:: Childhood 1949 ::
:: A Room for a Boy Never Used ::
:: There's a Slight Misunderstanding Between God and Man ::
:: Ask Me What I Am ::
It’s astounding that William Shatner got such a bad rap all these years for The Transformed Man, while Burt Reynolds remains unscathed in regards to this auditory atrocity. True, Shatner’s overdramatic readings are an incredible ego trip exercise, but at least there was some passion behind his attempt at doing something unconventional. It leads to unintended laughter, but hell, it’s great for long-lasting entertainment value. This piece of shit is just plain uncomfortable. I almost felt bad for Burt while listening to this dreck. Remember that news video from last year where Reynolds pompously slaps a journalist for having the audacity to admit that he hadn’t seen the 1974 version of The Longest Yard? I imagine that journalist might have gotten slapped a tad harder if he’d admitted, “I haven’t seen your movie, but I have heard Ask Me What I Am.
Indeed, there are all kinds of great answers we can come up with to that question after hearing this record. For one, Burt is a model. This 1973 album comes with a fantastic double-sided poster, one side of which displays Burt in a zipped down jumpsuit, holding a cowboy hat. This will be getting framed and hung on my office wall at some point in the near future, because the grotesque must be showcased.
Burt is nostalgic, as you’ll hear on “Childhood 1949.” Written by the producer and guitarist on the album, Bobby Goldsboro, it’s a sappy recitation of things that were special about being a child in those times. At one point he mentions “slingshots made of grandma’s worn out girdles.” Rubber bands existed in 1949, didn’t they? I can understand not having money when you’re growing up, but how about playing “kick the can” instead of even thinking about messing around with grandma’s undergarments. Burt, you’re fucking gross, too.
Burt is also sad. Sad because he has a big house carefully filled with “loved people and things”, but one thing is missing: the son he has yet to have. He’s got a room all done up and an empty yard waiting to be played in while yearning for the young’un to arrive. Listen to “A Room for a Boy Never Used,” and try not to puke as Burt tenderly whispers all about it to you, and to God.
We come to realize that Burt is a deep thinker and seeker of knowledge through, “There’s a Slight Misunderstanding Between God and Man.” Pursue wisdom with him as he asks, “Am I the shepherd? / Am I the flock? / Am I the prisoner? / Am I the lock?” before he blows your mind with, “My cup runneth over, or is it my cup? / Excuse me, but will the real Jesus stand up?” It’s here in this song that the final answer to Ask Me What I Am is revealed. As Burt embarrassingly strains to reach the right notes when singing, ironically, the lyric, “Somebody please help me, if you can,” we realize that Burt is a great actor, putting in his greatest performance as a horrible singer.