Friday, November 7, 2014

Adventures In Recordland, Post #18: The Bs 15

I've had a very busy week, so I had to take some time off from going through my records. I finished up the Bs today, though. Let's take a look.

#1/#2: Robert Bryan & Marshall Dodge- "Bert And I... And Other Stories From Down East"/"More Bert And I", 1958/61:

Two albums of New England folk humor. My parents and I go up to Maine every summer and we love it there, so it's nice to have a humorous reminder of our favorite vacation spot. Bryan and Dodge were not exactly comedians- their delivery is very dry and has none of the "performance" aspect of a typical comic- they just tell stories and short jokes. Some are amusing and provide a few chuckles- others apparently are only funny if you're a New Englander. The first record from 1958 was a big hit in its native territory, but it doesn't always travel well.

#3: "Lord Buckley In Concert", 1959:

Richard "Lord" Buckley was an unusual man with an unusual act. The equivalent of what we would today call a performance artist, he delivered fast, rambling monologues on various subjects, combining humor, beat poetry, philosophy and free association in the guise of a character who was part English aristocrat (hence the name) and part jive-talking hipster. He influenced many later performers, one of the more obvious ones being the late Robin Williams who seemed to borrow quite a bit of His Lordship's rhythm.
It's difficult for me to say whether he was really "funny" in the conventional sense or not- he just did what he did, and listening to him is an entertaining and unusual experience. Perhaps the best bit is the closing one, "God's Own Drunk", and it's funny because of his personality and delivery, so any attempt to explain it in text wouldn't do it justice.

#4: Burns & Schreiber- "In One Head And Out The Other", 1965:

Jack Burns and Avery Schreiber were members of the famous Second City improv group who went on to become a successful comedy team in clubs and on television. Their most famous bit, which takes up an entire side of this album, involved Burns playing an obnoxious, pushy, Archie Bunker-type bigoted windbag, with Schreiber as the cab driver taking him to a hotel. Burns rambles on making stupid remarks and Schreiber stoically deflates his pomposity. It's a wonderful piece of character comedy.
The other side of the album is a bit milder, with a long bit about a faith healer, which seems to be an odd choice for an album as some of its humor seems to have been visual. But the cab driver routine is a highlight.

#5: Burns & Schreiber- "The Watergate Comedy Hour", 1973:

After the success of Vaughn Meader's "First Family" album, there were a number of political sketch comedy albums through the '60s and well into the Nixon administration. This one features not only Burns and Schreiber, but a number of other actors, including the great animation voice actor Frank Welker as Richard Nixon and several other characters. Obviously, this album satirizes the Watergate scandal. It's very dated now, but there are some funny moments, although some of it goes over my head since I wasn't around at the time and don't get all the references.

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