Whack the Dolphin

The Irritators Whack the Dolphin 7" (Robey, 1981)

When I stumbled on this a couple weeks ago for $2, I did not hessitate to buy it (yeah, like I have any impulse control regarding records!). The packaging alone was a hook. The sleeve is made of green & yellow vinyl and has a flap. The images are silk screened. The record also comes from a time and place I tend to trust: 1981 Los Angeles County. And at least one song title was intriguing (that being Whack the Dolphin. I have been through enough records to dread what the name of the flipside promised: Voodoo Boogie).

I had a feeling that Whack the Dolphin was slang for male masturbation and I was right. Throughout the song a woman chants "Whack the Dolphin." A male voice sings "When I walk down the street / you make want to beat my meat," "When we go golfing / You make me want to whack my dolphin," and "You make it big / My one-eyed pig." That would be fine and almost normal (I mean, he does use the term "one-eyed pig") IF this thing didn't start off with a baby's cry and then had some children pleading "Please don't whack the dolphin!" toward the song's end!

What makes this even stranger is that the label indicates that Whack the Dolphin is the A-side AND states how much time both the intro and end fade take. These folks intended for this to be played on commercial radio, with a dejay talking over the intro! "It's 9:15 in the A.M. here in bee-u-tee-ful Chatsworth, California. It's going to be a nice day today. 98 will be the high and the skies in the valley are clear. And don't forget the Chatworth's Senior Gleaner's annual bingo fiesta tonight at the Chatsworth Grange. Why don't you join me in getting ready for some bingo fun by Whacking your Dolphin with local artists, The Irritators!" I mean that might run in modern day Santa Clarita Valley, HQ of America's porn industry, but in 1981?

The music is the herky jerky, violent, no wave-style, post-punk funk that started turning up around 1979. It has a nice primitive drive and the male vocals are out of the Black Randy school of funk. The instrumental flipside, Voodoo Boogie sounds like some bad fusion of the Talking Heads and Herbie Hancock's Rocket, sans scratching (and, no, I won't post it).

Of the band, I know nothing.

are those tablas or bongos? They sound like tablas.
that's a great weird texture but I can see how the flip could take a wrong turn into severely irritating.
Tablas! Very cool record. Oh, and it's the San Fernando Valley that's the porn Center of the World, not our more wholesome neighbors in Santa Clarita.

-Mr Fab
- San Fernando Valley resident
- assistant porn editor
You can't go better than rhyming "golfing" with "dolphin". Now THAT is poetry.

I just wonder how often he goes golfing?
Mr Fab - sorry about the confussion. Everything south of Fresno is the same to us Northern Californians.
My oh my, this is good in the "so bad it's good" way. Actually, it's not all that bad. Though, really could do without the children, it's strange enough on it's own. The notion that this could have been on the radio at any point in time is hilarious.
While this is probably a long shot, if you're ever interested in selling that record, I'd be more than happy to give you a substantial markup over the purchase price. I am in audio school right now and my mix professor was the synth player in this band- we're looking hard for a copy of this stuff for obvious reasons.

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