||From the Vault...
"The Best Of Jim Stafford"
© PSM/Polygram Records
Spiders And Snakes
Nifty Fifty Blues
The Last Chant
A Real Good Time
16 Little Red Noses
And A Horse
I Ain't Sharin' Sharon
Jim Stafford related sites:
"The Best Of Jim Stafford"
The Best Of Jim Stafford contains 9 songs, mostly from his self-titled album, Jim Stafford, from 1972. However, two songs from the
original self-titled album are not in this collection: "My Girl Bill," and "Wildwood Weed." His biggest hit is there, "Spiders And
Snakes." Having all three of these hits on 45 when I was younger, what was also important were the B-sides to each hit. The "Spiders And
Snakes" B-side, was "Undecided" The "My Girl Bill" B-side, was "L.A. Mamma". And the B-side to "Wildwood Weed" was
"The Last Chant." All of the three mentioned hits, and their B-sides were all on the self-titled JIm Stafford 1974 album. However,
the self-titled album's "Undecided" wasn't released on the album. Therefore, The Best Of Jim Stafford's "Undecided" appears, and
it is definitely the song that I remember. "Undecided" was another (just like his others) novelty sounding record. "Undecided" was a slow
blues tune, with Stafford on vocals and banjo. The sound is rough, and quite interesting, and, of course, impressive (being that a banjo was the main
instrument in blues music). Jim Stafford had his own TV show in the 1970s, and it was more of a comedy show. Comedy was definitely in his career, as
he was a comedy writer for The Smothers Brothers Show. I remember watching his TV show, and he was definitely funny, just as his songs were.
Like "My Girl Bill," "Swamp Witch" was more of a "talking song." Jim Stafford had always been known to tell a good story in his songs.
"Swamp Witch" was his first hit. From the 45s I did have, "The Last Chant" is the only B-side that appears on this Best Of.
And, like "Swamp Witch," another talking song.
With a title such as "Your Bulldog Drinks Champagne," it definitely is another novelty song. Sounding more like Country on this song, and
definitely Country-sounding on the next track (and novelty'ish) -- "A Real Good Time."
"16 Little Red Noses And A Horse That Sweats" is really "Undecided." The story behind "Undecided," was that this song was
"undecided" in determining the song's title and lyrics. So, "Undecided" on this Best Of is really a bonus track, since it wasn't released
on the the self-titled Jim Stafford album. The beginning of "16 Little Red Noses And A Horse That Sweats" sounds like the famous song from
Deliverance, "Duelihg Banjos." Stafford puts his own spin on it. (Yes, the banjo is the main instrument on this song.) "I Ain't Sharin'
Sharon" is the ending song, and another novelty'ish tune.
Jim Stafford's songs were definitely novelty. He can be compared to other artists who were famous for novelty'ish songs -- Ray Stevens, and Roger
Miller. Stafford's style on most of these songs easily fits the old Country format. He only released two albums in the 1970s, and a third in 1993.
His debut album is available on CD, which is obvious, having the 3 hits he was famous for, especially "Spiders And Snakes." "Undecided"
is the main reason why I had to have this Best Of. It wasn't included on his self-titled album, being that the song was probably in its beginning
stages, and ended up being "16 Little Red Noses And A Horse That Sweats."
The Best Of Jim Stafford is not really a "complete" best of. For those who remember his tunes, "My Girl Bill" and "Wildwood Weed"
are not included here. The A and B sides on a Best Of or Greatest Hits, along with other tunes would be more complete. "Undecided" is one of those
unique songs, for those who enjoy uniqueness in music. The self-titled Jim Stafford is a must to have, especially for those (like myself) who
grew up having the 45s. Seven songs (of eleven) from the self-titled Jim Stafford album are on this Best Of: "I Ain't Sharin' Sharon,"
"16 Little Red Noses And A Horse That Sweats," "Spiders And Snakes," "The Last Chant," "Nifty Fifties Blues, "A Real Good Time," and "Swamp
Not Just Another Pretty Fool was released in 1975, and in 1993, New Deal. Two singles from his second album were released, one of them
was "Your Bulldog Drinks Champagne." Other singles were released in 1976 to 1978, but were not on his two previous albums. An anthology with these
non-album singles with the other hits and B sides would really make a complete compilation of Jim Stafford's music. Better yet, an anthology of his first
two albums, with A-sides, B-sides, and non-album tracks. He currently has his own theater, named The Jim Stafford Theatre. He has his own Jimmy Buffett
tribute band, Parrotville. You can visit his website/theatre, at JimStaffordTickets.com.
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