The Liner/Sleeve Notes:
“We first met this fellow back in 1964. It was on the set of the Dick Van Dyke Show in Hollywood. This practically unknown comedian had come out to California for a meeting with our Executive Producer, Sheldon Leonard. He was very late for that meeting because he was so funny we wouldn’t let him leave the set. He finally met with Mr. Leonard who had the great brains to hire for this brand new adventure show.
Well, I SPY was a big hit… still is a big hit… and everybody is happy, including us. We don’t ave a thing to do with I SPY but we’re happy about this because it is filmed on the same lot where we work. We’re happy about this because we get a chance to hang around a lot with the funny fellow we met back in 1964. We eat lunch; go to the gym; smoke cigars; play stick ball, half-ball, basketball, touch-football; tell jokes; talk about wives, babies, good guys, bad guys, movies, TV shows… almost everything guys talk about. And, with all this talking and cigar smoking and playing ball we got to like each other very much.
So you can understand why we felt so sad when our buddy’s close friend and manager, Roy Silver, asked us to listen to this recording. Well, not sad… MAD… so mad that we wanted to punch our cigar-smoking buddy right in the mouth. We were mad because not once in all these years of hanging around did he ever say… “Hey, I can sing a little’… or “Hey… would you like to hear me hum something?” No… he just goes around saying clever things making everybody laugh not caring that he could also make people cry. Are the songs sad? Not necessarily. But the singing is great. And when someone you dig does something unexpected and it is really great, that act has been known to bring a tear to one’s eye.
We’re not mad anymore. He made it up to us by giving us each a spaldeen ball, a box of malomars, and a dollar cigar.
Be alerted though. Some of the numbers in this album will make you laugh… but with a beat… expertly provided by Fred Smith.
Enjoy then the fantastic sound of… our friend
Bill Persky & Sam Denoff”
So, firstly, I have no intention in even touching the whole Bill Cosby scandal. I’m here for the records. Not the scandals. Now, I’ve always been a Cosby fan, I’ve seen every episode of the Cosby Show and I loved Ghost Dad. Now when I found out Bill had released a whole bunch of records, I knew I had to have them, as you can see, I have a lot of them. I never pass one up. I did choose this one first because it’s a singing one, and I feel the need to hear Bill Cosby sing.
So, the A-Side opens with Bill singing “Bright Lights, Big City” and well, Bill isn’t a bad singer at all. He’s actually rather good, the song however kind of just jumps right into it. Though that harmonica playing is really loud and obnoxious, that like I almost cannot take it. I’m like almost tempted to change the track. After that we continue onto “Big Boss Man” and we seem to go into the blues vibe, and well Bill is definitely a really good blues man. I’m actually really liking this album with the exception of the awful harmonica playing here and there. “Hush Hush” comes next, and once more good vocals, and everything is good, up ’til that harmonica comes in, and then I’m almost ready to turn the record off. After that comes the track “Baby, What You Want Me to Do” and well, it’s a softer and quieter track, but the vocals and musicianship are done very well, why did Bill not continue singing after this album? Like, it’s not bad and I doubt the harmonica killed the album 100%? Though, the harmonica in this song isn’t all that bad. Then we immediately go right into a harmonica intro of the next song, “Tell Me You Love Me” – not sure why they would do that to me, but they did. Bill’s vocals are a little off on this song, but not too horrible. He does sounds so drunk. Then the A-Side ends with “Aw Shucks, Hush Your Mouth” and well, it’s a little more fast paced, but still that god awful harmonica playing in the song. Bill, make it stop. Please. Bill’s vocals are absolutely mind-boggling, in the sense they’re beyond good, and you wouldn’t have expected that from this guy.
The B-Side opens with the track “Little Ole Man” which has great musicianship and amazing vocals, I’m really not being let down much by this album. I’m still in shock at Bill’s vocals, as I couldn’t imagine they would’ve ever sounded like how they actually do. Then comes the track “Mojo Workout” and well, I’m not even sure what to make of this song. We’re just gonna carry on. “I Got a Woman” comes next, and well, we’re off to another great song. I love Bill’s vocals, as he is a pretty great singer, and I cannot stress that enough, funny and a singer. Then comes the track “Don’cha Know” and we’re continuing on with good songs, and no harmonica – nevermind. Right as I type that, the harmonica comes in and I’m a little upset about that. “A Place in the Sun” ends the album, and oddly it is not like any of the other songs on this album, it loses the blues feeling, and gains this cheesy pop sound and it definitely sounds like how I would imagine Bill’s singing to be. All in all, it’s not an awful album, just the harmonica has to stop.
A1 – Bright Lights, Big City
A2 – Big Boss Man
A3 – Hush Hush
A4 – Baby, What You Want Me to Do
A5 – Tell Me You Love Me
A6 – Aw Shucks, Hush Your Mouth
B1 – Little Ole Man
B2 – Mojo Workout
B3 – I Got a Woman
B4 – Don’cha Know
B5 – Place in the Sun
Warner Bros. Records
Studio Musicians & Other Album Credits:
Produced by Fred Smith
Executive Producer – Roy Silver
Arranged by James Carmichael
Recorded at Nashville West, Hollywood
Engineers – Charles Underwood & Bruce Duman
Art Direction – Ed Thrasher
Other Albums I Own by Bill Cosby:
“Bill Cosby is a Very Funny Fellow, Right!”
“For Adults Only”
“I Started Out as A Child”
“It’s True! It’s True!”
“More of the Best of Bill Cosby”
“To My Brother Russell, Whom I Slept With”
“Why is There Air?”