The Half Priced Books in Sugarland has the strangest (or crappiest, you choose the adjective) records in town. That being said, I spent $30 during my last trip. I totally still am geeking out over two records I bought there, this being one of them. I paid, you guessed it, $1 for this masterpiece.
This is the studio recording of the 1960 NBC Bell Telephone Hour’s production of The Mikado. Groucho Marx, who was a huge Gilbert and Sullivan fan, apparently enjoyed taking the role of Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner. Oddly enough, his daughter played the role of Peep-Bo. As the original production was two hours, a good chunk had to be excised in order to fit into a 53 min slot. Hardcore Savoyians and Gilbert and Sullivan snobs are going to hate this but I think it is just awesome. While the purists will object to Marx’s voice, I would argue that for the role of Ko-Ko, it is more important to be funny than a great singer. Marx does this very well.
I know posting more than two songs equates to laziness on my part, but I really dig this album. Here are two numbers that showcase Marx and two that have Marx singing with the others. I included some brief dialogue to these tunes as well. If I had to choose one of the songs, would go with “I’ve Got a Little List”.
I am still pretty stoked I found this. There are a whole lot of better recordings of the Mikado (there also are a lot worse-see my post from April) but I love the concept of Marx as Ko-Ko. Top Rating.