Thursday, October 29, 2015

"A Satchel and a Seck" - "Guys and Dolls" becomes "Faygeleh and Doll" via Allan Sherman

One of the earliest parodies Allan Sherman wrote was "A Satchel and a Seck," lampooning one of the stupidest hit songs of the day. A song with THIS lyric just BEGS for parody:

"I love you, a bushel and a peck!
A bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck!
A hug around the neck, and a barrel and a heap
A barrel and a heap, and I'm talkin' in my sleep.
About you. About you! About you!
My heart is leapin'!
I'm having trouble sleepin'!
'Cause I love you, a bushel and a peck
You bet your pretty neck I do!
Doodle, oodle, oodle. Doodle, oodle, oodle. Doodle oodle oodle oo.

Back in 1951, Frank Loesser's "A Bushel and a Peck" (from "Guys and Dolls") was a big hit. So was Mickey Katz, a Capitol recording artist who specialized in taking pop songs and "kosherizing" them with idiotic kosher food references sung in a stereotypical, high-pitched nasal whine.

Allan wasn't able to interest a major label in his effort to compete with Katz, but he did manage to at least get his novelty tune released (originally on 78rpm). At this point the most notable thing about it, is the unexpected comic insult from duet partner Sylvia Froos: "You sound like a little faygeleh." Allan apparently doesn't know enough Yiddish to realize this is not a compliment!

Allan went on to stardom. It took a decade. As for Sylvia? She'd already known fame. She was a child star in vaudeville. While Al Jolson made the first feature-length "talkie, "Baby Sylvia" starred in two short sound films released six months earlier.

Sylvia, "The Little Princess of Song," remained popular through the 30's, and turned up in Shirley Temple's "Stand Up and Cheer." She even had her own radio show. Well before "A Satchel and a Seck," Sylvia scored some novelty hits including "Who's Your Little Who-Zis?"

This single (Sylvia was not on the flip side) was simultaneously a farewell to the winsomely lilting vocals of Froos and a hello to a new voice in semitic silliness. Allan died in November of 1973. Sylvia enjoyed a long, happy retirement and died in March of 2004.


No comments: