Pop songwriter and studio wizard Jerry Samuel's 1966 novelty masterpiece "They're Coming To Take Me Away" was perhaps the toughest act to follow in the history of pop music. And, unfortunately for those of us spoiled by this work of Top 40 brilliance--a wonderful combination of Dolly Kay's 1949 "Hooray! Hooray! I'm Going Away" and Edgar Varese siren effects--Samuels never concocted anything remotely in the same league.
So, is this collection a waste of money? Not at all. There are amusing, if fairly ordinary novelties; there are ingenious productions... and we're talking about Jerry (Napoleon XIV) Samuels, the man who gave us the greatest novelty track of all time. So, if nothing else, purchasing this CD is a way of saying "Thank you" in the best possible way--from the wallet.
Samuels addicts may want to track down his two big pop hits--1954's "To Ev'ry Girl, To Ev'ry Boy" by Johnny Ray, and the considerably better "In the Shelter of Your Arms" (1966) for Sammy Davis, Jr. The Dolly Kay track mentioned above is also essential Samuels-history listening. Too bad they weren't included on this collection!