Song Of The Day 2/16/2014: The Coolies - "Soul Side Of Your Mind"

I've spoken of my great affection for the erstwhile Atlanta band The Coolies on here before. They made two albums in the mid '80s which were beautifully mad concept pieces. The first was dig...?, which featured nine Simon & Garfunkel covers written by Paul Simon, and one cover of a Paul Anka song, "Having My Baby." The second was Doug, which was billed as a "rock opera and comic book." This blog's comptroller Andy found this description: "Doug is the story of a skinhead, named Doug, who kills a transvestite short-order cook, steals his recipe book and becomes a 'culinary giant' when the cookbook becomes a nationwide bestseller. Doug embraces the celebrity lifestyle of stretch limousines and partying, but is ultimately revealed as a fraud. He falls prey to alcoholism and drug abuse, admitting to himself that the one thing that he actually does know how to cook is crack cocaine, and ends up back on the streets in poverty." On Doug the Coolies did perfect imitations of The Who, ZZ Top, John Lennon, the Replacements and any other upper class heroes they could knock off from the perch.

The complete work of the Coolies was collected on an anthology called Take That You Bastards!, which included a few bonus tracks not directly related to dig...? or Doug. "Soul Side Of Your Mind" was one of them: an illicitly catchy, fake inspirational cut that exhorts you to "activate the magic fingers in your mind." As Lester Bangs would say, this song has its tongue so far in its cheek "it's lapping the Jersey shoreline." It's beauteous. Go out and make something of yourself today.

Interesting update: the Coolies' lead singer, Clay Harper, actually did become a shining star in the South's culinary scene with a few successful pizza and barbecue restaurants. He's still recording on his own, and in fact released a solo album last year called Old Airport Road. The first song is called "Ole Ray" and consists of a woman saying the phrase "hey, motherfucker" for pretty much the whole first two minutes.

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