Pat Boone just can't keep his mitts off other people's stuff. In the 50's he ripped off Little Richard and other black artists to produce watered down rock and roll that white people could listen to without turning into chest-beating savages and destroying the fabric of the family and democracy. Sound familiar? Of course it does. Every generation has its white sheep. If you want to get all spiritual about it, you could argue that without the moralists there'd be no one to piss off. And it's not just rock music that angers the moralists. The Nose by Dmitri Shostakovich was condemned as an "anarchist's grenade" and buried in the Russian archives for 40+ years after its first performances. Thank god, Pat Boone never tried opera and that he gave up heavy metal.
But I digress.
Pat Boone wasn't the first to rip off black artists. Think back to the bi-polarity of the minstrel show where white people liked black music so much that they made themselves up to look like black people because they refused to allow blacks in the theater. I remember hearing a story that Billie Holiday actually had to "dark up" for one gig because the owner thought she looked too white. Go figuh.
And so it was only a matter of time that the amazing Rev. JM Gates got his act hacked. Concern over copyright prevents me from posting his magnum opus, Death May Be Your Santa Claus (yes, it's as twisted as it sounds). As a consolation, here's a YouTube version of his Hitler and Hell sermon. You can pick up a bunch of his stuff on the marvelous Goodbye Babylon compilation. Gates perfected the art of speak-singing (I'm sure someone coined a better term for it) his sermons racheting them up to a feverish pitch and kicking the Devil's pointy tailed ass back to Hell.
Enter Barney Pierce, "the son of a farmer and fourth of thirteen children". I don't mean to sound too snarky here, after all, I'm pretty sure that Gates sold more records that Pierce did. Where I'd go to find that out, I have no idea. On the positive side, there's always some cross-over happening between cultures. That's not to say that you should ever confuse James Brown's dancing with Mick Jagger's impression of James Brown's dancing. Or that you should EVER play the Macarena EVER again.
The odd thing about Hell Bound Train is the intro, with its funereal organ and ghostly introductory doggerel. From there on out, it's a straight shot to....well...Hell. One of the charming features of the trip is the echo-chamber voice announcing the stops. Dramatic!
Some reviews from the back of the album.
- "This is the sort of material that I would like to have for usage in a long play album"
- "On WFMX Radio, Statesville, SC, I sold 440 packages of records all because of sermonette, 'Hell Bound Train'."
- "I appreciate your...recorded sermons, 'Gossip' and "Hell Bound Train'. You see, I'm a disc jockey; I play this record now and again on my country music shows and almost every time it's played it brings requests for repeats."
So, listen up, you DJs - If you want requests for repeats, Barney Pierce is gonna get the job done.
Barney Pierce - Gossip - "Sister Suspicion went over to see Mrs. Critic the other day..." It's tempting to think that Monty Python referenced this with Mrs.Premise and Mrs. Conclusion but I somehow doubt it.
Barney Pierce - The Monkey Story - "It's easier for a man to make a monkey out of himself then it is for a monkey to make a man out of himself." Obviously, Barney is a closet neo-Darwinist since otherwise he'd have said "...then it is for a monkey to make a man out of itself." This piece also argues that monkeys wouldn't go out and kill other monkeys whereas man would contradicting the whole "men are better than animals" argument. I'm just sayin'.
Barney Pierce - Mr. And Mrs Pride - They live on the High-Falutin' Avenue, in case y'all wanna stop by.