Neil Hamburger

Great Phone Calls

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Although this album is now credited to Neil Hamburger -- and it does feature the faux comedian's first appearance -- he appears on it only briefly, and in a slightly different incarnation, than he would on his "solo" albums. Great Phone Calls is, in fact, a series of intensely funny prank phone calls, supposedly made by Amarillo Records head Gregg Turkington, although his name appears nowhere on the disc. The calls that feature Neil Hamburger have the comedian ringing up comedy clubs and begging for gigs ("What's going on there tonight? Cancel it! Neil Hamburger's in town!"), and while they're funny, there's much better material on Great Phone Calls. The hilarious "I'm in Your Band" documents the caller's conversation with an unfortunate soul who placed an ad looking for an "alternative bass player"; after five excruciating minutes he ends up with an offer to fistfight in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. There are 15 tracks and not a dud among them, making Great Phone Calls -- along with the similarly bizarre Longmont Potion Castle -- essential listening. As its packaging suggests, in deliberately broken English, "Every one love to laugh but this ablum really doing the good thing."

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