Dickie Goodman – Long Live the King (review)

Dickie Goodman – Long Live the King (RockBeat) review

For 30 years, Dickie Goodman records were a mainstay on the charts.  In fact, he placed more novelty hits (17) than any other artist (hence the “king” in the CD title).  Long Live the King  collects 26 of his best-known tracks, compiled by Goodman’s son, Jon (Dickie sadly passed away in 1989).

Not many artists can say they created an entirely new form of record-making.  But, that’s just what Dickie Goodman did when he and his partner, Bill Buchanan, released “The Flying Saucer,” back in 1956.  It wasn’t really a song, rather a fictitious news report, using bits of other songs to answer questions – he called it a “break-in record.”  The track became a surprise, #3 hit, but also created controversy – was this stealing, or some new kind of art?  The courts sided with Goodman, and after parting ways with Buchanan, went on to release a dizzying number of similar records, all poking fun of the news of the day.

On the surface, these were just goofy records – Goodman’s nasally, New York delivery certainly didn’t sound like a real newscaster.  Yet, he had an incredible knack for capturing the spirit of the day – and nothing was off limits.  There were the spoofs on popular TV shows (“Batman and His Grandmother,” “Santa and the Touchables”), and blockbuster movies (“Star Warz,” “Hey ET,” “KONG”).  In fact, his greatest solo chart hit came with “Mr. Jaws,” successfully encapsulating the frenzy the country was in at the time of that movie’s release.

Goodman also dealt with social and political topics, relaying the unrest of the times in “On Campus,” while poking fun at the foibles of Richard Nixon in “Watergrate” and “Mr. President.”  By using the popular songs of the day in snippets of his fake news reports, these records work well as mini time capsules of particular events.

Because he released literally hundreds of records, it would be impossible to include everything.  There are a few head scratchers though – “Energy Crisis ’74” was one of his biggest hits, but is absent.  Also missing is the followup to Buchanan & Goodman’s first hit, “Flying Saucer The 2nd” and the original “The Touchables.”  Minor complaints, considering all this material is extremely rare.  Because these records were so much about that particular moment, Goodman never chose to archive his material – there are no known original tape sources for these tracks.  Most, if not all, have been transferred from vinyl records – but they all sound surprisingly good.

Dickie Goodman is probably the most underrated recording artist in history.  Because he wasn’t actually a “performer,” he never played Bandstand, or any concerts for that matter.  He didn’t even release many LPs.  His gift was the single record, capturing a particular moment, using an early form of sampling – way before those rap guys did it in the early Eighties.  Kudos to Jon Goodman and RockBeat Records for keeping Dickie’s music alive.  –Tony Peters