Proctor & Bergman: Give Us A Break (1977)|
Review from Benway's House of Firesign
"Give Us A Break" is the final full-length release from any of the Firesigns during the '70s. It is also perhaps THE most conventional of any of the Firesign releases (along with Proctor & Bergman's "What This Country Needs") as it is a completely straightforward comedy album. No stream-of-consciousness narratives, no involved plotlines, no fancy audio effects - just two-man sketches, some satirical, others simply silly.
As such, there isn't much to review other than the quality of the individual pieces. Luckily, most of them are quite strong. Highlights include: the Don Rickels-inspired "U. N. In Session" in which Peter blasts the assorted ethnic groups gathered together in the name of togetherness; "Brainduster Memory School" in which Phil demonstrates his system for keeping your memory as sharp as a razor (though his resembles a sieve); "Consumer Watchdog," a funny commentary of artificial substitutes for the most natural of products; and the supremely goofy commercial for "Sneezer's Chicken," made perfectly silly by Peter trotting out his high-pitched "Artie Choke" voice from "Bozos." Even the weakest pieces have a definite satirical point, and none outstay their welcome - "Chef Entree" and "Whale Oil" come to mind. There are no duds on the album - the worst one can say about a bit is that it is merely clever, without inspriing belly laughs.
"Give Us A Break" is a minor release, but an amusing one. It is unjustly overlooked next to Proctor & Bergman's epic "T.V. Or Not T.V." (along with "Roller Maidens From Outer Space," the best of the Firesign solo records). It's an album which even Firesign beginners can listen to and enjoy, chuckling throughout, without fear of getting lost or overwhelmed in a complex comedic tapestry.
-- Phil Buchbinder