Colonel of Wisdom in a 'Tijuana Picnic'

Mid-1960s KFC Album Teaches Value of Illogical Connections, Fried Chicken in Mexico

By Published on .

For those of you who arrogantly sneered at the announcement of KFC's integrations in "Guitar Hero World Tour," I present this historical evidence of the Colonel's deep musical ambitions from long ago:

This cover is baffling in so many delightful ways, from the family's dedication to fried chicken in the land of tacos to the Colonel's menacing grin and brandished cane at an awkward distance, and let's not even get into the music within. No, seriously, don't get into it. Here's a link to download it, but we'd recommend beating down your curiosity and sure, avoid piracy (Lord knows this is no longer in print, though) if that helps you, cause this thing is twelve shades of terrible.

Based on the back of the sleeve, the Colonel picked these tracks himself, and, although they definitely mine some limitless well of Herb Alpertism, I can't find any credits for the musicians who actually play all this generic Mexican-sounding instrumental pop. But, for any marketer who's looking to create some of their own branded music, the liner notes from this album are a seminal primer on the sort of illogical connections that press releases should be stuffed full of, so take notes. For the track "Spanish Flea," once popularized by Herb in the mid-'60s, the Colonel revvs up his PR pen and explains his own personal connection to the tune:
I understand there used to be a flea circus in Taxco where the fleas had been trained to dance the Varsuviana. At least, the man said they were dancing the Varsuviana. To some, it looked more like the Turkey Trot. Speaking of turkey, the Mexicans serve it with chocolate sauce and call it Mole. But they also like Kentucky Fried Chicken.
The Colonel was a master of free association, apparently, which must have allowed him to glide effortlessly from one form of kitsch to another. Around the same time as "Tijuana," he issued a trifecta of Christmas compilations: "Christmas Eve With Colonel Sanders," "Christmas Day With Colonel Sanders," and, you guessed it, "Christmas With Colonel Sanders." But perhaps most intriguing and most tantalizing is "The Ballad of Colonel Sanders," a 45 rpm single performed by a mysterious character named Bill Hinson which was, judging by the cover, released in 1970.

So, the next time you see a fast-feeder sponsoring a jingle contest or feeding bands on the road, remember the following: The colonel wasn't a real colonel, branded music has been around for quite a while, and you're a jackass if you picnic in Tijuana with a bucket of fried chicken.

[Crimes Against Music]
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