, but that's just wonderful.

A reminder that Apple, now one of the most repressive & regressive forces in the music biz, started out as a big slaphappy middle finger to that very business.

mister muleboy said...


king hell


the king of fuh

all in one week.

simels, you are the man!

steve simels said...

The very OLD man, just to be accurate.

Noam Sane said...

It's hard to understand why they would spend time and effort promoting something so doofy. But, they did get the best drugs in the business back then.

Speaking of doofy and Beatles, there's this

"Ringo, make the face!"

Anonymous said...

so here's a question: how does a young guy, even a quasi-successful novelty recording artist like Friedland (no disrespect there, just trying to make a point), get his demo played for, accepted by, and issued by the Beatles' label, only to have it censored at the last minute, and then not have a major nervous breakdown? Equanimity? Denial? Drugs?


steve simels said...

Noam -- you need to put this in context.

The taboo about the F-word was a lot stronger in those days, and flaunting it was, believe it or not, a kind of serious statement.

The record's still doofy, for sure, but in 1969 it meant something a tad different than it does now.

Cf: Norman Mailer, The Fugs, et al.

Gummo said...

Blogger Noam Sane said...
Speaking of doofy and Beatles, there's this

OMG, that's hysterical!

Peter said...

Also speaking of puns, language-based naughtiness, and "people will record anything", here's an Australian contribution:

Doug Mulray - "You Are Soul" (1986)

My verification word was "dembut". Does that qualify as slightly naughty?

Anonymous said...

Bar/None Records is reissuing I, Brute Force, Confections of Love w/ King of Fuh as an xtra track on October 12