Sunday, January 10, 2010

Folks, We Have Some Sad News Coming Down the Wires

I knew this day would come, but it still sucks. We have just learned of the death of a Shuffle Function favorite and street poet extraordinaire Bingo Gazingo. Reports say that he was struck by a taxi on the way to a poetry reading and passed away on New Years Day. Like many of our favorite outsider musicians, my introduction to Bingo came from Irwin Chusid's book 'Songs In The Key Of Z'. This was our primer in the early days of Shuffle Function and the song "You're Out Of The Computer" was our gateway drug to the song styling of Bingo Gazingo.

We have exchanged letters with Bingo on and off since the first year of Shuffle Function being on the air, and he was even kind enough to record a radio spot for our show. In 2004 I spent a number of hours on the phone with Bingo recording some of his classic songs, and a few new poems he was trying out. He was a master of taking on pop culture and applying his own twist to them - often breaking FCC rules and regulations! During our phone calls I could hear that he often worked off a written piece but he was also an amazing improviser, delivering rhymes at the speed of light.

Just last year Bingo sent us a cd with some new tunes and told us that he was working on a new release. For a man in his 80's he was still very vibrant and vital. To learn that his death was a freak accident and not health related seems all the more tragic. I would have loved to hear what he was working on. I am sure that we will be spinning some Bingo Gazingo this week in his honor, so tune in to hear some of his classic tunes. Here is Bingo in his element, singing his song "J-Lo" at the WFMU record fair.

Thanks for your friendship and your music Bingo!!


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