Dickie Goodman

The King of Novelty: Greatest Fables, Vol. 2

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This disc is a follow-up to Dickie Goodman's career retrospective Greatest Fables (1997). However, The King of Novelty Greatest Fables, Vol. 2 (1998) dispenses with much of the extraneous material from the first, making room for a number of early rock & roll novelty tracks from other artists as well. For those unfamiliar with Goodman's work, not only did he provide some of the most memorable parodies of the entire pop music genre, he can also lay claim as the creative godfather behind what modern listeners refer to as "sampling." 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. Also included are a number of non-political sides, such as the terminally funny "Mr. Jaws" and the funky "Superfly Meets Shaft," as well as "The Ex Files" from Goodman's living legacy (and son), Jon Goodman. Among the other highlights are "The Banana Boat Story," which features a few lines swiped from a plethora of well-known radio commercial jingles, and the demented "Russian Bandstand," with a harrowing "rate a record" section where participants are executed for not liking the song they are given to evaluate. Potential consumers should note that a few of the cuts -- such as "The Purple People Eater" -- are not the original hit versions. The King of Novelty Greatest Fables, Vol. 2 aptly concludes with a brief tribute to Goodman from Whimsical Will titled "Hey Dickie," which takes out segments of Goodman's recordings and places his spoken word responses into a new and humor-laden context.