Monday, July 8, 2013

Musical Monday - The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins by Leonard Nimoy

Once upon a time, before the internet existed, small record labels would make novelty albums. They would often find some funny concept, or sign an off-beat band, or make a contract with a celebrity who wasn't known for singing, and then they would release an album with a relatively small print run that was sufficient to earn enough money to recoup the modest investment made in making the product and keep the label going. Nowadays, this sort of activity has moved to the internet, and putting their music on the web is what brought musical acts like The Doubleclicks, Molly Lewis, and Jonathan Coulton to the public eye. Granted, these acts now all have actual CDs that one can obtain, but they didn't have to wait for a label to sign them to a recording contract before they were able to make their work available for others to appreciate and enjoy.

But back in the 1960s and 1970s, the small independent and quasi-independent record labels were where one could find the quirky, the funny, and the downright odd. They were also where you could find Leonard Nimoy singing, specifically for Dot Records, for whom he records five albums between 1967 and 1970. The albums featured a combination of cover recordings, original music, and spoken word tracks. Because the albums were an attempt to capitalize on Nimoy's Star Trek fame, the first album and a half were recorded in the "Spock" persona, from the perspective of the fictional Vulcan character.

However, on the second side of the second album, Nimoy stepped away from the Spock character and recorded a collection of songs that highlighted Nimoy's own interests, including, apparently, J.R.R. Tolkien's book The Hobbit. And the result was the somewhat silly song The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins, and the incredibly silly video that accompanied it that is seen here.

Previous Musical Monday: Babylon 5 Opening Credits
Subsequent Musical Monday: Anthem of the SFWA-Fascists by Steven Brust

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