Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Midnight Eyes' "Sexcalibur" and Pleasure Dome (1982)

The Midnight Eyes

Here's a surprising musical link between the television game show Family Feud and an obscure X-rated film.

Pleasure Dome VHS

Mark Richard Dawson, the son of Family Feud host Richard Dawson and actress Diana Dors, used to have a band called the Midnight Eyes that his father plugged on Family Feud and that also provided the soundtrack for a little-known X-rated film in 1982.

This film, Pleasure Dome (not to be confused with the 2008 Penthouse film of the same name), is about a woman who buys a magical devil mask that makes everyone have sex. It also summons a "demon knight" (according to the VHS packaging, that is—he looks like a regular knight) who appears in the woman's bedroom at the beginning and end of the film. The film's title has nothing to do with the story. 

The devil mask
The movie is nearly wall-to-wall sex but contains a ridiculous flashback scene in which a knight fights a dragon that is never shown. The flashback is supposed to explain the origin of the mask but doesn't make much sense.

Throughout the movie, the rock 'n' roll soundtrack by the Midnight Eyes plays, including a theme song called "Sexcalibur." Sexcalibur would have been a better title for the film than Pleasure Dome, but it might have already been taken—another film by that title was released in 1983. 

The Midnight Eyes' soundtrack is so prominent that when the credits roll, who do you think gets the first and most prominent credit? Hint: It's not director Dino D. Cimino or star Maria Tortuga.

The knight fighting the unseen dragon
The Midnight Eyes released only one record that I know of, the 1980 single "At the Roxy" (pictured above) on the Fire label. It contains the songs "At the Roxy," which names a lot of popular clubs around New York and Los Angeles, and "Sweet Susie." This is definitely the same Midnight Eyes that contributed to Pleasure Dome, because their music publishing company, Man-in-the-Moon Music, is listed in both the film and on the single. Also, the copyright information for "Sexcalibur" shows Dawson as co-writer: 

The copyright information for "Sexcalibur"

The lyrics of "Sexcalibur" don't have anything to do with sex apart from the refrain, "You can feel Sexcalibur!" The rest is about dragons and Merlin and knights and stuff like that.

Mark Dawson's Wikipedia page mentions the Midnight Eyes:  
A young Dawson appeared alongside his father on a few early episodes of Family Feud. He worked as an assistant to the producer Mark Goodson and as a showcase and question writer for The Price Is Right, Concentration, The Better Sex, Match Game and Family Feud. He was once introduced by his father on an episode of Family Feud to promote his band, The Midnight Eyes.
And according to this page of Family Feud quotations, Richard Dawson said in the aforementioned episode:
My son has a band called the Midnight Eyes. He has a marvelously pretty song called "Sweet Susie" and we should give it to you. You'd like it. Even if you don't, you should take it. We're stuck with about nineteen copies.
The Midnight Eyes' discography on Mark Dawson's Wikipedia page lists the "At the Roxy" single but not the Pleasure Dome soundtrack. Nowadays, Dawson is CEO of DRZ Entertainment Group, which, among other things, manages the all-female Iron Maiden tribute band the Iron Maidens.

Credit screen from Pleasure Dome

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Music Weird's best albums of 2016

Some people are saying that 2016 was an unusually great year for music. I, on the other hand, felt like I had to work twice as hard to find half as many albums as I liked in 2015. Nevertheless, here are the ones I liked the most. Click on the album titles for more info.

1. Magic Potion – Pink Gum

2. Little Barefoot – Never Always

3. The Hairs – While I Hated Life, Barbarian

4. Tele Novella – House of Souls

5. Doombird – Past Lives

6. Frankie Cosmos – Next Thing

7. Eerie Wanda – Hum

8. Black Marble – It's Immaterial

9. Kakkmaddafakka – KMF

10. Vague – In the Meantime

11. Red Sleeping Beauty – Kristina

12. Peter Astor – Spilt Milk

13. Keeps – Brief Spirit

14. Day Wave – Headcase/Hard to Read

15. Seth Bogart – Seth Bogart

16. Lost Tapes – Let's Get Lost

17. Balue – Wavy Daze

18. Enemies – Valuables

19. Acid Ghost – WARHOL

20. Liquids – Hot Liqs

Some runner-ups are Goon Sax, Japanese Breakfast, Woods, Yumi Zouma, Work Drugs, Miniature Tigers, Chook Race, The Album Leaf, Motorama, and Worriedaboutsatan and the EPs by Lumnos. The final Allo Darlin' single was good too. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Billy Joe Shaver's "I'm Just an Old [???] of Coal"

I noticed a few erroneous variations in the title of Billy Joe Shaver's song "I'm Just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I'm Gonna Be a Diamond Someday)" in some country music books the other day. If this blog had a "mildly interesting" tag, then this post would get it.

Shaver wrote the song for his 1981 album of the same name, and Jon Anderson had a Top 5 country hit with it the same year. 

These variations are just mistakes that were missed in editing—at least two of these books get the title right elsewhere. 

Country Music: The Rough Guide writes it as "lump" of coal on page 374:

Country Music: A Biographical Dictionary writes it as "hunk" of coal on page 8:

"Hunk" also appears on page 9 of The Big Book of Country Music: A Biographical Encyclopedia

I wondered if anyone accidentally wrote it as "piece" of coal and found one record retailer that did in a listing for a single by the Near Beer Band. (The label of the record itself shows the correct title.)