There has never been a comedian quite like Lord Buckley. The title of this single-CD compilation, His Royal Hipness, is indicative of his status in the free-thinking and freewheeling "world of Hipdom." The material on this compact disc originally appeared as the long-players Euphoria, Vol. 1 and Euphoria, Vol. 2 in 1951. In 1963 the contents were reconfigured as The Best of Lord Buckley -- the jacket of which can been seen in the collage (on the mantle more specifically) of images gracing the cover of Bob Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home. That repackaging was again reissued in late 1968 under the same name. Buckley was among a rare breed of comedic talent who first came into prominence in the late '40s and early '50s. Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl -- and somewhat later George Carlin -- were taking comedy away from myopic one-liners and placing it onto a more philosophical plateau. Perhaps unwittingly, they were simultaneously testing the boundaries of what could be said in the name of humor. Buckley's rich use of language, coupled with his inimitable delivery style, made for the unlikely combination beatnik history teacher/comedian. With a seemingly infinite imagination in tow, Buckley spins and weaves his retelling of history and philosophy into a West Coast jazz-influenced and amphetamine-driven, stream-of-consciousness, spoken-word rap. The results of which yield a combination of uncomfortably noir hilarity and thought-provoking revelation. His Royal Hipness contains Buckley's hip transcriptions of not only historic, but Biblical accounts as well. "The Nazz" retells a story strikingly similar to that of Jesus of Nazareth -- right down to the loaves and fishes miracle. In Buckley's eyes, "The Nazz" is "the sweetest, gone-ist, wailin'-ist cat that ever stomped on this sweet swingin' sphere." As these are studio recordings, there are occasionally musical cues that reinforce what Buckley is saying. They work more for the sake of pacing and delivery than optional entertainment. This disc also contains the story of "Jonah and the Whale" direct from the good "Lord's" word. Other history lessons in hip include: a riotously accurate interpretation of the "Gettysburg Address" as well as a story taken from the life of Mohandas Gandhi (aka "The Hip Gahn"). Here, the real-life parable of "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is told as only Buckley can share it. While these stories all relate the verbal talents and clever-witted contemplation that made Buckley an inspiration, it is the beauty of humans that is truly to be celebrated and worshiped. On the 25-second "People (Epilogue)," Buckley lays it all out when he says: "People! Yes, people are the true flowers of life, and it has been a most precious pleasure to have temporarily strolled in your garden."
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer