Booker & Foster were one of a group of performers who created tremendously popular comedy records in the '60s. A discussion of what was on the best-selling charts during this period inevitably brings up this and that long-haired combo phenomenon, but there was more than one week when an album created by Booker & Foster sent the Beatles or the Rolling Stones packing from their residency in suite Number One. Bob Booker and George Foster wrote both skits and musical material, then would assemble a cast of talented performers to bring this silliness to life.
The two volumes of The First Family gave comedian Vaughn Meader and associates a classic chance to make a laughing stock out of the current president, John F. Kennedy. These recordings remain by far the most famous productions of this comic team, but when it comes to tallying up the comic themes of the entire Booker & Foster discography, the duo seems to have gotten its longest run out of Jewish comedy. Albums such as When You're in Love the Whole World Is Jewish and the ridiculous Al Tijuana and His Jewish Brass represent Jews joking fun at themselves; it's never offensive despite the presence of certain gentiles such as Valerie Harper. You Don't Have to Be Jewish was nominated for a Grammy award in the best comedy record of the year category for 1965, losing out to a Bill Cosby side.
When comedy albums became just another middling sales genre, Booker & Foster continued toiling in other areas of the entertainment scene but never achieved the sort of individuality that makes at least some of their albums comedy classics. The duo's 1970 film production The Phynx might have done better had its opening night involved a plague of locusts. Nonetheless, the reappraisal process is well underway in terms of rescuing Booker & Foster from obscurity. The Rhino CD reissue of two of the Jewish comedy collections received excellent reviews.