Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

There's one thing you really need to know before buying this album, and that is that it only contains one polka track.

Well, imagine my disappointment after a cover like that.

Imagine also my delight at the inspired silliness of the other nine songs to be found on this 1986 release.

Addicted To Spuds is everything the title suggests, while Here's Johnny parodies El deBarge's also contemporary Who's Johnny, and features guest vocals from the one and only Ed McMahon.

As usual, Al's original compositions are well-represented here too, including the rare country number Good Enough For Now. The is the nearest that Al has ever got to releasing a serious ballad, and as such the joke lies in just how close this love song gets.

"Now, it seems to me I'm relatively lucky,
I know I probably couldn't ask for too much more,
I honestly can say that you're an above-average lady,
You're almost just what I've been looking for."

This penultimate track is eclipsed however by the CD's big finale - the sugar-coated Phil Spectre-esque extravaganza Christmas At Ground Zero.

"Everywhere the atom bombs are droppin',
It’s the end of all humanity,
No more time for last minute shoppin',
It's time to face your final destiny."

It's an incredibly catchy number to end the disc on, and over the years I've caught it going through my head on several occasions, which is a little frustrating, as it's not the kind of yuletide hymn that you can really get away with singing in public.

Speaking of non-singalongs, I wouldn't say that there are any actual duds in this collection, but some of Al's early material does go a bit more for funny voices and poking fun at easy targets (Toothless People). Still, it hardly notices among so much feel-good humour and first class production values.

All in all, I have to admit that I think this is a much better deal than that wall-to-wall polka concept would have been. Mind you, he'd arguably already done that on his debut album, which as I recall I rather enjoyed too…


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