Sunday, March 16, 2008

Elect Slappy White For Vice President

LAFF Records-A190 LP
Copyright 1975
It's Better to run with a black man...than from one!

In 1969, Time magazine, declared Black Can Be Funny and repeated a couple of Redd Foxx and Slappy White jokes:
Javelin Catcher. The Laugh-In producers put together a whole hour of such material, a sort of all-black Laugh-In called Soul, which NBC ran as a special earlier this season. In a typical bit, Redd Foxx told Slappy White of the first Negro athletic-scholarship winner at the University of Mississippi —"He's a javelin catcher." White observed that Oct. 27 is a Negro holiday — "That's the day when the new Cadillacs come out."

In 1970, Time returns with an article exploring the communications aspect of Black humor. Slappy White:
Three-button-suit-and-watermelon material now has mainly nostalgic value. Black laughter currently reflects a burgeoning self-confidence, an emerging sense of pride and power. It also reflects an understanding that, however unjustly, many whites are tired of being made to feel guilty. Says Peter Long, advertising director of Harlem's Apollo Theater: "Five or six years ago, people were embarrassed to be conservatives. Now there's no shame in it." Indeed, as Slappy White points out, "The swing is away from racial humor, because people won't laugh at talk about violent confrontation. They don't see anything funny about the Panthers."

Mr. White, who passed away in 1995, I remember from the Sanford and Son show (he was a contemporary of Redd Foxx and they appeared on the same label) and Friar's Roasts. I don't remember whether he was funny. Unfortunately, this album isn't that funny. Only vaguely political, the idea of running for vice-president is mostly an excuse to repeat old and tired jokes with a smattering of dope humor. Even his timing doesn't seem that great, though he occasionally shocked a chuckle out of me -- the Little Richard crack being a good example. A few references elude me. Asked who was his first choice for running mate, Mr. White replies "Nancy Wilson, but she out ran me." Huh? But his reason why the black vote was so low is excellent: "Because it's hard to write with a ballpoint pen on wax paper over butter."

Picked this up because I recognized his name. And being a political year, with a black candidate, I thought a black comedian's political album from 1975 would be interesting. Unfortunately, it didn't really work for me. Maybe your take will be different.

Regarding the 1975 date. A number of the references sound earlier and for a 1975 record that mentions Nixon a handful of times, there is nothing about Watergate. There is a 1972 LP with the same name and a different cover. My guess is this is a rerelease of the '72 album.

The tracks are cleanly separated on the album but not named. The names listed below are my own based on the content.

***With all the Disneyland stuff I'm putting up, perhaps I should be clear and state that this record is not small kid appropriate. Consider it rated R.***

Side 1
  1. We proudly present the next Vice-President of America
  2. My luck is terrible
  3. Put a Polack in the White House
  4. Press conference
  5. Why was the black vote so low?
  6. War on poverty
  7. The good of the country
  8. Will there ever be a woman in the White House?

Side 2
  1. Before I get into my campaign speech
  2. Speaking of hot pants
  3. Afro haircut
  4. Are there any black holidays?
  5. Now that the voting is over

Liner Notes (I did my best to recreate the schizophrenic typography)
1976 BI-CENTENNIAL Election: What better way to exemplify our country's progress than a Black and White man running on the Democratic ticket for PRESIDENCY and VICE-PRESIDENCY of these UNITED STATES! (Ain't that sump-in??)

The Great Sovereign State of Alabama, whose Civil Rights Laws have been unparalleled, has brought fort a Great leader; a fair and impartial man, an unbiased and unprejudiced man -- Alabama proudly gives you GEORGE WALLACE -- A MAN WHO IS NONE OF THESE THINGS! Through George's infinite insight into the racial complexities of today's world, he has decided "TIS WISER TO RUN WITH A BLACK MAN THAN FROM ONE"...(How's that for smart thinkin'?)...George Wallace reasoned that he needed a MAN of impeccable integrity, insuperable intellect, a man of class, a gentleman and scholar, but who? Aahhh, who ELSE could better meet these qualifications than the incomparable SLAPPY WHITE????

His years have been hard and he has formed firm deep rooted beliefs in the AMERICAN DREAM. Being a conscientious Citizen, an issue of major concern to MR. WHITE is deceit; the intentional misrepresentation that has become a dominant factor in our political scene, the fraudulent activities that govern an astounding majority of our political leaders. This wave of hidious injustices that has infiltrated all avenues of our political system is monstrous -- and MUST be dealt with -- NOW -- SLAPPY WHITE is the man that CAN and WILL -- DEAL!!

Overwhelmed by the desperate cries of his fellow countryman, plagued by public demand, SLAPPY can no longer resist the CALL to serve the America he so loves. Therefore, without further hesitation, SLAPPY joins the race for Vice-President. Campaign headquarters have been carefully selected and have been established in one of the plusher gambling casinos in LAS VEGAS. (After all, if you've got to DEAL and you've decided to PLAY, where else would be more logical?) His campaign will be conducted with fun and satirical wit. SLAPPY attacks the disease of hate and bigotry with ridicule and offers a Platform of total Honesty and Commitment.

That's right, with SLAPPY WHITE there need be no worry of BROKEN PROMISES -- no despair over UNFULFILLED COMMITMENTS -- How can we be so sure? -- LISTEN TO THE ALBUM, MAN...SLAPPY promises you NOTHING...and commits himself to NOTHING but HIS OWN PLEASURE (Now, now, ain't that better than being LIED to?) Besides, his liberal views on legalizing marijuana guarantees heavy votes for he and Wallace.

SLAPPY WHITE, a Man who is not afraid to stand and be counted -- a Man not afraid of being LAFF-ed at -- and -- can lead the LAFF-ter in a Good Cause -- THE CASUE OF FUN!!

After you've checked out this album, I'm sure you will join LAFF and cast your vote for SLAPPY WHITE for "VICE-PRESIDENT."
Shelby Meadows Ashford


Producer: David Drozen
Executive Producer: Louis Drozen
Artwork: Melodye Benson

I believe that Melodye Benson might be this award-winning childrens's book author/illustrator. Can't find information on Ashford or the Drozens. My guess is that they're the LAFF Record producers.

Here's a Laff Records Illustrated Discography.

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