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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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The Essential Collection

Avid AVC 871




1. Hawaiian War Chant
2. My Old Flame
3. Chloe
4. Der Fuehrerís Face
5. Little Bo-Peep Has Lost Her Jeep
6. The Jones Laughing Record (introducing The Flight Of The Bumble Bee)
7. Laura
8. Drip, Drip, Drip (Sloppy Lagoon)
9. The Glow Worm
10. Red Wing
11. Iím Getting Sentimental Over You
12. And The Great Big Saw Came Nearer And Nearer
13. Liebestraum
14. Leave The Dishes In The Sink, Ma
15. Our Hour (The Puppy Love Song)
16. By The Beautiful Sea
17. (Iím Forever) Blowing Bubble Gum
18. Love In Bloom
19. Behind Those Swinging Doors
20. None But The Lonely Heart (A Soaperetta)
21. The Covered Wagon Rolled Right Along
22. Cocktails For Two
23. My Pretty Girl
24. Hotcha Cornia (Hotcha Chornya) (Russian Folk Songs)
25. Popcorn Sack

1. Cocktails For Two
2. Ill Barkio (Il Bacio)
3. You Always Hurt The One You Love
4. The Blue Danube
5. I Dream Of Brownie With The Light Blue Jeans
6. Hotcha Cornia (Hotcha Chornya) (Russian Folk Songs)
7. Down In Jungle Town
8. MacNamaraís Band
9. That Old Black Magic
10. I Kiss Your Hand Madame
11. William Tell Overture
12. As Time Goes By
13. Old MacDonald Had A Farm
14. My Two Front Teeth (All I Want For Christmas)
15. Serenade To A Jerk
16. Siam
17. Mother Goose Medley
18. I Wanna Go Back To West Virginia
19. Jones Polka
20. The Man On The Flying Trapeze
21. Barstool Cowboy From Old Barstow
22. Clink, Clink, Another Drink
23. People Are Funnier Than Anybody
24. Toot Toot Tootsie, Goodbye
25. Holiday For Strings
Spike Jones and his City Slickers

As a young record collector, one of my main concerns every month was to obtain the latest 78rpm record by Spike Jones and his City Slickers. Most of the recordings made me laugh repeatedly but I also became aware that Spikeís mob was a Dixieland jazz band of considerable talent. This was understandable, as Spike Jones chose his musicians judiciously, using such virtuosos as the brilliant trumpeter George Rock. Spike himself was an experienced drummer who played for such people as Hoagy Carmichael and Bing Crosby. You can savour the bandís musical expertise on fairly straightforward tracks like Red Wing and The Covered Wagon Rolled Right Along, mostly recorded in their early days before they developed their full range of comic effects.

Of course, Spikeís main appeal is the humourt he introduced into music, using motor horns, gunshots, rude noises, strange singing voices and even a set of cowbells, which Spike played like an eccentric xylophone. The comedy was uproarious but it was always backed up by impeccable timing and excellent musicianship.

This is a generous selection of Spikeís recordings, totalling 150 minutes of playing time, including most of the tracks that Jones devotees would expect. Itís good to hear the bandís first hit (from 1942): Der Fuehrerís Face, a splendid deflation of Adolf Hitler, plus Holiday for Strings (the first Spike single I ever bought) and The Glow Worm (which still makes me laugh when the soprano holds a long note and her male duettist shouts "Turn the page, you fathead!"). Itís a mystery why the collection includes two near-identical versions of Cocktails for Two and Hotcha Cornia. If they had only included one version of each of these, they could have found time for Dance of the Hours (with manic commentary from Doodles Weaver) or I Went to Your Wedding (a thoroughly laughable event). But this is an ideal introduction to the work of a comic genius and his eccentric sidemen Ė at the bargain price of £4.99.

Tony Augarde


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