Thursday, December 14, 2006
Last December, I was making the rounds online and came across Lee Hartfield's incredible blog Music You (Possibly) Won't Hear Anyplace. His entry of December 3rd of last year had a picture of the album cover that stayed with me for a long time (thanks Lee!).
That image came in handy when I found a copy of this album among a stack of kiddie records at a antique store in Valparaiso, Indiana. I'm not sure which purchase made me giddier; this album or the copy of "Sesame Street Disco"?
From the age of five, Alex Houston wanted to be a ventriloquist. He found his future partner in High Point, North Carolina and bought his dummy Elmer from a local sheriff for $50. Their career spanned 50 years!
They got their first break in 1954 on Jimmy Dean's first TV show, stayed there for five years, moved to Nashville and worked as an opening act to country stars like Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, Dolly Parton, and a newcomer named Charley Pride.
Pride and Houston worked together for three and a half years. It was during this partnership that this album was recorded and Charley graciously wrote the liner notes for the back cover.
This album was recorded in 1972 on Willex Records and they really, REALLY tried to push the title track of this album down your throat: the first track on each side of the album is "Here Comes Peter Cotton Claus"!
As for the rest of the album, it sounds like Houston had Elmer at his side, doing both voices all in one take. I think it would have sounded better (if such a thing is possible) if he recorded them separately - the ventriloquist's tight-lippedness voice of the dummy would have been less present.
This album (and the dummy) should have stayed in the box:
Alex Houston & Elmer - Here Comes Peter Cotton Claus
P.S. A Miss Renee Durham (who claims to be one of the lead kiddie voices on this album) left a comment concerning this album. But not here. Click on the link...