Monday, November 5, 2012


YEAR:  1972
TRACK LISTING:  Deteriorata,  Phono Phunnies,  Teenyrap,  It's Obvious,  Catch It and You Keep It,  'Quinas 'n' 'Rasmus,  All Kidding Aside (PSA),  Phono Phunnies (2),  Teenyrap (2),  Magical Misery Tour,  Those Fabulous Sixties,  Profiles In Chrome,  Teenyrap (3),  Phono Phunnies (3),  Pigeons,  Support Your Locol Polece (PSA),  Pull the Tregros,  Teenyrap (4),  ng Asi,  Phono Phunnies (4),  Concert In Bangladesh,  The Voice of the Future
IMPRESSIONS:  They don't make comedy albums anymore.  I don't mean stand-up comedy albums, of course, but I mean comedy albums like this that they used to make back in the 70s (and before).  These were comedy albums done basically like old radio shows with acting, sound effects and music.  Groups like National Lampoon were joined in the 70s by Monty Python's Flying Circus, Cheech & Chong, The Firesign Theater and many others in making comedy albums like this.  So there's something particularly 70s about listening to them once again.  And this one I've been listening to for a long time (despite it's being perpetually unavailable on cd).  RADIO DINNER is particularly of its era 1972 with savage comedic attacks on the post-60s hippy (in the "Teenyrap" tracks) and topical references to Nixon, George Harrison's recent "Concert for Bangladesh" or Philadelphia's Frank Rizzo ("Support Your Locol Polece").  There are also devastatingly sharp and hilarious lampoons on John Lennon ("Magical Misery Tour") and "Her Nibs" Joan Baez ("Pull the Tregros") which deflate the rich, white pop star artistic pretensions of the former and the equally rich bleeding heart championing of the oppressed (as long as it's convenient) of the latter.  All through the album are repeated parodies of Paul McCartney's "Give Ireland Back to the Irish" song which are particularly funny.  Add to this the classic opening track satire of the perennial high school graduate greeting card "Desiderata" and you have the perfect comedic artifact of 1972.
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS:  Deteriorata,  Catch It and You Keep It,  'Quinas 'n' 'Rasmus,  Magical Misery Tour,  Phono Phunnies (3),  Pull the Tregros,  Phono Phunnies (4),  Concert In Bangladesh,  The Voice of the Future
GUEST ARTISTS:  Norman Rose (narrator on "Deteriorata"),  Melissa Manchester (vocals & keyboards on "Deteriorata", as "Yoko" on "Magical Misery Tour"),  Jackson Beck (announcer on "Catch It and You Keep It" and "Profiles in Chrome"),  Diana Reed (vocals on "Pull the Tregros")
FACT SHEET:  RADIO DINNER is National Lampoon's first album.  The majority of the album is the work of Tony Hendra, Michael O'Donoghue and Christopher Guest.  The cover art is by Charles White III.  "Deteriorata" is a parody of Les Crane's "Desiderata".  The lyrics of "Magical Misery Tour" are taken directly from a 1970 John Lennon interview in Rolling Stone magazine.  Jackson Beck was the original announcer on the old time radio show "THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN" as well as on the Fleischer Brothers' 1940s Superman cartoons. 

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