Jack Sheldon is many things, from a world-class jazz trumpeter to the musical director/bandleader of the old Merv Griffin talk show to a Bill on Capitol Hill. He’s also known for his bizarre sense of humor, a side of his personality that surfaced in 1962 on the album Oooo, But It’s Good. Sandwiched between standard jazz releases, one has to imagine the plight of the hep cat who brought home this particular platter, put it on and heard Sheldon tell the tale of Irving Lancelot and the Medieval Jazz Quartet. This ain’t jazz. This ain’t even word jazz.
I don’t know how I came into possession of this album, only that it happened way back in the ’80s. It might have been procured at one of the thrift stores in the area, so fashionable at the time. Either that or one of those disgruntled hep cats finally threw it out and my dad’s friend George, a kind soul with a knack for buying low and selling high (i.e. selective Dumpster diving), dropped it off. Of course, I didn’t know Sheldon from shinola, and even his distinctive singing voice on the lone musical track, “Born to Lose,” failed to ring bell one. Oh, I knew of that famous Schoolhouse Rock skit, as well as his other notable short for “Conjunction Junction (What’s Your Function?),” but like Clark Kent with his trumpet — uh, eyeglasses — Sheldon out of context was something I couldn’t recognize.
Two critical notes, one on the files and the other on the recording itself: These come right from the 47-year-old album, so the sound quality is slightly on the FUBAR side, but as an entertainment curio I felt the recording was worth the time anyhow. As far as the recording itself, I submit that you’ll probably never hear a drunker audience than you will here. Even when Sheldon overworks a premise on the way down to Bad-Pun Punchline Town, the crowd laughs like a third grade class who’s just heard a fresh fart joke. In particular, listen for the lady cackling like a barnyard animal. You’ll know it when you hear it.
Oooo, But It’s Good has never been released on CD. I suspect it’s never been on cassette either, just to illustrate how far behind the lines this album truly is, so I think I’m safe in offering it in its entirety here, so that the blogosphere can experience the twisted wit of Jack Sheldon. Enjoy.