Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bingo Gazingo - Bingo Gazingo


Other than the nebulous category of "outsider," I really can't think of what genre this disc falls into. Bingo Gazingo is a senior citizen spoken word/performance artist, and his lyrics are just silly (and filthy) as hell. I've heard him described as a rapper, but it's been scientifically proven that there's nothing less funny than an old person rapping, and he's pretty amusing. His rhyming is often obvious and awkward, but that's part of the charm, and even when his lyrics aren't that interesting, the words usually just go well together and are still somewhat captivating. (Then again, I've probably just listened to this album too many times.)
This is his only album, released in 1996 on the label run by freeform radio station WFMU, consists of him reciting his poetry while musicians improvised in the background. Some of the results are great; "Psycho/Psycho" is just Mr. Gazingo accompanied by a theremin and it gets things off to an awesome start, "I Love You So Fucking Much I Can't Shit" is as hilarious as its title, and the 14-minute album closer, "Bingo Gazingo's Bolero," starts out boring and repetitive, but repeats so often that it becomes almost sublime. Bingo flubs his lines a few times, but it just adds to the tossed-together atmosphere that I like so much here. "Everything's OK at the OK Corral" starts with him delivering his lines in manic manner, but as the song goes on, he slows down. It took me dozens of listens to figure out that it was about an old man in a retirement home remembering Westerns from his youth; knowing this, it's a startlingly poignant counterpoint to the goofy-but-hilarious nonsense on most of the other tracks.
My only real issue with this album is that it's over an hour long and some of the songs just aren't even remotely interesting, either lyrically or musically; "Baba Booey," "Artie Wexler," and "Are You A Lover?" just shouldn't have made the cut. Still, Bingo Gazingo is well worth a listen.
This album is out of print, but it's available on mp3s here. Apparently, there's a cassette version somewhere out there that's a bit different from the CD version that I have, but I've never heard it so I can't comment.

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