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Li'l Abner

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Album Review

In a follow-up to their hit recording of music from My Fair Lady, Shelly Manne and his Friends (a trio with pianist André Previn, bassist Leroy Vinnegar, and the drummer/leader) recorded nine songs from the play Li'l Abner. Although Johnny Mercer and Gene DePaul wrote the score, none of the songs caught on except for the ballad "Namely You," and this LP (whose music has not been reissued yet on CD) was not a best-seller. The musicians are in fine form but the melodies are not too memorable (when was the last time anyone played "If I Had My Druthers" or "Progress Is the Root of All Evil"?). Actually the main reason to search for this album is for the hilarious photo on the cover.


Born: 11 June 1920 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Shelly Manne made a countless number of records from the 1940s into the '80s but is best-known as a good-humored bandleader who never hogged the spotlight. Originally a saxophonist, Manne switched to drums when he was 18 and started working almost immediately. He was with Joe Marsala's band (making his recording debut in 1941), played briefly in the big bands of Will Bradley, Raymond Scott, and Les Brown and was on drums for Coleman Hawkins's classic "The Man I Love" session of late 1943. Manne worked...
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Li'l Abner, Shelly Manne
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