My Son, the Greatest: The Best of Allan Sherman [CD]
The bad news is that Allan Sherman hasn't received the credit and praise he deserves. The good news is that his gifts and genius are manifest in abundance on this best of package. The word-playing godfather of the modern parody, Sherman's songs are definitely rooted in his Jewish culture. However, his humanity is so strong and universal that appeal crosses all boundaries. Whereas many parodists were biting and sarcastic, the portly Sherman was able to be hip and articulate, yet sound like everyman, helped by his very untrained voice and underlying vulnerability. He may have sung about the woes of the average person, but it was easy to decipher that he was also talking about himself. It is difficult to pick out favorites, but among the best numbers are the Ponchielli-based hit "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh," the "Frere Jacques" parody "Sarah Jackman," and the love song "Harvey and Sheila," based on "Hava Negila." Interspersed among these often hilarious songs are references to history, literature, Jewish culture, and art. Those who think Weird Al Yankovic started it all would be wise to check out this often unheralded contributor. Allan Sherman proved you could be hip and clean at the same time -- something that may be lost on today's audience. But that doesn't take away from his contribution, which is substantial and ready to be enjoyed by those willing to take the plunge.