Moby Grape: Just Like Gene Autry: A Foxtrot (1968)

 |   |  1 min read

Moby Grape: Just Like Gene Autry: A Foxtrot (1968)

Varying the speed of tapes in the studio is not uncommon, but asking that your listener get up and change the speed of their record player on an album is another thing entirely.

Certainly there have been singles which play one side at 45 and the other at 33 (often 12" singles or EPs from the Eighties) -- but in '68 the increasingly drug-addled Skip Spence of San Francisco psychedelic rockers Moby Grape came up with another idea for their album Wow, the follow-up to their Essential Elsewhere album Moby Grape of the previous year.

For one track Spence -- soon to join that pantheon of the damaged alongside Syd Barrett, Roky Erickson and Brian Wilson -- decided he wanted to have a Thirties-styled dance orchestra play one song . . . and that true to the manner of music from those times it would not only sound like an old 78rpm record but play at that speed.

So just before Just Like Gene Autry: A Foxtrot on the 33rpm album a voice came on and invited listeners to get up and change the speed of their player to 78 (most players at the time had speeds of 33, 45 and 78, some -- like the one in my house -- even had 16rpm).

And what you got was an orchestra lead by Wow producer Lou Waxman and introduced by famous CBS radio and television announcer Arthur Godfrey who also played banjo and ukulele on it.

"Skippy bumped into Arthur at Columbia [Records]," said band member Jerry Miller later. "The two of them were like Mutt and Jeff, cruising around arm-in-arm. The funny thing was that Arthur Godfrey thought that Gene Autry was the kind of music we did all the time." 

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with a backstory see From the Vaults

Share It

Your Comments

MaceMn - Sep 10, 2010

"Drug-addled" persons have made significant contributions in many different fields. Maybe it's because they think outside the box to a greater degree.
I always thought the song had a roaring 20's feel to it, though I'm no expert.

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Septimus; Here I Go Again (1987)

Septimus; Here I Go Again (1987)

Sounding a decade too late for the disco era, Septimus were a black outfit from Seattle built around singer/guitarist and producer Herman Brown who originally recorded a version of this song in '83... > Read more

Roger Waters: Money, demo (1972)

Roger Waters: Money, demo (1972)

One of the most interesting aspects of popular music reissues is when an expanded edition of a classic album (or artist) offers working drawings of songs which became -- usually much embellished or... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Eric Bibb: Get On Board (Telarc/Elite)

Eric Bibb: Get On Board (Telarc/Elite)

From the haunting opener Spirit I Am though to the country-blues reworking of the old Civil Rights song Stayed On Freedom which closes this exceptional collection, this 57-year old, Helsinki-based... > Read more

CILLA, a film by PAUL WHITTINGTON (Roadshow DVD/Blue-Ray)

CILLA, a film by PAUL WHITTINGTON (Roadshow DVD/Blue-Ray)

For a film with a number of parallel threads and themes competing for attention – the rise of Liverpool singer Cilla Black to fame in the mid Sixties; her relationships with gay manager... > Read more