Tuesday, June 30, 2009

'Let It K.G. Be' - LENIN & McCARTHY

(1932) Phonograph Recording.

Take one conservative US senator who hates communism with a passion. Give him an acoustic guitar. Then give that senator access to the tomb of Russia's greatest communist. Put a harmonica in that communist's mouth and pay a Moscow baker to push up and down on his stomach. The result is the now long forgotten duo who influenced every folk star, from Joan Baez to Simon and Garfunkel.

The senator was Joe McCarthy; the communist was, of course, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, famously known as Lenin.

So why would an American who hated Reds with such a passion play music with a long dead communist? Well, this could be speculation but some pundits have theorized that Joe and Lenin went to university together. St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University to be precise. They were roomates and started their duo with Joe on guitar and Lenin on harmonica. Sounds feasible, doesn't it? Well it is true.

Lenin of course died in 1924 and this broke up the act. Joe was distraught that his college buddy was gone, telling a journalist, "Yeah, it's a drag." But McCarthy had other plans, to continue the partnership. The result became Lenin & McCarthy's greatest album, 'Let It K.G. Be'.

Highlights include: My Mule She Won't Move, Heave Ho, Stalin the Man of Steal, Middle of Nowhere Blues, Salt Mines, and I Wish I Was Back In Ole Kentucky. The song old folk remember most is one that Paul McCartney would adapt in 1970. The song was called 'Go Back'. Here is a snippet of that song with Joe McCarthy on guitar, Lenin on blues harp with a little bit of help from Sergei the baker operating Lenin's stomach bellows.

'Go Back' by Lenin & McCarthy

McCarthy of course went on to cause panic in the arts world of the 1950s with his anti-American witch trials turning friend against friend. Funny that all along, Senator Joe was just one fun loving pinko.

Ebay had a copy of this album last year. It's worth a cool thousand now if you can get it.

- Matthew Ward, reporting


  1. I believe a rare acetate exists of one of their more highbrow efforts, "Bach In The USSR", which was actually Lenin's coded plan to annexe Germany.

  2. The congratuatlations belong to Matt Ward. Thanks Matt.

  3. You be welcome, but now I have McCartney's lawyers after me. Maybe if I wear this fake moustache... Ha, they walked right by. :-)

  4. Yup. Good stuff, this. The opening paragraph nearly rendered me incontinent!!!!




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