The Liner/Sleeve Notes:
“In addition to his featured performances Gary doubles as Cruise Director, on the “Fun Ships” of the Carnival Cruise Lines. The lines three ships, Carnivale, Festivale and Mardi Gras offer seven day cruise of the glorious Caribbean each week departing from downtown Miami.
This album of Gary and his friends will serve as a fond memento of the marvelous times enjoyed and shared during your fun filled vacation on the “Fun Ships.”
Funny thing about Gary Hunter. if you include his freinds rusty and Mr. and Mrs. Tweed, there are four of him. These characters come to life in a magical and special way. One can imagine the puckish Rusty, following a performance, putting Gary in a suitcase and going out for a nightcap.
It is the mark of a great performer that the illusion he creates is a lasting one. So adept is Gary Hunter at that unique artform known as ventriloquism, the fortunate audience member must occasionally remind himself that only one of these performers actually draws a paycheck. Its only a matter of time until he takes his place among the great practitioners of this enduring comedic style.
Gary perfected his craft in his native north and central Florida, where he became a local star. He moved on to do variety shows, social clubs, and television. Gary now performs on Cruise ships, traveling all over the Caribbean, to Bermuda, and through the Canal Zone.”
For the longest time ventriloquist records have been one of my most highly sought after records, this one in particular more so. Not sure why, I know I wanted it though.
So the album opens with the “Overture” and hey, it’s decent musicianship – but let’s be real, we’re all here for Gary Hunter and Rusty, we then go into the song “Side by Side” sung by Gary and Rusty, and Gary is a good singer on his voice, and as Rusty, he’s still pretty good. I’ve always liked the idea of seeing a ventriloquist duet. I wish I could. I do like a lot of the jokes between Gary and Rusty, especially the one about Rusty’s girlfriend, who has a husband and Rusty asks where her back door is, she says she doesn’t have one and he asks she wants one. Then how he got chased by the husband for 2 blocks and then died, because he got hit by a truck. Rusty starts bashing on Gary’s girlfriend, and then Gary reciprocates that by bashing on the last girl Rusty was with. Rusty also thinks Gary looks like Jimmy Carter. They then go into the song “When You’re Smiling” and once more, I’m liking these duets between Gary Hunter and Rusty, they’re amazing. Rusty gets a little into the song, and it’s good. Rusty and Gary then fight about Rusty going into the suitcase, and the argument is quite hilarious, Rusty then asks the audience if they want Gary in the suitcase. It’s all a very funny experience. I’ll admit, I laughed quite a few times at this one. The A-Side closes with an instrumental of “Sippidy Doo Da” – it’s a good outro.
The B-Side unfortunately does not feature Rusty – which is a major downside to the album. But Gary Hunter does use his other puppets, and it opens with a song called “Go Visit Your Grandmother” sung by Gary and his puppet Ethel Tweed – it’s good, and the lyrics are funny, so it’s actually a good way to open the B-Side. Ethel orders a double order of scotch with three drops of water. Ethel and Gary then cover a Beatles track “When I’m 64” and Ethel starts off on the vocals, Gary is a really good singer, like his vocalizations on these tracks are amazing. After that Gary switches from Ethel to Mr. Tweed, and well, I do find it hard to understand Mr. Tweed’s voice at first, but after the punchline of his first joke, he becomes a little bit more audible, but then he goes into a cover of Paul Anka’s “My Way” and that overly nasally sound vocalization of the classic Paul Anka track is quite funny, and enjoyable to hear. Though it doesn’t compare to the others. The album closes with Mr. and Mrs. Tweed singing the song “I Remember it Well” and for some reason it just reminds me of Kermit and Ms. Piggy, I think it’s the puppet couple thing though that makes me think of that. All in all, it’s a funny listen.
A1 – Overture
A2 – Side by Side
A3 – When You’re Smiling
A4 – Sippidy Doo Da
B1 – Go Visit Your Grandmother
B2 – When I’m 64
B3 – My Way
B4 – I Remember it Well
“When You’re Smiling”
Carnival Cruise Lines
Studio Musicians & Other Album Credits:
Piano, Arranged & Conducted by Randy Wanless
Engineer & Production – Tony Snetro
Music by Horizon
Drums – Chas Foerschner
Bass – Bob Nance
Announcer – Mark Herbert
Recorded & Mixed at Music Market Place, Inc, Coral Cables, Florida
Trumpet – Dave Herndon
Sax – Cathy Hendron
Trombone – Mark Jones
Other Albums I Own by Gary Hunter: