Here’s an interesting album that I know next to nothing about. As I mention in the entry on my blog:
All I know about this album is what’s on the front cover that you see here (the back cover is totally blank) and the record label. The label inside says “Performed by Fordham Preparatory School and the Mt. St. Ursula Academy.” It says “Director Records” on the top and “Manufactured by RCA Victor Custom Record Department” on the bottom and is copyrighted 1966. I’m guessing this might have been some sort of souvenir for the cast members of the show. I did find that Fordham is an all-boys school and Mt. St. Ursula is an all-girls school. Maybe they got together each year to do a show, I don’t know.
Basically, this is a prep show musical about Attila the Hun. Yes, really. And the more I listen to it, the more it grows on me. These are not professional singers by any means, so the vocal quality is all over the map. However, it still has a certain charm. Here are some samples:
The first song is a prologue to give you an idea of the plot and tone of the show, getting into the background of Man’s preoccupation with killing throughout history and introducing our main character.
Here we are introduced to the ruthless Attila. After rebuffing representatives from Rome, he encourages his troops to sing the rousing “Battle Hymn of the Huns.” This could have just as easily been a football fight song, except for some of the subject matter:
Rape and pillage
Every town and village.
Dreadful sons of Huns are we
Marching on to victory!
(Actually, that’s not too different from some of the fight songs I’ve heard after all!)
Next is one of my favorite songs on the album. It’s a great patter-type song performed by Attila’s assistant Hernak. (At least that’s what I’m guessing he is. The only inkling of plot I have is what’s performed in the songs.) When Attila has a crisis of faith, this guy tells Attila to “Do What You Want.” During the course of the song, Hernak rattles off the names of people in history who did just that, name checking everybody from Kierkegaard to Fanny Hill.
Behind every great man is his mother, pushing him on, and Attila’s Mom is no exception. She’s been causing trouble for a very long time, as she explains in the song “I Go Where the Action Is.”
Attila starts to fall for Eureka, a woman who wants him to give up his conquering ways. This of course sparks conflict with Mom, who really wants all the power. Eureka tells her off in this song that’s sort of the opposite of “You’re the Top.”
Will Attila choose to continue his warlike ways, or will Eureka bring out his softer side? Well, going by the final song in the show, it sounds like Eureka has won this battle, at least for now.
If you want to hear the rest of this album, you can find it here. I hope somebody listening to this has more information to share about this show, because I’d really like to know more about it!