One of the saddest thing about our move from records to tapes to CDs to digital is that so many great singers, songs and songwriters have gotten lost in the shuffle. Sure, you can find most things now with a quick Googling, an online swipe of the credit card, and voila! But as a music lover, there is a certain thrill of the chase that has been lost, and unfortunately, the recordings that didn’t manage to make the leap into the digital future are even harder to come by these days.Image via Flickr user Dok1
And so, one of the things I love most about Janet Klein & Her Parlor Boys is that they’ve brought so many great songs of the roaring twenties kicking and screaming (and sounding amazing) into the new millennium. These are incredibly talented modern musicians doing fantastic renditions of songs that might not otherwise be heard anymore. Hooray!
Case in point: the fantastically naughty “How Could Red Riding Hood (Have Been So Very Good)” from their album ‘Janet Klein’s Scandals: Living In Sin’. Recordings of this song are hard to find, even via the internet, and it’s a shame, because it is fabulous. And filthy! In a fantastic way. First published in 1926, it was one of the first songs to be banned from radio play due to its suggestiveness. And… um… no wonder:
Father and Mother… she had none.
So where in the world did the money come from?
Please let me ask it : who filled her basket?
The story books, they never tell….
Now they say that she found a great big wolf in Granny’s bed…
And he had a great big sunbonnet pulled down over his head…
…but you know and I know what she must have found instead!
How could Red Riding Hood have been so very good
And still keep the wolf from the door?
So yes, I’m a big fan of all of Janet Klein’s albums, both for her song selections (and there are COUNTLESS gems, seriously, it is like a nonstop gem factory) and the music itself: she plays a mean ukelele, and is backed by incredible musicians. Their albums are wonderful all by themselves, but they’re also the perfect gateway to lesser-heard music of the 20s and 30s: an ideal way to discover new songs and create a jumping off point to search out original artists and recordings.