“Radioactive mama, we’ll reach critical mass tonight…”

Dave HendersonFirebrands

It’s a teasing one-liner from Sheldon Allman’s Bill Haley-esque lip-curling sub rock ‘n’ roll opener from the 1960 “novelty” album ‘Folk Songs For The 21st Century’. Commandeering Haley’s idiosyncratic pout, Allman – a renowned TV actor – dug the exploitation of sci-fi tomfoolery and produced 14 mainly sub-two minute tunes filled with futuristic blurb about robots, humanoids, the fourth dimension, ESP, Big Brother and all points between. Sounding at times like one of those bawdy Elektra Ed McCurdy albums, there’s plenty of tongue-in-cheek bravado mixed with what could well have been Trumpton broadcast from a different planet. Originally released on the H-Fi label it remains a super cool piece of strangeness that doesn’t even hint that Allman would later devise two musicals based on horror movies aided by the ‘Monster Mash’ hitmaker Bobboy Boris. Much later he became the lyricist for the Tarzan spoof George Of The Jungle before sadly passing away in 2002. With plenty of the ezy listening bachelor pad about it, ‘Folk Songs…’ remains Allman’s most notable foray into popular music still sounds oddly alluring and original copies go for close on $50 a throw – but it can be downloaded from Fidelity Recordings from all the usual sites.