November 2005 Archives
A final update on the intrigue surrounding “Joyce,” the subject of and artiste behind what is widely regarded as the world’s worst album cover. Nick DiFonzo, whose excellent Bizarre Records site is the original disseminator of the Joyce cover, confirms that the lady pictured (circa 1983) is indeed Joyce Drake, a pastor’s wife from Sealy, Texas. He even includes this sound clip from Joyce’s hot C&W-style track “I Get All Excited.” Reader Ed Davis of Flint, Michigan, had wondered in a previous post precisely “what it would be that would get Joyce ‘all excited.’” Ed, now we know that what gets Joyce excited is “when you talk about the love of Jesus”!
As for Mark Newnham of Denver, who had speculated that the “Joyce” of the album cover was the British actress Maureen Lipman dressed in character as music-hall oddity Joyce Grenfell... well, the crow-eating, humble-pie-consuming Newnham contacted us to say, “After listening to [the Bizarre Records clip], I’ll withdraw this. The song is clearly a religious one... and Maureen Lipman is well-known as a Jewish actress, also being the wife of the late director Jack Rosenthal.”
We now conclude our diversion into obscure Christian records and the history of British Jewish musical theater and return to our regular Rock Snob programming.November 28, 2005 More Rock Snobbery »
Our offices piled high with CDs, our iPods loaded to 40 GB capacity, we are truly blessed to experience “Freedom From Want” (the name of the Norman Rockwell painting above–and yo, he did rock well!). Herewith, the Snob brain trust offers its givings of thanks.
I’m thankful that the BBC inexplicably hired curmudgeonly speed freak Mark E. Smith to read out the football (yes, football!) results on Saturday.
I’m thankful that Simon Reynolds’s magisterial post-punk history Rip It Up and Start Again is about to be published in the U.S. (complete with dazzlingly insightful quotage from yours truly!).
I’m thankful that the deluxe version of Bruce Springsteen’s reissued Born to Run comes with a concert video from the days when The Boss was an adorably skinny Serpico lookalike.
And finally, I am thankful that my old chum Edwyn Collins is back in the studio.
I’m thankful that Gang of Four’s re-recording of their best old songs, Return the Gift, didn’t turn out to be the bad idea it sounded like, and that Hugo Burnham’s drumming is still tautly thwacky.
I’m thankful that this Web site allows you to read the lyrics to songs from the still unreleased Guns ’N Roses album Chinese Democracy, including the words to the song “Rhiad and the Bedouins,” whose first verse, evidently, goes “Oh-Oh/ Ohhh/ Oh, Oh-Oh/ Ohhh/ Oh-Oh/ Ohhh/ Oh, Oh-Oh.”
I’m thankful that Barney Hoskyns’ ace Laurel Canyon book Hotel California was published to good reviews in the U.K. and will soon be out in the U.S.November 22, 2005 More Rock Snobbery »
Our humble little compendium of useless information is now in its fifth printing! And it’s not even Christmas! Thanks to all of you who have made 2005 an annus mirabilus for Rock Snobbery. And remember, the book makes an ideal stocking stuffer or bulk corporate purchase for your jaded friends in the industry who like Waddy Wachtel jokes. This Christmas-Chanukah-Kwanzaa-Festivus, say it with Snobbery.November 18, 2005 More Rock Snobbery »
Daniel Radcliffe, the sixteen-year-old actor who plays Harry Potter in the movies, is already establishing himself as a Rock Snob to watch–in a few years’ time, he could be up there with Wes Anderson and Sofia Coppola. On his iTunes celebrity playlist, he includes selections by Pixies, Antony & the Johnsons, the Arcade Fire, and the Buzzcocks. The Buzzcocks! Nicely done, young wizard! And yet the delightful Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley and looks like he should be a clued-up indie kid, chooses Usher, Green Day, and Velvet Revolver. Wouldn’t it be great if the next Harry Potter movie had a scene in which Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) holds forth to Ron on the virtues of Rock Snobbery? You just know Hagrid’s a fan of Captain Beefheart and His Magic(k) Band.November 18, 2005 More Rock Snobbery »
Our favo(u)rite British music mags are in especially fine Snob form this month. In Mojo, David Fricke, actually an American rock writer with an awesome Marky Ramone ’do, describes the sound of vintage Blondie as “a knockout combination of hot candy and pop-art vision, powered by the drumming of Clem Burke and iced with the peppermint-Kraftwerk keyboards of Jimmy Destri.”
Nice one, David! Though if it’s “hot candy,” why are the Kraftwerk peppermints so icy?
November 11, 2005
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Fully seven months after its publication, The Rock Snob*s Dictionary is still getting the love. Stephen Metcalf of Slate calls us “delightful” and uses the book as a pretext for a very entertaining little essay.November 04, 2005 More Rock Snobbery »
In the brief history of Snobsite, we’ve seldom had more response to an Annals of Snobbery item than to our request for any information about this album cover:
In a previous post, we explained that we’d found this curio on a site dedicated to the Worst Album Covers Ever, and speculated that it was “a self-financed vanity record, circa 1982, by someone named Joyce who looks remarkably like Dustin Hoffman circa Tootsie.” We were eager for explanation, clarification, and validation. Boy, did we get some.
Ed Davis of Flint, Michigan, is one of many readers to tell us that the U.K. newspaper the Guardian ran the Joyce album cover as part of a pictorial excerpt from a book called The Worst Album Covers in the World... Ever! by Nick Di Fonzo. The Guardian site also mentioned that the album was released in 1983 (so we were only a year off), that Joyce’s surname is Drake, and that among the songs is one called “I Get All Excited.” Writes Ed, “I’m curious as to just what it would be that would get Joyce ‘all excited.’”
We also received a fascinating hypothesis from reader Mark Newnham, an Englishman who lives in Denver. Mark thinks that “Joyce” is actually the British actress Maureen Lipman in character as the eccentric British stage comedienne Joyce Grenfell. He linked us to this bio of Ms. Lipman, which explains that the actress, whose aquiline nose and elongated face aren’t worlds away from Joyce’s, has long performed a one-woman show called Re Joyce, described as “her homage to her heroine Joyce Grenfell.”
So, is the lady Joyce Drake or Maureen Lipman in Joyce Grenfell drag? Signs point to the former theory being correct. Since the Worst Album Covers list was published, Joyce has turned into something of a cult figure of the ’Net, with this Prince fan site even going so far as to sponsor a “Joyce Photoshop Thread Contest.” It’s really quite amazing, the lengths to which Joyce fans have gone. Here’s Joyce on the cover of Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home:
And here’s Joyce “doing” Prince circa Parade:
Here’s Joyce recreating Funkadelic’s classic Maggot Brain:
And here’s our favorite, Joyce hanging out with N.W.A.:
The most salient thing about Joyce’s being a cult figure is that she’s been repeatedly identified as “Joyce Drake.” Which leads to the most likely explanation of who this lady is. One of the many blogs and sites to examine the Joyce phenomenon is devoted to a polka band called the Polkaholics. On their site, one reader wrote in to comment, “Joyce Drake was the pastor’s wife at First Assembly of God in Sealy, Texas, when I was a little girl in the 1970s. She was really very nice. I don’t know of any other albums that she ever made.” A cursory Google search reveals that a Joyce Drake and her husband, Clyde, indeed did lead such a church in Sealy. Alas, the trail grows cold there, and we don’t know what’s since become of Mrs. Drake, nor do we have photographic proof that this Joyce and our Joyce are one and the same. Joyce, if you’re reading this, give us a jingle.November 03, 2005 More Rock Snobbery »
We don’t know whether to club journalist Jeffrey Wells to death for reviewing the next Snob book, The Film Snob*s Dictionary, a full three months before it comes out–Jeff, no one can find it in the shops yet!–or if we should be flattered that he cares enough to do so. But since Wells has gone ahead and written at length about his advance copy of the book on his Web site, Hollywood Elsewhere, we’ll go ahead and link to his writeup, which is, we must say, very generous.November 01, 2005 More Film Snobbery »