The Three Faces of Al (1984)|
Review from Benway's House of Firesign
"The Three Faces of Al" is, in my humble opinion, the most underrated/forgotten Firesign Theatre recording of all time. This 1984 release on Rhino records, while not a full group effort (Dave Ossman doesn't appear, and of course, would be the icing on the cake) the others make up for it! I had thought the 1980's were dead for the Firesign, but this proved me dead wrong. It's one of their best.
I've rarely listened to a FST record where they were so obviously enjoying themselves! Pete Bergman's dead-pan intro throws you off, but the fun soon hits the fan. Phil's Rocky Rococo is done with a delicious fervor that is not equaled on ANY FST record. Phil Austin's Nick Danger is done as well as ever, and Pete Bergman is in top form juggling several characters in the same scenes. As Rocky says in the boat scene near the end: "There's a crowd behind me," referring to Bergman playing three characters at once. Thus, the "Three Faces of Al" (Bradshaw) culminating with Bradshaw (Bergman) shooting Nancy (Bergman) in a heated exchange and Nick (Austin) saying: "He shot herself!" It just doesn't get much better than that.
There's a wonderful song Rocky sings about "Opium Gum," and the anchovy gags fly. There's a commercial spot for "Don Rococo's Oriental Anchovy Eyes" that goes: "Pop 'em out, light 'em up, go away!" ('Don' being a title in Spain, formerly given to noblemen and gentlemen only, but now common in Mafia circles.) This is some of the best FST writing I've had the pleasure to listen to (over and over!)
"Three Faces..." has all the FST elements you look for: Comedy, puns, immersive world and originality. While there's very few FST records that aren't top notch, this one ranks right up top of the anchovy heap. I give it 4 out of 5 anchovy eyes!