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A Very Special Time

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Album Review

There are no laughs on this album by 83-year-old comedian Jonathan Winters, no funny characters speaking in strange accents. A Very Special Time is a record filled with philosophical recitations by Winters, spoken over string-filled easy listening music. Often, the pieces are rhymed poems, or, in effect, songs without melodies in which Winters reflects on life and love and aging. Especially aging, with death included. The theme of getting over someone's death — specifically that of the speaker — is prominent in such tracks as "Do Not Stand by My Grave and Weep" and the closer, "Miss Me - But Let Me Go." Not surprisingly, the tone often takes an inspirational or distinctly religious turn, as Winters recites the "23rd Psalm" and the "Serenity Prayer." Listeners may find these sentimental examples of homespun philosophy soothing and thought-provoking, as long as they do not approach the album expecting Winters' usual humor.


Born: 11 November 1925 in Dayton, OH

Genre: Comedy

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Jonathan Winters was an utter original, a wildly improvisational comic whose work careened from childlike prankishness to bitter satire and from bizarre sound effects to straight-faced moralizing — often all within the same bit. Mercurial and manic, Winters veered from character to character and premise to premise at breakneck speed, yet with balletic grace; for all of the seeming chaos inherent in his comedy, his aesthetic remained remarkably consistent and pure, his stream-of-consciousness...
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A Very Special Time, Jonathan Winters
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