Katie Lee

Songs of Couch and Consultation

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Jazz saxophonist Bud Freeman came up with the idea for Songs of Couch & Consultation, a cult classic comedy album that pokes fun at psychoanalysis and psychiatric jargon. Freeman wrote a dozen songs' worth of lyrics, which Leon Pober set to music and Bob Thompson arranged. Katie Lee, an extraordinarily pretty folk singer who previously recorded an album for Specialty called Spicy Songs for Cool Knights, was brought in to sing and pose for the cheesecake album cover. The songs describe an assortment of neuroses and psychiatric conditions in a variety of musical styles, delivered with a heavy dose of hand-wringing self-scrutiny. There's ragtime, big-band blues, and even cowboy music as Lee coos her way through topics such as schizophrenia, repressed hostility, and maladjustment. "Hush Little Sibling" lampoons parenting manuals and the venerated Dr. Spock, and "The Will to Fail" identifies a drive Nietzsche missed. The irony is that the sophisticated humor targets an educated audience that is also the group most likely to embrace psychiatric jargon and theories. Reprise reissued the album with a less striking cover, so the original Commentary Records pressing is the one to find.

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