Between the disaster that is 20 20 and losing too many lives to various causes (natural and un) I’ve been spending time contemplating a couple of projects- blending ‘Bucket List’ goals and kind of ‘Make A (dying) Wish’ ideas. Today I’d like to talk about just one. I want very much to experience a major tribute to the songs and performances of Romanovsky & Phillips. Who are they? you ask- here’s a quick intro to their part in our history.
My R&P Wish
Regular readers (and followers of my various social media accounts) know that I am an uber-fan. I run their Facebook page, the only official merch shop (t-shirts, mugs and more), updated their website, published 1 Out of 10 Therapists: The Poetry of Romanovsky & Phillips Lyrics and in 2014 offered Wimp– as a kernel of an idea for a musical.
But that’s not enough. A truly major tribute would be a live concert later released as a concert DVD.
In light of how many folks are resistant to taking covid-19 seriously, such an event is unlikely for years. A collection of multiple individual sessions is probably more doable. Having a CD of R&P covers by a mix of new and established singers (heavy on LGBT/Queer representation and activist performers) would still be a dream come true. And if individual singers, musicians, designers and technical folk are inspired to donate (or discount) their time and skill, well that would make it all the easier.
The image here of a CD jewel case (or perhaps cardboard sleeve) links to a larger version.
I personally have neither the funds, connexions, nor ability to undertake this as a “Production Of The Digital Gryphon llc**” (The Digital Gryphon llc is my small photography and design business.) My attempts to find someone to fill that role (or a similar one for my WIMP musical theatre production) have been unsuccessful. And so I’m researching the possibility of turning Family Of Lovers into a Crowd Funded project.
A music CD may contain up to 74 minutes uncompressed music. Most R&P tracks are less than 4 minutes- although there are songs up to 5 minutes. This project can easily contain up to 18 tracks at an average 4:00 minutes each. From a Marketing angle, being able to state the project includes “an hour of music” suggests a minimum of 16 songs at 4 min, or 15 at 4:20 each.
Choral versions (think ‘Gay Mens Chorus’) probably are easier to extend; with the additional complications of rehearsal times, revising instrumental and vocal arrangements, as well as recording a chorus in these covid times.
Who would I like to see? Well, I don’t really listen to many new ‘underground’ artists, but I’ve no doubt there are plenty of great singers who could do R&P’s catalogue justice. Feel free to pass this idea along.
As for singers who’s work I do know, I have thoughts. Here are some names and suggested songs. Titles link to a blog post if I’ve written one. Lyrics and Clips links are to the official R&P website:
@ Alan Cummings- Oh No… I’m In Love [With My Therapist] (Song Lyrics) (Short Clip);
@ Buffy Ste Marie- Be Political, Not Polite (Song Lyrics);
@ Eric Milligan- Red Moon Over Boston (Song Lyrics);
@ Holly Near- The Woman Next Door (Song Lyrics);
@ Ivan Coyote- We’ll Begin Again;
@ Janis Ian- Living In The Nuclear Age;
@ Margaret Cho- Don’t Use Your Penis For A Brain (Song Lyrics) (Short Clip);
@ Matt Alber- Once Upon A Time (Song Lyrics) (Short Clip);
@ Paul Williams- Love Is All It Takes (Song Lyrics) (Short Clip);
@ Rae Spoon- The Perfect Crime;
@ Randy Rainbow- Guilt Trip (Song Lyrics) (Short Clip);
@ Rufus Wainright- Le Jardin de Bernadette; or perhaps Desert Rain (on youTube);
@ Sandra Bernhard- Let’s Flaunt It (Song Lyrics);
@ Sandy & Richard Riccardi- Carnival People (Song Lyrics);
@ Steven Gellman- Lost Emotions (Song Lyrics) (Short Clip);
@ Steve Grand- Closing Chapter (Song Lyrics);
@ Tom Goss- Family of Lovers (Song Lyrics) (Short Clip).
The complete discography has lyrics for most R&P albums (not for Ron’s solo albums) and the Shop page has short clips for a number of songs. Visit this page at the official site for a collection of youTube videos.
This list tilts toward ballads; less because that’s my personal style than because many of R&P’s upbeat songs are protest songs that thankfully are becoming a bit dated. See my Queer Progress (2016) and connected posts.
To be clear I’m speaking as a private individual without the funds to complete such a project. I am a long-time fan, loyal friend, and stubborn old queer, ruminating on what I would love to have happen and putting this out to the universe. No idea who’s under contract where, if any of these folks are interested, or all the intricacies of making this happen (although clearly there would be plenty of details to be wrangled).
Until someone (or some company) steps up, I’m going to do my best to move this project forward and investigate the process; accepting donations towards a Legal Consultation.