Kitschy novelty album that should appeal to fans of weird and wacky skit-based material, a la Firesign Theater and The Residents. Long cherished among private collectors and DJs as a treasure trove of bubblegum, loungey pop, electronica, spoken word comic bits, and jingle-styled choruses, this can be heard as the US equivalent of our previously reviewed ?Music For Biscuits? by The Mike Sammes Singers. ?And Now The News? is a garagey stew of psychotic, burping Moog synthesizer (Robert Moog was hired to wrap his synth around the skits and songs) weaving around sound effects of a news ticker and a serious newscaster reciting the news of the day. Think of it as a psychedelic companion to Simon & Garfunkle?s ?7 O?clock News/Silent Night.?
?The Elevator? opens with a light-footed, soft-shoe shuffle that seems lifted straight out of (or crafted for) the supplemental music to a Benny Hill skit, although the seemingly improvised verbal interplay goes way into the red on the ?Corn? meter. ?Take 46? offers some snappy, bachelor pad jazz and the bossa nova cha cha of ?The Piano Lesson? will have you grabbing your honey for a few spins across the dance floor. Too bad they couldn?t excise the annoyingly childish introductory palaver.
M*A*S*H* fans may recognize McLean Stevenson as the voice of Orville Wright in the skit that runs through ?The Flight,? which finds the inventors testing out their new creation over a stomping, Carl Stalling-styled electronic backing courtesy Moog?s omnipresent synth. ?The Mist of Time,? which was actually released as a single with album opener, ?It?s 74 in San Francisco,? is another cha cha samba in the style of Sergio Mendes and Brazil ?66, with a particularly smooth and sexy vocal from the jingle singers and a tasty trumpet solo dropped in for no apparent reason other than it sounds cool, Daddy-O!
Stevenson returns for a skit about a space flight of a different sort on ?High Fly Ball,? which, as the punny title suggests, pits the astronauts of the Apollo 13 space mission encountering both UFOs and the titular baseball. ?I Can?t Get Around In The Morning? may be the cheeriest hangover remedy you?ll ever hear ? at least enough to get you out of bed in the morning to stumble around the apartment blind drunk from the previous evening?s revelries. Finally, I did enjoy the science fiction-y ?The Mechanic,? with its soaring, theremin-like Moog bleats, blasts and blunders wrapped around a snappy backbeat; however, as with all the skits, the punch line, which is admittedly pretty weak to begin with, will probably lose any inherent value upon subsequent listens.
An oddball collection, to be sure, this will not be spending too much time in your CD player unless you?re a DJ who features a lot of comic bits and drop-ins on your show, or if you?re a fan of lounge records of the Enoch Light variety (the album originally appeared in 1968 on Light?s Command Records). Of course, it will certainly provide more than a few vicarious thrills for fans of the Firesign Theater and the skit-based albums of The Residents. 6/10 -- Jeff Penczak (30 January, 2007)