21 January 2016

A Tribute to the Great Gene Pitney: Oedipus Ram, Act Four


OEDIPUS RAM MIDPIECE 6

OEDIPUS RAM
A Toon Tragedy
inspired by Sophocles' Oedipus Rex
Directed, Staged and Written by
DC Hampton Jacobs
Original Characters and Archie Fan Art images 
Created and Drawn by 
Stuffed Animal

THE PLAYERS:
Donna Dante, the wife
Lana Suzuki, the lead guitarist
Gynger Ming, the keyboard player
Jazzmyn Ming, the bandleader
Tempestt Spangler, the drug addict
Puchi Schneider, the scumbag
Sonny Yin-Bao, the compilation producer
The White Lady
and the star
Ramsay Khalid Sharma

ACT FOUR:
FASCINATION

SYNOPSIS:
Ramsay Khalid Sharma boasts the largest female following of any Asian male Pop star in the latter 21st century. His habit of singing love songs from a woman's perspective wins him a degree of fanatical devotion not seen since the heyday of Elvis Presley! That novel approach is a calculated marketing strategy conceived by Ram's wife, Donna Dante. Her influence also gets him cast in a controversial film, Love Is A Hurtin' Thing. Ram's role wins critical raves, launching him on a promising acting career. Dude owes much of his success to Dody, but he's upset by talk that she controls him like a puppet. Ram decides to go in a new direction musically, with or without her approval!

LAST CHANCE TO TURN AROUND GRAMMY PROMO

Vox DISCO 675
Last Chance To Turn Around (Bruno, Kahan, Millrose)
Follow The Sun (Geld, Udell)
Teardrop By Teardrop (Bob Halley)
Cold Light Of Day (English, Weiss)
Last Chance To Turn Around
Ram
Club Mix VIII
Produced by Ramsay Khalid Sharma
Remixed by Chaiwat
worldwide release

Once again, Ram scores a smash in Asia and Europe, but notches up another flop in the United States. Ironically, the Scopie video that he films in his jock briefs becomes the most familiar image of him to Americans; extensive uploading to Gay websites is the reason why! Rumor has it that turmoil in his marriage led Ram to choose this break-up ballad for his new single.

The fifth studio album by Ramsay Khalid Sharma is the first to omit Donna Dante's name as Music Supervisor. For good reason, too: She will have had nothing to do with it! Ram soundly rejects her idea for another collection of Rock diva covers. Instead, he chooses to celebrate the hits of '60s balladeer Gene Pitney. That decision, as well as a thorny marital issue, will trigger a rift between them.  

Ram is obliged to undertake this project without her help.  He flies to Utah and cuts Take It Like A Man @ Witch Queen West: It’s the Salt Lake City branch of a studio franchise founded by Bree (Sabrina) Spellman.  Before mysteriously vanishing in the year 2052, Bree will have had much music industry success: One of her achievements is assembling The New Archies.  Many Vox artists record @ Witch Queen West, as well as @ locations in Boston and New Orleans.

ASIAN PRIDE @ WITCH QUEEN WEST

While Ram was music director for The New Archies, drummer Mal Hypster turned him on to Gene Pitney’s catalog. "Gene was one-of-a-kind, both in his sound and his choice of material," Chi told him. "His vibrato-rich voice was tailor-made for tunes about suffering." The Rad Asian Manchild is known for suffering in song, too, so covering classic Pitney beat ballads like "It Hurts To Be In Love" is a logical step.

It’s also logical for him to enlist his ex-bandmate’s help in recording the tribute. He tries, but Chi is a big-time satellite TV producer now. "Sorry, old buddy," he tells Ram. "I'm juggling too many balls in the air." This statement refers both to Malachi Hipp's media commitments and his well-known appetite for hunky young men!  @ the time, he'll be boning a closeted comedy series star and two morning TV hosts!  Not to mention his husband, Jazz musician Toby Maxx . . .

The Bollywood Balladeer does succeed in getting another ex-bandmate's help:  Lana Suzuki agrees to play lead guitar for him. Susu, formerly known as Punk rocker Lana Switchblade, will also serve as the album’s executive producer. It's her idea for him to cut it @ Witch Queen West; she now oversees the franchise!

MARIA ELENA @ MIDNIGHT

Vox VSI-670192
It Hurts To Be In Love (Greenfield, Miller)
Take It Like A Man (Leiber, Stoller)
Don’t Mean To Be A Preacher (Kaye, Trimachi)
Follow The Sun (Geld, Udell)*
Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart (Cook, Greenaway)
There’s No Livin’ Without Your Lovin’ (Harris, Kaufman)
Baby, You’re My Kind Of Woman (Foxx, Williams) w/Puppy Posse
Nobody Needs Your Love (Randy Newman)
She’s Still There (Brass, Kooper, Levine)
Maria Elena (Tony Hazzard)
Cold Light Of Day (English, Weiss)*
Backstage (Anisfield, Denson)
Last Chance To Turn Around (Bruno, Kahan, Millrose)*
Take It Like A Man!
A Salute to Gene Pitney
Ram
with The Utah Symphony
A Secret Asian Man Production
Arranged + Produced by
Ramsay Khalid Sharma
Executive Producer:
Lana Suzuki
Sound Engineer: 
Sonny Yin-Bao
Recorded @ Witch Queen West, Salt Lake City
*with Chutney Rose
Recorded @ DALEKtable Sound Studios, Bangkok
Sound Engineer:
Chaiwat
worldwide release
2067

Except for Susu's guitar tracks, Ram overdubs all the rhythm instruments himself. Then he calls in members of the Utah Symphony to add sweetening. “Gene Pitney’s music doesn’t sound complete without strings and horns,” he believes. They certainly bring a majestic tone to dramatic numbers like “Follow The Sun”, “Nobody Needs Your Love”, “María Elena”, “Backstage” and the title track. Reviewers will liken the music on this LP to his Bollywood soundtracks. 

However, Merenguetón trio Puppy Posse accompanies him on one song: The decidedly non-orchestral “Baby, You’re My Kind Of Woman.” Their heavy-duty Latin percussion really makes the track explode!  The album also includes three tracks cut in Bangkok with Chutney Rose.

COME-GET-ME EYES

Sadly, Ram’s collaborations with the all-girl band are over. A videophone image of him kissing keyboard player Gynger Ming on stage goes viral; when Donna Dante sees it, she pitches a hissy fit! This is the aforementioned marital issue that blows up in his face. 

Convinced that they're having an affair, Dody lays down an ultimatum: “Either that b*tch goes, or I go!” Ram is incredulous @ her suspicions: While they come close a few times, especially after their Troubadour Club triumph, he and Gynger won't ever become lovers. “Even if you haven’t boned her yet,” his wife predicts, “you will, eventually! I can see where you’re headed. Get rid of her!”

TAKE IT LIKE A MAN LP COVERS

Ram reluctantly fires Gynni, an act of cowardice he immediately regrets. It will be a sore spot between him and Dody for years!  Chutney Rose decides to leave Ram’s employ rather than replace her.  "I understand," he replies when Gynger's sister Jazzmyn breaks the news.  "I would do the same thing.  Good luck, and whatever I can do to help you, let me know!"  

It's all he can do to keep from bawling like a baby as he watches the ladies pack up their van and leave.  The cover of Take It Like A Man shows a photo of Ram getting a rose tattoo on his right shoulder; it's the permanent version of a temporary tat he got to promote Love Is A Rose.  This time, the ink is in honor of his erstwhile backing group.

His gamble that Gene Pitney's heartbreak ballads would fit his singing style is borne out in review after review: "Wailing his heart out over surging strings and soaring horns: Ramsay Khalid Sharma doesn't get any better than this!" "A batch of Grade-A weepers that's sure to please the ladies!" "The Pitney hit parade is a superb showcase for Asia's most seductive baritone."

Although it wins him the highest praise of his career, Take It Like A Man will be Ram’s least favorite record. In addition to having been cut in the midst of marital turmoil, it proves less popular with female fans; the disc barely manages to go platinum!  Worse, it becomes his second American LP to log poor sales.

BABY YOU'RE MY KIND OF WOMAN

Vox DISCO 682
Baby, You’re My Kind Of Woman (Foxx, Williams)
If I Never Get To Love You (Bacharach, David)
Don’t Mean To Be A Preacher (Kaye, Trimachi)
María Elena (Tony Hazzard)
Baby, You’re My Kind Of Woman
Ram
Club Mix IX
Produced by Ramsay Khalid Sharma
Remixed by Chaiwat
worldwide release

Ram’s mother Kharis encourages him to dance in his next Scopie video. “I’ll do it just for you, Mâe”, he promises, speaking in her native Thai language. The forty-seven-year old music man is in great physical condition; he shows no strain break-dancing to his new club single, “Baby, You’re My Kinda Woman.” 

On the contrary: His crazy fresh moves go viral on YouTube, propelling the song up the American charts! Ram’s best-selling stateside single, "Baby" will just manage to crack the Top Fifty. A Top Ten vinyl download in Asia, it will net Ram a second Collaboration of the Year Pan-Asian Pop Award in 2068.

Ramsay Khalid Sharma’s first and only North-American tour will take place in the summer of 2067. Attendance is painfully sparse! On most of the dates, local symphony orchestras will accompany him on stage. 

Few present will ever forget the sublime blend of Rock and Classical music he achieves; Gene Pitney covers like “Backstage”, “María Elena” and “There’s No Livin’ Without Your Lovin’” are outstanding. Unfortunately, the symphonic concept is prohibitively expensive: Ram is forced to abandon it on the last few tour stops.  @ those final shows, he is backed by The Carmines, the Country band he collaborated with on Love Is A Rose.

TAKE IT LIKE A MAN TOUR POSTER

Ram spends the latter part of 2067 in Hollywood. Delayed for months, shooting on his second movie finally begins in October. Based on a true story, The Sins Of Sanjay Singh is a shocking tale of religious hypocrisy, drug addiction, male prostitution and BDSM obsession! Donna Dante will always believe Ram chose this story in reaction to his father’s Islamic extremism. When released, Sins does succeed in outraging the elder Sharma! Saddam will issue a strong condemnatory statement to the Muslim press.

The film features no music performances by Ram, and becomes notorious for its many bondage scenes! The star is nude and cruelly restrained during fully a third of its running time. In the most notorious sequence, a dungeon master shows Sanjay Singh a famous photo of artist Robert Mappelthorpe; it's a shocking self-portrait of the photographer with a bullwhip handle shoved up his ass! 

Sanjay is forced to emulate the photo, then crawl across the dungeon floor still clenching the whip in his anus.  Sadistically aroused at the sight, the torturer proceeds to hogtie, beat and rape his victim. Upon viewing this brutal scene, many older Sikhs are outraged. Some even call for Ram’s expulsion from the faith!

SINS OF SANJAY SINGH

However, Sins brings him the best critical reviews of his career; his character research contributes to a highly compelling portrayal. “Whether on film or on vinyl”, opines Flixter’s movie blogger, “nobody suffers as beautifully as Ram Sharma does!” While not as successful in North America as Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing, The Sins of Sanjay Singh pulls decent box office numbers everywhere it plays. In the Ramsay Khalid Sharma filmography, this 2068 entry will claim the biggest cult following.

There’s a minor character in the film called T*tty Tassel Tempie: She’s a stripper that Sanjay Singh meets on his path to ultimate destruction.  The role is played by an exotic dancer named Tempestt Spangler. Tempie is the granddaughter of well-known artist manager Big Mama Bundles (for details, see the Cartoons + Castanets cartoon narrative Archie-f*cking-Mania, Part Three). 

Ram makes her acquaintance when they film scenes together. The Dominican beauty is green-eyed, chestnut-haired, big-busted, vivacious and every bit as flirtatious as Gynger Ming. This time, the Rad Asian Manchild lets himself be seduced!  They dine Japanese @ Katsuya Hollywood, and then retire to her hotel room. Tempie performs a sultry striptease for him, grinding her hips and twirling her t*tty tassles until he’s hot with desire!  She ends by throwing her panties in his face.  "The stains inside are from my period," she coos, "and they're fresh.  Do you like it like that?"

Dude responds by pouncing on her!  They copulate on the floor, the bed, the vanity, any flat surface they can find.  After they climax for the third time, she offers him cocaine. Ram declines to take it, but is non-judgmental about her use of the drug. Tempie senses he can be persuaded, and sets out to do so . . .

SANJAY SINGH PUBLICITY PHOTO

As the filming of Sins of Sanjay Singh progresses, Ram and Tempie continue their affair. Each time they tryst, she urges him to “sniff The White Lady.” Finally, dude yields to temptation . . . and he loves it! He can’t believe the way coke makes him feel.

On the day shooting wraps, Tempie comes to his trailer dressing room. “I’ve got a surprise for you tonight,” she whispers mysteriously. He prods during dinner, but the exotic dancer remains coy about her “surprise.” Back in her hotel room, she prefers to leave the lights off while they have sex. He eagerly penetrates her c*nt. “Harder! Harder!” she moans, jabbing a finger up his ass as he thrusts.

Ram doesn’t notice when the bathroom door opens, and a man sneaks into the darkened room. Brandishing a syringe, the stranger injects a powerful shot of liquid cocaine into his scrotum! “WTF?” he yells. “What’s happening to me?” “It’s my surprise, baby,” Tempie coos. “Ride the sensation!” He takes her advice, and the orgasm he experiences leaves him gasping and trembling: It’s the closest thing to total ecstasy he’s ever known!

Tempie introduces the short, platinum-blond man as her manager. Demetrius “Puchi” Schneider is also her drug dealer! The cocaine orgasm scene will be replayed numerous times over the next two years, as well as various other kinds of couplings; unbeknownst to Ram, Puchi is filming them!

Tempest Spangler is actually his partner in extortion schemes.  Together, they'll already have put the bite on three other movie stars! Their original plan is to blackmail the Rad Asian Manchild; but that scheme gets kicked to the curb when Tempie falls in love with Ram.  "No shakedowns," she warns Puchi.  "I won't let you do that to him.  Think of something else!"

PUCHI THE PORNOGRAPHER

Puchi teaches Ram the proper way to snort cocaine:  "You want to use a ceramic plate like Tempie uses; no mirrors or glass, because they break too easily.  Use a safety razor to break down the nuggets into a fine powder.  The edge of your credit card will do, if you don't have a razor handy.  You want your lines to be about an eighth of an inch wide, and maybe four inches long.  Then, take some scissors to a cocktail straw and cut it in half.  Use the straw for snorting; don't be like these dumbasses who use rolled-up hundred dollar bills!  Money is for folding, not rolling."

He continues: "Hold one nostril closed and chase the lines with your straw.  Suck The White Lady, don't blow her!  And don't forget to wipe her powder off your nose."  Later, the scumbag will school his new recruit in the use of crack pipes, which becomes Ram's favorite way to indulge!

The singer/actor falls for Tempestt Spangler, but he falls even harder for The White Lady.  From 2068 on, more and more of his income is claimed by her.  @ Tempie’s suggestion, he takes on Puchi Schneider as his manager; this business relationship guarantees him a steady supply of coke. For his part, Puchi gets a much bigger cut of Ram’s earnings than he ever would have as his blackmailer!

TEMPESTT SPANGLER + PUCHI

Even though he remains entangled with Tempie, Ram makes up with his wife during the holidays.  He brings his new manager with him to Bangkok, and Puchi Schneider spends Christmas as a guest in the Sharma home.  From their first meeting, Donna Dante hates Puchi like poison! She immediately urges her husband to dump him. “I’ll buy out his contract,” she offers. “He’s bad for you, Nipples; I can feel it!” But Ram stands by his new manager with a fierce devotion she can’t understand.

For the time being, Dody has a more pressing matter on her mind: She will have heard rumors of her husband’s affair with a stripper. He denies it, and tries to quell her fears by making love to her. She detects a lack of passion in his caresses, and becomes enraged. “You’ve been untrue to me!” she hisses. “Who do you think you’re fooling?” But even under her dominatrix lash, he refuses to confess. Often, Donna Dante leaves their bed sobbing! However, during this period she becomes pregnant with their second child.

Vox DISCO 795
Stoney End (Laura Nyro)
Every Ounce Of Strength (Cropper, Hayes, Porter)
I Wish I’d Never Loved You (Hawker, Raymonde)
Different Drum (Michael Nesmith)
Best Of Ram
Ram
Club Mix X
Produced by Ramsay Khalid Sharma
Remixed by Chaiwat
worldwide release

GOLDEN SHOWERS PROMO

Vox VSI-692294
Stoney End (Laura Nyro)*
Baby, You’re My Kind Of Woman (Foxx, Williams)**
Every Ounce Of Strength (Cropper, Hayes, Porter)***
I Found Someone (Bolton, Mangold)
Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing (Linden, Raleigh)
I Wish I’d Never Loved You - Part Two (Hawker, Raymonde)***
Different Drum (Michael Nesmith)***
Your Hurtin’ Kind Of Love (Hawker, Raymonde)***
And When I Die (Laura Nyro)*
Last Chance To Turn Around (Bruno, Kahan, Millrose)***
I Can’t Let Go! (Gorgoni, Taylor)***
If It Don’t Work Out (Rod Argent)***
A Golden Shower
Ram
*with The Carmines
**with Puppy Posse
***with Chutney Rose
Arranged + Produced by
Ramsay Khalid Sharma
Sound Produced by
Sonny Yin-Bao
Remastered @ Witch Queen West, Salt Lake City
worldwide release
2069

Ram is airborne on a cocaine high during much of the year 2068. Emotionally, he’s soaring, but the drug plays havoc with his music-making ability. Dude becomes erratic on stage, giving less than his best in concert. His much-anticipated return to Tokyo's Motown Music Festival is a huge letdown: His blasé performances of Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues", "Baby, Don't You Do It" and "Take This Heart Of Mine" bore the audience stiff!  He becomes undependable in the studio, too: Sporadic work on his next album stretches into early 2069.

RAM RETURNS TO TOKYO

Impatient for the third installment of their three-album deal with Ram, Vox Sound + Image compiles a hits compilation from available tracks. Witch Queen West’s sound engineer Sonny Yin-Bao helps assemble the collection, culled from albums and club mixes. Sonny also draws from a late 2067 recording session @ Muscle Shoals, devoted to Laura Nyro songs. Dude programs two of the numbers: “And When I Die” and “Stoney End.” The latter track gets a Chaiwat remix and becomes Ram’s latest club hit club in Asia.

The compilation's provocative title, A Golden Shower, is the idea of a Vox A & R staffer.  This woman regularly takes part in orgies staged by Puchi Schneider!  One drug and alcohol-drenched night, she'll be naked in a hotel bathroom with several people, including Ram and Tempestt Spangler. Unspeakable things proceed to happen!  

Having gained firsthand knowledge of the singer's love for "water sports", this staffer suggests the fetish name as a joke. The Rad Asian Manchild is not amused when he sees it ("WTF?")!  While he suspects that his sexual proclivities may have inspired the title, he'll never know for sure.  More to Ram's liking is the photo on his new club mix, which shows him cuddling newborn daughter Roxanne.  That cover is also a fan favorite. 

True to form, A Golden Shower sells far better outside the USA than inside. Lackluster chart performance for both album and club mix justifies Vox’s decision to drop Ram; the label declines to renew its deal with Santi Music.  Years later, the company will regret letting go of distribution rights: Vox will pay big money to acquire Ramsay Khalid Sharma's back catalog!

KIC Image 0001