Monday, May 9, 2011
Hudson & Landry: An Overview
My Dad had two of their albums in his collection for years. Every great once in a while, he'd play a few bits from them, and though I was pretty young and impressionable, a lot of what they were saying went over my head, although I loved their voices, and thought they'd make great cartoon voices. They reminded me of voices from cartoon segments I would see on Sesame Street, and they reminded me (respectively) of Jim Thurman and Bob Arbogast.
A little later on in years, I would take the albums up into my room, and play them. I discovered that these guys were brilliant! They had some very rapid-fire and witty repartee-isms that are sometimes hard to catch on the first listen, but are well worth listening back to again and again to catch them all. They had some great characters, set-ups and routines that were not like anything I had ever heard before or since. After finding one more album by them, I became a fan for life, and was always playing the albums, memorizing the routines, and turning them onto friends who'd never heard of them.
Their story of being a morning-man team on the L.A. radio station KGBS is pretty well-known, though I have never heard any tapes of the show to compare to their album output, but I imagine it was pretty hilarious.
Here's some great background info and pics of the guys:
http://www.wjma.radiohistory.net/WJMA Ron Landry tribute page.htm
Here is Bob Hudson's bizarre parody of "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haa!", credited as--you guessed it--"The Emperor":
Here is some detailed info on the Dore Records label, plus scans of the album covers and track-listings:
Now that that's out of the way, I wanted to pay tribute to these guys in the following pages, going over their four albums, one that they wrote for Jim Backus, three solo projects, and a boxed set containing material that was either unreleased or on single sides. I feel that these guys were greatly talented writers, masters of character voices, but vastly underrated. Maybe it wasn't as cutting-edge as Richard Pryor, George Carlin, or Cheech & Chong, but it was just as funny and memorable enough to hold its own.
Bob Hudson could do all kinds of voice characters from loud rednecks, sloppy drunks, a W.C. Fields that would give Rod Steiger a run for his money, and the gayest football player that ever hit the gridiron. Ron Landry was usually the straight-man, more often as a TV or radio interviewer, but could also do Groucho Marx, Peter Lorre, and various old ladies. Together, there was quite a lot they could do with different voice combinations like that!
I now have everything that they commercially recorded and released. I am always on the lookout for any TV show appearances, live tapes, radio shows, airchecks, or anything else related to them. If anyone out there has anything, I would definitely like to hear from you.
Special thanks to Lew Bedell of Dore Records (and also for a 1996 article he wrote for Goldmine magazine, shedding some light on these guys, and the recording of the albums), to Alan Beck and JD Dancygier at ITP Records and of the offical H&L website, www.hudsonandlandry.com
So with all of that said, let's take a ride to Ajaxville and share in some great adventures with Bob Hudson and Ron Landry....