Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Rodney Dangerfield: "The Loser" (1966) / "I Don't Get No Respect" (1969)

I found this one at House Of Records in March of 1990, not long after my 14th birthday. I was looking through the comedy albums there, fished this one out, and was amazed. Not only had I never seen or even heard of this one, it looked like it went back a ways. It was on the Who's old label, Decca, and the tagline on the front said it all: The New Comedy Sensation.

When I got it home, this was quite different than hearing No Respect or Rappin' Rodney. On this one, he was actually doing routines instead of zipping by with witty one-liners, one after the other.

One of my favorite routines on the album is about him going out to eat in a restaurant, the place gets busy, and he finds himself having to split a table. Not with a pretty girl, you see, but with a crotchety old man in his 80's, who criticizes everything that Rodney orders for himself. There's also another bit where he gets held up in an alley, but the robber tells him a story about robbing his own mother, and would never have gotten caught if he hadn't invited her over for dinner and having her discover that they were using her silverware.

A bit of the ol' downtrodden Rodney going on, but he hadn't come up with his famous tagline yet...at least I don't thin it's on this album.

A few years later, in 1969, it would be the title of his second album, on Bell. I used to see it around a lot (it was reissued in 1980 on Arista), but never got around to picking it up until I saw a cassette copy of it for cheap at Musicland.

This one finds Rodney really downtrodden-sounding. The routines and bits are slowly disappearing, going more for one-liners and quick anecdotes, but without the speed and energy that would be found on the later albums. You can just visualize him standing up on stage in some smoky, smelly dive somewhere while this was being recorded. But there are some funny bits, especially ones with his so-called friends pushing him out of the car for being too drunk, or dating a woman with a really heavy (but unidentified) accent who talks all the time. Good bits, but Rodney's new-found "loser" persona probably just didn't jibe with record-buyers at the time.

So , there we have it...some early beginnings of the man who would finally get some respect and become an instant comedy legend in Caddyshack, some ten-odd years later!

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