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Allan Sherman

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Allan Sherman - My Son, The Folk Singer [Warner Bros. Records W 1475] (1962)

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Artist:

Allan Sherman

Title:

My Son, The Folk Singer

Released: 1962
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Catalog: W 1475
Genre: Pop, Comedy, Parody


T R A C K L I S T:
01 The Balled Of Harry Lewis
02 Shake Hands With Your Uncle Max
03 Sir Greenbaum's Madrigal
04 My Zelda
05 The Streets Of Miami
06 Sarah Jackman
07 Jump Down, Spin Around (Pick A Dress O' Cotton)
08 Seltzer Boy
09 Oh Boy
10 Shticks And Stones
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Album Review

Mark Deming [allmusic.com]

At his best, Allan Sherman was as perceptive an observer of the American Jewish experience as Philip Roth or Saul Bellow, and when he was on a roll he was a lot funnier than either, and that's certainly the case with 1962's My Son, the Folk Singer, Sherman's first album and the record that made him an overnight success, selling over a million copies within a few months of its release. Musically, Sherman's shtick was to take familiar melodies and fuse them to new lyrics that offered a very funny and openly Semitic take on contemporary American life, as ''The Battle Hymn of the Republic'' was transformed into the tale of a tailor named Harry Lewis, ''The Streets of Laredo'' became ''The Streets of Miami,'' and the French ditty ''Frere Jacques'' accompanied a telephone conversation with ''Sarah Jackman.'' While My Son, the Folk Singer was the most openly ''Jewish'' of Sherman's albums, the bulk of Sherman's humor was recognizable to anyone familiar with the absurdities of suburban life in the Kennedy era, and while many Jewish humorists treated their material as some sort of inside joke, by marrying his lyrics to songs familiar to everyone he gave them a universal appeal -- and it certainly didn't hurt that most of the numbers on his debut album are howlingly funny. While so many Jewish artists frequently focused on the often painful desire to assimilate into mainstream American culture, Sherman's characters were so innately Jewish that whether they landed in Scarsdale or the Old West, their accents and appetites traveled with them, and the unspoken but clear acceptance of the comic foibles of Sherman's twin cultural allegiances has much to do with why My Son, the Folk Singer remains both funny and potent more than four decades after it was recorded.


Allan Sherman - My Son, The Celebrity [Warner Bros. Records W 1487] (1963)

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Artist:

Allan Sherman

Title:

My Son, The Celebrity

Released: 1963
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Catalog: W 1487
Genre: Pop, Comedy, Parody


T R A C K L I S T:
01 Al 'n Yetta
02 Medley: (a) Barry Is The Baby's Name (b) Horowitz (c) Get On The Garden Freeway
03 Mexican Hat Dance
04 The Bronx Bird Watcher
05 The Let's All Call Up A.T.&T. And Protest To The President March
06 Harvey And Sheila
05 Won't You Come Home Disraeli?
06 No One's Perfect
07 When I Was A Lad
08 Me
09 Shticks Of One And Half A Dozen Of The Other
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Album Review

Mark Deming [allmusic.com]

Allan Sherman's first album, My Son, the Folk Singer, was an unexpected smash hit upon its release in the fall of 1962, and Sherman wasted no time crafting a follow-up, with My Son, the Celebrity rushed into stores less than three months later. While it follows the pattern of Sherman's first album quite closely -- a handful of familiar tunes featuring broadly comic new lyrics, sung by Sherman in his endearing foghorn of a voice before an appreciative in-studio audience -- he had enough worthy material on hand that his second album is on a par with the debut, and Lou Bush's orchestrations are as clever and tightly rendered as before. While Sherman was hilariously obsessed with his own Jewishness on My Son, the Folk Singer, My Son, the Celebrity found him dipping his toes into less ethnically specific material, such as ''Mexican Hat Dance,'' ''Bronx Bird Watcher,'' and ''The Let's All Call Up A.T.&T. and Protest to the President March,'' though he was still capable of wringing laughter from the American Jewish experience, most notably on ''Harvey and Sheila,'' the story of an archetypical Semitic romance sung to the tune of no less than ''Hava Hagila.'' Sherman is also a more confident performer on this set, and not without reason -- My Son, the Celebrity was an equally witty follow-up to one of the most popular comedy albums of the 1960s, and made clear he was no flash in the pan.


Allan Sherman 1963 My Son, The Nut (Warner Bros W 1501)

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Artist:

Allan Sherman

Title:

My Son, The Nut [mono]

Released: 1963
Label: Warner Bros
Catalog: W 1501
Genre: Comedy / Novelty
T R A C K L I S T:
01 You Went The Wrong Way, Old King Louie
02 Automation
03 I See Bones
04 Hungarian Goulash No 5
05 Headaches
06 Here's To The Crabgrass
07 Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh!
(A Letter From Camp)
08 One Hippopotami
09 Rat Fink
10 You're Getting To Be A Rabbit With Me
11 Eight Foot Two, Solid Blue
12 Hail To Thee, Fat Person
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Album Reveiw

by Mark Deming [allmusic.com]

Allan Sherman began moving cautiously away from the explicitly Jewish humor of his debut album on its follow-up, My Son, the Celebrity, and he all but abandoned it for his third long-player, 1963's My Son, the Nut. However, if Sherman was less eager to poke fun at Jewish-American culture as he grew more popular, his need to kvetch about the absurdities of modern life was stronger than ever, and My Son, the Nut unexpectedly proved to be Sherman's masterpiece, featuring 12 superb song parodies that take aim at the perils of suburbia ("Here's to the Crabgrass"), advancing technology ("Automation"), advertising ("Headaches"), and lots more. Sherman also indulges his passion for the quirks of the English language on "One Hippopotami," vents his spleen on "Rat Fink," and encounters a fanciful half-woman half-bunny on "You're Getting to Be a Rabbit with Me." But the album's two biggest laughs come from Sherman's biggest hit, "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh (A Letter from Camp)," based in part on his own son's unpleasant experiences at summer camp, and the side-splitting closer, "Hail to Thee, Fat Person," in which Sherman explains to people who are "skinny or in some other way normal" how he gained weight "as a public service." Lou Busch's witty and full-bodied orchestrations are the icing on the cake for what would prove to be the best and most popular album of Sherman's career.


Allan Sherman - For Swingin' Livers Only! [MONO] [Warner Brothers W 1569] (1964)

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Artist:

Allan Sherman

Title:

For Swingin' Livers Only! [MONO]

Released: 1964
Label: Warner Brothers
Catalog: W 1569
Genre: Comedy
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Grow, Mrs. Goldfarb
02 Your Mother's Here To Stay
03 Pills
04 Shine On, Harvey Bloom
05 J. C. Cohen
06 Pop Hates The Beatles
07 Beautiful Teamsters
08 Kiss Of Myer
09 America's A Nice Italian Name
10 The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas
11 Bye Bye Blumberg
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Album Review

Mark Deming [allmusic.com]

After the commercial and creative disappointment of 1964's Allan in Wonderland, Allan Sherman rallied by releasing a new version of his biggest hit, "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah," as a single, and followed it three months later with For Swingin' Livers Only, which was sharper, broader, and funnier than the LP that preceded it. After suppressing his fondness for Jewish humor on My Son, the Nut and Allan in Wonderland, Sherman cautiously brought it back to his repertoire on numbers like "Kiss of Meyer," "Shine on, Harvey Bloom," "J.C. Cohen," and "Bye Bye Blumberg," while "Your Mother's Here to Stay" and "Grow, Mrs. Goldfarb" found him milking the always reliable institution of marriage for some solid laughs. While "Pop Hates the Beatles" sounds a bit petulant today, Sherman sounds happy to have a current phenomenon he can readily poke fun at (something in short supply the last time he went into the studio), and "The Twelve Gifts of Christmas" is a hilarious rant against the absurdities of consumer culture (and it proved to be one of his most enduring numbers, regularly revived each year for the holiday season). For Swingin' Livers Only was also Sherman's last album with arranger Lou Busch, who was easily his most sympathetic accompanist, and his witty and muscular backdrops fit these songs like a glove. For Swingin' Livers Only isn't a masterpiece on a par with Allan Sherman's first three albums, but it did show he wasn't out of the game just yet.

Allan Sherman's Biography

by Jason Ankeny [allmusic.com]

Arguably the most successful musical humorist in pop history, song parodist Allan Sherman was born Allan Copelon in Chicago on November 30, 1924. After entering show business as writer for the likes of Jackie Gleason and Joe E. Lewis, Sherman attempted to mount his own career as a performer, but initially found little success; "A Satchel and a Seck," a 1951 duet with comedienne Sylvia Froos satirizing Frank Loesser's "A Bushel and a Peck," went nowhere, and an ambitious attempt to release a full-length Jewish parody of the musical My Fair Lady met with legal resistance from the estate of composers Lerner & Loewe.

Sherman consequently turned to television, creating and producing the long-running quiz show I've Got a Secret. A tenure as the writer-producer of The Steve Allen Show followed, but when the series ended in 1961, Sherman found himself on the unemployment line. After signing a contract with Warner Bros., he released the parody collection My Son, the Folk Singer in 1962. To the shock of the recording industry, radio quickly picked up on the album despite Sherman's obscurity as a performer; according to legend, even President John F. Kennedy was spotted in a hotel lobby singing the cut "Sarah Jackman" (a parody of "Frere Jacques"), further boosting the record's popularity.

Ultimately, My Son, the Folk Singer topped the charts, and spawned a cottage industry of copycat releases. Nonetheless, Sherman remained the unquestioned king of the parody hit, and in late 1962, he returned with a follow-up, My Son, the Celebrity, which, like its predecessor, reached the number one spot. 1963's My Son, the Nut was even more successful, topping the charts for eight consecutive weeks on the strength of the Top Five novelty hit "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh," a summer camp-themed take on Ponchielli's 1876 composition "Dance of the Hours."

If, as legend dictates, President Kennedy helped establish Sherman as a star, he also inadvertently contributed to the comedian's drop-off in popularity: following Kennedy's assassination in November, 1963, the nation became serious and solemn, with little interest in the breezy fun offered by song parodies. Released in early 1964, Sherman's fourth album, Allan in Wonderland, reached only number 25 on the pop charts; issued later that year at the height of Beatlemania, the concurrent For Swingin' Livers Only! and Peter & the Commissar (recorded with Arthur Fiedler & Boston Pops) fared even more poorly, with the latter record failing even to crack the Top 40.

1965's My Name Is Allan was his last chart effort, reaching only number 88. Still, Sherman soldiered on, recording Live in front of a Las Vegas audience. After 1966's Togetherness, he was dropped by Warner Bros., effectively ending his career as a performer. After publishing an autobiography, A Gift of Laughter, Sherman died in California on November 21, 1973. He was just 48 years old.
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