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Crazy Guys.
Gems of American Comedy.
20 Original mono recordings 1945-1953

LIVING ERA CD AJA 5582 [76.47]

 

 

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Whoís on First
Abbott and Costello

Itís My Noseís Birthday
Jimmy Durante

Phonetic Punctuation
Victor Borge

Lopiní Along
Abe Burrows

Itís in the Book
Johnny Standley

Iím a little busybody
Jerry Lewis

What it was, was Football
Deacon Andy Smith

Tim-Tay-Shun
Red Ingle and his Natural Seven

St George and the Dragonet
Stan Freberg

Pal-Yat-Chee
Spike Jones and his City Slickers

Bebopís Fable; Jack and the Beanstalk
Steve Allen

Hooray, Hooray, Iím Goiní Away
Beatrice Kay

What a crazy guy
Wally Cox

Who hid the halibut on the Poop Deck
Yogi Yorgesson

The Chinese Waiter
Buddy Hackett

Sal
The Vagabonds

Open the Door, Richard
Dusty Fletcher

Some Little Bug
Phil Harris

Heinieís and Moeís
Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Doris Day

How Díye do and Shake Hands
Danny Kaye, Jimmy Durante, Jane Wyman and Groucho Marx

Recorded 1945-53

 

Living Era has been cornering a niche in comedy discs of late. Their Just A Bit Of Fun was an exclusively British affair Ė Wilton, Miller, Askey and the like Ė whilst You Have To Laugh, Donít You? (answer; Iíll be the judge of that) covers Anglo-American ground by including Noel Coward alongside Spike Jones and Clapham and Dwyer next to Jimmy Durante. Eye watering conjunctions, those. Now along comes this all-American affair, recordings made as the Second World War was ending and into the 1950s. Some were made live and others in the studio, some are deservedly classics of their kind, others are of more localised enthusiasm. The Abbott and Costello baseball classic is here but what Iíd forgotten, along with the fact that itís live, is the fact that the disc is actually topped and tailed by an organ fade. Durante is here, thankfully, replete with unshakeable gusto and he reappears at the close in the stellar comic trio, spiced by Jane Wyman. Victor Borge (born Borge Rosenbloom) made a series of classical discs before the war in his native land with violinist and composer Fini Henriques. Here we get the first unveiling of his imperishable Phonetic Punctuation act; it was tighter in concert where laughs had time to detonate and relapse, but fun anyway.

There are examples of hick provincialism along the way, cow pokery from Abe Burrows, down south bewilderment at a football game from Deacon Andy Smith. If you donít like Jerry Lewis youíll have to admire his breath control in Iím a little busybody and you can put up with the Funny Foreigner skits from Yogi Yorgesson (like Borge, Scandinavian) and Buddy Hackett. There are other Americas here as well Ė the immigrant American experience (Chinese, Italian, Jewish) as well as the sole example of black humour, but Dusty Fletcherís cross talk, jive act on Open the Door, Richard sits a bit incongruously in this selection. Phil Harris scores highly in a Food Kills warning on Some Little Bug (hasnít dated either) but the standouts for me are Stan Freberg, right on the button in his hard boiled Dragnet pastiche, and Steve Allen be-bopping his hip way through Jack and the Beanstalk.

The copies sound in excellent condition and have been well transferred. Full marks as well for the full composer credit details, birth and death information, matrix and issue numbers and the paragraphal introduction to each act Ė Cary Ginell, take a bow. And Living Era too.

Jonathan Woolf


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