25 June 2016

Archie's Titty Twister (Part Two)


Inside Cherry Vagina
Words + Music by The Archies
Yet another Cartoons + Castanets Pop Art Fantasy
by DC Hampton Jacobs
Pop Art Images of Archie Comics characters
drawn by Stuffed Animal
with Cartoon Cameo Appearances by
Trace Adkins, Mandy Barnett, Garth Brooks, Laura Bell Bundy, 
The Cadillac Three, Miranda Lambert and The Pistol Annies, Jake Owen, 
Cassadee Pope, Ray Scott, Jussie Smollett, Frankie Staton, 
Rick Trevino, Darryl Worley, Trisha Yearwood,
Dwight Yoakam, Chris Young
Dolly Parton

This is the bawdy story of a song publishing empire that never was: Archie and Veronica Lodge-Andrews' Cherry Vagina Music! Operating during the early 2000s, this publisher specialized in original Country material of a high caliber. Its product included unforgettable singles like "On A Wrong-Way Street To Love", "Down On The Spanish Side," "Eunice Danvers" and "Titty Twister!" Archie, Betty Jones, her husband Jughead and Trevor Smith were the firm's top songwriters. In 2008, eager-beaver song plugger Chuck Clayton came on board. Dude raised the company's profile in Nashville using a combination of schmooze and raw sex appeal. Chuckii's hard work is about to pay off big for both Cherry Vagina and one of Nashville's most talented divas. Part Two of Inside Cherry Vagina starts right here, right now!


Late 2009 saw a flurry of activity around writing a second solo album for Jughead. His first had been a collection of Jazz instrumentals; Jug was recording for another label at the time.  Now that he was an Archie Records solo artist, there was no question but that he would sing: Archie and Veronica planned to use his rich baritone as the main thrust of an all-out assault on French radio!  To date, Archie Records product had only found limited success in France. The entire stable of Cherry Vagina writers was put to work creating original songs for what would be a two-record set; Juggy wrote half of them himself, collaborating with Archie, Betty, Trevor, Chuck Clayton and Terry "Pop" Tate.

Disques Pathé 2-7013X
Au Courant de l'Amour (Andrews, Jones, Spellman)
Matahari (Briseño, Jones, Spellman)
Achetons des Bijoux (Jones, Smith, Spellman)
Presque Décembre (Garland, Spellman)
Bal au Méchantes (Clayton, Spellman, Tate)
Plus de Silence sur la Sexualité! (Keller, Lodge-Andrews, Spellman)
Petits Morts (Jones, Spellman)
Samedi Après-Midi (Jones, Smith, Spellman)
Personne! (Andrews, Clayton, Spellman)
Sept Temps au Revoir (Garland, Spellman)
Tout ce qu'Ils Dirent de Moi (Clayton, Jones, Spellman, Tate)
Tant que Je Te Veux (Jones, Mason, Spellman)
Tout ce qu'Ils Dirent de Moi
Une Production JM de Luxe
pour Disques Archie
Chef de Production:
Realizé par Jean-Emanuel de Luxe
Ingenieurs du Son:
Marc-Paul, Octavia G

His old friend Sabrina "Bree" Spellman crafted danceable Europop arrangements and translated all the lyrics into French.  Bree also supervised the demo recordings, but much to everyone's surprise, Archie hired a French producer to make finished masters.  This turned out to be a grand faux pas!  The usually serene Jughead clashed with Jean-Emanuel de Luxe; dude wasn't happy with the Punk rockers de Luxe contracted to cut his album tracks.  Over Monsieur's objections ("merde, alors!"), Jug flew the other Archies members over to Paris where they faithfully duplicated their demo performances.  Bree Spellman was on hand, too, providing musical direction.  "Sabrina and I really produced those sessions
together," he'd later claim.


 The project was completed by late Spring of 2010, but Veronica was so fussy about soundmixes and packaging, a firm release date wasn't secured until early 2011.  Disques Pathé, the French affiliate of Archie Records, was the label imprint in Europe; the album was never marketed Stateside.  Even so, Tous Ce Qu'Ils Dirent De Moi became the most successful of any Archies solo album.  Jughead's foray into French Pop racked up impressive sales in the Francophone world, with one glaring exception: The record flopped big in France.  Archie and Veronica judged their carefully-targeted marketing strategy a failure, and he believed the album's Disco orientation was to blame.  "Let's stick with doing the kind of music we do best," he urged.  Dude had good reason! Country material remained Cherry Vagina's bread-and-butter; chart placings in 2010 underscored that fact.

The difficulties of childbirth had never been the subject of a Country music hit. That changed when Mandy Barnett scored big with “Labor and Delivery”! Male-dominated Country radio balked at playing the frank Betty Jones composition, leaving it stalled in the Top Twenty; however, female fans bought the single in droves. It won a Gold Record on sales alone! Mandy called it her “baby-birthin’ song” and for better or worse, it became her signature tune. “Honey child, I don’t dare leave a stage without singin’ it," she revealed to Maverick Magazine. "The oddest thing is how all these expectant mothers have started attending my concerts. You’d think that line about C-sections would scare them away!”

Betty gained a reputation for penning provocative Country songs, so much so that people started calling her the Devilish Ms. Jones!  They also dubbed her the new Loretta Lynn.  Betts felt humbled: "The comparison is incredibly flattering. I guess Loretta and I both like to write songs that are plain-spoken and direct. We don't pull any punches!" In 2010, she dropped her most daring set of lyrics to date: Those for “Baby, It’s All Over Town”. "It" referred to the protagonist's reputation as a red-hot lover who can shag all night long!  Men have sung bragging songs forever; but was Nashville ready for a female vocalist trumpeting her physical attributes and sexual prowess? A good many Country divas seemed to think so: A race ensued to see who’d be first to cut the tune!


At first, it looked like Carrie Underwood would win the race, but Dolly Parton had an inside track: Her long-ago romance with Hiram Lodge, Veronica’s late father!  "Dolly was almost my mama," Roni used to brag.  "Her and Daddykins were hot 'n' heavy for awhile, but then Porter Wagoner got jealous.  They had to break up for the sake of her music career!"

Subsequently, the busty blonde matched Hiram up with Hermione Stellanedra, one of her closest friends.  When the couple wed, Dolly was maid of honor, and she became godmother to their daughter.  Roni adored her "Mama Titties" from childhood on, so when Dolly let it be known she wanted to record "Baby, It's All Over Town", the song was hers for the asking!  “Those lyrics sound like something I could have written my damn self," she raved. " I wish I had, too! But Betty and Juggy Jones did a great job writin’ it for me.” 

Indeed, both words and music fit Dolly’s sassy personality like a hand-in-glove: Got cruise-ship hips/Got a prize between my thighs! That her fabulous Bluegrass single would zoom to the top of the Country charts was all but a given. “Baby” was also nominated Song of the Year!  The Archies attended the 2011 CMA Awards as Dolly’s special guests. Although her chart-topper didn’t win, the Queen of Nashville got a wild standing ovation when she performed it trio style with Veronica and Betty!


Oddly enough, The Archies rarely performed their Country compositions in concert. Their 2010 world tour was an exception: On the North American leg of that tour, they treated fans to versions of "Titty Twister", "Down On The Spanish Side" and "On A Wrong-Way Street To Love."  They weren't anything like the hit versions, though: Not wanting to compete with the Nashville originals, Archie decided to play the tunes for laughs! He, Reggie and Trevor sang exaggerated "sh*t-kicker" vocals, while Betty and Juggy attempted cornpone impersonations of their friends Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks.  Reaction was mixed; some fans were delighted, but others objected to the crude Hee Haw antics.  By tour's end, both the songs and the ill-conceived Country comedy had been dropped from the show.

Meanwhile, the hits kept coming: Bilingual Country crooner Rick Treviño cut “Phantom Blonde” for his 2010 album La Viuda Espinoza (The Widow). It was never actually released as a single, but that didn't stop it getting played on the radio. In fact, there was sufficient airplay for the track to chart at #39 Country. Predictably, Veronica was p*ssed! “Kevin Keller and I didn't write a Top Forty song, we wrote a Number One song," she fumed. "No disrespect to Rick Treviño, but his record company let a blockbuster slip through their fingers.  WTF?”

There was better promotion overseas, and Roni felt vindicated when a single pressing of “Blonde” went Top Ten in Australia. Unfortunately, this would be her only hit.  It was hella frustrating for her, because she was Cherry Vagina Music's most prolific songwriter: Most of the demos found in 2116 are her compositions. A scandalous rumor helped propel Treviño's record up the charts: That “Phantom Blonde” was about Veronica's much-regretted affair with Jughead in the year 2006! That would make Betty Jones the blonde in question!  Roni chose not to address the issue, which only fueled speculation.


Pan-Americana Records 02171
Wild Like That! (Roni Lodge-Andrews)
Corn Girls And Country Boys (Betty + Forsythe Jones)
Down On The Spanish Side (Archie Andrews, Dilton Doiley Briseño)
Chinchilla Blues (Kevin Keller, Roni Lodge-Andrews)
1994 (Timothy Garland, Sabrina Spellman)
Jesus Was A Gambler (Betty Jones, Ethel Muggs Mason)
Heartquake Shake 'n' Bake (Roni Lodge-Andrews, Ethel Muggs Mason)
Don't U Want Me 2 Love U? (Kevin Keller, Roni Lodge-Andrews)
Makin' It Lonely For Me (Betty Jones)
Titty Twister (Archie Andrews, Forsythe Jones, Ethel Muggs Mason)
Nashville Katz
Katz + The Fiddles
An Archie Americana Production
Music Supervision:
Mike Pellerito
Produced by Chuck Clayton
Sound Engineer:
Cade Murphy
Recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios

Early in 2010, Cherry Vagina Music tried to launch another custom label. Archie Americana Records lasted for just one release: A now-highly collectible album by Archie's favorite roots band, Katz + The Fiddles. Every selection on it was a Cherry Vagina copyright.  Produced by Chuck Clayton, Nashville Katz was actually recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.  Bandleader Katz Rockland felt awestruck standing in the studio at 3614 Jackson Highway, where a litany of Pop, Soul and Country legends had cut sessions. "Kiss my grits and call me Country!" she exclaimed. "Me and the boys have sure got a high standard to meet."

But they rose to the challenge: The Fiddles' album earned great reviews (Rolling Stone called it "home brew of a fine vintage"), and for a while, it did strong word-of-mouth business. Yet ultimately, the CD failed to chart. Radio seemed resistant to the band's hard Country sound, but Chuck Clayton detected a more sinister motive for the snub.  "When critics started comparing Katz to kd lang, I knew we were in trouble," he complained.  "Nashville still isn't ready for an openly Lesbian star; never mind all the closeted ones! G*ddammit! When is Music City gonna grow the f*ck up?"  Everyone involved was disappointed except for Big Ethel, who had a philosophical viewpoint.  "An album as fine as this one is like money in the bank," she believed.  "It just builds up interest!"


Ethel Muggs Mason was the first artist signed to Archie Records; her single "B*tch Better Bring My Pizza" has been hailed as a comedy Hip-Hop classic!  Later on, Ethel became Archie Andrews's executive secretary. Babe was also a demo singer and a songwriter signed to Cherry Vagina Music. When she co-wrote the Country hit "Titty Twister", her husband hit the roof! Duke Mason was a Pentecostal minister, after all. Naturally, the huge financial windfall from that song helped smooth things over; Pastor Mason financed the renovation of his church with royalty checks. ("God works in mysterious ways," he shrugged.)   Happily, Big Ethel's songwriting (which also produced hardcore Gangsta Rap lyrics!!!) was the only source of conflict in her long and happy marriage to Big Moose.

Ethel's words couldn't have been more prescient: Nashville Katz was so popular in music industry circles, Las Vegas came calling for The Fiddles.  What's more, their album was an excellent showcase for The Archies' original songs.  Some of Country music's hottest acts mined the track listing for gold. Gretchen Wilson scooped up "Corn Girls And Country Boys", another envelope-pushing Betty and Juggy Jones collaboration. Ty Herndon helped himself to "Jesus Was A Gambler," which half-Jewish Betty Jones wrote with Big Ethel, a "born-again" Christian. Dwight Yoakam rode off with Veronica and Ethel's "Heartquake Shake 'n' Bake" and took the ladies with him! They played percussion and sang background vocals on his cover version. These choice nuggets turned up later on various new albums.


Laura Bell Bundy came away with the biggest prize by far: A #3 Country single! But babe had to fight like Hell for it. Laura was incensed when record executives put her superb recording of "Makin' It Lonely For Me" on indefinite hold. "WTF is the matter with these people?" she raged. "I bet they wouldn't know a hit record if it kicked them in the balls!"

For six months, Laura badgered them to release the single. When it finally hit the streets in early 2010, Nash Country Weekly proclaimed it “The best torch ballad of the year!” Her record company was forced to eat crow, but what a tasty meal that was: Betty´s song was a stone smash right out of the gate! When it stormed the Top Ten, Country femmes by the dozen started clamoring for her sad honky-tonk waltzes. In 2011, Carlene Carter rode “Another Cup Of Pain” into the Top Twenty, as did Kacey Musgraves singing “Pourin’ My Love Out.” But Betts didn't stop writing uptempo tunes: In early 2012, Miss Frankie Staton got up to #45 with another one of her risqué titles: “Hair Of A Dog That Bit Him (In His Ass)!”


The most notorious Betty Jones song (and one that’s still unconfirmed) is a number called “Who Put The C*nt Into Country Music?” This dirty ditty was published by a little known Cherry Vagina affiliate called Sh*t Happens Music, and credited to one "Bethesda Butt." Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood tracked a finished master in late 2012 but never released it. “And,” Trisha later vowed, “you will never, ever hear that record! Garth knows that if he puts it out, I will strangle him with my bare hands!”

“But didn’t we have fun cutting it, though?” her husband chuckled. “I must say, the outtakes on that session were kinda spicy.” “Filthy is more like it!” she sniffed. The demo, which has disappeared, featured Betty's vocals. Nobody at Cherry Vagina Music ever heard of Bethesda Butt, and that name doesn't appear anywhere in Archie Americana's payroll records. Those facts fuel speculation that Betty used it as an alias. If so, that's a secret the Devilish Ms. Jones will take to her grave! She'll never acknowledge authorship.  Here's an interesting aside, though: Whenever the title was mentioned in Archie's presence, he'd shoot a sly glance at his wife and wink an eye . . .

There's no such mystery about “Tighter”. Betty definitely wrote the suggestive number, and it's the only original song the adult Archies will release in their lifetimes. The non-album track will be the flipside of “San Francisco (Flowers In Your Hair)”, their chart-topping charity single of 2030. However, the tune will have been kicking around for over 15 years by then.  Song plugger Chuck Clayton first had Reba McEntire in mind to record it, then Martina McBride. The song was also pitched to Wynonna without success. It sounds like something Tina Turner might've sung in the '60s, but a male Country artist ended up cutting the bluesy number: North Carolina native Ray Scott.  Betty loved his unusual interpretation, which started off sounding like an old mountain ballad and then shifted into Bluegrass overdrive with high-lonesome vocals.


"Tighter" was arguably the best song on Backwoods Dandy, a 2012 Ray Scott album that didn’t lack for strong compositions; other contributors included top Nashville songwriters Jimbeau Hinson, Shane McAnally, Brandy Clark and Ray himself. In early 2013, Jo Dee Messina cracked the Country Top Forty with a honky-tonk version that Betty also loved; but The Archies’ 2030 recording (sung by Jughead) will hew closer to her rockin’ demo.


In 1990, Betty Cooper became Mrs. Jughead Jones. Two years later, Archie married up Veronica Lodge; but when her beloved father died in 2005, a grieving Roni reached out to Juggy for comfort. The long-time bandmates had a notorious love/hate relationship, but somehow they ended up in bed together. When she found out about their affair, an enraged Betty Jones took revenge by seducing Archie! The infidelities were short-lived, and hurt feelings were ultimately put aside; cheating will play no part when Betty divorces Juggy in early 2017. However, one of those illicit unions produced a secret love child whose great-grandchild will figure into a future Cartoons and Castanets graphic novel!

Known for taking the bull by the horns, tough-as-nails Country diva Miranda Lambert fell up in Cherry Vagina’s Nashville offices one day in 2013. Babe was on the hunt for a special kind of song. “I know y'all are good with ballads,” she drawled to Chuck Clayton, “but my band, The Pistol Annies, needs a new single. No cryin’-in-your-beer bullsh*t for us! We want a tune that f*ckin' kicks ass and takes names. Have you got somethin’ suitable?”

Chuckii gave Miranda first dibs on “Fire Burning Love”, a brand new number co-written by Archie and Josetta James. Babe dug the tune, but it was Veronica and Betty's sizzling demo vocals that really sold her. Mere hours later, she, Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe were getting busy in her home studio. They revamped the Heavy Metal screamer with a dirty Southern Rock groove; but their trio singing was nearly a carbon copy of what Roni and Betty had done.

Not tampering with vocal perfection was a smart move on their part: “Fire” lived up to its name, burning up the Country charts! The Top Five hit became a concert staple for the formidable Ms. Lambert with or without her Annies. Two months later, Chuckii placed another Josie tune with Cassadee Pope. The rising star made "Reprehensible" the lead track on her new album Cassadee Kickin' Ass! It turned out to be her big breakthrough record, too: A chart-topper that sold half a million copies! The disc fell just shy of winning an Album Of The Year trophy at the 2014 ACM Awards.


Chuck Clayton was richly rewarded for these latest coups: At Cherry Vagina's 2013 Christmas party, Chuckii surprised everybody by jumping out of a giant cake dressed as Santa Claus (the Chippendales version)!  Then, at the height of festivities, Veronica surprised him: She announced his appointment to the post of Publishing CEO! It was a long-overdue promotion. Jughead's sister Anjelica "Jelli" Jones-Torres replaced Chuckii in Nashville.  Nobody at Archie Americana Productions had a clue: The Archies' Music City goldmine had already tapped out!


Fast forward to 2016: Jussie Smollett, star of the runaway hit cable series "Empire", jump-starts an interrupted recording career. The versatile actor/singer/songwriter intends one of his own compositions for a comeback single; however, his good buddy Trevor Smith convinces him to do otherwise. Trev brings Jussie a number that's equal parts Rock, Rap and Indian Raga. "I wrote this song for Hank Williams, Jr," he explained," and ol' Bocephus cut it.  But it never came out, because his producer didn't think it was Country enough".

"No sh*t?" Jussie laughed.  "I agree with him!  In fact, I don't think it's Country at all.  But whatever it is, it's perfect for me." Dude will never regret the substitution: After leapfrogging over records by Beyoncé, Kanye West and some of the biggest Gangsta rappers in the Hip-Hop, “What’s Your Sign?” lodges atop the R + B charts for a whole month!

 Composed in 2011, Jussie Smollett's Number One single is a Cherry Vagina copyright; but by 2016, Trevor Smith no longer writes for the firm.  In late 2012, Trev and Jazz arranger Justin Strickland launched Smith-Strickland, a Sony Music affiliate.  At that time, nearly two years had passed since Valerie Smith's little brother had spun Music City gold.  Chuck Clayton begged him not to jump ship, but dude's mind was made up. "I feel like a fish out of water, writing songs for Nashville," he revealed. "Country music is what Cherry Vagina does best, but it's time to face facts: I'm just not a Country songwriter!"


Maybe not, but then again, maybe so.  Trev wrote the only other Cherry Vagina copyright to have an immediate impact outside Nashville.  That song was stoned Country music, and it was also one of the firm's biggest hits.  Back in 2009, Trev composed "Saturday Clown" with help from Archie and Justin Strickland.  In classic Country waltz time, it spun the heartbreaking tale of a divorced father who only sees his baby daughter on weekends.  Made up like a circus clown for his toddler's amusement, Daddy arrives for their visit to find a devastating scene: His ex-wife has abandoned their house and left no forwarding address.  Reggie Mantle wailed like a fatherless child on the demo: Will I ever hear my Buffy laugh again?  Country hunk Chris Young snatched up the song and nailed its bittersweet sentiment on his very first try. Word flew around Music City that it was a Number One Country smash waiting to happen!

Well, it didn't happen, but something just as fantastic did. Recorded in March 2010, Chris’s single was sailing up the Country charts by early April. Somehow, it only got as high as #7; but by the end of May, it was sitting pretty atop Billboard’s Hot 100 Pop listings! In June, “Saturday Clown” topped the Adult-Contemporary charts, too, having not budged from its Top Ten Country berth. Eight months later, it would finally drop off all three charts . . a mega-monster hit!

Chris Young will score many big Country records, but none bigger than "Saturday Clown". Dude got passed over for (his fans say "robbed of") a CMA Male Vocalist Of The Year nomination, and that was a major letdown; but on the other hand, Cherry Vagina copyrights were all over Country radio.  2010 was the firm's banner year: Hot on the heels of Chris Young's triumph came Dolly Parton’s “Baby, It’s All Over Town”, Laura Bell Bundy’s “Makin’ It Lonely For Me” and Rick Treviño’s Australian smash “Phantom Blonde.” There were also chart records by Maddie + Tae, Billy Currington, Joe Nichols and Drake Jensen, written by Archie, Betty or Jughead. Nashville's hottest out-of-town publisher won a trio of BMI Awards!


In 2013, Nashville "popped its cherry" again, and champagne corks popped in Chuck Clayton's office!  The quartet of hits that justified his promotion to CEO were the aforementioned "Tighter"; "Reprehensible"; "Fire Burning Love"; and another one of Archie's full-tilt rockers: “Bat Out Of Wichita!” Trace Adkins served it up to Country radio in a snarling, pedal-to-the-metal rendition. This torrid chronicle of a prison break was tailor-made for Trace's barrel-chested baritone; "Wichita" shot to Number One, stayed put for two weeks and was the fastest-selling single he ever had! Unfortunately, it was also Cherry Vagina's last Country chart-topper for many years. There was another Song Of The Year nomination, and another star-studded appearance by The Archies at the CMA Awards; but then, suddenly, it was all over.

Arch, Betty, Juggy, Roni and Trev got caught up in cutting, releasing and watching their first and only Jazz album flop.  Jump Back Honey! consumed a huge amount of time and effort, and its failure knocked the wind out of everybody's sails.  In 2014, The Archies spun their wheels a second time with an aborted ABBA tribute; and then the surprise sale of Archie Records to Jason Blossom splintered the group: Jason was a notorious corporate raider that no Archie Records act wanted to record for. One of the greatest indie labels of the early 2000s vanished overnight!  Riverdale's Rock royalty took an extended break from touring and recording that nobody was sure they'd ever return from.

Needless to say, demo production slowed to a crawl.  Cherry Vagina lost its market momentum and never got it back!  Jelli Jones-Torres wasn't the networking dynamo that Chuck Clayton had been; but to be fair, she had very little to promote. When their contracts expired, Josie, Betty and Juggy followed Trevor's example and cut new publishing deals elsewhere. Kevin Keller became a Heavy Metal superstar and got too busy to write with Veronica anymore. New signee Toni Topaz penned some songs with Roni, but they never got recorded. The Lodge-Andrews and Alan Mayberry will unload Cherry Vagina Music in early 2017; they'll sell the catalog to PeerMusic for a tidy profit that's shared among all the writers.


The Archies will reunite one last time in the year 2030. By then, Betty and Jughead will be divorced, Reggie will have gone solo, and Trevor is a big-time record executive who rarely performs anymore.  Kevin Keller and Juggy's second wife Toni Topaz are new recruits, with Kelly replacing Arch as lead singer. Near the end of their 2031-2 farewell tour, this final incarnation of the group will perform two Cherry Vagina copyrights.

 At a show in Montréal, a drunk heckler keeps screaming for "Titty Twister"!  Finally, Archie yells back:  "You asked for it, motherf*cker!" and counts off the intro.  The band tears into an impromptu performance of The Cadillac Three hit, which drives the SRO crowd hog wild!  That's nothing, though, compared to what happens next: Betty Cooper leaves the stage and returns wearing nothing but a tight T-shirt, black lace panties and a pair of cowgirl boots! The 66-year-old singer/songwriter belts out "Baby, It's All Over Town" while swishing her still-voluptuous body across the stage.  Needless to say, babe brings the house down!  Both Country songs stay in the set list for the remainder of the tour.


So that's the end of the story, except for this sensational coda: Vox Sound + Image, a company based in Ghaziabad, India, acquires the Archie Records catalog in 2059.  Vox will compile some of the demonstration records that surface in 2016 and release them as a download called Reprehensible! The title track is Josetta James's demo version (sung by Veronica and Betty) of the 2013 Cassadee Pope album cut. Included among the 24 other Cherry Vagina copyrights are the Pop/Country smash "Saturday Clown", the Country chart-busters "Baby, It's All Over Town", "Bat Out Of Wichita" and "On A Wrong-Way Street To Love", and the Hip-Hop best-seller "What's Your Sign?"


All but two of the selections are demo recordings, but there's a surprise in the track lineup:  A pair of finished masters by The Archies! Ralfi Chingas's productions of "Titty Twister" and "St, Kevin, Apostrophe" will also turn up in the Riverdale Music Academy archives. Popular demand prompts Vox to release them as a belated Archies single in 2117. Everyone from the executive suite on down is stunned when they score a double-sided Number One Country record!

The downloadable vinyl disc goes Top Ten Pop, too; and outside North America, one or the other side tops charts all over Europe, Asia and Australia. Its unprecedented success upends the digital music industry and consolidates a posthumous Archiemania that's been erupting periodically since the 2070s. Needless to say, it also enhances the reputation of Cherry Vagina Music tenfold! The stage is set for dozens of new covers of old CV copyrights, stretching into the 23rd century and beyond.


Happy Gay Pride month!  This story is dedicated to all the closeted Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Country stars, past and present. Their contributions to America's favorite music genre are far more numerous and substantial than anyone will ever realize or acknowledge!

18 June 2016

Archie's Titty Twister (Part One)


Inside Cherry Vagina
Words + Music by The Archies
Yet another Cartoons + Castanets Pop Art Fantasy
by DC Hampton Jacobs
Pop Art Images of Archie Comics characters
drawn by Stuffed Animal
with Cartoon Cameo Appearances by
Trace Adkins, Mandy Barnett, Garth Brooks, Laura Bell Bundy, The Cadillac Three, 
Miranda Lambert and The Pistol Annies, Jake Owen, Cassadee Pope, Ray Scott, 
Jussie Smollett, Frankie Staton, Rick Trevino, Darryl Worley, Trisha Yearwood, 
Dwight Yoakam, Chris Young 
Dolly Parton

In the year 2001, The Archies made a fateful decision. It involved repertoire, and it would profoundly affect their fortunes as an adult Rock band. As everyone knows, they scored an international smash hit with "Sugar, Sugar" as teenage recording artists. The group also released five albums of original material. Album sales were decent, but nothing less than spectacular was going to please Veronica Lodge! Babe always believed the teen Archies could and should have been more successful . . .


The band called it quits in 1992 but reformed nine years later. Now married, Archie and Roni-Lodge Andrews teased the music press: "The Archies are back, b*tches! And this time, we're gonna be superstars." Added sound engineer Alan Mayberry, their partner in a new indie record label: "The band isn't approaching this reunion in a half-assed way.  They're dead serious about becoming a top-drawer act!  If a song isn't a smash, we won't even think about recording it."   Going forward, the group decided to only cut classic tunes written during the 20th century.  Veronica, especially, insisted on a band book full of proven hits.  Archie laid their ambitions square on the table:  "We admire how stars like Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald created Pop standards, and we plan to do the same thing for Rock 'n' Roll." 

Even at this early stage, Archie, Betty, Juggy, Reggie and Roni knew they were excellent song interpreters. They had no qualms about tackling the Great American Pop/Rock Songbook, and after working with Carole King on a never-released album of her legendary tunes, they were eager to do so. Gambling that the public would accept them as a "covers" band was risky, but it paid off in a big way! Between 2002 and 2032, The Archies scored a string of memorable Gold, Platinum and Double-Platinum albums and singles. Among their smash hits are remakes of "Lonely Weekends", "Soul Deep", "Jet Airliner", "Sugar, Sugar" (in Spanish) and "San Francisco" (Flowers In Your Hair)".  Their runaway success with golden oldies is going to inspire a "Retro" movement in popular music; by the latter 21st century, covers bands will dominate the recording industry.


The adult Archies almost never recorded original songs after 2001; but does that mean they never wrote any? If they didn't, then grits ain't groceries, sh*t don't stink, and Playboy is a Gay men's magazine! Members of The Archies wrote a good many tunes, and what's more, several became huge hits. How is it, then, that you've never heard of them? It's because you've never before heard the story of Archie's publishing empire. Get ready to learn about a whole other side of your favorite cartoon characters!

As indicated earlier, Archie, Veronica and Alan M ran their own record label. The adult Archies cut nearly all their hits for Archie Records. It isn't as well-known that the power trio headed up a production company, too. All of their non-Archies product (as well as a couple of Archies albums) was released under the auspices of Archie Americana Productions. This company owned and operated Archie Sound Studios (ASS) and also housed its own song publishing firm; but would you believe the firm was called . . . Cherry Vagina Music?


The provocative moniker came about when Veronica wanted to name the subsidiary after her favorite ice cream flavor. Upon learning that "cherry vanilla" was already copyrighted, her horndog of a husband put a wicked twist on it. "Cherry vagina, that's MY favorite flavor," he snickered. "I'm so sure," Roni deadpanned. Naturally, babe resisted his idea, but she eventually went along with the name change. "It's woman-empowering," she reasoned. "It's all about context." But when Archie suggested We Put The C*nt Into Country Music! for a company slogan, his wife gave him thumbs-down in no uncertain terms: "Have you f*cking lost your mind???!!"

Arch, Roni, Ethel Muggs Mason (AKA Big Ethel, Archie Records' very first recording artist) and Kevin "Kelly" Keller were signed directly to the company as songwriters. Cherry Vagina Music administered other publishers, too, most prominently: Betty Jones's Peaches 'n' Cream Music; Jughead's Chok'lit Shoppe Music; and Bree (Sabrina) Spellman's Witch Queen Music. Foreign-language compositions (like Spanish lyrics written for The Archies' Exitos en Español album) were published by Chupacabra Music, another Cherry Vagina affiliate. Sea Bastion Music, the publisher that handled songs written by and for Josie + The Pussycats became affiliated in 2009; Trevor Smith, who wrote for Sea Bastion, joined The Archies that same year.


When they were teenagers, Chuck Clayton subbed for various absent members of The Archies on tour. Dude was the perfect sub, too: He played several musical instruments well and sang like a young Neil Diamond! When Reggie Mantle was suspended from the band in 2008, Chuckii was the leading candidate to replace him; but then Trevor Smith auditioned and turned Archie's head around with his fabulous bass playing. Chuck Clayton proved much more valuable to The Archies as a song plugger in Nashville.  In his personal life, Chuckii was involved in a long-term romance with Riverdale High School counselor Geraldine Grundy.

As is the case with every song publisher, certain contract writers consistently deliver hits. Archie Andrews turned out to be the most commercial Cherry Vagina songwriter: His uptempo tunes gave the firm its first Gold Record, its last, and several in-between! Close behind him in earning power was Betty Jones: Babe had female vocalists lining up to sing her torch ballads. Her hubby Jughead (writing as Forsythe Jones) made his mark collaborating with anyone and everyone. Some of his best songs were written with Trev Smith, whose eclectic compositions yielded surprise best-sellers. Trevor's first hit for Cherry Vagina, "St. Kevin, Apostrophe", came nearly two years before he actually joined the firm.


Bringing up the rear was Veronica, who usually teamed up with Kevin Keller. Roni could write lyrics in several languages, a skill that yielded Archies hits unique to Sweden ("Lite Av Allt") and Italy ("Mi Ricordano Maria"). Every member of The Archies wrote songs except for Reggie Mantle; but dude sang most of the demonstration records his bandmates composed. In fact, Gino's voice graced so many song demos in the early 2000s, he became known as The Demo King (or Demo Queen, depending on who you ask)! The vast majority of those discs were cut at Archie Sound Studios (ASS), under the Alan Mayberry's supervision. The Archies seldom cut masters there because Roni didn't like the acoustics; however, songwriter sessions kept the place jumping year round.

A good many Cherry Vagina demos feature The Archies playing whoever's song it is; but there were times when one or more of them weren't available. Jughead and Archie got in the habit of overdubbing every instrument themselves, but Veronica, Betty and Trevor usually liked some studio accompaniment. That's when Alan M would call on Riverdale's top nightclub act: Katz + The Fiddles, a transplanted group of Southern musicians. Although basically a Country band, Katz Rockland and her cohorts in twang could play any music style well. Arch dug their chops so much, he stopped overdubbing in order to work with them. "Katz + The Fiddles are my favorite roots band," he declared. In the year 2050, drummer Matty Carmine will return home to Muscle Shoals, Alabama and start a band with members of his talented family. In 2067, The Carmines will cut hits with future New Archie Ramsay Khalid Sharma . . . but that's another story.


Music publishers use demonstration records to sell songs.  Most demos are produced by their composers, but not the ones recorded at Archie Sound Studios (ASS).  Every Cherry Vagina copyright had A & R supervision, just like tracks intended for commercial release.  Demo producers included Ralfi Chingas (The Archies' producer from 2002-12), Dilton Doiley Briseño, Chuck Clayton, Bree Spellman and Alan Mayberry. Alan M produced more demos than any of the others; over 500 at last count! Archie and Veronica hired him away from Josie + The Pussycats to be chief engineer at Archie Sound Studios (ASS). Later, dude co-founded the Archie record label with them. The handsome blond hunk had long since broken up with Josie, and for a time, he was married to her hated rival Alexandra. That marriage produced a daughter, Remy Yvonne Cabot-Mayberry, who's destined to become a sound wizard just like her daddy! Beginning in the 2030s, Yvonne Remy will engineer hit records by both The Archies and The New Archies.


A century from now, a wealth of Cherry Vagina demonstration records will be found in the archives of Riverdale Music Academy. Founded by Archie and Veronica in 2017, this prestigious school will house a great deal of historical material relating to The Archies. If you could hear these demos now, you'd get an idea of what the group would've sounded like had the members cut their own material. In a nutshell: They'd have been Country Rock to the max!

With two Platinum Country music albums (Archie Country! and Return To Archie Country), The Archies were widely perceived as Country rockers. Their 2009 single "Jacky Daniels And You", remaking an obscure Dottie West B-side, certainly reinforced that perception: The record went Top Ten Country!  So it makes perfect sense that Nashville would be the place where Archie, Betty, Roni, Juggy and Trev's original material got the biggest reception. Cherry Vagina demos circulated in Music City for roughly a decade, and around 60 of them got recorded. Sales and airplay was primarily Country, but a couple of these compositions crossed over to Pop and R + B markets.


The Archies’ string of Country best-sellers kicked off with a song about a potent rum punch: “Titty Twister”! Naturally, Archie came up with the concept; while he never took drinking alcohol to extremes, dude loved his liquor and was heavily into cocktail mixology.  Arch and Jughead wrote the music and collaborated on the lyrics with Big Ethel. Betty was first to hear the hit potential: "A song with that kind of title will either go nowhere or straight to the top," she predicted, "but I think you've got a hot property there. Get that son-of-a-b*tch recorded, like, yesterday!"

The spicy title gave some Nashville acts pause, but not The Cadillac Three. Jaren Johnston, Kelby Ray and Neil Mason loved everything about the roaring rocker. They pounced on it, had their wicked way with it out behind the barn, and pulled a #6 hit for their trouble! “Titty Twister” dominated Country radio in the summer of 2004.  It was the kind of drinkin’ song people in the South couldn’t get enough of; for a while, it was just about the only record you heard blasting out of pickup trucks!

Can you get to the bottom of your glass?
This drink will knock you on your ass!
Vodka with rum,
Titty Twister!
Hella good fun,
Titty Twister!


The following year, The Archies cut their own version; but by then, the group was racking up huge hits with cover tunes. "Don't f*ck with a winning formula!" Veronica warned. Too, Archie fretted over further Country Rock pigeonholing: "Do we really need another hillbilly single in our catalog right now?" Reggie was incredulous: "Dude, you wrote the damn song!" "I know," Arch acknowledged, "but let's put this release on hold for a while." That hold will last for over a century; but the flow of original Country material had only just begun.

Betty and Juggy Jones bagged the next big hit: A great ballad called “On A Wrong-Way Street To Love”. Trisha Yearwood fell in love with Betty’s demo and chose it for her next solo release. Hubby Garth Brooks heard her rehearsing the song, loved it, too, and suggested a duet. Predictably, this 2005 single had no trouble cracking Country radio and lodging in the Top Ten; what’s surprising is that it narrowly missed the top spot, peaking at #2.

Garth and Trisha decided to cut a longer version for her new album, and they invited The Joneses down to Nashville to sing background vocals. Betty and Jug were thrilled! The session was a riot of booze, barbecued ribs, laughter and high harmony. It was the start of an enduring friendship between the superstar couples. In 2011, “Wrong-Way Street” was covered by Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt for one of their multi-Platinum Trio collaborations.


Reggie sang lead on the “Titty Twister” demo and also did the honors for “Me Voy A La Danza/Down On The Spanish Side.” Archie co-wrote this Tex-Mex stomper with his old friend Dilton Doiley Briseño. They aimed the song at the Tejano market, which is why Gino was tagged to sing it. “Nobody can sell that kind of tune better,” Arch believed. “”Latin music is second nature to him!” agreed Dilton. Reggie's great bilingual vocal proved their point; but the composers were floored when one Tejano act after another turned up their noses.


During this time (late 2006), Country star Jake Owen booked a session at Studio Briseño, Dilton’s recording facility in El Paso, Texas. Noting how glum the proprietor looked, Jake inquired what was the matter. “I’ve written a Tejano tune that I'd swear is a hit,” Dilt complained, “but coño . . . nobody seems to like it.” After listening to the demo, Jake declared: “That ain’t no Tejano tune, hoss. That’s a motherf*ckin' Country song! I like it, and I'm gonna record it.”

Archie and Dilton helped Jake cut a basic track in El Paso, but most of the single was tracked in Nashville. The writers were less than happy with what Music City musicians did to "On The Spanish Side"; they complained that the Tex-Mex flavor had been watered down. Give Jake Owen credit, though: He knew his audience better than they did. His soft rock interpretation landed at #4 on the Country charts and stayed in the Top Ten for over a month!


With its psychedelic elements and throwback Folk Rock sound, “St. Kevin, Apostrophe” wasn’t the most accessible of Cherry Vagina demos for a Country singer. However, Darryl Worley connected with it immediately; dude was so enthused, he claimed the tune after hearing just the first few bars. The Jughead/Trevor Smith composition was a perfect fit for his genre-bending album Trailer Trashin’, released in 2007. Interviewed by Nashville Network’s Lorraine Crook, Juggy later admitted that the lyrics were about his pal Kevin Keller: “It’s my gentle send-up of his perfectionist tendencies!” Kelly obviously took it in stride, because when The Archies cut their own, unreleased version in 2012, he sang lead vocals.


In early 2008, the short-lived Cherry Vagina record label made its debut. It came to be after Reggie demoed a new Veronica/Kevin Keller song, fell hard for it and then lobbied just as hard to cut it himself. "Let's launch a sister label for Archie Records," Roni suggested, "and make Gino's new single our first release." The recording session took place in Memphis at legendary Sun Studios; Ralfi Chingas, The Archies' regular producer, helped Veronica cut the master. Roni played a haunting refrain on her guitar, Matty Carmine played drums, and Country star Laura Bell Bundy sang harmony vocals. Laura also appeared in the music video.

Inspired by the murder ballads that proliferated in early Country music, "Eunice Danvers" was the tragic story of a woman, her closeted Gay husband and the lover they both share without knowing. The song builds to a harrowing end: Two grisly homicides and a suicide! Veronica felt it was the best song she ever wrote, and reviewers agreed: They fell all over themselves praising it. However, the Bisexual subject matter proved too daring for Country radio; "Eunice Danvers" died a second death on the charts!


Later in 2008, Reggie's follow-up appeared. "Ain't Nothin' Like A Heartbreaker" was a team effort from Veronica, Betty, Jughead and Archie, and this good-time rocker couldn't have been more different from its predecessor. Initial airplay was promising, but then Archie and Gino clashed. The reason? As always, Reggie was pushing the envelope on nudity and sexuality, but generating more scandal than usual! Tabloid reports of him staging pansexual orgies had leaked into mainstream news, as did a racy nude centerfold spread that Riverdale's bad boy posed for a Spanish Gay magazine.

Yet Archie had his own share of sex scandals; in 2006, grocery checkout newsstands screamed details of his torrid affair with a Middle Eastern starlet!  Gino accused Arch of hypocrisy ("How can a slut shame another slut?"), which prompted the headstrong redhead to suspend him from The Archies.  Subsequently, Reggie refused to promote the new single: "Kiss my Australian/Cherokee ass, b*tch! And you can shove that fledgling record company up yours." When "Heartbreaker" tanked, it unfortunately took the Cherry Vagina label down with it. Reggie Mantle's tenure as Demo Queen ended for a while, too; Big Ethel subbed for him in the studio during the nine months it took him and Archie to patch up their differences!

Right after the second Reginald single flopped, Chuck Clayton came on board as a staff writer. However, songwriting was never his main job at Cherry Vagina Music. Chuckii was the first of Archie's classmates to leave Riverdale; right after graduating high school, dude moved to Nashville to pursue a singing career. Years later, Arch and Roni realized that they needed an experienced "leg man" in Music City: Chuckii was the obvious choice. Cultivating relationships with radio programmers, artists, managers and record labels proved far easier for him than chasing elusive star dreams. As talented a graphic artist as he was a promotions man, dude also designed the red-and-white company logo.


Then as now, the Country music business was dominated by a handful of powerful publishers: Universal! Sony/ATV! Big Yellow Dog! Atlas, Bluewater and Sea Gayle Music. Even so, Chuck Clayton wedged a foot in the door and opened a crack wide enough to let Cherry Vagina copyrights flow. The handsome urban cowboy could schmooze with the best of them, and he wasn't beyond publicity stunts (like stripping down in public to reveal custom Cherry Vagina undershorts)! It didn't hurt that dude also had the tenacity of a pit bull. In just two years, his exceptional song-plugging skills produced a string of hits for the firm; the explosion began at the end of 2009 with a song every pregnant woman could relate to!


The story you're reading right now is pure fiction, but there's nothing fictional about this news: Cleopatra Records will release the first-ever, real-life ARCHIES BOX SET! 
Sugar, Sugar: The Complete Albums Collection will hit the streets on 29 July 2016. 
Tell all your friends . . . SELL THAT MOTHERF*CKER OUT!!!