Friday, March 27, 2009

Deadly Nightshade and The Deadly Nightshade Family Singers

Deadly Nightshade ~ belladonna

Today's Wikipedia article of the day is about Deadly Nightshade, aka belladonna.

You may have heard of the plant belladonna, which by Italian definition means beautiful lady. This particular plant was once used by women as eye drops.


Because belladonna extract dilates the pupils. It was thought that dilated pupils on a woman was a sign of sexual beauty, as dilated pupils are a sign of arousal. In truth, what it did, was cause their iris' to malfunction, disinheriting them from their ability to constrict properly. Not only that, but belladonna caused blurry vision as well as increased heart rates, repeated use causing blindness.

For those of you who don't know, belladonna, or Deadly Nightshade is "a perennial herbaceous plant that has bell-shaped flowers and shiny black berries." Oddly enough, this flowering, berry budding herb is related to, yes, potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants. But this is one plant you probably DON'T want to eat.

Why? It is toxic. In fact, "it is one of the most toxic plants found in the Western Hemisphere." Yesindeedee.

What makes it so toxic is it's high levels of alkaloids, or organic compounds / poisons.

What can it do to you?

  • Well, for one, you'll see things that aren't there (or perhaps they are),

  • blurred vision (and I don't mean from being too tired or too drunk to funk, though you may feel that way),

  • and tachycardia, which is, as you may have guessed from the root word cardia, rapid heart rate above 100 beats per minute (in an adult).

  • To read more about this multifaceted and interesting plant, check out THIS WIKIPEDIA LINK.

The Deadly Nightshade Family Singers

Yes, there is such a group and you may well have heard of them. They are, or shall I say were, a Minnesota band with an eclectic sound. Often times dressed in glittering superhero capes or choir robes, at times even tyvec waste clean up suits and other oddities, they found it hard to secure a good gig, or any gig at all, even though their audience would have surely followed.

They finally met their demise and piddled out in September of 2000. A sad day indeed. Perhaps they should have done a rethink on their band name, as appropriate as it was, they were in for it from the start I suppose. Their rendition of Brazil is my personal favorite, if you come across it, it's a keeper.

I must say some good came of it, however. Their lead singer, Randall Throckmorton (Think Tony Randall, Third Rock (or the rock), and Morton salt), is still out and about, with the sound that made The Deadly Nightshade Family Singers what they were.Randall's songs are often melancholy, and reminisce of the old days of railway cars and cross country radio singers, dusty roads, tent towns, whiskey, line mustaches, and waxed hairdos on slick men.

For more on Randall Throckmorton visit or

For more on The Deadly Nightshade Family Singers, visit or (great rendition of "Charlie" found here.

Second photo found at NHS Blog Doctor (a wonderful, often lighthearted blog you will surely find pleasing).


pinkpackrat said...

very interesting post--must say I like the sound of "the Throck"--never heard of him or the group before. Thanks for the info.

Bill Zuback said...

Nice post, Freida. I find it interesting and mindboggling when I read something like this or watch a program showing a tribe or people using a plant for medicinal or recreational purposes. How did they find out that you can get high from this or sooth a sour tummy with that? I guess that is the curiosity and experimental nature of the human mind. Musically, I enjoyed the unique instrumental blending of the Nightshade band. I could hear many types of music in their playing. Personally though I am not to fond of Throckmorton's singing. Reminds me a little bit of the squeaky voice of Tiny Tim?

Frieda Babbley said...

pinky, thanks. Glad you liked it. Sad the group isn't together anymore, but I believe you can still get their cd's. As for Throckmorton, I'm not sure what's out there cause we find our stuff off the net as of late. But yah, way cool.

Hey Bill. It is mindboggling. Glad for it, and glad it's not because of me these discoveries are made! I know what you mean by Tiny Tim, in fact I think he's described that way somewhere. Depends on the song he's singing too, though. Wish he'd have more up on youtube. I think i-tunes has more, but I haven't been on i-tunes in forever.

J A S said...


Fantabulous- I love a bit of medical mixed with the bonkers.......

Anonymous said...

As for Tyvek- well, that's another story...

Lovely voice- very 50's sounding. Me like.

Cindy L. said...

So interesting. What women will do for beauty. Forget the fact that you lose your eyesight in the process. Thanks for the illuminating info.

envisionhope said...

I think I'll stay away from Nightshade. Sounds too deadly to play with. Good to know. Hey, like your header photo a lot!

Frieda Babbley said...

@ JAS mindblogging indeed. I love that. Glad you had a good read with this. It was surely fun and interesting to write.

@anonymous Yes Tyvek is another story. A familiar one at that? Glad you liked

@Cindy L Thanks for dropping by! Have been enjoying your hubs. Isn't it amazing? I wonder if they knew or if they were so desperate they hoped for the best?

@envisionhope Pretty sure I'm going to stay away from the stuff, myself. Thanks. I pulled it off of Pottery Barn. It's perfect, isn't it? I would love the job of setting up a room like that, or photographing it. Or being in it! Enjoying your feral cat and idol blogs. Keep it up. You're good!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Frieda says: I can e-mail you my posts!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner