Arthur Godfrey

Arthur Godfrey Time

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Talent scout, MC, radio host, TV personality, singer, and ukulele ace Arthur Godfrey represented everything both lovable and loathsome about early- to mid-20th century U.S. pop culture. On the one hand, he sang wonderfully naïve and innocent songs like "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover" and "For Me and My Gal." Godfrey's renditions of these apple pie melodies are definitively wholesome and peculiarly comforting. At the other extreme lie Godfrey's campier efforts, and occasional glimpses of his own malingering Mr. Hyde persona. These items range from an apparently harmless comedic duet with Mary Martin entitled "Go to Sleep, Go to Sleep, Go to Sleep" through the jarringly misogynistic "Too Fat Polka" to the shockingly brutal "Slap 'Er Down Again, Paw," a twisted attempt to make "slaphappy" humor out of domestic violence. Set to the oompah strains of a lighthearted polka, "Slap 'Er Down" opens with Godfrey imitating the sounds of a man verbally abusing and beginning to beat his daughter. The bouncy Hammond organ accompaniment is even accented with the sounds of someone being slapped rhythmically. Throughout the gruesome ditty, members of the band egg on the abusive parent, shouting "slap 'er down again!" and "make her tell us more!" while Godfrey laughs loudly like a madman. This was a popular recording in its day, a number seven "hit," so to speak. People thought it was funny, but anyone who has ever experienced domestic violence in any form will almost certainly disagree.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:02
2 2:39
3 3:01
4 2:36
6 3:11
7 2:45
8 2:38
feat: The Mariners
10 2:57
feat: The Mariners
12 2:45
feat: The Mariners
feat: The Mariners
15 2:29
16 2:28
17 2:28
feat: Mary Martin
19 2:30
20 2:50
21 1:46
22 2:28
23 2:34
24 2:47
25 4:02
26 3:46
27 1:57
blue highlight denotes track pick