Jonathan & Darlene Edwards:
Rejoice, fans of Mrs. Miller, Florence Foster Jenkins, Leona Anderson, Moms Mabley & Phillis Diller: you can add yet another name to this list of masters of the fine art of awfull singing!
You can read about Jonathan and Darlene in "Incredibly Strange Music volume 2". Page 106 shows the original cover from their first 1957 LP "The piano artistry of...": a piano, and a player... with 2 left hands! The notes on their third album, "Sing along with..." say:
"If there seem to be a few added beats from time to time, don't be discouraged, and don't blame the record, but rather your lack of imagination"
First there's the piano "artistry" of mister Jonathan: he often misses keys, adds a dozen wrong ones, is very unpredictable indeed. He reminds me of a routine Victor Borge did, when he played some classical piece completely wrong.
Then there's the wonderfully awfull (or "woawfull") singing of miss Darlene; she sounds horribly tone-deaf! She just doesn't seem to be able to sing one bar without painfull mistakes...
But now for the big surprise: Jonathan has one very important thing in common with Borge: in real life, he's a very capable piano player! His real name is Paul Weston, and Darlene's real one is ... Jo Stafford! She's not tone-deaf at all, but merely very very gifted in singing just a little bit off-key. This really is a very difficult art: just try it for yourself; when you know how to sing the right way, you always automatically tend to sing in tune! Maybe they used a head phone to avoid any audio feedback of her own voice? Anyway, Stafford & Weston are running Corinthian records to spread both their serious work and their nutty Jonathan & Darlene thing.
All together, they made 5 LPs (titles listed below); most of the tracks on these 2 CDs are taken from "The piano artistry", "In Paris" (for which they received a Grammy comedy award in 1960) and "Sing along with"; 8 of the 10 tracks of that last one are featured here; as the title suggests, this one is a Mitch Miller spoof: in contrast with Jonathan and Darlene, the "gang" singers are always in tune, but they surely must have had a tough job in keeping themselves from bursting into laughter!
All songs are well known pop and jazz standards, except for their latest single, "Stayin' alive" from the Bee Gees, which is incredibly hilarious, and one of my favorites, probably because I always found the BG's themselves rather silly.
If you shouldn't have guessed it already by now: this are 2 great must-have CD's with incredibly absurd music!
It's a pitty that each CD only contains 14 songs; if they had used the full capacity of each CD, almost all of the fine works of Jonathan and Darlene would be available on CD... but I guess we should be happy that at least these 28 silly beauties are here. One last thing: the covers of the 2 CD's (both have the same picture) show a piano, and a player... with 2 right hands.
Jonathan and Darlene Edwards: "Jonathan and Darlene's greatest hits"
CD, Corinthian Records 101CD, USA (P)1987, 36:16 minutes
Jonathan and Darlene Edwards "Jonathan and Darlene's greatest hits - volume II"
CD, Corinthian Records 103CD, USA, (P)1993, 34:28 minutes
both available by direct mail-order from:
Corinthian Records, PO Box 6296, Beverly Hills, CA. 90212, USA
I love Paris 
- Dizzy fingers 
- Take the "A" train 
- You're blase 
- Alabama bound 
- Nola 
- I am woman
- Don't get around much anymore
- The last time I saw Paris 
- Honeysuckle Rose 
- Autumn in New York 
- Be my little baby bumble bee 
- April in Paris 
- Stayin' alive
- Cocktails for two
- Tiptoe through the tulips 
- Ain't misbehavin' 
- The object of my affections 
- Five foot two, eyes of blue 
- Sophisiticated lady
- Play a simple melody
- I'm beginning to see the light
- For me and my gal 
- La vie en rose 
- Pretty baby 
- Paris in the spring 
- That certain party 
- It's magic 
|Numbers in [brackets] refer to the original albums:
- The piano artistry of Jonathan Edwards (Columbia CL 1024)
- In Paris (Columbia CL 1513)
- Sing along with Jonathan and Darlene Edwards (RCA LSP 2495)
- Songs for sheiks and flappers (Dot DLP 25792),
in 1975 reissued as "The American popular song" (ABC WGAP-68014)
- Darlene remembers Duke, Jonathan plays Fats
© Johan Dada Vis (except where noted) all rights reserved