Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Belle Barth "If I Embarrass You Tell Your Friends"


(After Hours, 1960) I've had this record pulled out for months because I remembered there was a Sammy David, Jr. bit. Not exactly worth the wait, as pretty much the only thing disappointing about this X-rated after hours masterpiece is the Sammy joke ("There's a guy who's Jewish, marries a gentile girl, and can't even check into Kennilworth," and I am not sure what that means, there's a fancy apartment building on the Upper West Side, and an antisemitic suburb in Chicago, but who knows 60 years later?). I was expecting something filthy or taboo or racial, because pretty much everything on this album is filthy or taboo or racial ("A colored guy says, 'I like working for the Jews, because they blow the chauffeur!" [sounds like shofar, which is a rams horn that Rabbis blow, get it?]). I mean, her opening theme song for both sets is a version of "Darktown Strutters Ball," which was a tune so ubiquitous it would barely read as racial, but in her version the ball features a gang bang orgy starring Ms. Barth. She does crowd work, offers Yiddish wordplay, and makes genuinely filthy jokes. Her timing is Redd Foxx-esque and her voice has the grit to make every punchline hit. She embarrassed me, so I'm telling you. Because you are my friend.

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