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ARSCLIST  June 2009

ARSCLIST June 2009

Subject:

Re: Vaughn Meader and Lenny Bruce, was New LoC Recording Registry

From:

Michael Biel <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 12 Jun 2009 10:51:04 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (83 lines)

From: Lou Judson <[log in to unmask]>
> I had to look it up as I never thought about Meader after Kennedy... 
> this was on Wiki:


Wikipedia is a totally unreliable source.  Sales plummeted because the
two albums were DELETED by Cadence.  Archie Blyer immediately asked for
the albums to be returned by the stores, and they were never
remaindered.  The listings were removed from Schwann without the
customary black diamond so that they would not appear in yet another
issue of the catalog.  Of course copies have been in every garage sale
pile of LPs for over 40 years, and in my research on it I have copies
from 8 of the 10 U.S. pressing plants that Cadence used, plus Canadian
and British pressings, and three reissues.  So it is hardly unavailable.
 

As for Meader's career, HE cancelled his appearances in the immediate
aftermath.  The typecasting of him was rather unfair, but his best
chance would have been to do what George Carlin did when he wanted to
change his performing persona -- grow a beard.  I do believe he did that
much later in his life, but it would have helped if his picture on the
"Have Some Nuts" album didn't look like JFK.  There were many other JFK
imitators, and they were not typecast.  The album producers Bob Booker
and Earl Doud went on to make many, many political comedy albums, and
the fact that they had produced "The First Family" was always considered
a feather in their caps.  They even put out an album "The NEW First
Family".  

By the way, despite charting high on the Billboard STEREO charts, stereo
copies of the two First Family albums as well as My Son the Folk Singer
are very rare.  Of the thousands of copies of each that I have seen, I
have only three stereo copies of the 1st First Family, and one each of
Vol 2 and My Son.  During the phenominal sales period for these albums
Dec 62 thru 63 I never saw one stereo copy of any of these in dozens of
major stores in the NYC area.  I think that the reissues of the two
First Family albums have been mastered off of mono vinyl pressings.  

Mike Biel  [log in to unmask]


======= 

Assassination aftermath

After John F. Kennedy was killed in Dallas, Texas, in November, 1963, 
sales of The First Family albums plummeted, and stores removed the 
records from their shelves as the nation went into mourning. Meader 
and others commented through the years that the assassin's bullet 
killed not only Kennedy, but also Meader (or, Meader's career). His 
act was no longer in demand and even appearances that were already 
booked—including those for the Grammy Awards show, the Joey Bishop 
show, and To Tell the Truth—were canceled.

According to several sources, avant-garde comedian Lenny Bruce 
appeared at a New York nightclub the day of Kennedy's assassination. 
As if testing his audience's readiness to find something funny so 
soon after tragedy, Bruce was silent for several moments before 
announcing, "Vaughn Meader is screwed!" [3] Certainly, Meader 
discovered that he was so completely typecast as a Kennedy 
impersonator that he could not find anyone willing to hire him for 
any of his other talents. He recorded comedy albums for Verve 
Records, including sketches on almost anything except the Kennedys, 
but sales were virtually nonexistent.



I can just imagine Bruce at that moment... Meader had a sad ending.

Lou Judson • Intuitive Audio
415-883-2689


On Jun 11, 2009, at 3:07 PM, Tom Fine wrote:

>
> Also what about comedy albums? "The First Family" won a Grammy, 
> charted for weeks and has the whole interesting story of Vaughn 
> Meder's ill-fated career. George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Lenny 
> Bruce, Bill Cosby, and so many other popular, commercially 
> successful and socially relevant recordings.
>
> -- Tom Fine

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