Sunday, March 8, 2009

POTUS #8: Martin Van Buren

This is "President Martin Van Buren" by Bad TV, more or less a one-man band composed of David Gendelman, though the liner notes on the cassette he handed me read "all instruments Snowpast Midnight".

I guess if you are going to give yourself a one-man band name, you might as well give yourself a different name as the one instrumentalist in the band.

While you're at it, give a studio name to your livingroom, basement or bedroom, wherever Gendelman recorded himself, known here as "Small Wonder Studios".

He recorded himself (apparently, without a nom de plume as producer) in August 2003, which at least dates when I was first talking up The Skuntry Guide to Dead Presidents, a moribund project of portrait songs that was revived as POTUS after the election of Barack Obama.

Martin Van Ruin, as his enemies knew him, was the first U.S. president not born a British subject, or even of British ancestry (his family was Dutch). He was a small man, known as the "Small Magician," and the son of a tavernkeeper introduced to politics via the hurly burly of his father's public house.

I am uploading this song because I just stumbled upon the cassette recording of it at a time when I actally know where to find the cords that enable me to digitize my cassettes onto my laptop as mp3s.

But it turns out to be timely. The "Panic of 1837" (Van Buren's first year in The White House) was followed by the worst depression yet faced by the young nation. Number 44 surely can relate to the trials of Number 8.

Now I'll let Bad TV tell you in a song.

Free mp3

"President Martin Van Buren"
(David Gendelman)
Bad TV

What little I pretend to know about Van Buren I just cribbed from the handsome, informative site at The Miller Center of Public Affairs at The University of Virginia.

The portrait of Van Buren is from Evil Space Robot.

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