As we regard comedians such as The Goons, Monty Python, The Two Ronnies and Morecambe and Wise in the UK, Freberg undoubtedly has a similar pedigree in the US, although its fair to say the subjects of his parodies didn't always see the funny side of his recordings, forcing his record company to show caution in releasing material sometimes.
For instance, his interpretation of The Great Pretender featuring a rebellious piano player didn't go down too well with The Platters when it was originally released, although like other songs featured here its an observation of the construction of a record rather than a poke at the artists.
Its not all musical parody though St George and The Dragonet (a US Number 1 in 1953) is a three minute master class in committing a comedy sketch to vinyl, similarly Freberg's The Quest For Bridey Hannerschlaugen.
Of course, pop cultural references to the likes of Ed Sullivan, Elvis Presley and Walt Disney do date this release, but in a good way, displaying how some people moving from the American radio era to the television era, maybe didn't have as a high regard for these stars aback in the 50s as they are given legendary status now (Tele-Vee-Shun).
This LP is certainly worth a listen if you want a healthy combination of vintage satirical look on 1950s popular culture, parodies and comedy, and is an ideal introduction to the work of Stan Freberg.
The Best Of Stan Freberg
MFP 50390 (previously released on Capitol Records, T2020, 1963)
- Yellow Rose Of Texas Drums – Alvin Stoller
- John And Marsha
- St. George And The Dragonet
- C'est Si Bon
- Banana Boat
- Heartbreak Hotel
- Rock Island Line
- The Great Pretender
- The Quest For Bridey Hammerschlaugen