Groucho Marx

An Evening with Groucho

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In the early 1970s, Groucho Marx took his one-man show -- which, essentially, he'd been doing, in one form or another, for more than a decade, either on You Bet Your Life or whatever other venue he happened to be working in -- on the road. The culmination was this recording (sometimes referred to as An Evening with Groucho Marx) from his appearance at Carnegie Hall in New York, in front of an adoring audience, introduced by Dick Cavett, and accompanied by Marvin Hamlisch at the piano, with his companion Erin Fleming providing the female vocals where necessary. With the Marx Brothers' movies, it was easy to forget that they had some of the best writers in the business providing them with lines, but as the material was generally built upon their stage personalities, their movie work was representative of the Marxes as artists -- by the time Groucho did this performance, at age 81, he had pretty much become his public persona, so this is an honest representation of Groucho Marx unchained, as it were. His voice creaks a little bit, and one sometimes wishes that he could have made this career move five years or so earlier (if not sooner), but what is here is dazzling in its cleverness and wit, and also as a document of an era of life that was fading away in our midst, and a tradition in entertainment, sometimes coarse but always clever and very ethnic (and Jewish) that was already unknown to most of the people present in the audience. The record became a best-seller as a double LP and later became a highly prized CD before going out of print sometime in the 1990s. From his pronunciations to his details of daily life embodied in his stories, and the fragments of vaudeville entertainment quoted and sprinkled throughout his stories, the recording is priceless. Despite his age, Groucho's energy picks up as the performance rolls along, so that by the middle of the disc, it's easy to forget most of the time that it's an octogenarian that we're listening to, charming, clever, witty, and acerbic all at once.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:02
2
feat: Dick Cavett
4:29
3
feat: Erin Fleming
0:59
4
0:41
5
0:55
6
1:32
7
1:37
8
2:18
9
1:03
10 2:17
11
2:43
12
0:43
13 2:18
14
1:35
15
1:41
16
1:58
17
2:39
18
0:56
19
1:36
20
2:19
21
4:07
22
1:11
23
1:17
24
25
26
0:45
27
1:17
28
0:57
29
0:55
30
1:43
31
feat: Harry Ruby
32
0:59
33
0:46
34
0:51
35
0:52
36
1:56
37
0:51
38
39
blue highlight denotes track pick