Jerry Lewis

Capitol Collectors Series

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Comedian Jerry Lewis had a left-field hit in 1956 with his straightforward rendition of Al Jolson's "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody," but that wasn't the beginning of his recording career. A few years earlier he made a number of musical comedy recordings for Capitol Records, which are anthologized on this installment in the Capitol Collectors Series. The collection consists of 19 novelty songs Lewis sings in his trademark funny voice, plus the Decca hit "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody," complete with false starts and studio chatter at the beginning. Lewis' only chart hit while at Capitol was a collaboration with Dean Martin, "That Certain Party," that is included on Martin's entry in the Capitol Collectors Series. Most of Lewis' recordings get by on zany lyrics and performances alone, but "I'm a Little Busybody" is painstakingly spliced together to create the illusion that Lewis sings the fast-paced, epic-length lyrics without taking a breath. Appreciating the humor requires a great deal of enthusiasm for Lewis' schtick going into it, because the songs themselves are mediocre -- Lewis is no Spike Jones or Red Ingle, despite the easy comparison that can be made to those artists.

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