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Napoleon XIV
"The Second Coming"

© Rhino Records

December 29 - 04, 2020

Year of Release: 1996
Rating:
  • Ode To A Farmer Boy
  • The Explorer
  • They're Coming To Take Me
    Away Ha-Haaa
  • I'm In Love With My
    Little Red Tricycle
  • Photogenic
    Schizophrenic You
  • Marching Off To Bedlam
  • Doin' The Napoleon
  • The Place Where The Nuts
    Hunt The Squirrels
  • Let's Cuddle Up In My
    Security Blanket
  • Goofin' On The Job
  • Bats In My Belfry
  • Dr. Psyche The Cut-Rate
    Head-Shrinker
  • I Live In A Split-Head Head
  • The Nuts On My Family Tree
  • I Owe A Lot To Iowa Pot
  • Can You Dig It
  • The Song I Wrote For
    Robert Goulet
  • They're Coming To Get Me
    Again Ha-Haaa!
  • It May APpear Ridiculous
  • aaa-aH yawA eM ekaT
    oT gnimoC re'yehT

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    A B C D E F G H I J K L M
    N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
    Napoleon XIV (XIV = roman numeral 14) achieved superstar status with his novelty hit, "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!" It was huge hit in the late 1960s. Novelty records were pretty much as popular as the rock and roll records at the time. Napoleon XIV was Jerry Samuels, a successful record engineer. He had written songs, recorded by Johnnie Ray ("To Ev'ry Girl, To Ev'ry Boy (The Meaning Of Love)" (1954), and Sammy Davis Jr. ("The Shelter Of Your Arms" (1964). He also co-wrote the song "As If I Didn't Know" (credited as Scott David [his son's name]). It was recorded by Adam Wade. Realizing the "nuthouse" song was a hit, an album was in the works. The album was released in 1966, titled as They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa! The album was reissued in 1996 by Rhino Records, as The Second Coming -- all 12 original tracks from the 1966 album, plus songs that were intended for a future album, that was never released, as well as unreleased tracks, and new recordings. All of the songs are all novelty. Unusual novelty. Definitely fitting Dr. Demento's radio show. Each of the songs all fit the insane asylum-inspired "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!"

    They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa! original album tracks: "I'm In Love With My Little Red Tricycle, "Photogenic, Schizophrenic You," Marching Off To Bedlam," "Doin' The Napoleon," "Let's Cuddle Up In My Security Blanket," "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!" "Bats In My Belfry," "I Live In A Split-Level Head," "The Nuts On My Family Tree," "The Place Where The Nuts Hunt The Squirrels," "I'm Happy They Took You Away, Ha-Haaa!"

    Previously unreleased recordings: "The Explorer" (meant for the second unissued album; "Goofin' On The Job," Can You Dig It" (recorded in 1968). New Recordings (1996): "Ode To A Farmer Boy," "I Owe A Lot To Iowa Pot," "The Song I Wrote For Robert Goulet," "It May Appear Ridiculous."

    "The Explorer" contained "homemade" sound effects, like recording the noises at a zoo, outside sounds from a park, recording in a bathroom. These were all custom made recordings, as back in the 1960s there were no special effects to easily create, as it would be in later decades, even today. There are a lot of tracks here that are demented in sound, esepcially Jerry Samuel's vocals. "I'm In Love With My Little Red Tricycle" sounds kinda creepy sounding, demented. Demented, weird styled -- as in "Marching Off To Bedlam." Another demented track, is "Doin' The Napoleon." Is Samuels creating a new dance craze here? Not really, it's just weird, demented. "Can You Dig It" is another track that is just as demented.

    There are two tracks where another novelty legend is compared to -- Tom Leher. "Photogenic, Schizophrenic You" -- Samuel's voice is more scarier than that of Leher's. "I Owe A Lot To Iowa Pot" is the other one. In later years after the hit that would make him famous, he was running a head shop (which sells marijuana-smoking accessories), and it was in Iowa that he would develope what is called a "roach clip"; defintion: a small clip for holding the base of a marijuana cigarette so that it can be smoked without burning the fingers. Jerry Samuels explains in the liner notes of The Second Coming: I was sitting around with this same group of friends and somebody needed a clip. There was a piece of wire on the ground, and I crafted it into my first clip and handed it to him. THey were very impressed and so was I. I always felt that the clips that were available were a put-down because they were made from something else. They were very cheaply made from alligator clips, cotter pins, whatnot. There was no saving grace, no class. I decided to design the definitive clip and to make a mechanism designed specifically for that purpose, where the points of those wires came together precisely and really did the job. I made what was considered by pretty much everyone who ever came in contact with them, the best roach clips ever made. The treble clef is gorgeous, what a beautiful piece of sculpture. One of the most popular was made of coat hanger wire, stripped and polished -- almost the enitre coat hanger is used. It was all written out like a neon sign, "Suck my joint!" I even dotted the "j" and the "i," crossed the "t," did it all, brought those two pieces of wire together perfectly at the end of that sculpture. Those were sold for $32.50. People that have my clips treasure them. First it was a hobby, then a business, then a hobby again. I guess my roach clip period lasted about ten years.

    Like for most hit records, there were "sequels" to them. "The Place Where The Nuts Hunt The Squirrels" uses the same melody and music as "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!"" and especially on "I'm Happy They Took You Away, Ha-Haaa!" where it's the same as the hit record as "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!", recorded by Josephine XV. indicating that she was "happy they took you away, Ha-Haaa!" In 1996, a new recording was made, "They're Coming To Get Me Again, Ha-Haaa!"

    What makes this 1995 reissue complete, is the original B-side of "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!" -- the flip side was a the A-side, played backwards. Simply titled -- "!aaa-aH ,yawA eM ekaT oT gnimoC er'yehT"

    Napoleon XIV's The Second Coming is more of bizarre-styled novelty album. This is not really your common-sound comedy album. With the description of "They Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!" as a person becoming insane, alot of the tracks are of this nature. Bizarre, demented, yet it is all recorded as novelty. Most likely many of the tracks on this album (if all) could easily be played on Dr. Demento's radio show. "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!" just may get airplay on some radio stations today (most likely internet radio stations, comedy stations). This track was rare, and became a huge hit in 1966. Nowadays, it may or may not get as heavy airplay as it did when it was first released -- due to how some individuals are committed to insane asylums and such. As serious the subject matter it contained, it was considered a novelty record, and is still comedic in its own right.

    So, in reality, the nature topic of insanity may or may not be suitable for music fans to enjoy or not enjoy Napoleon XIV's The Second Coming. With such titles as "Photogenic, Schizophrenic You," "The Nuts On My Family Tree," "I Live In A Split-Level Head" (which is a really bizarre sounding track), it is obvious that nature and identity of what is being covered on these tracks, and throughout the entire album. It was a rare topic to cover. But this is a novelty record; a novelty album. Anything was possible to record in music, and novelty recordings were a popular trend back in the 1960s, which is really non-existed in today's popular music culture. For those who remembered (and enjoyed the novelty of it), "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!" is still a funny record, despite its content. Listening to it today, and even the backwards version, I always remembered these recordings as funny records, and back then, I really didn't know what the "funny farm" meant, until I was older. To some, the "funny farm," "nuthouse" may not be names they are not fond of. Insane asylums are meant to be serious. The patients there are there for serious matters. Hopefully they all can be helped. But in all's fairness, "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!" was meant to be looked at, as a novelty. It is one of the most funniest novelty records ever recorded. It is still funny today, for those who can look (and hear it) as a novelty comedy record.

    Jerry Samuels (aka Napoleon XIV) is still with us, he is currently 81 years old. His website can be found, at JerySam.com". He is in charge of The Jerry Samuels Agency, a Philadelphia based local talent agency, which started in 1984.




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