Cd Reviews

Mar 222006
Authors: Hailey McDonald

Harland Williams targets Chewbacca, Kenny G on new album

4 out of 5 rammies

The last thing I expect when I pop in a CD is an assortment of extended monologues and audience laughter. But a comedy album can end up being one of the greatest investments made on an album.

Comedian Harland Williams, whose film debut as an unlucky police officer can be seen in “Dumb and Dumber,” has released his first recording of his “Har-Larious” stand-up performance.

You can expect plenty of laughs during a listen of “Har-Larious.” You can also expect a slew of cussing and middle school humor. As far as I know, there isn’t a standard for what makes something funny, but it’s hard to stifle your laughs when Williams goes on a rant about Chewbacca really being Kenny G under all that fur. Everyone knows that Chewbacca is an easy target for laughs, but Williams’ harsh critique of plastic surgery and those who choose to pursue it is nearly gut-busting.

Aside from making fun of Kenny G, it is hard to promote his other ‘Har-larious’ sketches considering the lewdness of it all.

Many comedians who produce their material in CD form end up sounding scripted or much of the content has been heard through other medias by most of the purchasing fans. Of course, Williams uses some old jokes that I heard more than a year ago on a late night show, but he also proves his comic clout by a long period of interaction with the audience… and by ‘interaction,’ I mean blatantly making fun of unsuspecting members in the live audience.

The laugh to dollars-spent ratio of “Har-larious” is well over what I expected. Don’t hesitate to check it out if you need a pick-me-up in your day.

UB40 delivers political message

3 out of 5 rammies

Fierce political statements and ballads of hippy love combined with reggae melodies automatically bring to mind none other than Bob Marley. Not in this case, the ’80s group that imprinted their name upon Generation Y with the hit “Red, Red Wine” introduces their newest original album “Who You Fighting For?”

Although I’d like to say that the album content is as addictive as their earlier tunes that still get adequate play on modern radio stations, the group doesn’t quite hit the mark. Maintaining the syncopation of reggae and jazz, the CD has a familiar feel and is quite easy to listen to. The lyrics attempt to inform the masses on worldly issues, a trend that is becoming more popular among pop and hip-hop artists. However, UB40 ends up sounding like an awkward combination of Kanye West and Jack Johnson. The government’s involvement in the “architects of war,” blood diamonds and the war on terror are only a few of the subjects addressed.

The lyrics may not be up to par, but the album screams summertime. If you are like me and can’t wait for the 90-degree weather, fruity drinks and flip-flop madness, then the ambiance of the CD gives allowance to any of its other flaws.

The band does a cover of “Groovy Situation” by Gene Chandler that approaches perfection. They dropped ‘groovy’ and changed the word to ‘good,’ which in my opinion was a fairly smart move considering ‘groovy’ hasn’t been taken seriously in about 30 years.

“Reasons” is also one of the better tracks on the album. It’s a cute love song paired with the magic of a prominent tambourine and hooking tune that no one could resist.

Fans of Sublime, Ben Harper, Pepper and Bob Marley will indulge in “Who You Fighting For?” Although it may take a heightened reggae appreciation, the album is one of the few that you can listen straight through, not skipping a song, even during the first listen.

While most of UB40’s fan base resides in the United Kingdom, the group has arranged some touring dates in the United States for later on in the spring to promote “Who You Fighting For” and their newly released greatest hits CD.

If you are looking for the perfect warm weather album, look up the new productions of UB40 to quench your sunshine longing.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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