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£7.19

Musical Theatre - Released December 9, 2017 | Curtain Call Hits

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Jazz - Released December 29, 2013 | SantaJazzClause

At his best, Allan Sherman was as perceptive an observer of the American Jewish experience as Philip Roth or Saul Bellow, and when he was on a roll he was a lot funnier than either, and that's certainly the case with 1962's My Son, the Folk Singer, Sherman's first album and the record that made him an overnight success, selling over a million copies within a few months of its release. Musically, Sherman's shtick was to take familiar melodies and fuse them to new lyrics that offered a very funny and openly Semitic take on contemporary American life, as "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" was transformed into the tale of a tailor named Harry Lewis, "The Streets of Laredo" became "The Streets of Miami," and the French ditty "Frere Jacques" accompanied a telephone conversation with "Sarah Jackman." While My Son, the Folk Singer was the most openly "Jewish" of Sherman's albums, the bulk of Sherman's humor was recognizable to anyone familiar with the absurdities of suburban life in the Kennedy era, and while many Jewish humorists treated their material as some sort of inside joke, by marrying his lyrics to songs familiar to everyone he gave them a universal appeal -- and it certainly didn't hurt that most of the numbers on his debut album are howlingly funny. While so many Jewish artists frequently focused on the often painful desire to assimilate into mainstream American culture, Sherman's characters were so innately Jewish that whether they landed in Scarsdale or the Old West, their accents and appetites traveled with them, and the unspoken but clear acceptance of the comic foibles of Sherman's twin cultural allegiances has much to do with why My Son, the Folk Singer remains both funny and potent more than four decades after it was recorded. ~ Mark Deming
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Humour/Spoken Word - Released May 24, 2017 | Allan Sherman

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Humour - Released February 8, 2005 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

After the commercial and creative disappointment of 1964's Allan in Wonderland, Allan Sherman rallied by releasing a new version of his biggest hit, "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah," as a single, and followed it three months later with For Swingin' Livers Only, which was sharper, broader, and funnier than the LP that preceded it. After suppressing his fondness for Jewish humor on My Son, the Nut and Allan in Wonderland, Sherman cautiously brought it back to his repertoire on numbers like "Kiss of Meyer," "Shine on, Harvey Bloom," "J.C. Cohen," and "Bye Bye Blumberg," while "Your Mother's Here to Stay" and "Grow, Mrs. Goldfarb" found him milking the always reliable institution of marriage for some solid laughs. While "Pop Hates the Beatles" sounds a bit petulant today, Sherman sounds happy to have a current phenomenon he can readily poke fun at (something in short supply the last time he went into the studio), and "The Twelve Gifts of Christmas" is a hilarious rant against the absurdities of consumer culture (and it proved to be one of his most enduring numbers, regularly revived each year for the holiday season). For Swingin' Livers Only was also Sherman's last album with arranger Lou Busch, who was easily his most sympathetic accompanist, and his witty and muscular backdrops fit these songs like a glove. For Swingin' Livers Only isn't a masterpiece on a par with Allan Sherman's first three albums, but it did show he wasn't out of the game just yet. ~ Mark Deming
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Folk - Released February 15, 2011 | Classic Music International

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Humour - Released December 9, 2017 | Curtain Call Hits

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Humour - Released August 6, 2018 | Jasnet Records

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Humour - Released January 1, 2000 | PnR

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Pop - Released November 17, 2017 | White Cross Records

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Humour - Released October 1, 2015 | Mach60 Music

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Pop - Released April 8, 2017 | La Vintacion Records

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Pop - Released March 22, 2017 | La Vintacion Records

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Pop - Released April 3, 2017 | Vintage Jukebox

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Miscellaneous - Released July 29, 2016 | Vinyl and Dust Records

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Humour - Released January 20, 2015 | Art & Classic

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Miscellaneous - Released November 7, 2014 | Star Records

Allan Sherman began moving cautiously away from the explicitly Jewish humor of his debut album on its follow-up, My Son, the Celebrity, and he all but abandoned it for his third long-player, 1963's My Son, the Nut. However, if Sherman was less eager to poke fun at Jewish-American culture as he grew more popular, his need to kvetch about the absurdities of modern life was stronger than ever, and My Son, the Nut unexpectedly proved to be Sherman's masterpiece, featuring 12 superb song parodies that take aim at the perils of suburbia ("Here's to the Crabgrass"), advancing technology ("Automation"), advertising ("Headaches"), and lots more. Sherman also indulges his passion for the quirks of the English language on "One Hippopotami," vents his spleen on "Rat Fink," and encounters a fanciful half-woman half-bunny on "You're Getting to Be a Rabbit with Me." But the album's two biggest laughs come from Sherman's biggest hit, "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh (A Letter from Camp)," based in part on his own son's unpleasant experiences at summer camp, and the side-splitting closer, "Hail to Thee, Fat Person," in which Sherman explains to people who are "skinny or in some other way normal" how he gained weight "as a public service." Lou Busch's witty and full-bodied orchestrations are the icing on the cake for what would prove to be the best and most popular album of Sherman's career. ~ Mark Deming
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Jazz - Released June 1, 2013 | Jazz Arena

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Pop - Released December 19, 2014 | RCA - Legacy

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Humour - Released May 5, 2017 | Jasmine Records

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Humour - Released December 15, 2009 | Rhino - Warner Bros.