Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Jonny Master & The Beta Klub

Root, root Riverdale! Jonny Master & The Beta Klub were high school classmates of mine that recorded boom box tapes for years during the 80's and 90's. I managed to even jam with them from time to time. Their musical format is hard to pin down. There's some Velvet Underground at their most shambolic. There's some wide eyed Jonathan Richman innocence. There's a touch of Bob Dylan when they pull out the harmonica. There's cheesy Casio riffs galore. If you're fans of Daniel Johnston type twisted pop you should love Jonny Master.

Their line-up was: Chris on guitar, harmonica, and vocals; Tim played keyboards and sang, and Greg thumped the drums and provided harmony vocals. They played a few parties around Murfreesboro, but as much as I tried to get them to they never played a club show. Their band name got them banned from the Senior Talent show at Riverdale in 1984. All that's left are the many tapes they recorded known to just a very few people (they are listed as an influence by shock rock legends Boo Boo Bunny). So why not introduce them to a few more people. Here are five classic Jonny Master tracks. If you like these I'll post more unless the band objects.

Rappin' Billy
Don't worry about the buses because the buses will wait. Jonny Master's rap song about Billy Graham.

Never Before Will It Happen Again
I don't mind to die as long as it's after I'm dead. A funny and poignant song.

Nannie Found A Baby
Based on the true story of Greg's grandmother finding a baby on her front porch.

I Got A Lightbulb
I got a concept in different thinking, I've got a lifetime but it's shrinking. Chris could write miniature masterpieces.

Cat In The Eiffel Tower
He's been there for half an hour. A really strange and transcendent tale about a cat.

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