Monday, February 20, 2012

HOW TO SPEAK HIP - Del Close & John Brent

YEAR: 1959

LABEL: Mercury

TRACK LISTING: Introduction, Basic Hip, Vocabulary Building, The Loose Wig, The Riff, The Hang Up, Put On Put Down Come On Come Down Bring Down, Cool, Uncool, Field Trip No. 1, Field Trip No. 2, Field Trip No. 3, Summary

BONUS TRACKS: The Wisecrack cd re-release also includes the complete 1959 Del Close album "THE DO-IT-YOURSELF PSYCHOANALYSIS KIT"

IMPRESSIONS: This album is the ginchiest and one of my favourite comedy/spoken word albums. Dating from the 30's, mainstream society seemed to have a hunger for understanding the slang of "hep cats"; Cab Calloway recorded a song called "Jive (Page One of the Hepster's Dictionary) in 1938 which was actually accompanied by an instruction booklet! By the time HOW TO SPEAK HIP came out in 1959, the beatnik phenomenon was already on the wane; however the slang provided on the record is actually quite informative while remaining a funny comedy record. John Brent's Geets Romo is the ultimate stereotypical beatnik and a wonder for our ears to behold while Del Close's terminally square interviewer struggles through the simplest of hipster terms. The sheer pleasure of listening to sound of the two voices combined with sharp writing and expert comic timing makes this an album one can listen to again and again. A sheer joy!

MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: The whole album needs to be played as a whole. Why would anyone want to miss a minute of it?

FACT SHEET: HOW TO SPEAK HIP is a comedy album by Del Close and John Brent which pokes fun at the "language instruction" records of the day by treating "hipster/beatnik" slang as a foreign language. Del Close was an early member of the Compass Players which would move from St. Louis to Chicago and become Second City; Close would later become the company's director. Close plays the uncomprehending "straight man" interviewer on the album while fellow comic John Brent plays the beatnik Geets Romo.

No comments:

Post a Comment