Sunday, November 03, 2013

Gary S. Paxton

One of the very first vinyl records I ever owned was a 45 record containing the novelty song "Monster Mash", which was recorded by Gary S. Paxton. It was a fun Halloween song, designed to  appeal to kids or the style of music in which it was performed. For some reason, the version of that song which one can hear on Spotify was recorded by some guy named Don Hinson with a band named The Rigamorticians, which has an MP3 album at entitled "Monster Dance Party".

Later, when I was a young Christian studying at the School of the Ozarks (later renamed College of the Ozarks), I bought a Gary S. Paxton album entitled "Astonishing, Outrageous, Amazing, Incredible, Unbelievable, Different World Of Gary S. Paxton". (No one could claim that it was the most succinct or humble album title!) It had songs with titles like "There's Got To Be More To Livin' Than Just Waiting To Die," "Victim of The System," "Jesus Keeps Taking Me Higher and Higher," and "You Aint Smoking Those Cigarettes (Baby They're Smoking You)". The vinyl LP is obviously long gone, but one can still preview or buy MP3 versions of all those songs at, on this page. Paxton is best known as a country musician, but the album had elements of rock, pop and soul too.

Inasmuch as I bought  that album before the Jim Bakker scandal, it was just a fun album to me, with some fairly good pop/rock Christian songs. Paxton was involved in the production of gospel albums by Tammy Faye Bakker, who was renowned for the ludicrously excessive manner in which she applied her mascara, which tended to run whenever she cried during the broadcasting of The PTL Club. (That seemed to be quite often, since her tears were apparently effective when used in order to persuade people to donate funds they could ill afford to donate.) Tammy Faye became obsessed with Paxton, which apparently played a big role in causing Jim Bakker to have a one night stand with Jessica Hahn (ostensibly because he wanted to make Tammy Faye jealous).

The reputation of Christianity, and televangelists in particular, was seriously tarnished by the shenanigans of Jim and Tammy Faye. (Not that  Jerry Falwell was any better.) Every Halloween, I'm reminded of the Monster Mash, and of the scandal with which Paxton eventually became associated.

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