Dickie Goodman

Greatest Fables

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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer

Dickie Goodman's legacy includes not only his popularizing of the novelty record, but also his status as the undisputed godfather of the creative art of sampling. This collection gathers all of Goodman's hits as well as a few previously unissued tracks. Among the most notable rarities are Goodman's final side, "Safe Sex Report," from 1986, as well as the first recording, "Return of the Flying Saucer ('97)," from his living legacy, Jon Goodman. It is the junior Goodman who is likewise responsible for compiling the 39 cuts on Greatest Fables (1997), many of which are derived from the only known surviving acetates. Goodman and his partner, Bill Buchanan, originated the "break-in" record -- which would commence like a typical recording or a newscast and would be interrupted by quotes and quips taken directly from the hooks of concurrently popular songs. His first double-sided hit was "Flying Saucer, Pt. 1" and "Pt. 2." In an idea similar to Orson Welles' ultra-realistic approach to War of the Worlds, the broadcast was interrupted unexpectedly with a news bulletin. On-the-scene location interviews include responses edited directly from a wide variety of hit songs. This practice raised the eyebrows of several record companies and their attorneys, who attempted to slap injunctions on both Goodman and Buchanan. Naturally, this produced fodder for their follow-up, "Buchanan & Goodman on Trial," which parodied their litigious struggles. All lawsuits were uniformly dismissed in a landmark decision declaring these "modern" recordings as "new creations." These titles are likewise novel in their thoroughly and unabashed satirical point of view, and include copious political and social references. Most notable are the Nixon-era scandals "Watergrate" [sic], "Mr. President," and "Energy Crisis." Sadly, the latter track is not issued here in its original form. Songs by Capitol Records artists Paul McCartney ("Helen Wheels"), John Lennon ("Mind Games"), Helen Reddy ("Leave Me Alone"), Steve Miller ("The Joker"), and Ringo Starr ("You're Sixteen [You're Beautiful and You're Mine]") are among those who have had their original recordings replaced by poor cover versions. Otherwise, this compilation offers the first exhaustive retrospective from all four decades (the '50s through the '90s) of Goodman's work.