- Camp Records
Camp Records was a
record labelbased out of Californiain the 1960s that specialized in producing anonymous gay-themed novelty records and singles, mostly sold out of the backs of beefcake magazines.
Camp Records' releases typically consisted of parodies of existing songs or musical styles, primarily revised folk melodies with the lyrics rewritten to reflect a camp sensibility. The arrangements were usually simple, consisting of spare instrumentation and multiple-voice harmonies, but ranged in style from cocktail
piano barto Latin exotica.
The songs themselves comically portrayed the world of the American homosexual
subculture, often relying on broad stereotypes, gay slang, and saucy double entendres for their comic effect. As an example, their single "Li'l Liza Mike" rewrote the lyrics to the popular musical standard "Li'l Liza Jane" to tell of a man's befuddlement at the behavior of his butch lesbiangirlfriend. The song was credited to "Byrd E. Bath & the Gay Blades."
Another release, "I'd Rather Fight Than Swish," was written in the rollicking style of early
rock and roll, and featured a swaggering, Elvis Presley-style lead singer. The song's lyrics told of a macho outlaw biker's desires to physically assault effeminategay men, but as the song progresses it makes clear that the biker himself is a closetedhomosexual. However, it could be argued that his closeting was because gay culture excluded working class, masculine men at the time.
Their single "Stanley the Manly Transvestite" was credited to a singer named
Rodney Dangerfield, but it is unlikely that the song was performed by the popular comic, and was instead simply a coincidental choice of a stage name.
Camp Records released two full-length LPs: The first, "The Queen Is in the Closet" consisted of ten songs in the style of the above mentioned singles. The second was called "Mad About the Boy." This was an unusual experiment, consisting of a number of mainstream popular
jazz torch songs in which women sing of their romantic feelings toward men. The Camp Records release simply rerecorded these songs with male vocalists without changing the song's use of gender, resulting in love songs sung by men to men.
As Camp Records' releases all date back to the early 60s, and none were released with a copyright notice, all the recordings have now passed into the
List of record labels
* [http://www.queermusicheritage.com/camp.html Queer Music Heritage] has posted the complete recordings of Camp Records available as MP3s, as well as the company's cover art.
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