Sunday, November 11, 2007

Trust Me

Information from the back cover:

1977 GRT Corporation

Written and produced by Hans Petersen

The players
  • Hans Petersen as Pres. Jimmy Carter
  • Bill Conkright as Billy Carter, Jody Powell, others
  • June Stewart as Roslynn Carter, others
  • Matt Stovall as the pschiatrist, accents, others
  • The pickers: Bill Weathers (banjo), Howard Simpers (piano), Sam Hobbs (fiddle)

Executive producers: Dick Heard & Nelson Larkin. Recorded November 19, 1976 and March 29, 1977 at International Recording Studios, North Augusta, S.C.

Who's Hans?
Hans Petersen and his wife Betty live in Augusta, Georgia, where he is a morning radio announcer. A native of Pensacola, Florida, Hans (rhymes with Fonz) is a former Peace Corps volunteer in Africa and has worked in radio and television since the age of fifteen. The voice of Jimmy Carter has been a regular feature of Hans' radio program since the New Hampshire primary. After the election, Betty said, "Why don't you make an album about Carter?" So he did,

Recording, editing & mixing engineers: Jimmy Burch, Bruce Albertine, Steve Logan, Ronnie Dean, Ed Hudson, and Richard Masei.

There's not much information on this record out on the intertoobs, so this was probably a regional hit and quickly disappeared. Luckily, I've held onto my copy since 1977. Trust Me is a Vaughn Meaderesque take on a Jimmy Carter White House, filled with pretty much every southern stereotype you can think of. Yes, there are jokes about grits and peanuts, Amy carter selling overpriced sandwiches to the press, jokes about how unlikely it is that Carter became president, and apparently Carter's inability to do anything without first consulting the polls. And even though this was recorded in a studio and all the laughter is canned, some of this is still funny. Not to be missed is the routine that I'm convinced was the influence for David Letterman's Oprah-Uma routine at the Oscars. I'm sure you'll agree.

Becasue there are 17 tracks, I'll release these over 3-4 days so you enjoy them at leisure.

Side One
1. Intro :25
OK, there the first banjo joke

2. Southernizing the White House 4:18
I'm guessing here, but I'm thinking few people reading this remember Robert Hall stores. The funny thing is, at the time this was recorded, they were in the process of being liquidated. This track starts a running joke about Jimmy Carter and nicknames.

3. The Interpreter 2:06
"I suppose it could be, what do the polls say?" I bet that joke has been used for every president and it's always funny.

4. Miss Lillian 1:13
Just like in real life, Miss Lillian is a bright spot on this album.

5. Call the President: 25
This one still makes me chuckle. Jokes, like prom dates, are often best when they're cheap and easy.

6. The Press Conference 2:36
The Amy Carter joke works best if you remember news stories about her, at age 8, selling lemonade and sandwiches to newsmen. Also, why Jimmy doesn't have to keep a promise

7. The Psychiatrist
Pretty good bit that drifts off without a clear punchline.

8. The Spat
Mr. and Mrs. Carter have a fight. Another routine that ends prematurely.

9. The Advisor
Jimmy Carter wonders if he'll be reelected.

Side Two
10. The Press Secretary
Did he say lambinated? Did you know all southerners were ignant hicks? Because they are and it's funny.

11. I've Got A Secret
The priest line easily makes this my favorite track.

12. Idi, Meet Eddie
This is the track that I'm convinced influenced David Letterman's Oprah/Uma Oscar routine. Someone else besides me owned this album. Compare them and dare tell me I'm wrong.

13. Call the President 2
An honest to god funny joke.

14. The Plane to Nashville
Brother Billy goes to the airport

15. Call The President 3
How did this guy get past the switchboard

16. The State Suppah
Yay! Miss Lillian is back! Though I've never heard anyone say "porch-a-ko." Also includes some of the most offensively stereotyped Chinese and Mexican accents (don't miss the musical cue on the fadeout). I've always liked syrup on mine.

17. Goodnight
They laughed years ago when you said you wanted to be the president.



Christine Pressley (Walker) Ikeazor said...

Does International Recording Studios in North Augusta, SC still exist?


Will Nichols said...

I had this on 8 track - unfortunately, it was lost when hurricane Ike destroyed my beach house. Thanks for posting these clips!!

Greg Peterson said...

It was my honor to work with Hans Petersen as his morning news guy on WGAC.
My last name is Peterson - not Petersen (some wondered).
Also worked with June Stewart (where is she now?) and the late Matt Stovall (he was my news director at the time).
Bless you Hans.
I remember making a mistake on the Master's (Augusta National) Tournament Par 3 times - that Hans turned into a funny joke saving my ass.
Anyone remember "Farmer Chambers" - who did farm report live - in his own southern drawl special way - before Hans took to the air at 6 a.m.

Greg Peterson said...

Now that Vox has closed - Where can I listen to these clips

Trey Bunn said...

Greg: Some (but not all) of the tracks are available on YouTube on this channel:

Also, just to clarify something in the original post, the laughter isn't canned. It's a small in-studio audience (my guess would be people who worked at the studio), and if you listen closely to the rhythm of the actors, you can hear them playing against the laughter (like when Petersen hesitates on one of his lines to allow for more laughter). And the crowd's reactions are different as time goes along. The most prominent example is the reaction to the Gerald Ford joke in "The Advisor."

There is, however, quite a bit of choppy editing, and that at times makes both the actors and the audience sound unnatural.

When said...

Too bad these links no longer work. I would love to hear this album again. I remember my dad having it as an 8-Track.

mllefifi said...

I spent my high-school and college years in Augusta, GA, and latched on to Hans Petersen's broadcasts. I distinctly remember that special morning when Mary-Louise Howe and Captain Pequod had their wedding.

With reference to "Trust Me," I attended, with my mother, the live recording of the performance that became this comedy album, so, it wasn't limited to studio people. As I recall, the venue was rather like a small theater.

There's a little joke from the live performance that was edited out of the album, as I recall: a reference to the "Wrens International Airport."

You might search YouTube for audio selections from the album.