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Plenty To Dig, Daddy O,
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This review is from: Laughin' at the Blues (Audio CD)
Comedy is a difficult thing to put on record. Making comic records usually leads to something novel which either quickly wares thin, or simply doesn't seem to manage to make you smile. This collection of blues, jive, and r'n'b manages to remain interesting and entertaining and some pieces really do stand up as great music and transcend their comic routes.
The stuff that works best works simply due to the strength of the songwriting. There's plenty of quality and well known artists from the likes of Pearl Bailey and Slim Gaillard (the originator of Hipster Speak) as well as an early Sammy Davis Jr track recorded under the name Shorty Muggins. There are also contributions from comedians such as Redd Foxx and Scatman Coruthers. All mix a jumpin' and jiving early rock sound very well. Bailey's "I Can't Rock And Roll To Save My Soul" is a fine record which avoids being consciously comedic.
Most of the tracks which don't really work are based around comic monologues accompanied by some blues riffs led either by piano or guitar. There's about 5 examples of these which provide mild amusement the first time but quickly loose their lustre and can't really be recommended for repeat listens.
That said there's some fine music here although most of the best doesn't really feel like proper comedy. It is more a case of being light hearted subject matter with some very serivicable music. If you're into the roots of rock and roll then you'll probably find some good music to enjoy here. The monologues are a small part of the 25+ tracks here.
Having said that there isn't a lot of truly comic material here the best track blends all the elements perfectly. "Who Put The Benzedrine In Mrs Murphy's Ovaltine" by Harry "The Hipster" Gibson (a comedian of the late 40's and early 50's) really is as good as you hope it should be. A strong song matched with a very funny lyric, it is worth the price of admission on its own. Although there is some other good stuff you kind of wish more reached "The Hipser's" dizzy heights.