Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Gonna Be This Or That (with Uptown Express)

August 13, 2011

 

Uptown Express has been keeping busy with live shows from Manhattan’s Metropolitan Room, to the fun and summery Asbury Park, to the quirky and friendly New Hope, PA.

The group was nominated for two of the prestigious MAC Awards this year for Vocal Group and Best Recording. Teeming with talent, New York City is a rough city to get noticed in. Uptown has singled themselves out as a premier act with many amazing reviews for both their live appearances and their CD “Take You There”.

The year started out with the death of group member David Gurland. David’s loss and memory fueled the group into continuing. Jaymes Hodges was brought into the group earlier in the year, not to replace David, but to bring something new. Jaymes is not, by any means, new to any of this. He has brought with him an extensive resume of experience. “Naked Boys Singing – The Movie” , and the CD, as the lead (yes, go Google it, we all did!), Guiding Light, Gossip Girl, Broadway, touring companies and more.

David will live on in his music, accomplishments and relationships.

Chris Caswell, John DePalma, Brad Parks, Jaymes Hodges and musical director, James Followell are continuing to raise Uptown Express to new heights.

I believe their future lies in the music choices of the next album. “Take You There” began a new mix of contemporary pop, music we loved as kids and want the next generation to hear and Manhattan’s own Cabaret, that will hopefully be taken further. These four are so comfortable to watch and listen to, it’s impossible to think of anything but great success.

If you haven’t seen them in person, here is a promo video from the group. I’m not sure I would say it showcases all you will see and feel from seeing them, but you can clearly see the wonderful interaction of the group and know that you’ll have a good time.

After watching, visit them on Facebook or the Uptown Express Website.

 

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New York’s Uptown Express Is Waiting To Take You There

June 28, 2010

I was lucky enough to get a pre-release copy of the new CD Take You There,  from Uptown Express and was both surprised and excited right away.

I’ll tell the truth, the first time through I was engaged by the music but laughed out loud (LOL!) at each song change. By the third song, I was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. You see, I didn’t get a track list so I had really no idea. I encourage you to listen without first studying that list.

I don’t often yell to people to come listen to something, but this time I did it several times. You would have thought I was the one singing. I was so amazed by the quality of each song and that just about every song is a favorite. It’s one of those collections you feel was done as your own, personal mix tape!

Here is another thing I don’t usually do with music (besides laughing and calling people over!)… amidst the mayhem comes Erasure’s Always. I had actually gotten a pre-pre-release of that song, so I knew it was coming, but hearing it in the mix of the rest got me. I choked up a little there. OK, a lot. I LOVE that song! I sang right along with Chris. I don’t think I’ll be the 5th member or anything, but I didn’t need a microphone. ‘Nuff said.

I can best describe the ‘happy’ of this CD by saying that as I drive along and hear random songs on the radio, a song will come on that makes me sit up, sing along and hope to remember its name so I can add it to my imaginary jukebox. This CD is like the jukebox in my mind. Each song, though very different from the last, made me sit up and remember a time, a place, a person.

I won’t go through all the tracks, I’m really hoping you’ll feel some of that surprise that I did, but the songs range from superstar covers to Broadway kitsch and cabaret to current stuff. Each member has his time to shine and shine each one does. The voices, each different on their own and then when they all sing together… another kind of magic. Friend of the group and a New York diva-megafab star in her own rite, Karen Mason winds up the CD belting out Bette like nobody’s business.

If you like a CD with all  fun music… that’s  AllFunMusik!, or if you like a group of hot guys singing to you, or even if you just don’t have enough CDs to fill that new rack you bought at Ikea… get to a music store, the Uptown Express site or do what I did and all the really cool people do, get on iTunes and download it using your American Express card and pay for it next month. And, yes, I did buy it even though I had a free copy. I liked it a lot and hey… these guys gotta eat. Hmmm…. 4 Gay guys… how much are they really going to eat? Then they’ll run to the gym. Hey, maybe I can get a refund and get a hamburger and a pillow. Where was I?… right… buy it. They don’t have to eat, but they have to buy outfits for all those TV and stage appearances. You’ll be seeing and hearing from them quite a bit from now on, I suspect.

OH! Always is on again…. gotta go. Great job guys. You took me there and back! Cheers!

Uptown Express last album review

Uptown Express Official Website

Uptown Express on Facebook

Members: Chris Caswell, John DePalma, David Gurland, Brad Parks, Music Director: James Followell

Peter Lemongello Mood Rocks Manhattan

June 5, 2009

Uptown Express on 11 Tracks

November 25, 2008

The Uptown Express boys are spreading their message of hope and tolerance in an even bigger way than usual… their first studio CD. 

The CD starts out on an up beat with the title track, The Four Seasons Walk Like A Man which draws you into their unique style. The CD goes on to songs such as Glow Worm and Slow Boat to China. Yes, of course there’s a medley. It starts out with Melissa Etheridge’s  Come To My Window and completes with Never Can Say Goodbye made famous by the Jackson 5 and later Gloria Gaynor. The CD is a good time mix of songs equally appropriate as dinner music, road trip music or get lucky music.

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Under the music direction of James Followell, the Uptown Express boys are Aldrin Arche, Chris Caswell, John DePalma, David Gurland and Brad Parks. They have played Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, from Europe to Miami to the famous cabaret clubs of Manhattan, Uptown gets their crowds in the mood.

Each member brings a uniqueness to the group. Take, for example, Chris Caswell. Chris is the longest running member of Uptown Express and has appeared with the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus in Carnegie Hall, played in productions of Godspell and Company, but is best known for his solo venues, the most recent of which was Hold On at Helen’s. You can get more info on Chris and watch for upcoming shows at his website http://www.christophercaswell.net .

Please visit Uptown Express at their website http://www.uptownexpressnyc.org and take a look around. They list their upcoming performances and there, you can also purchase Walk Like A Man.

So often we are unsure of what we buy and who we’re buying from. Walk Like A Man is an uplifting compilation of songs meant to inspire and entertain performed by five guys that want to inspire and entertain. Wholesome entertainment for a harried world. 

Uptown Express is part of the Big Apple Performing Arts, a non-profit management company supporting LGBT entertainers.

Darren Hayes – The Tension and the Spark

March 6, 2008

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 iTunes makes 2004’s The Tension And The Spark available this week.

Darren Hayes… the voice – beautiful. Undeniable.

The music… dark, futuristic and electronic. I’m a huge fan, so of course I bought it and, I’ve listened to it 75 times already, but i wasn’t crazy about it at first. It quickly grew on me, though. I can listen to it all the time and each time find a new song I really like a lot. It really snuck up on me.

Sense of Humor and Darkness were early favorites of mine and Dublin Sky quickly grew in. It’s kind of like getting a new song each day as each one clicks with me.

I’ve changed this post since I first wrote it… I must admit. The original post was good on the voice, not so great on the arrangements. I guess I must like the style or I wouldn’t listen as much. I never disliked it, mind you. Not at all. I do wish, though, that at some point, he’d try a slightly more acoustic album so I can hear his voice as the star of the song. Personally, I don’t think he needs anything backing him up, but I really do get it.

The album is really quite good and if you’re not jumping up and down on the first go -round, just wait. It will sneak up on you and move to the top of your list quickly.

For Darren’s thoughts on the songs from The Tension and the Spark, go HERE.

I’ve included a song from the album. Enjoy! Pop!ular by Darren Hayes

Other Darren Hayes posts here…

Darren Hayes – Casey
Darren Hayes – When We Were Amazing
Listen All You People to Darren Hayes

Darren Hayes – Casey

January 26, 2008

Today’s release of the Casey video gives me an excuse to do another Darren Hayes post.  Casey is hand in hand for the top spot on my This Delicate Thing We’ve Made favorites list along with Listen All You People. The link to the YouTube video is below.

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You can also watch the video HERE at Darren’s YouTube Space, or go over to www.darrenhayes.com and watch it there. Or, you can just listen to Casey at my other blog HERE.

Video production this time around by Damian Hale of onedotzero.

Photos from the This Delicate Thing We’ve Made digital cover.

Related posts: Darren Hayes – When We Were Amazing, Listen All You People to Darren Hayes, Darren Hayes – Darkness

No Sundown in Sight for Gordon Lightfoot

December 1, 2007

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True Folk Music never dies. These are songs that tell a story. Much like Country music or Rap but the difference is they are not soon forgotten when another comes along. They are woven into our lives and memories. Try getting Puff The Magic Dragon or Blowin’ in the Wind out of your head, it won’t work.

Canadian, Gordon Lightfoot personifies true, traditional Folk music. He’s had music bust out of the Folk charts and onto Pop, Country and others just for the sheer feeling they invoke. Everyone know the names of Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan and Gordon Lightfoot and when the names are invoked, they posess a power that both soothes and excites us. Folk music is sing-along music. That’s how I can always tell. If a song is playing and everyone stops what they’re doing and sings along as a group of strangers with now, something in common… that’s Folk.

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Lightfoot’s If You Could Read My Mind, inspired by his divorce is a song that invokes real feelings for those who hear it.

Sundown went to #1 in 1974 on the Billboard charts and hit the Country charts big. Play it on a jukebox somewhere and watch the room quiet down. Interestingly, Sundown was inspired by Gordon’s then girlfriend, Cathy Smith who is most famous (infamous?) for her role in the death of John Belushi.

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald took its isnpiration right out of Newsweek Magazine and tells the story of the 1975 sinking of the USS Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior. If Folk music tells a story, this is a great example.

And when you’re on a road trip and Carefree Highway comes on the radio, everyone in the car is practically screaming the song.

Lightfoot has produced 20 albums from Lightfoot! in 1966 through Harmony in 2004. That’s staying power, but the really good news is that he’s never stopped touring. He tours in 18 month increments and the next leg of his current tour takes on the South East U.S. in February 2008.

This is a timeless man singing timeless music, reaching generations of listeners. If you see him in person, prepare yourself for a bad sore throat. You’ll be singing your hearts out. Make sure you introduce this music to the next generation. This is our way of passing down stories from the past.

There is a very informative fan site at www.gordonlightfoot.com with all you’ll need to know about buying music or if you’re lucky enough, seeing him in person.

We Are The Pipettes

October 31, 2007

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The twists and turns, the backward and forward movement of music; a shout out to Phil Spector as the teen tycoon of rock and a thumbs down to the Beatles..

It’s the Pipettes.

The only way I can describe it is as a modernized, 60s throw-back-bring forward, happy, dance music.

Becki, Rose and Gwenno make up the all girl Pipettes trio backed by the all male troupe, The Cassettes.

Thier album We Are The Pipettes contains their Top 40 hit Pull Shapes. It’s a super fun song baby, but the video MUST be seen at least once to really get the vibe. Taking the Spector model and twisting it with time makes for a unique sound. Take a look at the video on YouTube and dance along.

Richard Rothstein’s blog post has the best quote:

If you haven’t discovered the Pipettes, you’re in for a vaginatastic time! Even if you’re not a lesbian.

The song is of course part of the AllFunMusik lineup and, I think the Pipettes will be a fixture for quite some time.

Listen All You People to Darren Hayes

October 12, 2007

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I LOVE Darren Hayes. He has probably, my most favorite voice of all time.

220px-dananddarren.jpgWhen I first heard Truly, Madly Deeply, I instantly became a Savage Garden fan. I hadn’t even realized that I missed their first single I Want You. Savage Garden (Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones) was an Australian band that snuck up on America and made a bit hit here. Truly Madly Deeply introduced us to  a very unique and beautiful voice and a very entertaining stage and video presence. I Knew I Loved You was the next big hit and everyone ate it up. The Animal Song, originally written for a movie that flopped, was the next I Want you with a peppy beat and fast lyrics. Crash and Burn would become my favorite SG piece. Aptly so, since Savage Garden broke up in 2001.

Hayes’ first solo album Spin with single Insatiable was released in 2002. Tne single was OK, but didn’t really make it and the album fell sort of short of what we were previously getting from Savage Garden. Perhaps going solo, he tried to distance himself from the SG sound. I don’t know. I could never wrap my arms around Spin.

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Justin Timberlake : Futuresex/Loveshow

September 30, 2007

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I was a big N*Sync fan. Me and millions of adolescent girls.

They were a guilty pleasure, like music was in the 60s and 70s… listening just for fun.

I guess I went along with all the baloney that they broke up because JT got all full of himself and thought he was too good. Later, I didn’t listen because I went along with the ‘trying too hard to be black’ thing.

That was bad because you just don’t ‘try’ to be Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Tina Turner or Smokey Robinson. You are or you aren’t and that full of himself kid from N*Sync wasn’t.

One day, I heard ‘Sexy Back’ and really liked it. He wasn’t trying to be anything, he was just singing a fun song and it seemed like he was having fun doing it. Well, I started paying more attention. Not to the gossip, like before, but to the music. He’s really talented. Both as a singer and as a performer.

Tonight, I caught the concert at Madison Square Garden on HBO and, wow. Not only was the music good, but he seemed like he was genuinely having a good time up there. Not working… having fun. That comes out in the music. You can tell who is singing for money and fame, and who is singing for love and fun.

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Peter Lemongello : The Time is Now

September 21, 2007

You know… all the ‘crooners’ are just about gone. Peter Lemongello is still young and there’s a big spot to fill. The women still love him and who doesn’t like a New York Italian singing standards with a few new things thrown in. Peter Lemongello… this is it… your time is here (again). If you’re not sure, you could always do another infomercial.

I’m not an entertainer so I don’t know what happens when the music drifts away. No one booed Peter Lemongello off the stage. There weren’t horrible scandals surrounding him. His voice never left. It all just drifted away. Well, I say enough of that. There are fans and plenty more to be had. Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, gone. Vic Damone, Al Martino, gone… gone. Who is left? Tony Bennett, maybe Englebert Humperdink, Wayne Newton. Not much at all. The guys that make the ladies swoon and make the men sing along are no more. People don’t sing in suits any more. Not because the people don’t wat to see it… because there aren’t any perfromers that can fill shoes like that. Or ARE there people like that? Yes. Peter Lemongello. He  can bring that pop standard style to a new generation.
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Maybe tomorrow, maybe next year… Sooner Or Later’s too late! : Rex Smith

August 28, 2007

Rex Smith video from California Fever singing Sooner or Later.

The other Rex Smith post.

Cameo… Don’t Even Think About It…

August 28, 2007

Word Up! You either hate it or you love it. There’s no ‘liking’ it. I got it from the movie Get Real. Before that, I hated it… after, I loved it. If we can somehow bring the codpiece back, maybe Cameo will come back with another gem.

Welcome back to 1986.       W – O – R – D  UP!

Here’s the video. The song is featured on AllFunMusik Radio…

I Don’t Want You Back – Eamon

August 27, 2007

Another AllFunMusik favorite is Eamon’s Fuck It (I Don’t Want You Back) Gangsta’s Remix 07 (the station plays the Giuseppe Mix). For everyone that wanted to yell “Fuck you, you HO” at their partner over a pepperoni pizza… this is for you. Here’s the video on YouTube. The song is featured on AllFunMusik Radio.

He’s also just come out with a new single: How Could You (Bring Him Home).
Here’s a link to that video. Starts like Black Hawk Down, so you just know the other guy is going to be in trouble.

Put Your Ass In The Air

August 27, 2007

AllFunMusik favorite, Barracuda’s Ass Up video on YouTube.
Ass Up was in the original set of songs on the station and still isn’t in danger of getting cut.
Watch the video and get your ass in the air and move around like you don’t care. 

Nancy Sinatra: Those Boots Are Still Walkin’

August 20, 2007

I think she had a famous father or something.  Fred, Felix… right…  Frank.

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The beautiful Nancy Sinatra recorded one of the catchiest songs around. Boots has become synonymous with her very name. The song never gets old to me.

You’d think someone that pretty would have let herself go by now. No way. She’s still gorgeous and very active. She reminds me a bit of Diane Keaton.

Take a look at her website. It’s full of photos, videos and she has a blog/diary that’s kept more up to date than a lot of people’s.
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Beating a Dead Horse

August 10, 2007

August 27th marks the debut of the new Backstreet Boys song Inconsolable from what will be their sixth album.

HUH?!

OK, admitedly, I liked the BSB in their prime and I still like some of that music today. I had a small kid that liked them and I got sucked in, OK?!?! Apparently they’re back and much to my surprise have been back before with an album in 2005. I never even heard of it. Anyway… the difference with album 6 is that they’re going back to being the Backstreet Boys with poppy, dance songs. Not trying to prove they’ve grown up. That’s good. It’s always embarrassing when someone popular tries to represent themselves outside their talent. (List too long to mention.)

The little catch is that there are only 4 of them now. Kevin Richardson has bowed out. This photo from the BSB website illustrates it. Hopefully they don’t do anything further with Kevin’s sneakers. I get it. Oh, and n*Sync… don’t get any ideas. We don’t want to see Timberlake’s sneakers on puppet strings.

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I’m going to have to take a listen to this new album. I hope it’s good and I hope they figure out how to be successful as a man-band. It seems like a tough go to me, but I hope they pull it off.

The yet to be named album releases October 30th. You can listen to Inconsolable on backstreetboys.com . Good or bad, the song sounds like the Backstreet Boys. Good for die hard fans, but the band needs to win new fans with a style popular 10 years ago. I’m not worried about me liking it (I probably will), I’m worried about all the people that think of them as a ‘boy band’ and won’t give it a chance. Hopefully, for them they will find that Backstreet’s Back! And, yes… my son has grown up and I’ll still be first in line to buy the CD. So what?!

Update 10/12/07: Inconsolable has been added to the line-up on AllFunMusik Radio.

Peter Lemongello… WHERE ARE YOU?

August 9, 2007

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Let me know…

You played at my father-in-law’s restaurant, The Piermont in Closter, New Jersey (many years ago) so, my wife always says that she met you. We still have the 8-track you gave her, but unfortunately, no 8-track player. You were the first to sell a million records on TV and yet you don’t have a website today?

Whenever we don’t know who sang a song, the same answer is always shouted out… Peter Lemongello!

So, tell us where you are or where to buy a CD or I’m changing my answer to Gordon Lightfoot.

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HEARTBEAT (It’s a Lovebeat)

August 9, 2007

defrancofamily1.jpgThe DeFranco Family… another Osmond Family, Jackson 5. No such luck.

Heartbeat (It’s a Lovebeat) promised to be the start of something good, but the family (as a singing group) faded away into one-hit-wonder-ville.

Abracadabra, in 1974 would be the last Top40 hit with Tony and brother Benny singing lead harmony. The band officially called it quits in 1979.

From Ontario, Canada, the DeFrancos performed with little Tony on the maracas. A family friend submitted a photo of the family to Tiger Beat magazine. Charles Laufer, then publisher of the magazine thought he saw a winner. He financed the family’s trip to California, a photo shoot and a demo record. 20th Century Records signed them. Later, they went on to be prominently featured in the magazine with Tony leading the way.

Their first TV performance was a month after the release of Heartbeat on American Bandstand with Dick Clark.

After their second album, Save The Last Dance For Me, 20th Century tried to keep the group alive by re-billing them as Tony DeFranco and the DeFranco Family. Later Tony was asked to go solo… he refused and the family walked.
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The Monkees and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

July 15, 2007

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It’s not always the most popular thing to be a Monkees fan. Because The Monkees were contrived, auditioned and set in a television show, their music is somehow thought of as a lesser music.

They sang their own songs and eventually even played the instruments. They had some of the best songwriters of the day (Neil Diamond, Boyce & Hart, Carole King, to name a few). They were pioneers in music video. Ever see a music video before The Monkees? No. Their songs topped the charts where the #2 spot was worlds behind. They sold more records than the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined during their show. They introduced others into the music world, like Jimi Hendrix, for instance.
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Simply… Rex Smith

June 30, 2007

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Rex Smith’s songs have been off the shelves for quite some time now. My cassette of Sooner or Later is long worn out. I had to have You Take My Breath Away on the radio station and managed to find the single for sale by download and there it is on the station. He really does have a great voice and I’m surprised albums aren’t still coming. He created an album for sale on his website www.rexsmith.com . Tracks included: Simply Jessie, Could It Be Magic, Goodbye To You, Foolish Heart, You Take My Breath Away, Forever, What About The Dream, Let’s Make A Memory, Lonely Days, and Without A Word.
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Rufus Wain-Writes Album #5

June 27, 2007

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wainwright.jpg  Release the Stars

For me, new Rufus music doesn’t come nearly fast enough. The 5th album Release the Stars came out mid-May and I missed it. Downloaded it from iTunes today and listening to it now. Right off the bat, Between My Legs is my favorite so far. I’ve already added it to the radio station without even hearing the entire album.
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Skitchy Details

June 23, 2007

New and Moving Fast Artist 

The cast of animated charaters return for another good -vs- evil video story with a cool music backdrop.

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UK based James Hore Martin and band Skitchy are planning an animated US invasion.
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Mika: Love, Love Me

June 22, 2007

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http://www.mikasounds.com 
or for you MySpace enthusiasts: http://www.myspace.com/mikamyspace

Earlier this year, Mika broke into the US with his song Grace Kelly from his new album Life in Cartoon Motion.

The album is quirky and very original. Each song is very different from the last. He seems to get compared to Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters a lot, and although I don’t like comparing very original people, they both are very unique, both have original sounding voices, and both excel at showmanship. Mika likes to be the circus ringmaster and he can pull it off.

Here’s Mika’s Big Girls video.

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Running With Scissors

June 22, 2007

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You just can’t beat a group named after a lesbian sex position. When you’re all sitting around trying to come up with a name for your band, you come up with that. Amazing. That’s shortened from the original name Dead Lesbian and the Fibrillating Scissor Sisters. From that alone, you can tell the group would be different.
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My Chiffon Is Wet, Darling. My Wig Is Wet! : Get Dancin’ with Disco Tex and His Sex-O-Lettes

June 22, 2007

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Disco Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes

Sir Monti Rock III, formerly Joseph Montanez, who was a teen idol/talk show regular of the ’60s and famous for Disco Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes, is now the Very Reverend Monti Rock III. He is a House Whisperer and also performs The Million Dollar Wedding in Nevada. You can check him out on the Web here >> http://www.parsec-santa.com/montirock/Monti_Frame.html
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