Saturday, October 19, 2013


Here's a salute to freaks, Halloween, collectors items, and the retired Tom and Dick.

Yes, they went out with class, and without fanfare. The Smothers Brothers quietly turned down tour dates a year or so ago, and simply moved on to other things. They haven't staged a comeback tour, and there was no release of a multi-DVD set (sad to say). Actually, and this is unusual for comedy discs, a few of their albums should be re-issued on CD because the last vinyl pressing actually removed some tracks!

While almost no vinyl is really that collectible just because it's a 'first pressing,' in the case of Tom and Dick, you'l be missing some tracks if you happen to get a later pressing instead of the first.

"Map of the World," a nice addition to the canon of tattooed lady novelty songs, was dropped from the second pressing of "Two Sides of the Smothers Brothers." The first pressing of "Tour de Farce: American History" had three silly quickies, "Put-On Song," "Wagon Wheels" and "Military Lovers" and all were dropped from the second pressing. "Military Lovers" does turn up on the "Sibling Revelry" best-of CD, just to confuse matters further.

The later printings of "Mom Always Liked You Best" are without "The Last Great Waltz" (which was performed on their variety hour), along with the quick "My Favorite Holiday" and the serious "The World I Used to Know." Go figure. So, if you want ALL tracks, ye comedy record fan of elaborate obesity, try helping out a record store owner or eBay seller by buying some comedy albums for a dollar each. Most dealers don't know (or care) that the first pressing is more valuable than the second. It'll still be a dollar, cheap! Expecting to get everything free is just killing the economy and promoting Google and Nazi scum like Kim Doctom, and that ain't funny. (However, if you no longer own a turntable, as Emily Litella used to say..."nevermind..."an out of print comedy album at this point is not too likely to make a comeback on mp3. I'm just thinking the Smothers Brothers still have a good chance.)

So...only one tune below..."The Last Great Waltz," which might inspire you to dress up for Halloween as someone with three legs. Walking around with three legs would make you either the protagonist of this song, or the late John Holmes. This sample may remind you of how good these guys were. They were also restlessly inventive...they and their top writers, including Mason Williams. Why do just another novelty song, another folk song parody, when…you can experiment with tempo in an amusingly goofy way? Here's waltz time with a 3/4 beat for one dancer…but not the other. This is a deceptively hard song to sing and play

What a different time it was, when the brothers could get away with being this silly. Like The Beatles, the Smothers Brothers started the 60's as well-scrubbed and wholesome entertainers…and emerged with radical and political ideas, and a much more wicked sense of humor. But…going back to the early days, you just might still get a nostalgic kick out of this song about the three-legged woman. No Photoshop above, by the way…it's from the photographer Weegee, who worked pretty hard in a darkroom to create some of his oddities.

Last Great WALTZ Smothers Brothers

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