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Monday, August 24, 2009


I first came across Phil X. Milstein on what may be the very best website on the entire Internet: WFMU's Beware of the Blog. There, Milstein is revered as one of the founders of the American Song-Poem Music Archive and a contributor with a vast knowledge of musical arcana. He's a true online music god, writing for countless e-zines and contributing to projects by and about indie artists like Thurston Moore, Half-Japanese and Jandek.

Probe is Turning on the People is Phil's personal virtual radio show, a place to post whatever he likes, arranged into more-or-less themed showcases. The range includes everything from The Ed Sullivan Show clips, oddball covers, unknown B-sides and rare demos. But it's not all novelty funny business—historically fascinating blues, ska and country cuts turn up here, too. This is a place where you can get your Oedipus on with Mr. Rogers' "I'm Going to Marry Mom," hear a Cambodian version of The Carpenters' "Superstar," or learn the back history of the dirty-talk blues classic "Shave Em' Dry."

I'll leave you to sort through the Johnny Cash sound-a-likes, the myriad versions of "How I Got To Memphis" and the sub-sub-genre of songs spawned by game shows. My playlist, though, includes Sue Lyon singing the "Ya Ya Song," Jay Chevalier's "Castro Rock," Gitta Hedding's German-language ska track "Das Ist Der Blue Beat," Porter Wagoner's "Lonelyville" and Big Maybelle's "Ocean of Tears."

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