Thursday, February 25, 2010

Is Laughter The Best Medicine?


OK, so that last post was allegedly-humorous - this one actually is, in spots (probably more-so if you've been to Med School). The Greene County, Missouri Medical Society's Scholarship Foundation presents this fourth album by The Singing Doctors as part of their fund raising efforts ($4.25) to provide "aid to those earnest youngsters who seek to be tomorrow's medical practitioners."

I can't pin down a starting date for the Doctors (mid 1960's seems most reasonable) . Founding members Charles Lockhart and Fred Coller have passed on, and as of 2005 James Brown was writing his own obituary because of cancer. (There is a nice article on Brown here.) [edit: Brown passed away immediately after that article appeared]
[James T. Brown, MD 48, of Springfield MO, died of cancer on Jan. 24, 2005, in Durham NC, where his son, James Trig Brown, MD 77, practices. A general surgeon, Brown was the founder of the Singing Doctors of Springfield. The group entertained widely with humorous musical shows for nearly 40 years, raising more than $400,000 for scholarships for over 200 medical students. In addition to his son, Brown is survived by a daughter, Mary Louise Brown, SW 76.]

The cast list on this album is: Jim Brown, Charles E. Lockhart, Don F. Gose, F.T. H'Doubler, Jr., Harold H. Lurie, Fred C. Coller, and accompanist Wilfred Adler.

minor trivia: a subset of The Singing Doctors appeared on I've Got A Secret in 1965:

Week 657, 1/11/65

Sponsor: Toni
Director: Paul Alter
Program Staff 4: Doris Hibbard
Production Supervisor: Milt Myers
Technical Director: Vernon Gamble
Audio: Larry Schneider
Lighting: Walter Urban

  1. Artur Ries (see 10/12/64) failed his driving test again.
  2. Drs. Jim Brown, Charles Lockhart, and Don Gold, Springfield, MO: With three other doctors, they are helping to put 35 students through medical school. "We have raised $70,000 at banquets and medical conventions … by singing." Bess guesses, going third. "The Singing Doctors" then perform "Consultation" using the tunes to "Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be" and "Stars and Stripes Forever."
The Singing Doctors - On Stage Side 01
The Singing Doctors - On Stage Side 02

Theme, We're Singing Doctors
Now I'm A TV Star and Dahling, That's Showbiz
At Your Cervix
Fibroid Tumor
Medicare
Appendectomy
The Message is Massage
Masters Degree
Birth Control Pills
Terminology
Halitosis Beats No Breath At All and Menopause
Hemorrhoids and Closing Theme

Monday, February 22, 2010

Does humor belong in...comedy? (with apologies to Frank Zappa)

Pardon My Blooper can surely be blamed for America's Funniest Home Videos (Head, Gut, or Groin?) and the plethora of similar shows that fill otherwise-dead-programming-time on the many cable channels of this great nation (and probably other nations, as well).

The man behind this was Kermit Schafer, who started releasing blooper albums in the 1950's. Unfortunately, he also started releasing what could kindly be called "reenactements" when original recordings were not available - a small detail that he didn't bother to note on the discs or, in fact, at all.
This disc may be the most singularly unfunny "comedy" material since...well, since any recent film by Robin Williams.
Pardon My Blooper!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ten Inches For Lovers

If you're having a romantic dance date, here's your (brief) soundtrack from bandleader Paul Weston. This Columbia Records (CL 6162) 10" comes from 1951 during the LP format wars (Columbia's 10" version lost to everyone else's 12") [Ed note: insert "bigger is better joke here].

This disc was part of a series of "Dance Date*" albums from bandleaders such as Harry James, Xavier Cugat, Les Brown, Percy Faith, etc.

(*as noted on the cover: Trade Mark)


Side One Medley: You Were Meant For Me/Over The Rainbow/S'posin/How High The Moon

Side Two Medley: This Can't Be Love/Pennies From Heaven/Why Shouldn't I?/Embraceable You


Your Dance Date* with Paul Weston



*Trade Mark

Sunday, February 07, 2010

I'm Bringing Saxy Back

This 1965 album finds Mr. Yakety Sax in fine instrumental form on side one (with the exception of the female vocalist on the title track), but stretching out with some vocals on side two (and by stretching out I mean that it's a stretch to call him a vocalist; these are really novelty voices - not that there's anything wrong with that...).

The liner notes say that this is an "electronically reprocessed for stereo" album; if so, the reprocess-er did a fine job - a couple of the tracks have extensive and wide stereo separation, and none of them have the horrible reprocessing of the highs-left/lows-right or dry-left/reverb-right varieties.

Even disregarding the actual performances, I love the sound of this (and similar) albums - it's a particular combination of recording medium, vintage microphones (I suppose they technically weren't vintage then), and playing styles that just lets me close my eyes and picture a room of "studio cats" in ties and/or bowling-style shirts spending an afternoon cutting the songs in a take or two each.

Boots Randoph - Sweet Talk

A1Sweet Talk1:59
A2Estrellita2:00
A3Blue Guitar2:32
A4Little Big Horn2:12
A5The Happy Whistler1:55
B1Greenback Dollar2:19
B2Percolator2:01
B3Difficult2:07
B4I'm Getting Your Message Baby1:58
B5Red Light2:17

1965 RCA Camden CAS-865(e)