Deadsplinter Up! All Night: Kazoos

Everyone can play the kazoo. It’s the great musical equalizer the same way kickball is for sports. Here’s two of my favorite kazoo interludes.

Johnny Get Angry – Joanie Sommers

Joanie Sommers reached #7 on the charts with Johnny Get Angry. The song was written by Hal David and Sherman Edwards, and features idiosyncratic production and arrangements by the great Stan Applebaum. I love how it starts out with that cool guitar riff, goes into lovely piano and string parts, and then out of nowhere a fleet of kazoos break in. Great stuff.

When I’m Dead and Gone – McGuiness Flint

When I’m Dead and Gone was the only hit for Scotland’s McGuiness Flint. In 1970, it went to #2 in the U.K. and 47 here in America. It was written by Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle who would leave the band a year later to perform as the duo Gallagher and Lyle. Their fifth record had two tracks that became hits for other artists: “Breakaway” for Art Garfunkel, and “Stay Young” which became a #1 country hit for Don Williams. Sans kazoo.

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  1. Jimi Hendrix’s Estate must be a blocker – couldn’t find a good video of the actual song with the kazoos – but here is a cover by Living Colour.

  2. Not Kazoos, but another couple of less popular instruments nowadays–fiddle & banjo.
    Learned about this one tonight, because of tweet & an article by Professor McMillan Cottom, the song is GOOD, and the explainer video EXCELLENT, as (ALWAYS!) is Professor Cottom’s “Hill People” article, over on Medium.

    The explanation;

    The original tweet, which got me there😉💖;

    And as someone who grew up poor & rural, and who fell in absolute LOVE with Minneapolis, because in my city, I see all the beauty & hard stuff from my podunk** hometown, just on a grander scale–both for the good AND the bad here,  Tyler’s words are 100% legit.
    I see the EXACT same things *here* that happen back home–just like Tyler mentioned seeing the parallels,  between what Black folks deal with, and the kind of crap the Hill folks down in Appalachia have faced for generations now.
    Crushing cycles of poverty, but folks doing their best & working their hardest in spite of that… Drugs, and the crime that comes off the desperation from poverty & drugs… smart, GOOD, people, who are busting ass, trying to make their community a better place… cops who patrol it, but who DON’T live there, and who harass the locals, because they see them as easy places to raise some funds/meet their quotas… educational systems where teachers are overworked & underpaid, with plenty of young/rookie teachers, some really GOOD tenured teachers–often stretched thin–and at the other end, folks close to retirement, tenured, and just coasting until they can check out physically as well as mentally (which they’ve already done!)… BEAUTIFUL natural spaces, with lakes, creeks, and bog-land *right here* waiting to be explored & appreciated… lack of access to Healthcare, for too many, even though we live in a state with some of the best Healthcare practitioners in the whole damn WORLD (literally!!! Folks come to MN from other COUNTRIES for care–including folks the Dali Lama and Kings/Queens/Princes from the Middle East!)… 
    Here, in my city, and my hometown, I can see the parallel paths–just like Tyler sees them in his hometown & home state.
    Thing is, too many folks DON’T see the similarities, they get stuck on the visual differences–like City/Rural, and BIPOC/white, and they get stopped/stuck, because they think those superficial differences are HUGE ones.
    The visuals get them *stuck,* and those folks buy the message being sold to them–that, “These people are NOT like YOU!!!”–and they don’t look further, or dig deeper…
    Perhaps because it’s hard to find time, when every day’s a struggle or a hustle…
    Some, probably don’t dig further, out of fear… 
    And the rich folks profiting off the systems in BOTH places, are also not helping with the narratives.
    I swear to God, if I could EVER get folks in both the rural areas AND the city to SEE, really honestly see, that we have more in common with each other, than separating us, and if we could FINALLY band together, we’d run the whole damn show.
    But, instead, the powerful folks–who often live in the largest homes in both places–OR in the big suburban homes–keep on managing to play us against each other–as “Urban vs. Rural!!!” And short-shaft ALL of us, while *they* rake in all the funds & societal benefits.

    By “Podunk” I mean SMALL. Not “backward” really, just TINY. My hometown has right around 250 people… 30, give or take, are my direct family, and a BUNCH of other families could be considered “distant relatives by marriage,” after a couple of *my* cousins’ cousins married into the families of classmates I went to Kindergarten with.

    We’re not talking *quite* the proverbial “family tree with one, straight, trunk”😉 but it IS tiny, and… well, they’re GONNA need tostart marrying *out* of the region up there, in the next couple generations–or they’re definitely gonna be heading on into Habsburg Jaw territory, at about generations 3 & 4 from now😉😆🤣

  3. And because I can’t think of a single ‘Jovi song with a kazoo… but the original one of this song has Richie’s MOST famous use of the Talkbox, i present you all with THIS…. lovely(?) tune;


  4. I heard part of Country Joe and the Fish’s Vietnam song a couple of days ago and I think it has a kazoo in it, but I refuse to check because that song is so annoying.
    Anyway, Happy Boy by the Beat Farmers:


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