Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tony Clifton at Uncle Dirty's

The Don Neal Collection - Dixie to Disco Dancin'

Here's a private press nugget recorded somewhere around 1977 at the prized Uncle Dirty's Sound Machine in Kalamazoo, MI. Like the other stuff I've heard from there, it is expertly recorded, and just a little wacky.

The Collection was a local lounge band with a wide repertoire. As the title suggests, they do go from Dixie(-land jazz, not country music) to disco. The band is more versatile than nimble, though, and there is a real and enduring amateurish vibe going on here. In particular, the horn section seems to sneak up on notes, sometimes missing by a fair amount.

There are two things that really sell this one for me, though. The first is the total Tony Clifton shtick of the singer. For those of you with short memories, Tony was the lounge club singer that used to open for Andy Kaufman's comedy act. He was a crooner and a ladies man, bracingly unfunky, and crushingly insincere. This singer has that character nailed. Try their version of After the Lovin' if you don't believe me.

Did I mention unfunky? You've got to hear the versions of Sir Duke and Night Fever to believe them. Easily the craziest mash up of midwest lounge jazz and black dance music ever made. These tracks will make your next party the social event of the season.

There's a subtle and incongruent Four Freshmen thing that sneaks in from time to time. In fact, they somehow managed to get an endorsement from one of the freshmen on the back cover. I wonder if the guy managed to listen to the album first.

Alert: a couple of the tracks on here (Glenn Miller Medley, I mean you!) cross a line into transcendently bad. If that's not your scene, you might want to ride the skip button. In fact, you might want to start with side two to get into the flow of the thing.

Track list:
glenn miller medley
bill baily
rock n roll medley
after the lovin
it’s a blue world
the hustle
sir duke
night fever
how deep is your love


ge said...

you picked & shared a winner here; well-described era-vibes & Kaufman-Cliftonesque persona on the singer. It really does get you up & dancin', leisure-suited preferably, some movin-groovin' is in order

monsieurwilly said...

Thx for that !

Jacko said...

I stumbled onto your blog looking for something. I don't even remember what. But the first thing I saw was the review for this. It alone was enough to pique my curiousity. I can't wait to hear it. Thanks for sharing.

liojohn said...

I did a search for this album to find a cover and came across their website:

Teabagger Watcher said...

Just to catch you up, just in case... Andy Kaufman was Tony Clifton, except later on, when the character was taken over by Kaufman's gag-writing cohort, Bob Zmuda.

Nguyen Duc said...

nice blog

the Cosmic Swine said...

Any chance of a re-up for this one? I have been feverishly hunting for some solid Tony Clifton audio, and this one is dancing around just outside of my reach!