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Right-wing Rock

December 7, 2007

If the Halloween collections didn’t scare the shit out of you, this will. Taylor Parkes, one of Britain’s finest music journalists, has compiled a “Right-wing Rock” album designed to make you gasp and shake your head in utter astonishment until it spins and falls off into a strategically placed bucket of bile. And, quality man he is, Taylor has made his mix available to Touched Mix. He even designed a cover, in case anybody would like to display this comp in their CD collection! His liner notes follow below. Just to make it clear, though, this album may not be downloaded by people who actually believe in the noxious messages these songs convey. Neither Taylor nor the Touched Mix crowd endorse these messages in any shape or form.

1. THE RIGHT BROTHERS – Bush Was Right
World-class suckers The Right Brothers might not know what “cognitive dissonance following disconfirmed expectancy” means, but if they look it up they may just find a picture of themselves. MTV’s decision not to playlist this song proved, according to the Brothers, that it is guilty of liberal bias; presumably, this also applies to the countless Clear Channel rock stations who also didn’t play it. Derisive nyah-nyah-na-nyah-nyah guitar riff recalls the theme to 1980s ITV kids show “Your Mother Wouldn’t Like It”. France? WRONG!

2. ROBIN & CRYSTAL BERNARD – The Monkey Song
Creationist singalong from reverend’s daughters Robin & Crystal, captured from old-tyme radio by “the miracle of recording”. Until a few years ago, this would have sounded hilariously archaic. Crystal, incidentally, remained in show business, appearing as KC Cunningham in Happy Days, and later as Helen in the bafflingly long-running US sitcom Wings. She also continued to make records, whose nauseatingly pious content suggests she never did renounce that “Monkey Song” sentiment.

3. THE STRAWBS – Part Of The Union
It’s perhaps the perfect punishment for The Strawbs that this piss-taking dirge was adopted by British trade unionists and sung lustily on freezing picket lines for more than a decade, without a trace of irony. It’s also quite satisfying that it completely overshadows the rest of their output, which would otherwise have attained cult status but is now eschewed by self-respecting rock fans since The Strawbs are, forever more, just those “Part Of The Union” guys. True poetic justice would have the ex-Strawbs currently eking out a living in de-unionised jobs with no workers’ rights; sadly, they used to make a lot of money playing Tory cabaret nights, so they’re probably not.

4. JANEEN BRADY – Free Enterprise
Mormon horror Janeen Brady churned out a welter of kiddy-indoctrinating claptrap in the 1980s, but this catchy ode to capitalism leads the field in sheer strangeness. From the poorly-illustrated disc-and-book set “Take Your Hat Off When The Flag Goes By”.

5. THE CHARLIE DANIELS BAND – A Few More Rednecks
It’s a long way from “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” to this pig-eyed slop, a fine example of just how successful the American Right has been in convincing the working class that hardcore conservatism stands up for them against a moneyed Leftist “elite”. The indisputably talented, Darwin-hating Mr Daniels – whose latter-day blog is a nightmare of ultra-right rhetoric – gives it his best shot (“You intellectuals may not like it, but there’s nothing you can do”), and makes a holy fool of himself.

6. THE EXXON SINGERS – America’s Way
The corporate anthem – fist-chewing propaganda song voiced by hack session singers or, sometimes, actual employees of the company concerned – is still de rigeur for the self-respecting multinational, but they don’t make them like this anymore. While most corporate anthems simply bang the drum for whichever company put up the money, The Exxon Singers branch out into fully-fledged paeans to rapacious capitalism, as in this unparalleled tooth-grinder. They were sometimes more strident (see track 17), but the wobbly, overblown schmaltz of “America’s Way” has a charm all of its own.

7. THE SPOKESMEN – Dawn Of Correction
“Maybe you can’t vote boy, but man your battle stations.” This conservative answer song to Barry McGuire’s “Eve Of Destruction” wasn’t a big hit, but it’s arguably a lot more enjoyable than the ludicrously earnest original. Much has changed since then, of course – check out those anachronistic props for the UN. The sleeve notes are inspiring: “The Spokesmen are aptly named, for they represent the voice of a generation that has endured many and frequent changes, a generation that hovers on the dawn of a new and better tomorrow, with promises of many more changes. But there is good reason to feel strong confidence in the future so long as there remains the youthful optimism of tomorrow’s leaders, as expressed in the words and music of THE SPOKESMEN.”

8. VICTOR LUNDBERG – An Open Letter To My Teenage Son
Victor was a radio newscaster from Michigan who got the bright idea that a spoken-word album of reactionary diatribes set to stirring patriotic music might go down well in the summer of love; this fatherly message starts off reasonably enough, then builds to a ghastly climax. There was actually a glut of these records in the late 60s and 70s (see track 19): see also “These Things I Believe”, by the fictional John Calhoun, which sits proudly in Homer Simpson’s record collection. Mr Calhoun would presumably have taken his name from the Confederate icon, in the manner of Stonewall Jackson, whose pro-war – any war – “The Minute Men Are Turning In Their Graves” narrowly missed out on inclusion here.

9. JOHN LENNON (via LINDA POLLEY) – Hussein’s Butt Song
Linda Polley and her husband Gerald are self-professed visitors from another planet, now living in North Dakota, who also claim to be psychics channeling the songs of John Lennon from the afterlife. It seems that in death, Lennon has abandoned his anti-establishment stance and joined the Religious Right, returning to a “back to basics” style based around Casio keyboard and nursery-rhyme phrasing, on exciting new songs such as this jaunty tribute to American military power. All things considered, it’s a shame the other three Beatles didn’t reform to record a backing track for this, rather than the comparatively dreary “Free As A Bird”.

10. TOBY KEITH – Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue (The Angry American)
Merle Haggard prodigy Toby Keith, The Confused American. Possibly the high water mark of Right Wing Rock, this gutbucket growl was a radio sensation back in the days of Shock And Awe, and stands, arms folded, way beyond parody. The idea of the line here “somewhere in the back” not appearing in the original draft of the lyrics as “somewhere in Iraq” is utterly inconceivable. Still, in its way, this record is surely as magnificent as it is horrific.

11. KPMG – Our Vision Of Global Strategy
Who could fail to love many-tentacled accountancy and financial services firm KPMG, whose vision of global strategy involves acting as independent auditors for Accenture, Burger King, Deutsche Bank, BMW, American Express, Nestle, Bertelsmann Media Group, Citgo and Halliburton, and the surreptitious creation of illegal tax shelters in order to assist various corporate clients in dodging two and a half billion dollars in taxation? Here is their stirring corporate anthem.

12. MERLE HAGGARD – The Fightin’ Side Of Me
“Okie From Muskogee” was deliberately over the top, but the gyppy old jailbird means every word of this one. Don’t run down his country, hoss!

13. THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY – Four Jolly Labourmen
In the run-up to the 1964 General Election, “The Conservative & Unionist Party Central Office” issued “Songs For Swinging Voters”, a six-track flexidisc of anti-Labour singalongs. Not a single positive word for Alec Douglas-Home, but much mirth at Harold Wilson’s mac (and a sideswipe at Jo Grimond for good measure). This hearty satire of the soon-to-be Government may be the only popular song in history to namecheck Dick Crossman.

14. THE JAM – Time For Truth
Essentially the same as the previous track, but with swearing. “Whatever happened to the Great Empire?” fumes Tory voter Paul Weller (aged 18 and a half). The answer is that Jim Callaghan’s Labour government have “turned it into manure”, while simultaneously creating a “police state”, in order to “rule our bodies and minds” (considering the Home Secretary at this point was Merlyn Rees, this might have made some sense had The Jam hailed from Belfast rather than Woking). While The Clash were mashing up Trotsky and Baader-Meinhof, The Jam’s early stabs at political pop seem to be informed largely by what Paul heard his dad grumbling about at breakfast over a dog-eared copy of The Sun.

15. MORMON KIDS SING – I Want To Be A Mother
Nothing inherently reactionary about motherhood, of course, but you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise after listening to “Mormon Kids Sing”, an LP whose title guarantees Mormon-only sales as surely as if they’d called it “Everyone Who Isn’t A Mormon Can Fuck Off”. The Phyllis Schlafly-style agenda peeps through by the second stanza.

16. JACKIE DOLL & HIS PICKLED PEPPERS – When They Drop The Atomic Bomb
While US forces battle it out in Korea, Jackie Doll has a plan to put an end to the Cold War once and for all – but heaven knows what Hawkeye Pierce would have made of it. Anyway, Jackie had the last laugh, because not only are his ideas back in fashion, but this infectious bluegrass still sounds great.

17. THE KINKS – Get Back In Line
More union-bashing from 1970s England, but at least this time it’s a beautiful song. Part working class rebel, part old-school conservative, Ray Davies wouldn’t be quite so fascinating without his occasional lapses into Little Englanderism; one would think this anti-union line stems more from a distaste for demagogy than genuine political feeling, but it’s hard to say for sure. In all honesty, when the music is as good as this, it’s also hard to care.

18. THE EXXON SINGERS – Efficiency
Way out of their jurisdiction, The Exxon Singers hold forth on the evils of big government and the unimpeachable majesty of laissez-faire economics. Truly chilling.

19. THE NEW CREATION – Sodom And Gomorrah
Socially-illiberal Christian rock from Vancouver – lyrically, this could be the squarest record in history, but the spooky combination of tone-deaf geeks who sound like they’re trying to sing without waking up the kids, and what could almost be the young Lou Reed playing guitar, makes this a tiny classic. Doing the one-guitar-and-drums thing years before The White Stripes (and indeed, looking rather like an ultra-unhip version of them), The New Creation rock, somehow. You probably wouldn’t have bothered with their after-show party, though.

20. CHARLES ASHMAN – An American’s Answer (To Gordon Sinclair)
“An American’s Answer To Gordon Sinclair” is not a retort to the star of Gregory’s Girl, but to “The Americans (A Canadian’s Opinion)”, a 1974 novelty record by a Canadian radio presenter which spawned about 10 cover versions, a handful of parodies and countless answer songs, including this one. Gordon Sinclair’s pro-US tract – a booming on-air rant backed with “The Battle Hymn Of The Republic” – is historically selective, but not really right wing as such; in his whitewashing reply, Charles Ashman’s appraisal of post-war America strays so far into the realms of patriotic fantasy it could be a Washington Times editorial. I’m pretty sure this is not the same Charles Ashman who wrote a series of paperback exposés of links between the CIA and the Mafia in the 1970s. Despite the aural evidence, it definitely isn’t Phil Hartman.

21. LEROY VAN DYKE – Mister Professor
“Mister Professor, you’re well educated, I know…” Can’t you just feel that “but” coming? Country sub-legend Leroy is wary of fancy book-learning, because he’s heard that the American college system is a nest of commie vipers. Just the strangled delivery of the words “poor working slobs” is enough to make a dead dog smile.

22. THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY – Nationalisation Nightmare
Nothing like a poor analogy for ramming home the point. Those singing Tories are back to make the case for privatisation in the lamest way imaginable, armed with their bizarre belief that privately-owned business is seamlessly efficient and entirely free of bureaucracy. The football theme, faux-prole accent and nursery-rhyme backing make it easy for the lerr clarses to understand. One is tempted to suggest that Labour’s 1964 election victory can perhaps be traced directly to Songs For Swinging Voters.

23. GILBERT O’SULLIVAN – A Woman’s Place
Drip-rock pioneer Gilbert is all for a woman who can make it on her own, but…

24. JOHN LENNON (via LINDA POLLEY) – Vote Republican
Another posthumous Lennon classic, brought to us by the redoubtable Linda Polley, this time explaining the spiritual consequences of voting Democrat in the 2004 election. “Jesus won’t take his throne, cos Hillary is such a witch!” reveals John / Linda. “If you want to have a world left, there’s something that I’d strongly suggest! / If you want there to be Heaven, you’d better vote Republican!” Thankfully, the American electorate chose to heed Lennon’s message, and cosmic catastrophe was averted. But for how long? “Don’t you know, the Democrats are really really in a fix / Their leaders are even accusing President Bush of playing dirty politics!”

25. THE BEATLES – Taxman
This track’s electrifying brilliance is undimmed, but so is the Daily Mail-reading repulsiveness of its message. Yes, the top rate of tax in mid-60s Britain looks like a misprint, and yes, it must have hurt like hell for nouveau-riche scruffbags like The Beatles. Nonetheless, the fact that George Harrison wrote his famous gripe at having to contribute towards schools and hospitals while sitting next to the swimming pool of his Esher mansion does leave a distinctly un-fab taste in the mouth.

26. JANET GREENE – Commie Lies
Fired as Cinderella on WCPO’s Krusty-tastic “Uncle Al Lewis Show” for refusing a trip to the casting couch, Janet Greene became involved with anticommunist profiteer Fred Schwarz, and was relaunched in 1964 as the anti-Joan Baez, a singing figurehead for Schwarz’ Christian Anti-Communism Crusade. Here’s how the CACC’s own newsletter reviewed one Greene performance: “In a way it wouldn’t be sporting to compare her to most female ‘protest’ folk singers, because Janet has a number of unfair advantages. For one thing she looks like a girl. Not many female protest singers can say that. And that may be what they are really protesting against, deep down… Janet does things that most protest folk singers wouldn’t dream of. Like taking a bath. And like wearing clean clothes and dressing neatly and being legally married and having legitimate children and loving her country.” In 1964, she was fortunate enough to share a bill with both Ronald Reagan and The Goldwaters.

27. THE GOLDWATERS – What Have You Done?
In a deranged attempt to whip up support for Barry Goldwater’s doomed 1964 presidential bid, the owners of a Nashville radio station took four smug, unfunny fratboys and moulded them into The Goldwaters, satirical right-wing folk sensation and general pain the ass. Their one LP, The Goldwaters Sing Folk Songs To Bug The Liberals (plastered throughout with the same Top Cat laughter track heard here) supposedly sold 200,000 copies, and was enough to secure them a tour of political meetings and Young Republicans’ jive parties. “Give this album to one of your liberal ‘friends’,” suggests the sleeve notes. “No doubt you will convert a liberal!”

28. KEITH EVERETT – Conscientious Objectors
Vietnam-era garage-folk sensation Keith Everett lays into snivelling conchies, sounding mad as hell. Almost nothing is known about Keith (he’s not the guy who turns up when you Google his name, anyway), but his effortless rhyming shall live long in the memory.

29. L’IL MARKIE – Diary Of An Unborn Child
Evangelist Mark Ford’s nauseating creation “L’il Markie” is usually somewhat chirpier than this, but here he goes in for some serious zygote anthropomorphism and ends up with what is possibly the grimmest record in the history of the world. It goes exactly where you think it’s going. And then, with the closing refrain, it goes somewhere even worse.

30. THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY – John Citizen (version two)
Well, there it is.

Download link 1 (Megaupload)
Download link 2 (Rapidshare)
Download link 3 (YouSendIt)

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12 comments

  1. This is a delightfully shameful collection, and i am sure others will also make recommendations for a volume II. Might i request Hughie greene’s “Stand up and be Counted”, a toe-curling 1970s call to arms against lefties, unions, darkies complete with a military beat and patriotic sounding music. It must have been the origin of the ‘rap’ in the middle of the Tom Robinson Band’s “Power in the Darkness”, and i heard it as the intro tape to a Boomtown rats concert 30 years ago. Hughie Greene, arch moralist that he was, was the secret father of paula Yates, having knocked up his married mistress.


  2. […] Did the Strawbs really play Tory fundraisers and if anyone has a copy of number 13, can they get it on the Interweb quickly please. Right wing rock. […]


  3. […] 8, 2007 Attention, downloaders! Music writer Taylor Parkes has come up with a compilation of “Right-wing Rock” songs which shows that winger musicians may be better than winger comedians, but only just. From the […]


  4. […] “Dawn of Correction,” an “answer” to “Eve of Destruction”), this is a disc every winger can love, embrace, shoot with his multiple firearms or throw into the fire because […]


  5. “The Exxon Singers”? Wow. With a name like that…


  6. […] Right-wing Rock Taylor Parkes, one of Britain’s finest music journalists, has compiled a “Right-wing Rock” album designed to make you gasp and shake your head in utter astonishment until it spins and falls off into a strategically placed bucket of bile. (tags: conservative rock music funny rightwing) […]


  7. […] Right-wing Rock « Touched Mix […]


  8. Another good addition would have been Sammy Hagar’s VOA, from his 1984 album of the same name.


  9. Wow, if you have gotten nothing else wrong, your take on Get Back In Line is so far off base that I wonder if you EVER listened to the Kinks before.

    Ray Davies was always a champion of the working man. The working man versus government, the working man versus corporations, the working man versus big labor.

    England isn’t the United States. Taking a stand against unions is not the same as being a Republican Conservative. The government, the corporations, the unions, the Conservative Party have always been part of the mechanism for enforcing the class system in England, for keeping the working man in line.

    The Kinks, and many, if not most, of their fans, are (or have been) Liberal, Democrat or Independent.

    God Save the Kinks, Again!


  10. From what I understand “Part of The Union” was written by Richard Hudson and John Ford. Dave Cousins is the manin songwriter of The Strawbs The song itself was not characteristic of their overall sound and shortly after it became a hit? Hudson and Ford left to form Hudson Ford. Also as Dave Tomilnson said British Conservatives are different from American Conservative. As a Teamster I don’t always agree with my union. It is a bit more nuanced. Not a criticism at all but just a comment. BTW I can’t stand the Right Brothers and really they should not complain because they don’t play music PERIOD! on MTV.


  11. Your take on Taxman is harsh. The tax rate in 1960s England is more than a misprint, it discouraged the creation of wealth to some degree, which in turn discouraged the creation of jobs, which in turn discouraged the collection of more taxes.

    So be careful what you wish for.

    Besides, the entire rest of the Beatles catalog is anything but.


  12. […] fantastic collection of Right-Wing Rock (whence I borrowed the Linda Polley thing), go HERE . Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)The Originals Vol. 14Love hurtsSongs of love and […]



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