Punky Punkin

punky-punkinTRACK: 131

Punky Punkin by Fran Allison and Ollie Fame

This strange dusty Halloween relic was written by Cy Coben and originally recorded by Rosemary Clooney (yeah, George’s Ma Dukes) back in 1950.

No disrespect to Mama Clooney but the Shindig prefers this version from 1952 recorded by Fran Allison and Ollie Fame. It’s a little sillier, a bit more up-tempo and generally more fun to listen to, in our opinion.

I always say “our.” Why do I do this? Who exactly is the “we” in this equation? I’m the only one here, so who the hell am I referring to, exactly? I think this is perhaps burgeoning psychosis, but I digress.

Looking online it seems a lot of people have memories of learning and singing this tune in grade school around Halloween.

I have no such memory.

In fact, I have no memories attached to this song whatsoever. I don’t even know when I first heard it, where I heard it or why it was even being played. It’s just been on my computer (and the playlist) for some years now, defying my temporal lobe.

I enjoy this song a great deal, though. It makes me happy when I hear it. It’s a nice little Halloween ditty that’s fun to play.

I think I may be the only one who feels this way however, for it’s a weird number that’s always sure to turn a head or two in the party crowd:

Angry Listener : “What the fuck is this nonsense? Is this a Christmas song or some shit?”

Me: “No, but it does kinda sound like one, huh? It’s just an old Halloween song about pumpkins. It’s for kids, I think.”

Angry Listener: “Well why the fuck are we listening to it then?”

Me: “Cause it’s Halloween and we’re at a Halloween party and she’s singing about a pumpkin that’s all stoked it gets to be a Jack-O-Lantern instead of a pie. Why else?”

Angry Listener: “Oh Yeah? Well this song punkin’ sucks. In fact, it can suck my punkins. How bout that?”

Me: “Go suck your own punkins, pal. Fran Allison is a sweatheart, you hedonistic dildo!”

This exact conversation (or an entirely less confrontational version of it) has happened every year with someone listening to this playlist since Punky Punkin’s inclusion.

Maybe this will happen at your party.

Or maybe it won’t because you wouldn’t be caught dead playing this kind of bullshit at your Halloween party.

That’s fine. In fact, that’s exactly what The Shindig is here for. To be a convenient one-stop hovel of Halloween hits where we talk about and provide Halloween song suggestions you can peruse or listen to or download and add (or not add) to your own party playlist.

You can’t honesty be expected to want to add all of them. Nor could you be expected to even listen to all of them much less like all of them. We wouldn’t begin to presume such things. But they are all here, ripe for the picking this harvest season.

But seriously though, if you don’t like this song you’re probably an asshole.




horror hopTRACK 62:

Vampira by Bobby Bare

The Misfits weren’t the only cats to sing about Vampira. In fact, they weren’t even the 1st.

Back in 1958, marginally successful country singer Bobby Bare recorded this ode to Ms. Nurmi.

Though not the impassioned and awesome tune Danzig and Co. deliver, this strange old ditty is surefire Shindig fodder all the same.



monster bopTRACK 56:

The Monster’s Hop by Bert Convy

Several years before he became the host of Super Password, Tattletales and Win, Lose or Draw, and 4 years before Boris Pickett would soar to #1 on the wings of The Monster Mash, Bert Convy recorded this tune about a bunch of monsters dancing around inside a spooky house.

Though lacking the character and humor that ultimately made The Monster Mash such a smash, I rather enjoy The Monster’s Hop, maybe even a bit more than Pickett’s seminal Halloween hit. I think it’s catchier, certainly more up-tempo, and nowhere near as played out as The Monster Mash. Those are some pretty big checks in the plus column, you ask me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s a better song, not by any stretch of the imagination, but when listening to the Shindig leisurely (as is my wont) I will usually skip The Monster Mash, yet I always have 2 minutes to spare for The Monster’s Hop.



The Mummy’s Bracelet

horror hopTRACK 51:

The Mummy’s Bracelet by Lee Ross

Here’s a bizarre Shindig entry from singer Lee Ross.

Never heard of him? Well, don’t let it bum you out, cause neither has the Internet apparently. Digging up information on Lee seems to lead to a lot of cold trails.

What we can be sure of however is that Lee definitely performed this catchy little number about the Mummy. Which Mummy, I’m not exactly sure, as Lee’s story doesn’t seem to match up to any Mummy film that I can cross reference.

This matters little however, because Mummy songs aren’t exactly falling out of novelty-rock’s pockets. In a genre choked with Vampires, Ghosts and Frankensteins, a song about a Mummy is a breath of fresh air.

So lets sit back and enjoy this strange little ditty about the Mummy, and his bracelet.



Beware Of The Blob

blobTRACK 29:

Beware of the Blob by The Five Blobs

Sometimes in my attempt to mix things up and keep an even distribution of styles and bands, the Shindig kinda seems a bit musically schizophrenic.

So, in the spirit of cohesion, here’s the Beware Of The Blob, which I think doubles up pretty nicely with The Purple People Eater, and is even from the same year.

Much like The Dudes of Wrath (though the ridiculousness of comparing these two groups is not lost on me) The Five Blobs were assembled for the singular purpose of singing this tune, penned by the late Burt Bacharach.

Easily one of the oldest (semi) Title Tracks on the Shindig, Beware Of The Blob is also one of the more curious tunes on the playlist.

Such a fun and upbeat song for something so horrendous as The Blob is kind of alarming, and as such, a bit creepy. There’s no immediacy to their tone, almost as if you really needn’t sweat this whole indestructible and unstoppable goo-monster. Seriously gang? Its eating fucking everything, maybe a little urgency, or god forbid, terror?

Naw, they’ll just keep it light and breezy. Shit, it’s only The Blob.



The Purple People Eater

purple people eaterTRACK 28:

The Purple People Eater by Sheb Wooley

A classic novelty song featured on countless Halloween lists and albums since it’s release in 1958, The Purple People Eater gets it day on the Shindig, but mostly just for that reason.

I like The Purple People Eater, don’t get me wrong, but I just don’t find it terribly Halloweeny, aside from the fact that Halloween is probably the only time your liable to here it on the radio.

Interesting side note, do a quick image search for the Purple People Eater and you’ll find an array of 1 eyed, 1 horned winged purple things, mostly (but not limited to) “Purp” from the 1988 film Purple People Eater.

So what? Why wouldn’t you? Who gives a fuck?

No one, probably, however it is my assertion that The Purple People Eater is not himself purple, as indicated by the below lyric:

I said “Mr. Purple People Eater, what’s your line?”

He said “eating purple people, and it sure is fine”

So he eats purple people. Well, what the hell are purple people? This doesn’t make any sense.

Maybe on his planet there were purple people, because right after this he goes on to explain how that’s not the reason he came here. Well, of course, there are no purple people here.

So on his planet, they have people, they’re just purple? Still don’t make no goddamn sense.

Well, maybe not, but I’m just saying, ole Sheb here was pretty explicit in his songwriting, and that thing ain’t purple.




Halloween ShindigTRACK #20:

Halloween by Betty Grable

There are so many songs on the Shindig simply titled Halloween, that one appears roughly every 20 songs.

So, up at #20 is this vintage Betty Grable ditty from the 1950 film entitled My Blue Heaven.

The film, while not itself about Halloween, does feature this rather bizarre song and dance number. Stranger still, the movie is actually about a married couple (Dan Dailey and Grable) both radio personalities, that are expecting their first child. After a car accident, Grable miscarries and the couple look in adoption options. Yeah, that sounds pretty light, let’s turn that into a musical. Shit, and while we’re at it, let’s throw in this completely unrelated song about Halloween!

Hey, if you’re singing about the Eve of All Hallo’s, the Shindig don’t judge, particularly when you have lines like “Hot jack-o-lantern it’s Halloween.”