STAN FREBERG FOR PRESIDENT!
Rhino's Stan Freberg Presents: The United States Of America, Vol. 2
LOS ANGELES -- Rhino is proud to announce today's release of STAN FREBERG PRESENTS: THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, VOL. 2: THE MIDDLE YEARS, an historic new album from Stan Freberg, the founding father of recorded comedy.
This satirical trip through history is the follow-up to his groundbreaking 1961 release, Stan Freberg Presents: The United States Of America, Vol. 1. In addition to VOL. 2, Rhino has simultaneously released a two-disc set featuring both volumes.
Featuring performances by such guest stars as Tyne Daly, John Goodman, David Ogden Stiers, Harry Shearer, and Sherman Hemsley, VOL. 2 picks up where the first volume left off -- after the Revolutionary War, as George Washington enlists the first-ever advertising agency of Madison, Jefferson, Franklin, and Osbourne to devise a campaign to bring more settlers to the States.
In Freberg's irreverent style, the musical history lesson chronicles the Civil War, the Golden Age of Inventions, and winds up with World War I and the chilling satirical song "There'll Never Be Another War."
Along with the humorous new historical sketches, Freberg wrote all the lyrics and music for an armload of new songs for VOL. 2. All music was arranged and conducted by Billy May, with an all-star studio band. (May has also arranged for Ella Fitzgerald, Nat "King" Cole, Frank Sinatra, and John Williams, to name a few.)
Available on CD and cassette, the two-disc set carries a suggested retail price of $27.98 and $16.98 respectively. Available on CD only, VOL. 2 has a suggested retail price of $16.98. Both are also available through RhinoDirect at 1-800-432-0020.
The New York Times' Stephen Holden recently wrote: "Stan Freberg, the most sophisticated of the pop satirists, did more than parody passing fads. His records, like the two-million-selling hit of 1953 'St. George & The Dragonet' (a still-hilarious send-up of the television show Dragnet). . . were the true forerunners of the satirical style of The National Lampoon and Saturday Night Live."
Freberg credits the inspiration for these historically accurate and satirically relevant albums to the fact he failed U.S. History in high school: "The reason I flunked it was that it was so incredibly boring. I kept thinking about all those people, Betsy Ross, Thomas Jefferson...they were real people, not just a bunch of marble statues in a park. So years later, I thought it was a great idea for an album."
STAN FREBERG PRESENTS: THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, VOL. 2 was recorded in late 1995 and early 1996. In addition to the guest stars, cast members from the first volume are featured, including June Foray, Jesse White, and Peter Leeds. Freberg's son, Donavan Freberg, also plays several parts, as does his daughter Donna Ebsen.
Donna Freberg, in addition to being Mrs. Stan Freberg and serving as Freberg's editor and producer for many years, produced VOL. 2. (She also coproduced the original Vol. 1.)
Freberg, one of America's best-loved humorists and satirists, first burst on the scene in 1950 with his Capitol record "John And Marsha," a strange but best-selling takeoff on soap operas, which achieved immediate world-wide success. Other hits followed like his spoof of Harry Belafonte's "Day-O," his Mitch Miller parody "The Yellow Rose Of Texas," and Elvis' "Heartbreak Hotel."
Nothing escaped Freberg's scathing wit: Les Paul & Mary Ford's multi-tracking ("The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise"), folk singers like Lonnie Donegan ("The Rock Island Line"), and even Senator Joe McCarthy in the middle of the McCarthy era ("Point Of Order").
But Freberg's biggest hit came when he zoomed in on the television cop drama and Jack Webb's hit show Dragnet. His twin-sided spoof of Dragnet - "St. George And The Dragonet" and "Little Blue Riding Hood" ("Only the color has been changed to prevent an investigation") - became the fastest-rising hit in the history of the music business, according to RIAA figures at that time: one million in the first three weeks.
Dubbed "a national treasure" by The Los Angeles Times, a story in The Washington Post put it this way: "In the Beginning, There was Freberg."
Freberg also helped change the face of advertising by introducing humor in TV and radio commercials with his award-winning campaigns (21 Clios, 18 International Broadcasting Awards, medals at the Cannes and Venice Film festivals). Advertising Age Magazine has dubbed him "The Father of the Funny Commercial."
Samples of Freberg's work reside in museums such as The American History Museum of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Television and Radio in New York, and Beverly Hills, California. Today, his Stan Freberg Here radio program is heard daily on more than 300 stations around the nation.