Last night I watched a compilation from the Lawrence Welk Show on PBS. I remember Mother and Dad tuning in every weekend without fail, during the 60s and 70s. Since it was my job to hate old people’s music, I dutifully turned up my nose at the ricky-ticky, corny, cloyingly sweet production numbers, and snickered at Bob Ralston’s goofy organ tunes, chock full of silly sixth chords. I immediately noticed that most of the large-group singing and the tap dancing was synched, as it would have been too demanding a sound gig to get everything balanced for broadcast in a cavernous TV studio. But I had to admit that there were some pretty fine musicians and dancers on that show. I would pay to see Arthur Duncan.
I still giggled at the drama of Joe Feeney, the Irish tenor and my dad’s favorite part of each program. Irish tenors — how shall I describe them? They are characterized by schmaltzy, emotional performances, with vocal frills like controlled cries, pulls, exaggerated portamentos and soaring falsetto. Hugely nationalistic, you can always find a song or twelve about Ireland in their repertoire.
Anyway, I’d always laughed at Joe Feeney — until I grew up. Male singers should be so fortunate to have that kind of power and control in their pipes, especially above F4.
Here’s a vid of Joe on the Welk show singing “The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi.” If you don’t want to listen to the whole thing, start at 1:11 to get to the yummy part.
Maybe it’s the Irish in me, but I adore his sound. He died of emphysema a couple of years ago (although he never smoked), but kept singing throughout the decades. You can read his obit here.
Weird that I can’t find Joe doing “That’s an Irish Lullaby” anywhere. I guess we’ll have to settle for this. HA – loved that movie.
Happy Sumday! Spending some time with BFF Kay tonight, which will be fun.
I sure remember watching LW with the parents each week. I actually hated when it was Joe’s turn to sing. I thought he sounded like a girl! Amazing how our thoughts/feelings change as we get older. Now and then I’ll turn to PBS and watch the show. Brings Mother and Dad closer in my heart, I guess.
HAAAAAAA! Steve Martin cracks me up!!! I could play that rendition of Irish Lullaby over and over and over…..tickles me insides, lass.
It is funny how growing up expands the ol’ paradigms, Mavis. My hope is that I will mellow out a bit when I reach my dotage…the fate of a thousand teenagers rests on that hope. LOL
“Hush now, don’t ye crrryeeeeeeee…” HAAa
I had a warped upbringing – whaddya want from a family of musicians – and was introduced at a tender age to Stan Freberg. He recorded this the year I was born….
This was released on an LP – the video really doesn’t have anything to do with the recording. You have to listen all the way to the end….
In true family tradition, I exposed my own two to the Marx Brothers early on, and now they know all the words to songs like ‘Lydia the Tatoo’d Lady’. Fortunately no one called CPS…..
Hey I read about this on one of the sites I looked at for my research, but didn’t listen to it. Like lots of “dated” comedy, I’m sure it was funny back then. Now, not so much. But I could just be one of them smart-aleck brats what don’t like anything.
Ah yes, Lydia! My guys sang that a couple of years ago…I think they thought it was not so funny. I definitely laffed!
OK I got you all beat!!! My dad, a high school band director, was really into making music with odd ball gadgets. I grew up listening to Spike Jones and PDQ Bach. Back then I didn’t “get it” most of the time but loved the funny sounds.
Here’s a Spike Jones video
There are more at YouTube (Der Fuhrer’s Face, Laura (high-larious!!), Hawaiian War Chant). I’ve just spent the last 1/2 hour watching listening to Spike Jones and His City Slickers and having a good laugh!)
PDQ Bach is just outrageous and there are a few at YouTube, Beethoven’s Fifth is my favorite
You hear an orchestra playing the 5th in the background and there are commentators giving play-by-play like you hear at a sports event. Have a listen, it’s good stuff!!! Especially when they hear a french horn make a flub…well just listen!
I love PDQ Bach from the olden days! The 5th is hilarious, as is an album I used to have called The WURST of PDQ Bach. Had a picture of a huge sausage on the front. HAA
Concerto for Horn & Hardart
Iphegenia in Brooklyn
All classics! And I’d never listened to much Spike Jones – that was hysterical.
PS – the best thing on the record was a middle movement of one of the pieces, which featured 3 oboes playing a sad, Baroque-influenced refrain …. on just the reeds. LOL