A Trio With Glasses On

Ken Nordine, Stan Freberg and Allan Sherman

Not exactly three of a kind, but when we talk about glasses they were very trendy in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, and they were not alone. Marilyn Monroe married Henry Miller (with glasses), Dave Brubeck needed them to play his brilliant piano-based jazz and Cal Tjader had the vibes with his glasses on. Big black pairs of glasses. Most famous of all was of course Buddy Holly and don’t forget the sunglasses of Roy Orbison. Three others became popular too:

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Ken Nordine was the warm, dark and deep voiced narrator and voice-over on radio and television and in many commercials. He made ‘Word Jazz’ into an art form and made quit an impression. His albums were travels across his adventurous mind in combination with the finest jazz backgrounds by The Fred Katz Group. Nordine’s greatest pieces were on his first album. Tracks like My Baby, The Sound Museum and The Vidiot are not to be missed. He made an entire album of spoken improvisations on all the colors of the spectrum. The follow-up LP Twink was based on the dialogue pieces about various subjects by Robert Shure, a teacher in dramatic writing at the university of Connecticut. Nordine was back in the 1990’s with two albums on Grateful Dead Records ‘Devout Catalyst’ and ‘Upper Limbo’ and in 2001 The Transparent Mask. Tom Waits is a big fan of Ken Nordine.

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Stan Freberg was also a voice actor and radio personality and had his own show. His most famous shows were St. George And The Dragnet and The United States Of America and his voice could be heard in numerous cartoons on television. He made great novelty tunes and persiflages on famous hits of his time, like The Great Pretender and The Banana Boat Song. It was comedy, (political) satire and parody in the first place and he became very popular throughout the nation. Other hits were John & Marsha, The Night Before Christmas and a heavy rocking’ version of Heartbreak Hotel.

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Allan Sherman was another hilarious comedy writer and song parodist in the late 1950’s. His most famous hit was Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh, a mad song about a boy who spoke about his camp experiences with the background music of Ponchielli’s ‘Dance Of The Hours’. Sherman had a jewish background. His albums like ‘My Son, The Folksinger’, ‘My Son, The Celebrity’ and ‘My Son, The Nut’ became very popular and were a big influence on Weird ‘Al’ Jankovic. Another nice one was ‘My Name Is Allan’, a parody on the LP ‘My Name Is Barbara’ by Barbara Streisand.

 

Ken Nordine Albums on Dot Records:

 

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Billy Vaughn’s The Shifting Whispering Sands, with Ken Nordine (Dot 7″ EP DEP-1060) 1955

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Word Jazz (Dot DLP-3075) 1957

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Son Of Word Jazz (Dot DLP-3096) 1957

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New Zealand LP issue (London HAM-D-6056) 1957

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Later Australian LP issue (London SAHA-7552) 1960

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Love Words; Ken Nordine Speaks Lyrically Of Love (Dot DLP-3115) 1958

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Also released as: The Voice Of Love (Hamilton …) 1958

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Next! (Word Jazz) (Dot DLP-3196) 1959

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My Baby (compilation) (Dot DLP-3142) 1959

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Word Jazz, Volume II (Dot DLP-3301) 1960

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Billy Vaughn’s The Shifting Whispering Sands, with Ken Nordine (Dot DLP-3442) 1962

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Different issue

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The Classic Collection; The Word Jazz Volume III (Dot DLP-25880) 1968

 

Ken Nordine Albums on Philips Records:

 

 

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Colors (Philips PHM 200-224) 1966

 

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Ken checks the colors of Fuller Paint, for a commercial

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… Does Robert Shure’s Twink (Philips PHS-600258) 1967

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7″ EP

 

Ken Nordine on other labels:

 

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Balzac’s Passion In The Desert, Read By Ken Nordine (Version 10″ LP VLP-101) 1955

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Later issue on LP (FM LP-304) 1963

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Teedy Philips & His Orchestra – Concert In The Sky, with Ken Nordine (Decca DL-8550) 1957

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Various Artists – Sounds In Space (RCA Victor SP-33-13) 1958

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7″ EP’s (RCA Victor 61-7370 / France 70-503) 1958

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Life Magazine; Presenting The Original Musical Score From … (N. Jay Norman Associates 10″ LP U-7002) 1963

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Presenting The Incomparable X-66 Hammond Organ with Jim McLin (RCA 890H-9838) 196.

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Presenting The Hammond Grand 100 Organ (…) 196.

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The J’s With Jamie – The Sales-Winning Ways Of …, with Ken Nordine (…) 196.

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Flowering Conversations; Talking To Plants, with Ken Nordine (Greenleaf Productions AT-1022) 197.

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How Are Things In Your Town? (compilation) (Blue Thumb 2LP BTS-33) 1971

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Stare With Your Ears (Snail SR-1001) 1979

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Word Jazz (MCA MCA-1551) 1983

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The Grandson Of Word jazz (Snail  SR-1003) 1986

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Devout Catalyst (Grateful Dead Records GDCD-40152) 1992

 

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Upper Limbo (Grateful Dead Records GDCD-40172) 1993

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The Transparent mask (Asphodel CD ASP-2004) 2001

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Ken with his wife

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The Eye Is Never Filled; Word Jazz In Morphing Pictures (Snail DVD) 2005

 

More Ken Nordine on CD:

 

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The Best Of Word Jazz, Volume 1 (Rhino CD R2 70773) 1990

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Talking All That Word Jazz Interview 21/9/97 (DJ Food, self released) 1998

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You’re Getting Better; The Word Jazz Dot Masters (Hip-O-Select 2CD B-0005171-02) 2005

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Word Jazz; The Complete 1950’s Recordings (Chrome CD CD-5044) 2010

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Four Classic Albums On A 2CD Set (Real Gone Jazz RGJCD-209) 2010

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Three Classic Albums, Vol. 2 (Real Gone Jazz RGJCD-220) 2011

Seven Classic Albums Plus Bonus Tracks (Real Gone Jazz 4CD RGJCD-382) 2013

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Joyello, featuring Ken Nordine – Glad 4 Magenta (…) 20..

 

Stan Freberg Albums on Capitol:

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A Child’s Garden Of Freberg (Capitol T-777) 1957

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… With The Original Cast (Capitol T-1242) 1959

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The United States Of America (Capitol T-1573) 1961

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Face The Funnies … And Other Hilarious Moments From The Best Of The Stan Freberg Shows (Capitol T-1694) 1962

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From a magazine article

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The Best Of The Stan Freberg Shows (Capitol 2LP SM-11824)

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The Best Of The Stan Freberg Shows, Volume 1 (T-1792) 1963

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The Best Of The Stan Freberg Shows, Volume 2 (T-1824) 1963

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The Madison Ave. Werewolf … And Other Hilarious Moments From The Best Of The Stan Freberg Shows (Capitol T-1816) 1963

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The Best Of … (Capitol T-2020) 1963

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The Best Of … (Capitol / MFP 50390) 1963

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Freberg Underground! Show #1 (Capitol ST-2551) 1966

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Capitol 7″ EP’s

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Other 7″ EP’s

 

Stan Freberg on other labels:

 

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Bekins Presents The Sound Of Moving (Bekins Van Lines one-sided Promo LP) 1971

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… Vs. Rock’n’Roll (Raven RVLP-1019) 1987

 

Stan Freberg on CD:

 

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The United States Of America, Vol. 2: The Middle Years (Rhino CD R2 72477) 1996

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The United States Of America, Vol. 1: The Early Years & Vol. 2: The Middle Years (Rhino 2CD R2-72476) 1996

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The Stan Freberg Show; The Original First 7 Episodes, Direct From The Famous Radio Broadcasts (Radio Spirits 4CD SFRD-1-4) 1997

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The Stan Freberg Show; The Original Final 8 Episodes, Direct From The Famous Radio Broadcasts (Radio Spirits 4CD SVTD-1-4) 1997

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The Very Best Of … Collectables COL-CD-2733) 1998

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Tip Of The Freberg (Rhino 4CD Set R2-75645) 1999

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Master Satirist; 21 Classic Originals (Delta Leisure Group CD 26577) 2007

 

Allan Sherman Albums on Warner Bros.:

 

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My Son, The Folk Singer; A Limited Rush Release (Warner Bros UK WM-8123) 1962

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My Son, The Folksinger (Warner Bros 1475) 1963

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My Son, The Celebrity (Warner Bros 1487) 1963

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My Son, The Nut (Warner Bros 1501) 1963

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7″ EP (Warner Bros WEP-6120) 1963

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Allan In Wonderland (Warner Bros 1539) 1964

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With John F. Kennedy in the early 1960’s

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For Swingin’ Livers Only (Warner Bros 1569) 1964

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My Name Is Allan (Warner Bros 1604) 1965

 

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The Best Of … (Warner UK W-1132) 1965

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Live!!! (Hoping You Are The Same) (Warner Bros 1649) 1966

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Togetherness (Warner Bros 1684) 1967

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The Very Best Of … (Warner Bros K-56056) 1976

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7″ EP’s on Warner Bros

 

Allan Sherman on other labels:

 

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More Folk Songs By Allan Sherman And His Friends (Jubilee JGM-5019) 1963

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Allan Sherman, with The Boston Pops – Peter And The Comissar (RCA Victor LM-2773) 1964

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7″ EP (RCA Victor 47-8412) 1964

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Let’s Talk About The New Album (RCA Victor Promo LP SP-33-310) 1964

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The Best Of … (Valiant UK VS-112) 1965

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Music To Dispense With by Allan Sherman (Scott – Makes It Better For You – Container Division SP-12) 1966

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Various Artists, incl. Allan Sherman – Guys And Dolls (Harmony HS-11374) 1970

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The Best Of … (Midi Australia VS-0112) 1972

 

Allan Sherman on CD:

 

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The Best Of … (Rhino RNLP 005) 1979

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A Gift Of Laughter; The Best Of … Volume II (Rhino RNLP-70818) 1986

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My Son, The Greatest; The Best Of … (Rhino CD R2-75771) 1988

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My Son The Box (Rhino 6CD Box RHM2-7891) 2005

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There Is Nothing Like A Lox; The Lost Song Parodies Of … (Rock Beat ROC-CD-3202) 2014

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