Curb Your Tongue, Knave!

by: The Smothers Brothers

Many of the commercial folk groups dabbled in humor, particularly during personal appearances, so it was only a matter of time until a folk group came along who existed primarily for laughs. The Smothers Brothers were that group, and they were much more successful on albums than on singles because their routines often centered around a theme that carried throughout the LP, with recurring jokes and an internal logic that was lost when cuts were segregated out. Consequently, the brothers' recordings are better heard on their original albums than on anthologies. Curb Your Tongue, Knave! was the duo's highest-charting album and covers a variety of topics, from American history to big game hunting to ethnic Christmas traditions. Tom Smothers mistakes himself for a comic book hero on "Lonesome Traveler," mangles the tunes "Whispering" and "Nola" on "The Incredible Jazz Banjoist," and obliterates Spanish guitar styles on "Flamenco." When the Smothers join together in harmony for "Church Bells," they show that there is some real musical talent behind the funny business, but the highlights are the jokes, some of which were a little risqué for their time. ~ Greg Adams

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