While I love Tom Lehrer, and he would be a solid #2 pick for me, I'm going with Allan Sherman. I think he really put parody on the map and probably had the most influence on Al's early work (i.e. food and TV-inspired song parodies). I find that when I'm not listening to Al, I often times will put my Allan Sherman playlist on shuffle and listen to that. I agree that "My Son, the Nut" is his most accessible and funny, but I also recommend the two earlier albums, as well: "My Son, The Folk Singer" and "My Son, the Celebrity". Some great stuff on those albums. . .I even like a lot of the "Jew-y" stuff. "Streets of Miami" and "My Zelda" are killer! After the "My Son" series his work becomes less consistent, but even "Allan in Wonderland" and "My Name Is Allan" contain some gems. His last two--"Allan Sherman Live!" and "Togetherness"--are the only two albums that are almost complete duds, IMO.
Tom Lehrer was more outwardly subversive, and certainly paved the way for Sherman (as Spike Jones and Stan Freberg likewise opened the door for Lehrer). I agree that "An Evening Wasted" is his best compilation, but "That Was the Year That Was" is also very good, and worth it all for "National Brotherhood Week". The "Tom Lehrer: Revisted" album is a little more hit-and-miss, but strong. Lehrer was more topical than Sherman, so much of his work suffers from being outdated, but you can still sense how sharp it was at the time simply by listening to the audience responses on certain songs.
I enjoy Freberg and Jones as well, but return to their stuff less often than the above. I haven't memorized their discography or anything, but familiar with much of their more famous output. Can definitely see their influence on Al, particularly Jones when it comes to his polka medleys or odd sound effects/instruments in his songs (e.g. gargling and kazoos in SLN.)
Last edited by mrmeadows
on Mon Aug 04, 2014 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.