Harry Golden

Harry Golden

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Harry Golden -- a scintillating, outspoken, and subsequently controversial Southern journalist and writer -- was known as "the Carolina Jew" out of the notion that in the South, members of his tribe were practically a minority of one. Black comic Dick Gregory's notion that "The blacks in Canada are happy! I know, I talked to him yesterday" comes to mind when Golden discusses how every good little Southern town wants to have its own Jew who behaves himself and tries to join the right Waspy country clubs. Golden's truly gilded legacy is to be found in the books he published, a treasure chest of insight stashed beneath simple titles such as the singular Only in America, the economical For Two Cents Plain, and the enthusiastic Enjoy, Enjoy. This album of Golden reading his own texts, including an excerpt from a speech he gave to the NAACP, adds further philosophical wealth. Tighter editing would have resulted in this LP attaining the potential impact of one of Richard Pryor's politically charged vinyl outings. Another style of comic recording that Golden provides an interesting contrast to would be that of the so-called Southern comics, from the drooling goofballs who were active in the '60s to later phenomena such as Jeff Foxworthy. Golden's comments on the Southern lifestyle naturally get into areas where there is a conceptual merge between the Jew and the redneck. Golden simply speaks his mind on the podium, however -- this is much less of a performance than the "act" worked up by a standup comic. Golden's remarks about '60s politicians, including Barry Goldwater, make this LP a priceless historical document. On certain subjects he hits the target so directly -- politicians competing for the biggest war wound, for example -- that his words need to be studied in relation to contemporary events. In terms of recording history, this LP is considered part of a vague section of the Vanguard catalog about which discographers claim difficulty in determining exact release dates.

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