The response to Joe McCarthy's war on Communism, and its tactics, famously drew responses, comments and critiques from many corners of the worlds of art, news and entertainment. What other aspect of life in mid-50's America played such a strong role in the work of such diverse perfomers as Bob and Ray, Pete Seeger and Edward R. Murrow, among others far too numerous to mention? On the fringes of this response were some less well-known chapters of the story. Today's example is a 10" LP by The Barton Brothers, performing a 20 minute play written and directed by Hal Collins, titled "Mister Chairman! A Point of Order", and released in 1955 on the Allo Records label.
Such was the fear of McCarthy and his power, that the album - despite being released after public opinion and his Senate colleagues had turned against McCarthy - carries text on the back cover almost begging the listener to understand that it's contents are SATIRE, and that SATIRE is really OKAY. Oh, it's also that rare, special brand of SATIRE - "HUMOROUS SATIRE"! After going on to say that their album contains a caricature (capitalizing that word, while spelling it wrong, by the way) of the manner of presentation of a political investigation, they even assure us that "any similarity to any persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
I'd love to say that hiding behind this timid, apologetic marketing lurks a great work of satiric, biting art, but...I don't actually believe that to be the case. This is fairly hamfisted stuff, in which McCarthy's doppelganger gets upset at being denied his favorite meal, and then becomes suspicious of the red.... well, I'll let you hear it and find out.
The Barton Brothers - Mr. Chairman! A Point of Order, Part One (MP3) | The Barton Brothers - Mr. Chairman! A Point of Order, Part Two (MP3) | Album Front Cover (JPG) | Album Back Cover (JPG) | Label (JPG)
And now, if I may toot my own horn a bit, I'm very happy to say that an album's worth of humorous songs I recorded in the mid 1990's, and distributed privately on cassettes in 1997, has now been released by the fine folks at the online Happy Puppy Records label. It's full of originals, in addition to a couple of parodies, a song-poem cover, and even a cover of one of my beloved Star Ads. Have a listen, if you will!: