So Much Stuff I Can't Recall

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Getting Allan Sherman

Growing up, back in the day of pterodactyls and vinyl records, I often stole my folks' albums to play on my turntable (and more recently I ripped quite a few to MP3 format). Not the Perry Como, the comedy records. Smothers Brothers. Bill Cosby. One called Comedy Caravan with, among others, Andy Griffith out of uniform, and Stan Freberg doing Dragnet spoofs. They had two Allan Sherman records: My Son, the Celebrity and My Son, The Folk Singer. The "Weird" Al of their generation (or vice versa).

I didn't get all the musical references. Mexican Hat Dance, I did. Sir Greenbaum's Madrigal, yep. Harvey and Sheila, but of course. Years later I'd make the connection between The Bronx Bird Watcher and Gilbert & Sullivan's Mikado.

A few months back I picked up a Louis Armstrong CD. One of the tracks was St. James Infirmary, which includes the lyric
I went down to the St. James Infirmary
Saw my baby there
Stretched out on a long white table
So sweet...so cold...so fair
which immediately recalled Sherman's spoof
I went down to Mt. Sinai Hospital
To see my old zaydie there
And I said, Thanks God for the Blue Cross
And I wish we had the Medicare

Then earlier this week I picked up the Jimmy Stewart version of Flight of the Phoenix. Along with Ernest "It's not a disaster film without me" Borgnine and George "Me, either" Kennedy, the movie includes a small role played by Barrie Chase. Oh, I thought to myself, I know her -- she's from that Allan Sherman song, Barry is the Baby's Name:
We'll call him Barry, Barry.
That'll be the baby's name.
We thought of Lance or Josh,
But, oh, my gosh,
They're not the same.

But if it's Barry, Barry,
That's a name with style and grace.
And if he's not a he,
It still could be
Like in Barrie Chase.

Granted, I have no idea (at the moment) what tune the song is based on, but at least the last line make sense now.

There's a lot more on the records I still don't get. They say everything comes back into fashion, eventually. Maybe next time the 50s and 60s swing by again, I'll figure out a little more.

Poor Phil, though. He's gonna have to figure out Allan Sherman and "Weird" Al when he's older...



6 Snarky Remarks:

You sure you didn't just google all this?
Blogger Heather, at 6:58 PM  
Googled to get the text, but the general knowledge was my own. (The imdb link came from the imdb.)
Blogger Chris, at 7:12 PM  
My friend Rebecca's parents had some Spike Jones records (the 40s and 50s band leader, not the video director). They were absolutely hilarious. A lot of it probably went over our heads, but even we (growing up as we did on Hogan's Heroes) could understand gems such as The Furor's (sp?) Face: (sung with a bad German accent)
When the furor says, we are the master race
We go Heil (raspberry sound)
Heil (raspberry sound)
Right in the furor's face.

We never got tired of those records.
Blogger lindaruth, at 7:59 AM  
Yes! They had a couple Spike Jones albums too. I remember seeing the Gene Tierney/Vincent Price movie Laura and wondering where all the tin can, slide whistle, and quacking duck sound effects went when the title song played.
Blogger Chris, at 9:11 AM  
Oh, my dad raised me on Allan Sherman! Only he didn't have any of his records, so what I actually grew up on was my dad singing half-remembered Allan Sherman songs and forgetting the lyrics.

It was a heady day when, during my college years, I found a copy of "My Son, the Folksinger" in a Milwaukee second-hand record shop and brought it home for Dad.

I've never heard the "Barry" song but from the lyrics alone it sounds like it could be a parody of the "Mary, Mary" song ... do you know that one? ("And it was Mary, Mary, long before the fashion came, blah blah blah can't remember the rest of the words...but it's a GRAND OLD NAME.")
Blogger TrudyJ, at 6:40 AM  
The "Mary" song was "Mary's a Grand Old Name" by George M. Cohan.

More Allan Sherman:
"Do not make a stingy sandwich
Pile the cold cuts high.
Customers should see salami
Comin' through the rye..."
Blogger Daddy Love, at 11:42 AM  

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