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Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story (2003)

Like a warped fun-house mirror, the song-poem industry has run parallel to the mainstream music business for close to a century; it's estimated that over 200,000 song-poems have been ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Tom Ardolino ...
Himself
Sonny Cash ...
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Del Casher ...
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Jo Comberiate ...
Herself
Ellery Eskelin ...
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Gary Forney ...
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David Fox ...
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Van Garner ...
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Will Gentry ...
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Art Kaufman ...
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John Lewis ...
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Gene Merlino ...
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Jean-Paul Monsche ...
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Nilson V. Ortiz ...
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Caglar Juan Singletary
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Storyline

Like a warped fun-house mirror, the song-poem industry has run parallel to the mainstream music business for close to a century; it's estimated that over 200,000 song-poems have been recorded since 1900. The genre's durability can be traced to three of our deepest American desires - to be in show business, to get rich quick, and to share and express our deepest feelings. We meet several of the "songwriters" - from an elderly woman to a young African-American man to a small-town Iowan with big-time dreams - each of whom has been in the "business" for awhile, churning out odd compositions that cover the waterfront of American obsessions, from Jesus to genitalia, from politics to Elvis. We also meet the producers (often known as song-sharks) who hold out the tantalizing promise of fame to their eager customers, and the has-been musicians who sit in studios, day after day and year after year, interpreting some of the weirdest lyrics ever written. Through fellow musicians and his son, ... Written by Anonymous

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Documentary

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11 February 2003 (USA)  »

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Budget:

$150,000 (estimated)
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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

The 23rd Channel
Elvie Sylbert
Arranged by Fred
Performed by Sunburst Recording Studio Musicians
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A bizarre music documentary
4 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Must be seen (or heard) to be believed. The premise is simple: Know those little ads in the back of magazines that claim they can turn a poem or poetry and a couple of bucks into a CD of full-fledged pop song(s)? This documentary profiles the people who write the lyrics (from all over our twisted, twisted nation) and compose the music (session musician burnouts who compose these songs off the top of the head in about 5 minutes).

"Non-Violent Taekwondo Troopers," to cite one example of the many songs featured in this documentary, would be kind of frightening and creepy if it weren't so chock full of non- sequiturs and flat-out funny lyrics-- kung-fu bicycles harnessing the power of Priscilla Presley and all.

If you think the songs are weird, just wait until you see the actual songwriters in the documentary. Their misguided musical dreams and charming idiosyncrasies make this documentary what it is.

Oh, and the DVD extras just add to the bizarre programming. It can hardly even be described. Just somehow rent or buy it and watch. Just watch.


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