Monday, January 11, 2016

ABCs of My Vinyl Collection (Letter A, Part 2)

"I had a rough marriage. My wife was an immature woman. See if this is not immature to you. I would be home in the bathroom taking a bath... and my wife would walk in whenever she felt like... and sink my boats."

"I wanted to get them a wedding present, and I didn't know what to get the junkie that has everything. I thought maybe a 16-piece starter set of silverware would be nice... all spoons."

I don't know about you, but I could use a smile today. Just a few albums down from ABC, I have three live albums from one Master Haywood Allen. Today we will listen to his first, recorded at Mister Kelly's in Chicago, circa March 1964. If you don't know Mister Kelly's, it was one of the hottest spots along the city's famous Rush Street in the swingin' '60s. It's where you went to sip whiskey sours while you listened to singers like Sarah, Ella, and Frank or laughed to George Carlin, Joan Rivers or the Smothers Brothers.

As you may know, I grew up in the cow pastures of Illinois, as W. Somerset Maugham described the area in 'The Razor's Edge,' and when I used to listen to Allen's routine as a teen, I dreamed of being in that audience on Rush all those years ago. That's what youngsters from the sticks do. We fantasize of leaving small-town life for the excitement of the big city. For me, that beacon was about 150 long miles away in Chicago. When I moved there at age 20, one of my first stops was to 1028 North Rush Street. Mister Kelly's had closed 15 years earlier, and Gibson's Steakhouse was there. Still is. It's become an institution in its own right. Old school, highly recommended, but Mister Kelly's it ain't.

I have worn this vinyl down to nothing from close to 30 years of continuous play. It would be a good time to start messing around with the software to clean up some of that surface noise, particularly on the A side, but I don't think you'll mind too much. Here is the whole album. If the sadness of losing your hero gets to be too much today, spend a few minutes with this one. You will smile.

Side A
Side B


TheRobster said...

Nice one Brian. I need a laugh.

The Swede said...

I love Woody's stand up and will return to listen again to this, but at the moment I'm in bits.

The Swede said...

“I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam; I looked into the soul of the boy sitting next to me.” Genius.