Friday, August 15, 2008

Ronnie Prophet - Eleanor Rigby  (Ronnie Prophet, 1970)

Ronnie Prophet enjoyed a brief but illustrious career as Quebec's leading square dance MC, but his biggest success came as a country music singer, and as evidenced below, the greatest one-man show that Chet Atkins ever saw (although I gotta admit Chet's handwriting is suspiciously similar to that of my uncle Dimitri, who borrowed the record last month). Incidentally, this isn't the first, nor the second, but the third cover version of 'Eleanor Rigby' that we've featured here at Ponytone, which is curious considering the original probably wouldn't crack the top 50 on my list of favorite Beatles songs. Uncle Dimitri worships it, though.


Friday, August 8, 2008

In keeping with the theme of football, let's shift our attention across the pond for a moment and take a look at its brutish American cousin. The NFL season is getting ready to start, and though we at ponytone couldn't care less where Brett Favre is playing or whether Pac Man Jones ditches his nickname or not, we are vastly interested in the goings-on of defunct teams from a bygone century.

In the late 1970s the Houston Oilers were one of the best football teams in America, due in large part to the strong coaching of Bum Phillips and the brilliant playing of Earl Campbell, a "one-man demolition team" widely recognized as one of the best running backs in NFL history.

In 1979, Bellaire Records put out an LP to honor and celebrate the Oilers' success. The album contains mostly original songs of a wide range of artists and styles, including "Houston Oiler Polka" by the Janicek Polka Band, and "I'm Proud To Be A Houston Oiler Fan" by Mike Boyd and 5000 Oiler Fans. Personally, I had high hopes for the "Houston Oiler Disco" by Donna & the Dolls, but it proved to be a disappointment. The standout tracks are two songs written and performed by Tom Cantrell. The first is a tribute to Earl Campbell, and the second is the gritty tale of a grueling battle with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

A sad footnote to the Oilers saga: Earl got injured, Bum got fired, and the franchise moved to Tennessee and changed its name to the Titans in 1997.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Justinus "Justin" Fashanu was an English footballer whose transfer to Nottingham Forest in 1981 made him Britain's first £1m black footballer. He was also the first professional footballer to publicly identify himself as gay. Sadly though, his coming out was met with a lot of hostility not only from the sports world but also his own family. His macho bore of a brother, John "Fash" Fashanu (also a professional footballer) turned his back on him, which must have been even more painful for Justin considering both brothers were abandoned by their parents at a young age. John was the only family he had.

Things got even worse in 1998 when Justin was accused of sexual assault, and even though the police dropped the allegation due to lack of evidence, Fashanu believed that he had "already been presumed guilty". He committed suicide shortly thereafter, but many believe it didn't have as much to with the allegation as it did his brother's cold-hearted rejection.

When I got this record I'd never even heard of Justin Fashanu. "A sports star who cut a record" are really the only words I need to hear and my wallet comes flying out. (Okay, the red leather outfit might've been a factor too). It's such a cool song, although now it's nearly impossible to hear it without being reminded of the tragedy that ensued.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Long-armed Ron held his beloved trumpet high as he sank to the bottom of Old Bedford River.