Canyon Woman / Warm Body
St. John Green Canyon Woman (Flick Disc, 196???)
The Wild Brothers Warm Body (Love, 196???)
I've long maintained that if one needs proof that God (if s/he exists) is a smart ass, look no further than the penis. It is the most absurd looking of all the body's parts, one that truly deserves the nickname "Dork." Anyone who possess one knows all the silly stuff that can be done with a penis - stuff it into itself so that it can "bloom," make it "talk," tuck it between one's legs and stumble around screeching "I'm a girl! I'm a girl!," etc. God bless the mate who has witnessed and puts up with this tomfoolery.
A perfect aural representation of the penis is the male sex grunt, one of the least sexy things a man can do. The male sex grunt has no art or style and when an amatuer loveman tries to fluff up his grunt, it sounds even dumber than it does undressed. Rather than embarrass myself and cool my lover's heat, I take the fifth when "making love." I am a stealth lover, a strong silent sexpot. I have clued in on how stupid "Uhhh uhhhh uhhh grrrrrnnn grrnnnn oooo baby oooo yeah yeah gnnnt uhhhh" sounds.
There are, however, plenty of folks who think that grunting is akin to music. And lucky for us that there are a few who think grunting should be incorporated into music. While many a blues man and R&B singer have worked sex screams into their act, only a few have grunted. The king of the R&B sex grunt is James Brown. JB, though, is a genius so rather than grunt away, he disguised his grunt as a percussive "heh," an act that revolutionized modern music and saved many a R&B singer embarrassment (at least until Barry White took back the grunt and dressed it up in silk, spawning thousands of imitators).
In 60s rock & roll, the king of the sex grunt is Jim Morrison, who, you might be interested to know, was also the king of the lizards. Jim took a hint from his namesake and also grew an new set of skin over his grunt. Rather than come out with a "uhhhh grrrrrnnnnnntttt," he added a moan on the front and a scream at the back, followed by another moan. The result was something like "Mmmmmm mmmmmmm gggggrrrrrnnnntttttt screeeeeeeeee mmmmmmmmmnnnnnnnn." Then there is Jim's growl-grunt, which went like this: Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrnnnnnnnnntttttttt! But the best trick the Lizard King has was turning words in grunts, such as "the wayyyyyyyayyyyyyyy-nnnntttttt!" A poet, Morrison was able to turn the grunt into more than a grunt, an ubergrunt, if you will.
Fortunately, the rockers influenced by Jimbo weren't as bright at the shouters who followed JB. Those who stayed at the Morrison Hotel tended to hump in the rooms marked psychedelic. These are the proud men who give us the psychedelic sex grunt. Today I give you two of my favorite examples.
St. John Green are a somewhat legendary psych band from the Topanga Canyon in Southern California. Tromping around the same terrain as Charlie Manson (himself a pretty good folk grunter) and his wacky pals, SJG made one record under the guidance of genius huckster Kim Fowley and then disappeared. Fowley calls SJG the one failed Fowley band that should have been huge. Folks like Julian Cope claim that SJG's one album is a lost heavy psych classic. Both overstate their case. SJG were an entertaining band for sure but more comic book than mind-blowing. One specialty of SJG was putting apocalyptic verse to droning organ freak out, a feat which makes Hawkwind's "resident poet" Bob Calvert sound like Dylan Thomas. Not that such a thing is bad. I enjoy over the top silliness as much as the next guy, but it doesn't make for a record that needs to be listened to with the lights out (as Julian Cope suggests). Even if singer Ed Bissot was able to get off the couch and stop gobbling acid and potato chips long enough to get his band down to the Sunset Strip to hustle their act, SJG would have been just another also ran.
The St. John Green song that contains the most grunting is the astounding Canyon Woman. Even though Fowley claims writing credit on this classic, it is a straight rip off (sans lyrics and males sex sounds) of Nina Simone's See Line Woman - not that is bad, but we need to give credit where credit is due. My two favorite moments in the song are when Bissot sings "tongue like a cat" and the male orgasm crescendo.
Though the Wild Brothers are from Sacramento, I know nothing about them other than the brothers' names are Rick and Joe. Being that the A side of this single sounds like some rancid fusion of Charlie Rich and BJ Thomas, I doubt that the Brothers Wild were looking to go psychedelic on the flip. However what else shall we call that insistent wah wah, nutty organ and hypnotic rhythm? And then there is the grunting. It is so good it makes me squeem!
With that, I ask you to enjoy some psychedelic sex grunts.