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Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security

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Radioactive Mama: Sheldon Allman [1960]

Make no mistake, Radioactive Mama is a novelty song, but does it sound any less ridiculous than such alleged non-novelty songs in this genre as Skip Stanley's Satellite Baby or The Five Stars' Atom Bomb Baby? That is the beauty of Cold War music: It is often difficult to distinguish between a comedy record and a 'serious' one.

The lyrics for this and other tunes (see also Crawl Out Through The Fallout) on this earliest of 'concept' albums were intended to humorously convey what a 21st century folk song might sound like (and now that we know what 21st century folk music sounds like, most people of taste will probably prefer Allman's vision to the real thing).

One man of foresight praised Allman's masterpiece in a March 27, 1960 UPI wire service notice. William D. Laffler wrote, "'Folk Songs for the 21st Century' …is one of the best LPs I've heard in a decade of recording reviewing."

The remarkably gifted and versatile actor/composer Sheldon Allman was born in Chicago, IL in 1924 and raised in Canada. Mr. Allman returned to the United States as a young man and graduated from the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music.

In addition to being a prolific character performer, Allman was also the composer behind the theme for the popular late 1960s cartoon series 'George of the Jungle.' Allman was also the singing voice of TV's 'Mister Ed' and composed the equine star's songs that were featured in the episode 'Ed the Songwriter' (Pretty Little Filly and The Empty Feedbag Blues). These tunes were featured on a novelty Colpix LP released in conjunction with the television show. Allman's only other vinyl effort was 1961's Halloween friendly 'Sing Along With Drac' on Del-Fi (DFLP1213).

Mr. Allman appeared in films ('Hud;' 'In Cold Blood;' 'Nevada Smith') and on numerous television programs (including 'The Fugitive;' 'Gunsmoke;' 'Batman;' 'The Untouchables,' etc.), but he is perhaps best remembered as one of two aliens in the twist ending of the 'Twilight Zone' episode 'The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.'

Sheldon Allman passed away in 2002 at the age of 77.

LYRICS/TRANSCRIPTION:
Radioactive Mama: Sheldon Allman [1960]

Radioactive mama, hold me tight
Radioactive mama, treat me right
Radioactive mama, we'll reach critical mass tonight

Well, when we get together, clear away the crowd
There won't nothing left except a mushroom shaped cloud

Refrain: Radioactive mama, treat me right
Radioactive mama, we'll reach critical mass tonight

Well, your kisses do things to me in oh so many ways
I feel them going through me, all those gamma, gamma rays

Refrain

Well since I kissed you baby that evening in the park
I lost my hair and eyebrows and my teeth shine in the dark

Refrain

Sheldon Allman [1960]
Radioactive Mama
(Sheldon Allman)
Hi Fidelity Records R 415 'Folk Songs for the 21st Century'

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