Tuesday, September 21, 2004

hipsters, flipsters and finger-poppin' daddies

Hipsters, flipsters and finger-poppin' daddies,
Knock me your lobes!
I came here to lay Caesar out,
Not to hip you to him.
The bad jazz that a cat blows
Wails long after he's cut out,
The groovy is often stashed with their frames.
So don't put Caesar down...."
What a gas! Willie the Shake flipping wigs once again in this wild, crazy, "hipsemantic" translation of Marc Antony's funeral oration. And what sweet, swingin' stud laid this beautiful jazz down? None other than Lord Richard Buckley - a far out, wailin', nonstop, groovy gasser who stomped virtually unknown through the pages of history. He was known to ridicule an unhip audience, and was not adverse to doing his act with a joint dangling from his lips.
The story of Christ, otherwise known as "The Nazz":

"...and I dig all you cats out there whippin' and whalin' and jumpin' up and down and suckin' up that fine juice, and pattin' each other on the back and tellin' each other who the greatest cat in the woild is. Mr. Malenkoff, Mr. Dalenkoff, Mr. Eisenhower, Woozinweezin, Weisenwoozer, and Mr. Woodhill and Mr. Beechhill and Mr. Churchhill and all them Hills, they gonna get it straight. If they can't straighten it they know a cat that knows a cat that's gonna get it straight. Well, I'm gonna put a cat on you was the sweetest, gonist, wailinest cat that ever stomped on this sweet swingin' sphere. And they call this here cat...the Nazz, that was the cat's name. He was a carpenter kitty. Now the Nazz was the kind of a cat that come on so wild, and so sweet, and so strong and so with it, that when he laid it -WHAM - it stayed there..."

Lord Buckley left behind a substantial, if generally unknown, legacy. Honey Bruce in her autobiography says, "Lenny did vocal impressions of famous stars, but I believe he learned he could use his voice to create many comedy characters from his experiences with Lord Buckley. With Lenny's talents there was no problem coming up with the voices, but it was the dear Lord Buckley who did it first."

Larry Storch, Jonathan Winters, Whoopi Goldberg, and Robin Williams have acknowledged their debt to him. Henry Miller, Greer Garson, and Charlie Parker were some of his admirers. Frank Sinatra was his friend, until His Lordship supposedly marched sixteen naked people through the lobby of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel where Sinatra was performing.

George Harrison's 1977 hit song "Crackerbox Palace" was indeed named after Buckley's tiny Hollywood dwelling. The Mr. Greif referred to in the song was once Buckley's manager, and "...the Lord is well inside of you..." refers to the earthly, not the heavenly, divinity. Jimmy Buffett has recorded and performed an original Buckley number called "God's Own Drunk."

Bob Dylan fell in love with "Black Cross," the story of a black man who is lynched for his supposed lack of religious beliefs. Written by a Cleveland poet named Joseph Newman, it was one of the few works Buckley recited in its original form. Dylan performed "Black Cross" in concert and two bootleg recordings from 1961 and 1962 do exist. If you look closely at the cover of Dylan's album, Bringing It All Back Home, you will see a copy of Buckley's album, The Best of Lord Buckley (Crestview), on the mantle over the fireplace. And Frank Zappa edited His Lordship's LP, a most immaculately hip aristocrat, when he was sixteen years old.