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National Lampoon - "Good-bye Pop" (LP)

National Lampoon - "Good-bye Pop" (LP)

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Genre: comedy
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Title:  Goodbye Pop
Company: Epic
Catalog: PE 33956
Year: 1976
Country/State: US
Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+
Comments: --
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 6235
Price: $15.00

To be honest, lots of 1970s comedy albums (even National Lampoon stuff), is pretty dull, not having aged particularly well. 1975's "Goodbye Pop" suffers from some of the same problems, but the music business plotline/orientation saves the collection for the most part. The mid-1970s targets are all fairly obvious with the results ranging from mildly entertaining (the country spoff 'The B Side of Love'), to roll-on-the-floor funny (the Neil Young takedown 'Old Maid (Southern California Brings Me Down)'). As always, pretense comes in for special attention - rock 'historians' ('Roger de Swanns'), late night djs ('The Mel Brewer Show'), and anyone/anything associated with progressive music ('Roger Raps With Sid About: The Art Rock Suite'). This time out Christopher Guest gets prime billing throughout the set, with inputs from the usual National Lampoon suspects - Sean Kelly, Bill Murray, Brian Doyle-Murray, Gilda Radner, Paul Schaffer, etc. Another thing I've always found appealing about this set was the absence of the mean-spiritedness than plagues some of their other work. This time out you can tell they still love the targets their aiming at.
- If you're like me, the thought of a rock 'historian' makes you laugh yourself silly and Christopher Guest nails the highbrow pretense exuded by such pseudo-intellectuals perfectly on 'Roger de Swanns'. rating: *** stars- Featuring Paul Jacobs on lead vocals, even with the snide lyrics 'Good-Bye Pop' was a near perfect slice of top-40 pop. Elton John would have been hard pressed to write something as catchy. As the liner notes say, "Good-bye Pop is our bullet and main title there," rating: **** stars
- If you ever listened to late night FM radio, then you'll snicker at Bill Murray's 'dj impersonation 'The Mel Brewer Show' . The interview with Ron Fields (aka Ira Schnorrs) on whaling music as the coming hit sound was only mildly funny, but you were left wishing they would have recorded a longer snippet of the actual song. Hum, wonder how I missed this trend ... rating: ** stars- Opening up with Christopher Guest and Gilda Radner doing their best 'love couple' interaction (hard to imagine a time when couples actually listened to the radio), 'Down the Dial to: Kung Fu Christmas' nailed mid-1970s soul music trends including kung fu themes, 'love man' ballads, social activist lyrics, heartfelt spoken word segments, and electric sitar perfectly. David Hurdon's vocal easily matched soul's best known performers. The song was also released as a single. rating: **** stars
- Based on his amazing insight into their history, Flash Bazboo (Christopher Guest) was clearly the fifth Beatle ... His insightful narrative 'A History of the Beatles' finally finally sets the record straight ... rating: ** stars
- For a guy who probably wasn't a particularly big country and western fan, Guest's 'The B Side of Love' managed to capture the genre head-on. Geez, he even got the patented echo sound down. This is probably one of the few country songs I'd actually be willing to listen to more than once. rating: *** stars
- Ah, 'I'm a Woman' captured Radner at her best ... who needed the likes of Helen Reddy when you had this stirring feminist anthem ... Hearing a bunch of sexist guys telling an increasingly frustrated Radner how to sing the song was funny and sad at the same time. rating: **** stars
- So if there's an artist who needed to be taken down a peg or two, Neil Young would clearly be in the running. Needless to say, he gets his just desserts on 'A History of Neil Young'. The thing is, having heard some Young solo albums over the last couple of decades I've occasionally wondered if he was indeed dead ('Trans" comes to mind). rating: ** stars
- Following up the abbreviated Neil Young history with 'Old Maid (Southern California Brings Me Down)' was just icing on the cake. I can't imagine anyone turning in a better impersonation that Tony Scheuren did. Maybe the funniest performance on the album with these guys managing to splice together a fantastic 'best of'' collage of Young tunes - and the lyrics were equally funny "[Southern California] it's safer than Alabama, it's safer than Ohio ..." rating: ***** stars
- Roger de Swanns reappeared interviewing Sid Gormless of The Dog's Breakfast. Ah, the boundaries and expense accounts seemed limitless back then ... Judging by 'The Art Rock Suite', I bet the album would have been killer had those cheap management bastards allowed the band to pursue Gormless' original artistic vision ... Right down to the sophomoric lyrics and ripped-off classical motifs, this was simply the perfect encapsulation of mid-1970s progressive pretense ... Another album highlight. rating: **** stars
- Murray's Mel Brewer dj character returns with 'The Return of Ron Fields'. This time out the happening sound is ... well, ever wanted to hear Dylan doing a reggae tune ? rating: *** stars
- Guest's Dylan impersonation on 'Down to Jamaica' only had one flaw - it was too short. rating: **** stars
- 'Goodbye Ron, Mel and Pop' closed the album out with a brief refrain of the earlier 'Good-Bye Pop' theme song. rating: *** stars

As mentioned above, the album was tapped for a hard-to-find single:

- 1975's 'King fu Christmas' b/w 'Kung Fu Christmas' (Epic catalog number AS 193)

Perhaps my favorite National Lampoon release ...
"Radio Dinner" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Roger de Swanns intros: (Paul Schaffer - Sean Kelly - Paul Jacobs) - 2.) Good-Bye Pop (Paul Schaffer - Sean Kelly - Paul Jacobs) - 3:403.) The Mel Brewer Show - 2:184.) Down the Dial to: Kung Fu Christmas (Brian Doyle-Murray - Gilda Radner - Bill Murray - Paul Shaffer) - 4:43
5.) A History of the Beatles - 1:53
6.) The B Side of Love (Sean Kelly - Christopher Guest) - 3:53
7.) I'm a Woman (Paul Jacob- Sean Kelly) - 3:37

(side 2)
1.) A History of Neil Young - 1:102.) Old Maid (Southern California Brings Me Down) (Tony Scheuren) - 4:113.) Roger Raps With Sid About: The Art Rock Suite (Paul Schaffer - Sean Kelly - Christopher Guest -Paul Jacobs) - 8:57
4.) The Return of Ron Fields - 3:03
5.) Down to Jamaica (Sean Kelly - Christopher Guest) - 1:23
6.) Goodbye Ron, Mel and Pop (Paul Schaffer - Sean Kelly - Paul Jacobs) - 1:27
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