Dudley Moore

Derek and Clive: Live

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With a white sleeve with the title Peter Cook & Dudley Moore present Derek and Clive Live in what appeared to be childish scrawl written in a hurry and at the bottom of the sleeve, a warning: warning, this record contains language of an explicit nature that may be offensive & should not be played in the presence of minors, two of Britain's best known comedians were asking for trouble and when word of this album began to spread (mainly among young adults and teenagers) the sales were bound to follow, if you could find a copy of it that is, for most of the family type record shops refused to stock it. Taking a break from their regular shows, they appeared together in 1973 at The Bottom Line, a New York club and recorded a series of what appeared to be off the cuff conversations between two blokes airing their views on a variety of subjects, as one would down at the pub. The resulting recordings lay unreleased for several years until Island Records decided to circumvent the various bootlegs that had surfaced and give Derek and Clive: Live, an official release. And Island Records, with their fiercely independent stance, were probably the right company to release it, although in fairness, it could also easily have been Virgin or Stiff. So what about the album itself and why did it create such a furor and spread by word of mouth through the teenage community as the album that you just simply had to listen to, even if you didn't buy a copy personally. Well, two grown men, in a simple conversation format, discussing ordinary topics such as Peter Cook's "The Worst Job I Ever Had" which was retrieving lobsters from Jayne Mansfield's bum, and Dudley Moore's "The Worst Job He Ever Had" reply which was collecting Winston Churchill's phlegm and both discussions were interspersed with the foulest language that one would not dare to use in civilized company, or at least language that remained in the playground and was used gratuitously without any reason other than to shock, for example in the everyday occurrence of "This Bloke Came Up to Me," Moore simply said "You c**t" to which the response (as one would expect) was "you f**king c**t, you calling me a c***t?." In "Winkie Wanky Woo," Peter Cook is invited by Dudley Moore to play with his "thingie" and they go on to discuss the extraordinary sizes of their respective thingies. "Bo Duddley" is a translation of soul singing (in the style of James Brown) in the most mundane fashion potentially creating a racist scenario, so "Mama's got a brand new bag" was translated simply as mother going out and buying a brand new bag, and "Right on baby" became the father telling the mother to write on the baby the details of tomorrow's shopping, and "Lay it on me brother" referred to a confusion that she can't tell her husband from her brother and she wants the bag (the brand new one) to be laid on her. Not every track was filled with swearing, however, as "Blind" was more a traditional joke, the sort they would have told in their Beyond the Fringe days, the greatest loss to a blind person is the inability to read. Cook states that he is blind but he is able to read because of a wonderful system known as Broil, "I'm sorry I'll just feel that again" Decades later, the album had lost its ability to shock (most of the words being heard in public far more often in the 21st century) but back in 1976, if you had heard this album and even better, if you could quote from it, you were almost guaranteed a subversive and surreptitious laugh.