Marty Feldman

I Feel a Song Going Off

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British comedian Marty Feldman was starting to reach the peak of his popularity by the time this album was issued in January 1969. Unfortunately, Feldman's strengths were as a visual comic, not as a singer. That doesn't necessarily prevent comedians for whom music is not their forte from making worthwhile musical comedy pieces; Monty Python's Flying Circus did quite a few amusing musical bits on screen and on record, for instance. You need funny material to make this come off, however, and I Feel a Song Going Off is not so much funny, or even amusing, as quaint. The 24 brief songs (adding up to only about a little less than 40 minutes in all) are, despite some arrangements by Ivor Raymonde (most famous for working on 1960s hits with Dusty Springfield), mild and unmemorable numbers in the cabaret/musical/vaudevillian/pop ballad revue style. Feldman didn't even have a hand in writing any of them, much of that department falling to John Junkin, who's probably best known for his acting role as the taller of the road managers in A Hard Day's Night. You have the feeling these might indeed be funny if you were able to watch Feldman singing them, perhaps on a TV variety show. But heard alone sans visuals, it just sounds like a guy who can't sing that well (or that horribly) being moderately witty and clever. Even the somewhat promisingly titled "Psychedelic Rubbish" is just another music hall pastiche, though "The Back of Your Neck" might remind some with long memories of the very early Bonzo Dog Band. The almost grumbled "Cautious Love Song" might be the highlight; sure it exaggerates Feldman's vocal incapabilities, but doing so at least ensures it's not as boring as most of its surroundings. The 2007 CD reissue includes both sides of a non-LP December 1968 single, "A Joyous Time of the Year"/"The B Side" (the latter an actual satire of the dispensability of much filler used on 45 B-sides), as bonus tracks. It also has historical liner notes, though these are much more a general overview of Feldman's career than an overview of this specific album.

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