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I'm only calling this page the "Best of Al Benson" because I'm just not sure what else to call it. From the time I received my first tape recorder as a kid to now with a computer, I've been into recording what some might think of as "pretty strange stuff". Most of these things need some explanation, so if you are really interested in hearing them, hopefully the accompanying text will set it up.

Click on the hypertext to play the mp3. If your player doesn't start immediately, you can also right mouse click on the selection title and choose "Save Target As..." to download the entire file to your disk.

1972 - KRUD Radio

The recording that started it all. Somewhere along the way I had heard portions of the first Cheech & Chong album, including a track called "Wink Dinkerson." So, at age 11, armed with my first tape recorder, I did my own radio show as "Al Benson - Substituting for Wink Dinkerson...on KRUD Radio". My brother found this tape years later, and has never let me forget it.


 

1983 - Coroners Office

The fraternity that I joined at Purdue held a "Gong Show" every year. In 1983 Craig Slinker, Bruce Johannes and I entered as the punk band "Johnny Stripes." I wrote this song after watching a Quincy episode where he investigated a punk rock club death. My brother and his band "Denim Blue" recorded the music and I put on the vocal track. We lip-synched to the tape at the Gong Show. At the end of the song we destroyed our instruments and threw them at the crowd.

 

 

1984 - Incest Is Best

Johnny Stripes followed up at the next Gong Show with this little tune that I wrote in pseudo-protest over the violation of our fraternity's Little Sister policy by some of the brothers. The policy was that you could not date a Little Sister until after Little Sister initiation. A few of the fraternity brothers decided to disregard that rule. Hence the song is not promoting dating Little Sisters...it's poking fun at it. Rumor has it that this song is still played at the fraternity to this day. You can tell that Billy Idol was big at that time. Ted's band's guitarist supplied the Steve Stevens-like solo.

 

 

1985 - WANG - The Big Wang

In 1985 I returned to the tired old format of pretending to be a DJ. Only this time, I decided to poke fun at the soft-spoken DJ's on the local Myrtle Beach "easy listening" stations. My radio station is WANG, "The Big Wang", located "in the heart of Long Bay Estates" where Jim, Rob and I lived. My character, "Mr. Velvet O." interviewed David Hail (my nephew, 12 years old at the time), initiated the first Farm Aid concert, broke up fights between Buckwheat and James Brown, and offered up off-beat commercials.

Baker's Funeral Home

Crazy Golf
- You can't visit Myrtle Beach, SC without noticing the hundreds of miniature golf courses!

Farm Aid - Part 1 - This deserves additional explanation. Everyone knows now that there have been Farm Aid concerts for years. But during the summer of 1985, only Live Aid had occurred so far. Having grown up on a farm I thought it would be funny to make up a "Farm Aid" concert, complete with livestock, weeds, etc. A couple of weeks after recording this I received a phone call early in the morning from Charlene, screaming "Turn on the TV! Willy Nelson is on saying they are going to organize a Farm Aid concert!" Always fun to be ahead of the game.

Sea Oats Rodriguez - The local Myrtle Beach pop stations had "beach reports" where they told you it was "time to turn...so you won't burn!" This features David Hail completely ad libbing his way through a surf report. Charlene plays the "typical tourist" Lisa Jean.

David Hail Interview - Part I - Mr. Velvet O. at his most "eaaaassssssy" listening.

Farm Aid - Part 2 - Jeff Barnes at the Farm Aid concert interviews Wendy Drucker (Charlene), while Merle Adams tries to start his Harley.

Big Wang Contest - My roommate "Rockin" Rob Gerstung always used to say "Man, we got your <insert whatever you want> right here!" So I had to get that in somehow.

Jammin' Jimmy Kabrich's Car Stereos - We lived in one of those houses that's "up on stilts" at the beach, in case of hurricanes and floods. My roommate Jim Kabrich had a BMW with a sunroof, and he parked the car under the house. He installed a monster car stereo one weekend, and everytime he pulled the car in with his stereo on, the whole house shook.

Jammin' Jimmy In The Studio - I just include this because of my famous flub of calling Jim "Jammy".

David Hail Interview - Part II - David offers the explanation of the frequent use of the name "Bunny" in his family...all right on the spot.

Under Stress - A short segment with a little King Crimson thrown in for good measure.

 

 

1987 - Sorry Excuses - From the fall of 1986 through June of 1987, I lived at my sister Carolyn's home in Athens, GA. Her son, my nephew David, had a drumset and a guitar. Carolyn had a keyboard and one of those "dubbing" cassette decks. So, David and I formed a "band" called the "Sorry Excuses" and recorded songs on that cassette deck.

Live In A Small Town - I was really into Husker Du and The Replacements at the time, so we decided to do a Husker Du-ish version of Mellencamp's "Small Town". David again demonstrates his imagination, making up lines as we sang like "born on a tractor and raised in a barn" and "buy a chicken or a cow."

Someone Stole My Tide - I wrote this song based on two things. First, when I was at college, I was famous for putting my laundry in the washer and then leaving it there for days. Invariably, someone would take my box of Tide. (Of course, I deserved it for leaving my laundry there for days!) Second, when I first lived in Myrtle Beach, I would do my laundry at a laundromat down the street. Every time this little old lady would come in to mop the floor late at night.

Should I Stay Or Should I Go - The Clash were my favorite band from '81 to '83. I did this because I couldn't take the slowness of the original version.

Aren't We Lucky - Obviously, I found it a real change moving from Independence, Indiana to the 25th floor of a highly secure apartment building in Washington, D.C. Kind of a George Thorogood type of song. The title comes from the KRUD track featured above.

Where The Hell Is Bill - I was a big Camper Van Beethoven fan at the time. They had a song by the same name. I had this little music track recorded, and Carolyn, David, Charlene and I were waiting on Bill to come home so we could go out to dinner. So we all just gathered around the microphone and said "where the hell is Bill?" alot.

Take The Skinheads Bowling - Another Camper Van Beethoven song that I thought was really funny. This time I really tried to do it like they did. Ten years later I felt a bit redeemed when the Manic Street Preachers recorded this song as a B-side for the single "Australia".

Misery - Our first try with an actual Fostex 4-track recorder instead of a cassette deck. We changed the words so Charlene could sing them from the female perspective.

Misery - This is the original version by the Bodeans...just for a fun comparison.

 

 
1987 - Tears On My Pillow by Carolyn & The Crybabies - Ted was kidding Carolyn about her singing "Tears On My Pillow" when they were kids. So we decided to get back at Ted with a "live" version with her band "The Crybabies". The Crybabies were of course David Hail on drums and me playing guitar, bass, and keyboard. David and I also provided the soulful "doo-WOP, doo-WOP". And the crowd went wild.  

 

1988 - Winds Of Change - My first try at really "producing" a song. I used a 4-track Fostex in the basement of our church in Smyrna, GA. I played drums, guitar, bass, keyboards, tambourine, and sang the lead and background vocals. This is a cool song by Russ Taff, a big Christian music artist at the time.

1988 - Pipeline - I always loved the guitar version from the '60s...so I decided to try it with multiple keyboard parts.