Let's say you've got a wholesome form of entertainment. It's a television sitcom ... about a hilarious Nazi prison camp ... starring celebrity sex fiend Bob Crane ... and future serial kisser and dirty immigrant Richard Dawson. Again, wholesome entertainment.
How would you capitalize on its success? Simple! Have the supporting actors rehash popular songs from the war! Who wouldn't want to be serenaded by the redneck private singing "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree with Anyone Else But Me?" Sure, we'd all love to hear Werner Klemperer singing "My Bratwurst Has a First Name," but apparently it just wasn't in the cards. You'll have to make due with LeBeau singing "Shoo Shoo Baby."
Good times, good times.
Alright, time for the Friday Random Ten. You know the drill. Don't make me bring Sgt. Schultz in here.
1. The Notorious B.I.G., "Hypnotize" -- Heh, I think I just made StudioDave's day. It's his secret shame, but he spends most of his time at work playing with his Biggie Smalls Action Figure. Can you blame him? 7/10
2. Nina Simone, "Feeling Good" -- Goddamn, what a great song. No one can wrench every drop of heartbreak and soul from a note from a jazz tune like Nina Simone, and this is probably her best vocal work, ever. She owns this one from beginning to end. 10/10
3. Mos Def, "Body Rock (featuring Q-Tip and Tash)" -- A light, jazzy bit of hiphop. This pairs two of my favorite vocalists with a nice catchy rhythm. Fairly solid, though a little predictable at times. 6/10
4. Hank Williams, "Hey, Good Lookin'" -- One of the all-time classic hits of country's golden era, before Nashville got a hold of the genre and shot it full of sequins and beard stubble. Actually, you can pretty much trace the decline of the country genre by following the Williams clan. Hank Sr. was an old-school legend, fitting his generation's genius. Meanwhile, his kids are a wreck. Hank Jr. is a boozy talentless sellout, and daughter Jett has pioneered the popular subgenre of lesbianish country singers. Bravo. 7/10
5. The Postal Service, "Against All Odds" -- A terrific remake of a nice piece of '80s schlock. I'll let the cast of 30 Rock do the honors. Tracy Morgan: "Dude, you did me a solid. I'm gonna make you a mix tape. You like Phil Collins?" Alec Baldwin: "I have two ears and a heart, don't I?" 9/10
6. Earth, Wind & Fire, "Serpentine Fire" -- Nobody better represents the excellent excesses of '70s disco-soul than the masters of EWF. Apparently, whenever they ran into trouble with a song, the solution was simple. More horns. And, if you listen closely, just enough cowbell. 8/10
7. James Brown, "Down and Out in New York City" -- This was the theme song to the classic blaxploitation flick Black Caesar. ("You had Black Caesar back at the crib? We coulda been rollin' with that the whole time!") The song makes more sense if you've seen the film (all the "gimme a shine, boy" comments, for instance) but it's still a scorcher. Anything associated with Fred "The Hammer" Williamson would be ubercool already, but this one wins it solely on the merits. 10/10
8. Jimmy Castor Bunch, "Hey, Leroy, Your Mama's Calling You" -- Damn, the iPod is really in a funk today. JCB songs are normally seven-minute tours through the band's bong, but this is a short and sweet number with a nice Latin rhythm. And once again, they're sticking it to Leroy. Poor bastard. 9/10
9. The Shins, "Phantom Limb" -- This is the new single from the band's forthcoming (?) sophomore album. A little more polished than the last one, with all the good and bad that entails. Pretty damn catchy, though. I think I like it. 8/10
10. Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, "13" -- A little Canadian surf rock from the band best known for doing the theme to The Kids in the Hall. Truth be told, every time I hear a song from these guys, I think we're coming back from a commerical break fora Gavin sketch. 5/10
One of my better weeks in a long long while, I'm ending up with a 7.9 average. Not too shabby.
Feel free to drop your own FRTs in the comments below, or share your own warm memories of Fred Williamson. Whatever.