In many ways, the movie Boogie Nights was no work of fiction. But the sex industry wasn’t confined to cinema in the filthy 1970s — there are plenty of steamy grooves to plunge your stylus into. But if pornography is sexual activity in visual form, then you could call such records pornophony. One major difference: Those involved in audio porn could keep their clothes on.
Truthfully, it seems like quite a few of these recordings were put out in 8-track cartridge format. Perhaps marketed to truckers? Anyway, I bought an 8-track which fits into this category in a Brockville thrift shop recently. I’ve had quite a few of these albums go in and out of my Discogs inventory over the years and I’m not sure why I’ve never decided to become a collector of this hilarious, smutty stuff.
Many of these — like the Sex Love Story 8-track I just got — are not music recordings. This is dialogue and sex. Very, very bad dialogue with loads of swearing. It’s cheap audio porn. Pornophony! This particular 8-track has been released and re-released under slightly varying names, with totally different artwork by a variety of “labels” and even came in a quadraphonic edition. There are far too many teenagers in my house for me to demo it on my home system, let alone in quad.
The albums all date from 1970-1972 and have title and artwork variations. Upon closer inspection, many of them seem to have been put out by the same guy: Producer Ernie Tucker, aka Ernest L. Tucker and Ernie T/Tee (not to be confused with the legendary broadcaster who was CBC’s first black journalist). My copy of Sex Love Story was produced by Ernie Tucker, but the prolific Mr. Tucker was also tied to such classic recordings as Bold Butchy Lesbians AC-DC Sex, Fornicating Female Freaks, Hired Stud Will Travel and The Lustful Sexlife of a Perverted Nympho Housewife.
There are other classics like Midnight Cowpoke, Shaftman, Balling In The Family, The Dirtiest Sluts in Plainville and the luridly overtitled Hollywood’s Come Freaks Copping Joints Galore!! — Gals Going Down To Get Up The Ladder. Balling In The Family, for example, contains the tagline “You’ll never be the same after hearing…”
These are the kind of albums you don’t keep with your regular collection. Just imagine hosting a BBQ and someone goes to change the 8-track and on comes Humpingville USA instead of The Best of Bread.
The credits on these albums basically mention up to four things — the producer, the person who did the artwork, the person who wrote the script and sometimes the person who recorded it. Much of the artwork — at least nine of them — was done by a guy named Steve Grant. Discogs doesn’t show any work outside the realm of porn, and I really doubt it’s the same guy who did The Punisher in the 1980s. Also listed on Discogs is Pat Patterson for having engineered 10 of these albums. I can just picture him making sure there was a suitable amount of reverb on Wife Swapping Swinger’s Orgy Porgy Party. Maxwell Hage can be found listed as the writer on three albums, but also provides voice talent to the album I just got in swingin’ Brockville. Ken McKenna has just one entry (giggity) for voice talent — that Orgy Porgy one, as it turns out.
The other thing I have to mention about these albums is the record labels — again, usually tied to Tucker in some way. The names are just gold: Funky Finger Records (nine releases), Audio Stag Records (14 releases) and Executive Records (10 releases). They appear to be related to parent or associated companies based at 1674 Broadway in New York — halfway between Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall near Times Square. Three related companies keep coming up in my research — Executive Aids, Nature’s Eve Inc. and Unique Ideas Inc. When you search these, you’ll also discover porn albums weren’t their only racket. Tucker and Unique Ideas Inc were named in a 1974 New York State legal proceeding involving a work-from-home get-rich-quick scheme in which participants believed they had been misled. Apparently they were promised the opportunity of making thousands each month by selling “novelty” items and something called “Mink Show Offs.”
Man, would I ever love to sit down for a coffee with Tucker. I’m not sure if he’s still with us — there aren’t even any photos of him which are easily found. Tucker also made a bunch of proper singles in the late ’50s and early ’60s, usually as Ernie Tucker and His Operators. There are photos and videos of those.
But that’s not all. He had another label called Superstar (not to be confused with the defunct Danish label, the Haitian one or the Jamaican one). Superstar‘s shtik was fake tell-all albums. There were four of them targeting teens via the big acts of the day: David Cassidy, The Osmonds, Bobby Sherman (!) and Grand Funk (!!). The albums looked like tabloids or teen magazines and contained phrases like “Everything You Always Wanted To Know About” but the content was nothing of the sort — just voice actors reading scripts about the stars and where they grew up, etc.
Music journalist Phil Milstein wrote about Ernie’s unique entrepreneurial skills on his website, and paints a picture of a smart, funny man with a slim build, mustache and a thin tie emblazoned with a dollar-sign tie pin. “Ernest L. Tucker was the brains behind the Superstar label, a black P.T. Barnum for the ’70s. He walked around with a briefcase full of cash, dispensing from it only when absolutely necessary.”
How is there not a movie about this guy? Legend.
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Area Resident is an Ottawa-based journalist, recording artist, music collector and re-seller. Hear (and buy) his music on Bandcamp, email him HERE, follow him on Instagram and check him out on Discogs.