do the mash mutato

As everyone hip several years ago knows, those wacky musical miscegenations known as “mashups” are the not-quite-latest craze having swept the nation. What will those wild kids think up next?

Well, they didn’t really think up mashups either. Long ago, in the distant misty past, when people listened to music by leaning over and carefully placing a needle pierced through their ears into grooves engraved in a flat, round, spinning piece of plastic (or something like that), musicians only recently emerged from caves and still not entirely sold on the walking-upright thing had a different way of “mashing” songs together: they actually played and sang bits and pieces of different songs at the same time! A radical notion, to be sure – but here’s one result: Harry Nilsson’s “You Can’t Do That,” in which the gospels of John, Paul, George, and Ringo are simultaneously preached from a single pulpit.

Even in these digital days, there are those who carry on the outmoded, ancient practice known as “playing musical instruments.” One such ensemble of codgers, fuddy-dudds, and geezers curiously calls itself “The Jennifers,” even though as far as I can tell none of them is actually named “Jennifer.” Here’s their version of a beloved* hit single from the late sixties, once again mashed by hand with another song from the sixties, the results of which should have been called “Good Morning Wanna-Be Rock’n’Roll Starshine” but instead is more prosaically given the title of the more prominent song incorporated, “Good Morning Starshine.” (Note that in the chorus of that song, the original’s arcane references to some of the denser philosophical imaginings of Heidegger have been replaced by a loud guitar.)

* by which I mean “despised nearly universally”

UPDATE: I’m sure you all thought I was being coy by not mentioning the obvious, third source for that Jennifers song, right? Uh, no: I was being an idiot, an idiot who clearly has neglected certain key areas of his music collection, specifically those sections that include highly influential Stereolab CDs. D’oh! “Crest.” It’s not just a toothpaste anymore – it’s a guitar part and vocal line! (PS: Okay, so where’s the bassline in the first verse from?)

Harry Nilsson “You Can’t Do That” (Pandemonium Shadow Show 1967)
The Jennifers “Good Morning Starshine” (The Covers Project 2005)

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Now playing: The Jennifers – Good Morning, Starshine

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3 Comments

Filed under noise

3 responses to “do the mash mutato

  1. Steve

    Have you heard Wammo’s “Lowriders on the Storm”? That’s another home rolled mashup.

  2. 2fs

    No – I’ll have to check that out… Doors and War, I’m guessing?

  3. Steve

    If you have an emusic download to spare, you can get it here

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