Lord Buckley is a legendary comedy name and now I know why. This is one of a couple of names that come up when a certain generation of comics talks about influences. Usually, you also hear the names Lenny Bruce and Jonathan Winters in the same conversation. This is because the best way to situate Lord Buckley is he is Lenny Bruce and Jonathan Winters. Unfortunately, this legendary name was pretty much a legend as Lord Buckley recordings were impossible to get. That is until his estate released some concert recordings on CD. Lord Buckley So You Thought Hip Was New Feb. 12, 1959 The Ivar Concert is one of those and it seems there are more to come.
Lord Buckley So You Thought Hip Was New Feb 12, 1959 The Ivar Concert is not stand-up but spoken performance art with a comic tint. Listen to jazz, now think slam poetry night, now think Lenny Bruce's How to Relax Your Colored Friends at Parties, now think Jonathan Winters' wildest mindscapes, and you almost get this Lord Buckley CD. "Almost" because the man was an original and this CD more than proves it.
The best description for this CD is aural experience. Those familiar with the work of Lord Buckley will notice this recording features a clean show by a man who very often got into trouble for working blue. Here, Buckley replaces the "salty language" with a well placed FRRRRRP.
The Ivar Concert begins with what is probably one of the first routines on supermarkets: it says a lot about stand-up comedy, one way or another, that I heard a very similar take on the topic by a new comic a couple of months ago. Things get much more surreal and interesting with the very jazzy My Own Railroad and the hip Shakespearean Hipsters Flipsters.
Comedy historians will be intrigued by the fact both Buckley's Gods Own Drunk and Lenny Bruce's White Collar Drunk were recorded the same year. These are two very different routines but a PhD could be done on the similarities in tone and content.
The weirdest, to me, moment on So You Thought Hip Was New is certainly Murder, a moment that is the ultimate moment of any film noir and very Tell-Tale Heart. Then again, Let It Down is also coolly bizarre.
Outstanding tracks include Subconscious Mind and The Black Cross, the latter very much commenting on and reflecting its racial times. The Nazz, a hip version of the story of Jesus, is also quite amazing and original.
The one less impressive track on this CD is Maharaja. It is a bit long for a weak pay off.
If I have a quibble with this Lord Buckley CD it is, of course, about the sound. Granted this was recorded in 1959 but the problem is not that the recording shows its age, it does not. It is that the sound level is rather uneven. Buckley liked raise and lower his voice to add to his material and the aural experience but here this could probably have been tweaked a bit more so the changes are sometimes less jarring.
Lord Buckley is a comedy legend and thanks to So You Thought Hip Was New The Ivar Concert, he is no longer just a legend.
Lord Buckley The Ivar Concert Track List:
Supermarket, Horses Mouth, My Own Railroad, Hipsters Flipsters, Gods Own Drunk, Murder, Let It Down, Subconscious Mind, The Black Cross, Lions, The Nazz, The Gasser, Maharaja, The Bad Rapping of the Marquis de Sade.