The First Family, Vols. 1 & 2

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Huey
Legend has it that in his first public performance following the JFK assassination, Lenny Bruce defused a potentially volatile backlash without avoiding a subject he was eagerly expected to comment upon. Bruce walked onstage, shook his head sadly, and said only two words: "Vaughn Meader." The audience laughed uproariously, for Bruce had broken the tension by pointing out a truth that mattered far less in the grand scheme of things, but had a certain human poignancy nonetheless: the career of comedian Meader, whose uncanny JFK impression had made him a star, was over. Much of Meader's reputation rested on The First Family, an album of comedy sketches that good-naturedly ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Huey
Legend has it that in his first public performance following the JFK assassination, Lenny Bruce defused a potentially volatile backlash without avoiding a subject he was eagerly expected to comment upon. Bruce walked onstage, shook his head sadly, and said only two words: "Vaughn Meader." The audience laughed uproariously, for Bruce had broken the tension by pointing out a truth that mattered far less in the grand scheme of things, but had a certain human poignancy nonetheless: the career of comedian Meader, whose uncanny JFK impression had made him a star, was over. Much of Meader's reputation rested on The First Family, an album of comedy sketches that good-naturedly lampooned the Kennedys' family life and the Cold War hostilities that threatened to boil over during his term. The First Family was a substantial hit, going gold and topping the charts for three months; moreover, it won the 1962 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. The First Family, Vol. 2 was hastily assembled the following year to capitalize on the success of its predecessor, but Kennedy's death only a few months after its release put an end to the grieving nation's demand for Meader's talents. This 1999 Collectables two-fer reissues both First Family albums on one CD. The first volume is a classic among comedy recordings, and for a project so potentially indebted to its time period, it's surprising how well the material holds up. Producers Earle Doud and Bob Booker co-wrote the record with George Foster, and their well-crafted gags are intelligent and gently satirical, poking good-natured fun without turning the record into a fawning tribute. Naomi Brossart does an excellent job as Jackie, and there are great bits involving Caroline, John-John, Castro, and Khrushchev, but Meader's performance is amazing, and his accent absolutely dead-on; Rose Kennedy once said that she could close her eyes while listening to the record and think it was her son. Vol. 2 isn't quite as good -- the script was somewhat rushed, and simply not as sharp as The First Family, although it still had moments. With the work of Mort Sahl and Lenny Bruce paving the way for edgier satire, and with the Vietnam War undermining public faith in the government, The First Family's style of political comedy disappeared in a few short years witness the much less forgiving Nixon impressions of David Frye just a few years later. But even though it came from a more innocent era, its impeccable writing and performances don't really feel dated -- just flat-out funny.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/6/2007
  • Label: Rockbeat Records
  • UPC: 089353702526
  • Catalog Number: 7025

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 The Experiment (0:46)
  2. 2 After Dinner Conversations (5:08)
  3. 3 The Malayan Ambassador - Bob MacFadden (1:00)
  4. 4 Relatively Spring (0:39)
  5. 5 Astronauts - Bob MacFadden (1:00)
  6. 6 Motorcade (0:49)
  7. 7 The Party (0:47)
  8. 8 The Tour (6:41)
  9. 9 But Vote!! (0:23)
  10. 10 Economy Lunch - Bob MacFadden (5:19)
  11. 11 The Decision - Bob MacFadden (1:20)
  12. 12 White House Visitor - Mark Hunter (0:59)
  13. 13 Press Conference - Zamah Cunningham (2:37)
  14. 14 The Dress (1:08)
  15. 15 Saturday Night, Sunday Morning (4:20)
  16. 16 Auld Lang Syne (1:21)
  17. 17 Bedtime Story (1:43)
  18. 18 The Announcement (0:22)
  19. 19 An Evening with JFK - George Foster (5:39)
  20. 20 1958 (3:08)
  21. 21 The Trial - Edwin Bruce (1:25)
  22. 22 The Law (4:06)
  23. 23 The Crisis - Joe Silver (1:41)
  24. 24 The Concert (1:11)
  25. 25 The First Daughter (3:52)
  26. 26 Biography (0:53)
  27. 27 The First Family March (3:06)
  28. 28 Taxes (4:41)
  29. 29 The Movie - Edwin Bruce (1:05)
  30. 30 Caroline's First Date (2:38)
  31. 31 Stop the World - Joe Silver (1:21)
  32. 32 The Brothers Three (2:38)
  33. 33 1996 (1:52)
  34. 34 Equal Time (4:07)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
The First Family Primary Artist
Vaughn Meader Indexed Contributor
Archie Bleyer Musical Direction
Mark Hunter Track Performer
Naomi Brossart Track Performer
Stanley Myron Handelman Track Performer
Freda Holloway Track Performer
Jim Lehner Track Performer
Norma MacMillan Track Performer
Chuck McCann Track Performer
Barry Newman Track Performer
Linda Siegel Track Performer
Joe Silver Track Performer
Eugene Lowell Choir Director
Cast Track Performer
Bradley Bloke Track Performer
Edwin Bruce Track Performer
Sara Dolley Track Performer
Bob MacFadden Track Performer
Zamah Cunningham Track Performer
Technical Credits
Earle Doud Producer, Adaptation
Vaughn Meader Contributor
Bob Prescott Sound Effects
Archie Bleyer Musical Director
Mark Hunter Contributor
Frank Laico Engineer
John Quinn Engineer
George Foster Producer
Bob Booker Producer, Adaptation
Bradley Bolke Contributor
Naomi Brossart Contributor
Stanley Myron Handelman Contributor
Freda Holloway Contributor
Jim Lehner Contributor
Norma MacMillan Contributor
Chuck McCann Contributor
Barry Newman Contributor
Linda Siegel Contributor
Joe Silver Contributor
Robert Mack Producer
Edwin Bruce Contributor
Sara Dolley Contributor
Bob MacFadden Contributor
Ralph Curtiss Sound Effects
Zamah Cunningham Contributor
Chrimpshine Composer
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