For years now I’ve looked in CD sections–do I look in folk? In comedy? I couldn’t find any of the old Smothers Brothers bits. God, they were funny. Then I found this.
I’m almost inclined to give it less than 5 stars as I can’t find any other CDs of their old albums, ones with “She’s gone forever, and I can never go on, how ever I try…” and other songs that have rung through my memory for decades now. But if there must be a summary of their performances, this is a good one.
Among their bits that was most memorable was “Mom always liked you best!” That’s on here, an excellent example, but it’s not overdone. In other words, enough of their other bits also need to be on the CD and they are too.
I’d almost forgotten (1) how funny they were/are and (2) that they’re really pretty good musicians! Tommy had is characteristic Guild guitar. (He used a cheaper one when The Who was on the show and Pete Townsend took his guitar and smashed it. But that’s another story.) Their voices mixed well, and some of the numbers they choose were decent folk tunes.
As to their being funny, Tommy was brilliant. I’d forgotten how good he was as the little kid. His timing is impeccable, and his mind wanders like that of a kid.
Anyway, if you liked the Smothers Brothers, this is a good start. Maybe we need to lobby them to release some of their other stuff on CD. In the meantime, enjoy this!
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I had the good fortune of running into Tommy Smothers once and had the opportunity of telling him how the Smothers Brothers were THE forumlative influence when I was growing up. I had all of their albums before I was a teenager. My appreciation of vocal harmonies (there is something about people who are related singing harmonies whether its the Judds or Tom and Dick) and the power of satire (even before their television show).
Certainly you can quibble with whether or not your personal favorite is included on this album, but the selection is pretty good. What I want to commend is that they included not only “I Talk to the Trees” but “You Didn’t Come In,” which shows how they played off of their audiences and their own routines (remember their 10th album “Golden Hits of the Smothers Brothers Vol. II. There was no Volume I, because the point was all of these songs/routines had been done before and they were still milking them for laughs).
The album does cover the scope of their humor. You have quickies like “Laredo” and “Daniel Boone” to longer efforts like “The Saga of John Henry” and “Cabbage.” Both classic bickering brother routines are included (“Mom Always Liked You Best”) and some of the original songs written for the boys (e.g., “Crabs Walk Sideway”). They included “Mediocre Fred” which was always a fav of mine.
There is even a reference to Ralph, from the original Smothers Brothers Show (the sitcom) where Tommy Smothers became what must be the only person to play himself as a dead man (Right?).
If they are releasing all of Bill Cosby’s albums on CD, we can hope that the same will happen with the Brothers Smothers. But to date all we have is “Curb Your Tongue, Knave,” which is arguably the weakest of their comedy albums. Hopefully the dam will burst and we will get the rest before the end of this decade.
“Sibling Revelry” almost killed me in the 1960s. I was in an isolation ward, gravely ill, when The Smothers Brothers came on TV and Tommy did The Frog Prince. I laughed so hard I literally broke open my surgical wound and had to be re-stitched. To this day, the excellent musical ability of the duo, combined with Tommy’s “mistakes” and Dick’s straight-man admonishments, defies the test of times and still makes me almost bust a gut. (This may all sound morbid, but I figure warped humor deserves a gross review.) Kudos to my fellow hometown natives!