June 19 - 25, 2022
Year of Release: 1999
Ballad Of The Black Beret
Rev. Jackson's Jailhouse Vote
Return With Censure
Great Moments In
A Free Society
The Second Amendment
Simpletons (I'm A Winner)
Flower Children Gone
A Poetic Moment
Take A Number Juanita
Flowers Back In Arkansas
I Won't Dance
You'll Be Lonesome Tonight
Remember The Children
All My Shady Friends
It's OK To Spank
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Is Politics a joke? Well, it seems that way, as comedian Paul Shanklin released various "Political Comedy" albums, starting when President Bill Clinton was in
office. Simply Reprehensible was his fifth album released, in 1999. Being a comedian, Shanklin would also be an impressionist, impersonating Clinton, as
well as other politicians. I don't exactly remember how I discovered Paul Shanklin, my guess would probably be on a Dr. Demento program, or maybe he was featured on
a radio or TV show at the time. He has released 15 albums in this style of comedy.
There are 32 total tracks, 14 parody songs, and 18 skits. The skits are pretty much like Saturday Night Live sketches. Several skits are based on James
Carville. Carville is an American political consultant, author, media personality, and Democratic Party strategist. He successfully managed the first presidential
campaign (1991–92) of Democratic candidate Bill Clinton. His book, And the Horse He Rode In On: The People v. Ken Starr (1998) is discussed in "C-Spam
Bookquotes," as "Carville" is not favorable Ken Starr. "Carville Shakespeare" continues the lashing on Starr. In "Free Society," "Carville"
teams up with "Larry Flynt" -- continuing the bashing of Starr. "Carville" goes door-to-door "Remember The Children," collecting guns, fatty foods, and
subversive literature such as Bibles from the homes of soccer moms. "E.D." features "Bob and Elizabeth Dole," "The Second Amendment" (the right to bare
arms) - guns or the right to bare arms of the body, in "Clinton's" view? "That's Disgusting" is a phone call, in which "Clinton" is brought to his attention
an "embarrassing moment." Of course, we are thinking of his involvement with Monica Lewinsky. But in the end, it is really about Clinton encouraging the use of
tobacco (cigars). Oh wait, that "story" of cigars and Monica....
However, the least-to-listen-to skits are the ones with the "Reverend Jesse Jackson" -- "A Poetic Moment," and the song parody of Elvis' "Jailhouse
Rock" -- "Rev. Jackson's Jailhouse Vote." Most of the other skits are basically "Commercial Spots," where you could either take them or leave them.
But probably the best of those "commercials" would be the parody to the movie Star Wars -- (Ken) "Starr's War." Imagine this "all-star cast": Bill
Clinton as Loose Skirtchaser, Ted Kennedy as Loose's mentor Obe-Drunk Kennedy. Janet Reno as the large, hairy Sue-tobacco; Barney Frank as RU-Me2, James Carville as
James So-Loud, and Albert Gore Jr., in a very special cameo appearance, as the void of space.
But really the best tracks are the song parodies. Sure, some are better than others, but it's just funny to hear Clinton-related issues in well-known songs.
And, what makes it even more great, is the impersonation of "Bill Clinton" in some the songs, by Paul Shanklin. Shanklin gets that "cracked voice" of Clinton,
singing in perfect form. His impersonation of Elvis songs is quite good, as he mixes both Elvis and Clinton's voices.
|"Ballad Of The Black Beret"||"Ballad Of The Green Berets"--S/Sgt. Barry Sadler|
|"Rev. Jackson's Jailhouse Vote"||"Jailhouse Rock"--Elvis Presley|
|"Return With Censure"||"Return To Sender"--Elvis Presley|
|"Rose Garden"||"Rose Garden"--Lynn Anderson|
|"Viagra"||Walter Brennan ?|
|"Simply Reprehensible"||"Simply Irresistable"--Robert Palmer|
|"Unconvictable"||"Unforgettable"--Nat King COle & Natalie Cole|
|"Where Have Flower Children Gone"||"Where Have All The Flowers Gone"--Kingston Trio|
|"Take A Number, Juanita"||"Take A Number, Maria"--R.B. Greaves|
|"Flowers Back In Arkansas"||"Flowers On The Wall"--The Statler Brothers|
|"I Won't Dance"||"I Can't Dance"--Genesis|
|"You'll Be Lonesome Tonight"||"Are You Lonesome Tonight"--Elvis Presley|
|"All My Shady Friends"||"All My Rowdy Friends"--Hank Williams Jr.|
Although "Rose Garden" is the original parody title, it has "Clinton" working in the White House rose garden. "Viagra" sounds like a Walter Brennan
track; my recollection of Brennan, was his famous "hit" - "Old Rivers." However, it does sound familiar to Pink Floyd's "The Trial" (from The
Wall) - especially the lyrics "Toys in the attic, i am crazy..." "Where Have Flower Children Gone" sure sounds like the Kingston Trio.
Other skits (better than others) involve a recorded phone message ("Los Alamos"), The Simpsons ("Simpletons [I'm A Winner]), getting pulled over for
speeding, and asking the officer how fast HE was speeding ("Nightmare"), a flashback to the '60s ("War Protest"), visiting Montana and preparing
for the year 2000 ("Montana (Y2K)"), and child discipline ("It's OK To Spank").
The song parodies are the highlights, and the skits are funny, yet some skits are better than others. Paul Shanklin has accomplished the skits + song parodies
throughout the albums he has released, using this political satire. And in all's fairness, it's the song parodies that makes each recorded album. Simply
Reprehesible was Shanklin's fifth political comedy album, and the last involving "Bill Clinton." He moved on with the sixth album, Vice Vice Baby, as
Al Gore would be the Democratic candidate to run for president after Bill Clinton's two terms. Shanklin's next album was The Usual Suspects, involving
Bill Clinton, Al Gore, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Ossama Bin Laden, and other political and celebrities. John Kerry would be the next running candidate in the next
Presidential run, as Shanklin released Mama Told Me Not To Run. Talk Radio Classics, Volumes 1 and 2 would focus on talk show hosts, such as Rush
Limbaugh and Larry King. Politicians and Celebrites would keep continuing, and so would Shanklin releasing albums based on them, through the year 2010.
Of course, more presidential debates and elections have followed, yet we haven't seen any further Paul Shanklin albums, reflecting the years 2011 to the present.
Politics is tough to make fun of. In the past, Vaughn Meader presented a comedic look at the Kennedys - The First Family. (This was released before
Kennedy's assasination.) Rich Little also released a political comedy album -
Unclear and President Danger. (This album wasn't as memorable as either
Meader's or Shanklin's, however, Rich Little was famous for his impersonations of celebrities and politicians, which made his career.) But it seemed at the time,
to make fun of the politicians, and Bill Clinton was it. Although many would claim that Clinton was a good president, his scandal with Monica Lewinksy would be
what he would be remembered for. Although they tried to impeach him, he remained in presidential office, to complete his two terms. Al Gore would be the Democratic
presidential candidate, vs. Republican candidate, George W. Bush. Bush would win, despite the recounts, and the results from the state of Florida. Putting all
opinions aside, Paul Shanklin's comedic look at political satire is entertaining. Although some may not refer this as "comedy" for those more serious into politics.
After G.W. Bush, was Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and currently, Joe Biden. Nowadays, politics isn't considered funny, as we have all encountered serious events
such as 9/11, the captures of both Sadam Hussein, and Bin Laden. And the controversial results for both the deciding winners of (Hillary) Clinton vs. Trump, and
Trump vs. Biden.
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