We start our first Way Out Wednesday of the year with this goodie from Captain Paul with a little help from the Seafaring Band. Listening to this Popeye album you might notice something strange: Popeye’s nowhere to be found on it! The connection is that most of these songs can be found featured in Popeye cartoons. And even though the titular sailor is not around, you’re still in capable hands with the Captain. Here’s a sample of what you’ll find.
Any good album of Popeye songs has to start with the song “I’m Popeye the Sailor Man,” and this one is no exception. I find it interesting that in this song (as well as the others) Captain Paul makes no attempt to imitate Popeye’s voice. He simply sings the song in his rousing baritone voice, accompanied by the bells, whistles, and toots of his band.
Captain Paul also sang songs performed by other characters, like “Hamburger Mine,” originally done (as you might expect) by J. Wellington Wimpy. Vegans will probably be none too happy with the line, “A hamburger lives for the pleasure it gives.” The arrangement is especially odd here with the inexplicable inclusion of a slide whistle.
“Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor” was probably one of the most popular of the old Popeye cartoons, due to it being included on nearly all the public domain videotape cartoon compilations. There’s nothing wrong with that, because it’s a pretty cool cartoon in its own right. The song “I’m Sindbad the Sailor” is prominently featured in it. The odd thing about this version is that Captain Paul sings all the parts himself, so at one point he’ll mention “You, Sindbad the Sailor” and later he’ll sing, “I’m afraid of nobody under the sun.” There’s an musical arrangement here that’s more in line with the source material, giving it the faux-Arabian (Fauxrabian?) feel of the original.
Some of the songs on this album were actually not in Popeye cartoons at all. They just talk about Popeye or other characters. These songs (and the others on this album) were in a 1936 songbook called (oddly enough) The Popeye Song Folio. The song here is about Alice the Goon. You remember Alice, don’t you? She was a tall, odd looking creature that talked in weird unintelligible noises. Alice the Goon is represented here by the kazoo. A lot of kazoo. I don’t know if Alice was ever featured in the original old theatrical cartoons, but I know that when new Popeye cartoons were made for TV in the ’60s, Alice was a part of the cast. And guess what they used for her voice? A barking dog. (No, really it was a kazoo. I just wanted to see if you were still paying attention.)
I think “I Wanna Be a Life Guard” is my favorite song of the lot. It’s just this fun little song about how great it would be to be a lifeguard. You can even hear the band blowing bubbles through a straw. I don’t know why I like it so much. I don’t even swim that well!
And if you want this entire album, you can find it here! And as a special bonus (and as if this column isn’t late enough), here are the cartoons where these songs are featured. Please feel free to compare and contrast!
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I’m Sindbad the Sailor (apologies for commercial at beginning)
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I Wanna Be a Life Guard
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…and a cartoon with a different song about Alice the Goon!
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