Welcome back to Turntable Talk! Thanks once again to all the regular readers and welcome to any new ones. If you’re keeping count, this is our 14th instalment…if you’re wondering about past topics, I indexed the first dozen here. For any new readers, briefly, on Turntable Talk we have a number of guest columnists from other music sites, sounding off on one particular topic. This month, our topic is Feels Like The First Time. No, no, we’re not going X-rated here, we’re talking about a different kind of first – the first album our guests ever bought.
Today we welcome back John , from The Sound of One Hand Typing. There he typically takes an interesting look at a a song a day, from a range of decades and styles. His first record was:
My Uncle Ed was upgrading his stereo equipment in the early '60's and talked his younger brother (Dad) into buying his old one. Soon we had albums by June Christy, The Dukes of Dixieland, Si Zentner, Jack Jones, Andy Williams, Andre Previn (who played some pretty great jazz piano), and others. Mom's Aunt Cash was the person who got my music collection started when she bought me Allan Sherman's album My Son, The Celebrity. I think I had heard it somewhere and said I really liked it, so the next time she made the drive from the South Side, she brought me my very own copy. If you aren't familiar with Allan, he was a master of the song parody, a sort of late 1950's-early 1960's Weird Al Yankovic. He took familiar songs and wrote lyrics for them that had his fans in stitches. For example, the opening track on “Celebrity” was a parody of the French folk song "Alouette" called "Al 'n Yetta".... I received a music education by listening to Allan Sherman. Many of the melodies were familiar, or would become familiar in later years. The second track on the album was a trio of songs by George M. Cohan that received the parodist's touch. I was seven. I had no idea who George M. Cohan was, so I asked Dad. "Look it up at school tomorrow, Johnny," he said, so I did. I learned how to read the names of songs' original authors off of the record label, and saw that to of them had been written by Gilbert and Sullivan. I didn't bother asking Dad who they were, I went to the World Book at school and learned about them and the operas they wrote. A character in the song "The Mexican Hat Dance" did "sambas on Homburgs to tunes of Sig Romberg and sometimes the Nutcracker Suite." I could tell that a samba was probably a dance, a Homburg was probably a hat, and Sig Romberg was probably a composer. Looked all of them up, too. "Harvey And Sheila" was a parody of the Jewish folk song "Hava Nagila," which I was vaguely familiar with because many of my neighbors were Jewish, but there were all kinds of things to learn, namely, what all the acronyms meant... Cash was so happy that I enjoyed that album that she bought me Sherman's next album, Allan In Wonderland, that had many more song parodies on it, all sung before a live audience, kind of like a laugh track. By far, my favorite on that album was "The Dropouts' March." So, what happened? The British Invasion. Soon, my Allan Sherman records were gathering dust while Introducing... The Beatles played on heavy rotation at home. He was all but forgotten when he died in 1973. When I heard of his passing, I found My Son, The Celebrity and Allan In Wonderland and put them on heavy rotation. And I laughed like I was seven again.