Original Cast Recording- Beyond The Fringe

Ooooh.  Look at you big spender.  $5 for this.  Looked like a decent purchase at the time.  I knew two of the names on the cover.  Maybe, subconsciously in my mind, I was mapping out this month long salute to Broadway.

Beyond The Fringe, was a British Comedy revue which started in London’s West End and moved to Broadway as well as a US tour.  The revue was written and performed by Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett, and Johnathan Miller.  I believe this is where Moore and Cook met.  Bennett and Miller were pursuing academic interests at time (which they both gave up upon the success of BTF).  Cook, on the other hand, had an agent and negotiated a larger fee for himself.  However, after his agent’s take, he ended up earning less than the other other three.

After a successful run in England, the show opened on Broadway in October of 1962 and ran for 667 shows.  President John Kennedy attended a performance the following year .  Overall, it was a successful production and is generally credited as among the influential pieces in the rise of 60’s British satirical comedy.

For a sample, I went with a two pieces combined.  First is Peter Cook with a monologue about coal mining titled “Sitting On  A Bench.  Next is a piano piece fro Dudley Moore called “The Same To You’ which is a excellent variation on “Colonel Bogey”.  

Good album. Satisfactory.

Rusty Warren- Banned In Boston?

This was $2.  The alliteration in the title probably caught my eye when I purchased this.  There were a couple of Rusty Warren albums on sale at the time of this purchase. I think the Banned in Boston label is what snagged me on this one.

Rusty Warren, born in New York City on 1930, and shortly adopted thereafter to a couple from Milton, Mass, is a comedienne/singer who made her fame singing about sex.  She studied piano at the New England Music Conservatory of Music and was mentored by none other than the Boston Pop’s Arthur Fiedler. Known as the mother of the sexual revolution, she began her comedy career in Phoenix, AZ before taking her act to Las Vegas. She did around 11 records or so.  Her biggest hit was “Knockers Up”. I am not sure what she is doing now.

Warren’s webpage

Pretty comprehensive interview

 

This record is of a comedy show at the Surf Club at the Revere Beach , four miles north of Boston.  For the record, I am not sure if she was actually banned from the city or not (the interview from this link has a story about this). Anyway, the record is her comedy routine augmented by four songs.  Her routines are filed with euphemisms, double entendres, and  innuendo about sex which quite frankly, in the age of Amy Schumer, sounds quite dated. But that is how things were back then so, there you go.

For a sample, I went with the least smutty song on the album, Warren’s version of the folk standard, “Greenback Dollar”.

I liked this album just as much as the Elsa Lanchester album I reviewed two weeks or so ago.  So, meh.  Perhaps this is not fair and I do not mean to discredit the pioneering that Warren did.  However, outdated beating around the bush on issues that are out in the open today really does not do it for me.

 

Bonzo Dog Band- Beast of the Bonzos

This was not marginally $5, but I had the clerk assign the extra amount to a $1.  I got this as I really wanted to feature this band on this blog as they have two tie ins to pop culture.

The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band (later shortened to the Bonzo Dog Band) was an English trad-jazz band formed by art students who were swept up in the early 60’s 1920’s sound spearheaded by the Temperance 7 and The Alberts.  As they started to move thier sound into rock, they got two big breaks.  First Paul McCartney asked them to appear in the Magical Mystery Tour where they performed “Death Cab For Cutie”.  This is where the band of the same name got said name (pop culture tie in #1).

Second, around the same time, they got a gig on the TV for the children’s show Do Not Adjust Your Set in which they were the resident band.  Along with David Jansen and Denise Coffey, the show also featured Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, and the occasional cartoon by Terry Gilliam.  Two writers from The Frost Report, John Cleese and Graham Chapman, were fans and from there, Monty Python was born.  Bonzo’s Neil Innes also appeared on a few episodes as well as movies. (Pop Culture tie in #2).

This album is a collection of hits of sorts.  It has some of my favorite tunes which showcase the British wit and humor that is the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.  Pretty good little album which if there is any complaint, is too short. If you want to learn more about the band and its members, well here is a link.

“It May Be Rubbish- But by Golly, it’s British Rubbish”

For samples, I went with three.  First off, to start is the “Intro/Outro”.  It should be noted that this track actually does contain a snipet of Eric Clapton playing ukulele. Also, if you are curious, the first seven or so members are actually in the band. The band plays an abridged version the very beginning of this episode complete with members of the show.

Second, I went with what is probably one of my favorite tracks and one that throws back to the group’s original sound, “Hello Mabel”.

Finally, I am ending it with a distortion heavy ode to self-help ads and body building, “Mr Apollo”.

Great little record.

Barbara Mandrell- Midnight Angel

Happy Boxing Day.  This was 80 cents.  I really like Barbara Mandrell.  I watched her show as a kid. A pal of mine came into to town Christmas Eve.  we had a couple of drinks and what not .  When I woke, my apartment was trashed.  Records and power cords everywhere.  So I got to clean for Christmas.

One of the things I keep trying to do while in Amsterdam but for some reason keep missing is the Brouwerij Brewery.  I believe it the largest craft brewer in the area.  Located kind of out of the way down on the Eastern Docklands, the Brewery has been growing in popularity as craft beer has also become more popular.  I went their twice.  The first time, I was too early so I had a drink at the nice cafe next door.  The second time, I was too late.  Way too crowded.

This was Mandrell’s sixth album.  It was released in 1976.  At the time, Mandrell as have modest success in country music.  Bigger success was on her horizon.  Decent album.  I liked it enough.  The title track was the lead single.  I also liked “Partners” and “I Never Said I Love You”.

For a sample, I went with a song off the album that would be a single for her next album, “Married…But Not To Each Other”.

Satisfactory.

Ray Price- Another Bridge To Burn

This was 80 cents.  I like Ray Price a lot. I was disappointed with this year’s Hank Williams movie, I Saw The Light’s portrayal of Price as well as the whole movie itself.  I mean I know Price was a bit green when he moved in with Williams but I felt the actor portraying him had no similar features at all.

Whilst abroad in Amsterdam last month, I stopped at the Moco Museum to see the Banksy/Warhol exhibition on display.  The museum is aptly located in Museumplein, right behind the Rijksmuseum and beside the Van Gogh Museum.  It is a small gallery but it was a very good exhibit.

Street artist Banksy was the main showcase.  They had samples of some of his better known street works such as the rats, the monkeys, the girl with the balloon, and other pieces.  The main piece of art was the painting Beanfield shown above.  They also had the Swat Van in an enclosed space outside of the museum.

The Warhol stuff was less interesting but that is just my taste.  They had a Soup Can as well as the Reigning  Queen series of portraits with the center point being the one of Netherlands own Queen Beatrix.

This record came out in 1966.  It was Price’s 10th and it went to #1 on the Country Charts. It has that Ray Price sound back with steel guitars and fiddles where previous efforts as well as modern country at the time had string sections.  Lot of real good songs.  The title track, “Don’t Believe Her”. and “Go Away” were among my favorites.

For a sample, I went with “Don’t Believe Her”.  The chorus is what hooked me.

Satisfactory Record

 

Rich Little- Rich Little’s Broadway

dscn5546This was one dollar.  For that price, I thought I would give it a try.  I have been sitting on it for about a year, however. I want to say this is the first comedy album I have posted. 78b800b8bbbe3003a393e8b94ed043c5

Before I bought this record, I did not known Rich Little was Canadian.  Well, he is.  Born in Ottawa in 1938. Little started in his teens with impressions of Canadian politicians. But moving away from miming John Diefenbaker and Charlotte Whitton, Little honed his trade with better known subjects and found himself in nightclubs by age 17. He soon found fame in the US performing shows and appearing on television.  He is a master of many voices but his material has never really gone blue, for better or for worse. In 2007, Little was invited to speak at the White House Press Corespondents Dinner. This was the year after the Stephen Colbert debacle.  Although George Bush Jr was amused, Little’s act was panned as being outdated and mostly of dead people (which is the same critique of this album).

When I think of Little, I think of the somewhat awful HBO special he did that used to run constantly when I was a kid.  (Yes, this and Dream On are what HBO had before The Soprano’s and Game Of Thrones.  Seriously).  And look children, a laugh track. On a side note, one of the funniest things I saw was on the old Dana Carvey Show in the 1990’s.  He did a sketch of Rich Little’s Easter Special, where Carvey imitated Little imitating Little’s standard routines.  Kind of meta-impressions if you will. There were some videos of this floating around Youtube but they are all gone. The show was really ahead of its time until it wasn’t. I would not say in launched careers but quite a few people started on the show including Colbert and Steve Carell.

As far as this album, it was his first release in the US.  It should tell you something that I do now know 45% of the people spoofed on this album (and I watch Turner Classic Movies for crying out loud).  But here they are, an early take on some of Little’s classic impressions from John Wayne and Liberace talking about manhood to Humphrey Bogart belting out Broadway tunes.  As Broadway is the theme, there are a number of show tunes on the album as well.dscn5547

For a sample, I went with Little’s impression of Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster singing “Anything You Can Do” from Annie Get Your Gun. Again, not to belabor a point, and I guess that was comedy back then, but I feel there is so much more you can do.  Looking back again at Dana Carvey, his impression of the duo is funny because it tells a story (abet an adult one).

Anyway, here this is.  Meh. Sorry. I really wanted to so more with this post but I am short timing it this month due to upcoming vacation. Where will I be?  I could be in your part of the hemisphere.