Thursday, April 29, 2010


In 1959, a doo-wop combo called Sheriff and the Ravels (which was headed by blues singer Elmore Sheriff and Hollywood actor Aki Aleong) recorded a frantic and unhinged leviathan of a song called "Shombalor".

Its stream-of-consciousness breakneck speedfreak auctioneer delivery of imagery makes "Rubber Biscuit" and "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" seem like pedestrian dirges by comparison. In the span of two minutes, the diligent listener can discern references to catfish knees, pickin' em up and layin' em down, "white albinos", Frankenstein, old ladies, bears, chickens, Nazis, and the almighty ineffable indefinable "Jigowah". It also sounds for all the world to me like the singer says "What the fuck do you need now?" at one point, although some scholars contend it's "Buck to your knees now". Let's table that for a future session.

There are many chances to hear this most holy recording on YouTube, and I highly recommend listening to all of them, back to back, over and over, absorbing the nuances of difference in sound quality in each upload. Try here and here and here and here. (And if you can score the later cover version by The Cramps, that's a lovely lagniappe too.)

- - JSH

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