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VARIOUS ARTISTS - The Funny Side Of Saydisc

VARIOUS ARTISTS - The Funny Side Of Saydisc
Saydisc CDSDL444

This is a curious compilation. On the one hand you have Kenneth Williams, arch professional and clearly detached from the process of recording; on the other, there are several tracks of field recordings featuring Gloucester and Oxfordshire residents, enthusiastic amateurs speaking with candour and clearly not performing. There are historic comedy records (Jack Charman, Harry Champion); there are vintage song recordings for the label (Fred Wedlock, a curious and crackly 1966 single for The Milk Marketing Board); there are Bristolian stand-ups; there are new recordings (Gef Lucena who compiled the set).

The archive recordings shine through, somewhat inevitably. The field recordings (the set opens with a nine minute chat with Amy Cook of Coombe that is wide ranging and even includes a couple of songs) are fascinating, though, as comedy, it is hard to imagine them standing up to repeated listenings.

To steal a leaf from the US version of Rolling Stone... some comedy records reward repeated listenings, some are only funny once, some fail to raise a smile. Here, different tracks hit different marks. Some, inevitably, make one question the title - funny ha-ha or funny peculiar?

Most played track – the delightful original 1911 recording of Any Old Iron.

Nigel Schofield

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This album was reviewed in Issue 120 of The Living Tradition magazine.