Rodd Keith

Saucers in the Sky

In the early '70s, Rodd Keith was a deadbeat dad who fled his Pentecostal life in Michigan for Hollywood. There, he regularly devoured PCP, claimed he was "God's chosen," and composed hundreds of song-poems -- cheaply recorded pop tunes produced by sleazy, low-rung recording companies that placed advertisements in the back of magazines persuading ignorant, amateur poets to actually pay the companies for the service of setting their verse to music. In other words, it was a total scam. And Keith was a drug-addled hack composer and singer with a God complex capable of putting dozens of these corny poems to music in just a few hours' time. So, yeah, much of this 26-track sampling of Keith's work consists of disposable, not-even-K-tel-quality pop suitable for heavy rotation at your local Woolworths. At the same time, such twisted gems as the psychedelic creep-out "A Soothing Dream, But ...," the ode to a sexy waitress "Lettuce and Lace," and the -- believe it or not -- anti-drug statement "Don't Be a Dope" do possess a certain naive magic, convincing me that Keith was a unique American talent. And by the way, near the end of '74, Keith fell to his death when he attempted to walk the railing of the Hollywood Bridge.

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