The Freberg Follies
:: John And Marsha ::
:: The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise ::
:: Try ::
:: I've Got You Under My Skin ::
Here's news: I've always loved records, and some of the earliest records I loved were comedy records, probably because they made me laugh (duh). An Aunt and Uncle had a Stan Freberg album, and I loved to listen to "John and Marsha". Even when I was very young I understood what was going on. It was a soap opera, with all the twists and turns of melodrama, yet the only words spoken were John saying "Marsha", and Marsha saying "John". Genius!
Freberg was basically just that, and his association with Capitol Records in the early 50s afforded him the opportunity to do parodies of recording artists of the day, while utilizing the talents of Capitol's stable of studio musicians, arrangers and producers, all to great effect. Everyone from Lawrence Welk to Elvis Presley got the Freberg treatment, and in the case of Johnnie Ray, whose "Cry" was parodied on this EP ("Try"), he was none too happy with the unflattering results. Freberg was dead on though, and his contempt for rock & roll and much of the pop culture of the day was thinly veiled, at best.
Freberg was given a radio show in the mid-50s, but it didn't work out because he wouldn't allow himself to be sponsored by tobacco or liquor companies, and his spoofs of other advertisers flew in the face of his network bosses. Later, in the 60s he got into the advertising game himself, creating ads for Contadina Tomato Paste and Sunsweet Prunes, and in the 80s he produced ads for the Encyclopedia Britannica employing his teenage son who was obviously a chip off the old block.
I chose to ignore Freberg in my later record collecting years, thinking his work would be quirkily annoying, or just plain corny, until I found this EP and decided to revisit John and Marsha. I'm glad I did because, all these years later it's still funny. Or at least it is to the 5 year old in me.