various artists Golden Throats 4: Celebrities Butcher the Beatles
Sacred cows are boring. So here we go--Beatles Moratorium: If you can't say anything snide about the Fab Four, then please, don't say anything at all. "I always thought Yoko Ono was the most interesting thing about the Beatles," Johnny Huston wrote last year. That's a start. And now, in the hilarious liner notes to this Golden Throats compilation, Irwin Chusid writes, "Yoko Ono was the fifth Beatle." Later, Chusid instructs that "we mustn't forget Pete Best" (he's the sixth), and then he reminds us to include "Klaatu and Badfinger who got mistaken for the Beatles" (numbers 12 and 13). Finally he gives up: "Let's face it--WE'RE ALL BEATLES."
So, when we dis the Beats, do we dis ourselves? Not if you're willing to have a little fun mucking about in our collective Beatles-inscribed pop subconscious. On Golden Throats 4, Tennessee Ernie Ford knows how to do it; he turns the faux-redemptive "Let It Be" into an anthem lugubrious enough to make Nick Cave seem perky. Speaking of which, try out Xaviera "The Happy Hooker" Hollander's orgasmic dyke-power version of "Michelle," or Theo Bikel, who should be locked up for belting out "Piggies" in the voice of a twisted farm boy.
Of the 16 songs on Golden Throats, by the likes of Bill Shatner, George Burns, and Little Joe (Pesci), none disappoint--and not just because the aesthetic rudely courts our pomo tendency to appreciate absurd shit. Think about it: If your funny bone isn't just a little tickled at the prospect of hearing Mae West cover "Day Tripper," then cut it out, dammit! Cut it out now!