- Number of Discs: 2
- Released: July 2, 1996
- Originally Released: 1996
- Label: Rhino
Q - 10/96, p.1823 Stars
- Good - "...Volume 1...became the Monty Python cult of its day....the put-down of politicians' cynical election tactics in 'Take An Indian To Lunch' is still relevant....The newly recorded Volume 2...uses...the same style and...running jokes to take the story up to World War One..."
Tracks on Disc 1:
- 2.Columbus Discovers America: "It's a Round Round World"
- 3.Pilgrim's Progress : "Take An Indian To Lunch"
- 4.The Thanksgiving Story (Under The Double Turkey)
- 5.The Sale Of Manhattan: "Top Hat, White Feather, And Tails"
- 6.The Boston Tea Party
- 7.Declaration Of Independence: "A Man Can't Be Too Careful What He Signs These Days, A"
- 8.The Midnight Ride Of Paul Revere
- 9.Betsy Ross And The Flag: "Everybody Wants To Be An Art Director"
- 10.The Discovery Of Electricity
- 11.Washington Crosses The Delaware (Command Decision)
- 12.Yankee Doodle Go Home (Spirit Of '76)
- 13.The Battle Of Yorktown
- 14.Finale: "So Long, Friend..."
Tracks on Disc 2:
- 1.Intro & Overture
- 2.Madison, Jefferson, Franklin & Osbourne: The First Advertising Agency (Part 1)
- 3.Madison, Jefferson, Franklin & Osbourne
- 4.Madison, Jefferson, Franklin & Osbourne (Part 2)
- 5.America! America!
- 6.Madison, Jefferson, Franklin & Osbourne (Part 3)
- 7.Rumplemeyer's Horseshoes: The Francis Scott Key Story
- 8."Rumplemeyer's Horseshoes"
- 9.Stephen Foster, Beloved Songwriter
- 10.Samuel F.B. Morse Sends The First Telegram
- 11.Abe Lincoln In Analysis
- 12."Show Folk"
- 13.Abe Lincoln At Home In The White House
- 14.Barbara Frietchie, Martyr Of The Year
- 15.Shoot If You Must
- 16.Lincoln At Shiloh, With General Grant
- 17.The As Long As You're Up / Sober Life's A Hard Life, A / Appomattox Courthouse Bar & Grill
- 18.There'll Never Be Another War
- 19.Custer's Last Stand
- 20.Alexander Graham Bell And The First Phone Call
- 21.Thomas Edison Invents The Lightbulb! The Phonograph! (Part 1)
- 23.Thomas Edison Invents The Lightbulb! The Phonograph! (Part 2)
- 24.Planned Obsolescence
- 25.The Wright Brothers At Kitty Hawk
- 26.Henry Ford Invents Detroit
- 27.Perseverance (Reprise)
- 28.The Sinking Of The Lusitania
- 29.Two Tin Pan Alley Songwriters
- 30.The U-Boat / Guns Of August
- 31.Hello, Peace, Hello
- 32.There'll Never Be Another War (Reprise)
- 33.America! America! (Reprise)
Personnel includes: Stan Freberg (vocals, sound effects); Paul Frees (vocals, spoken vocals); Colleen Collins, Jesse White, Marvin Miller, Peter Leeds, June Foray, Byron Kane, Helen Kleeb, Ken Sullet, Walter Tetley, Barney Phillips, Shep Menken, John Frank, Peter Forster, Maurice Dallimore, David Ogden Stiers, Lorenzo Music, Donavan Freberg, Donna Ebsen, Naomi Lewis, Donna Crean, John Crean, Harry Shearer, Tyne Daly, Sherman Hemsley, William Woodson, John Goodman, The Jimmy Bryant Singers, The Jud Conlon Singers (vocals); Corey Burton (spoken vocals); Billy May (arranger, conductor); Willie Schwartz (saxophone); Uan Racey (trumpet); Irv Cottler (drums); Jerry Williams (percussion); Maurice Kelly, Fayard Nicholas (tap dancing); Jimmy MacDonald, Ray Erlenborn (sound effects); Bandit.
Producers: Ken Nelson, Stan Freberg.
Engineers include: John Kraus, Terry Jennings, Paul Mitchell.
Disc 1 orginally released on Capitol (SM-1573) in 1961. Disc 2 recorded at Wilder Bros. Recording Studio, Los Angeles, California between December 1995 and March 1996. Includes liner notes by Stan Freberg, Dr. Demento and Ray Bradbury.
Personnel: Stan Freberg (sound effects); Ray Erlenborn (sound effects).
Recording information: Wilder Bros. Recording Studio, Los Angeles, CA (12/1995-03/1996).
Director: Stan Freberg.
Photographers: Harry Langdon; Roger Karnbad; Bill Bridges.
Unknown Contributor Roles: David Ogden Stiers; William Woodson; June Foray; Jesse White; Lorenzo Music; Harry Shearer; Jimmy Bryant Singers; Peter Leeds; Naomi Lewis; John Goodman; Sherman Hemsley; Tyne Daly.
Arranger: Billy May.
Even though it took Stan Freberg three-and-a-half decades, he successfully updated the irreverent and historically challenged masterpiece Presents the United States of America, Vol. 1: The Early Years (1961). With tongue firmly planted in cheek, Freberg and his all-star company take on some of the greatest tales and incidents from the annals of U.S. history. The luminous cast boasts players from Freberg's hit novelty 45s and his short-lived, self-titled weekly radio series, such as Peter Leeds and June Foray, alongside the equally lauded voice-over talents of Jesse White and Paul Frees, and the musical director Billy May. The troupe reenact behind-the-scenes incidents beginning (appropriately enough) at the beginning with "Columbus Discovers America," which includes the song "It's a Round, Round World." With Frees as narrator, the story then moves forward to the "Pilgrim's Progress" where Mayor Pennypacker (Freberg) starts a goodwill campaign and invites everyone to "Take an Indian to Lunch." Other brilliant satires deal with the "Declaration of Independence" where listeners will find the melodious message "A Man Can't Be Too Careful What He Signs These Days" -- which still remains a bit of sensible advice, and keen-eared fans of Freberg will recognize that "Yankee Doodle Go Home" contains nods to his reworkings of "Yellow Rose of Texas" and "Banana Boat (Day-O)." Although the idea of a second volume had been kicked around, in typical Freberg fashion, he created and produced "The Middle Years" when he got around to. Of course the passage of time presented a few challenges in regards to continuity. But ever the ingenious entrepreneur, Freberg assembled another top-shelf company with original participants Leeds, Foray, White and May flanking the likes of Tyne Daly, John Goodman, David Ogden Stiers, Sherman Helmsley, Harry Shearer, Lorenzo Music and Freberg's children Donovan Freberg and Donna Freberg Ebsen. They pick up the story with the surreal concept of the founding fathers as an ad agency trying to 'sell' the idea of America, as heard on the three installments of "Madison, Jefferson, Franklin & Osbourne." Equally inspired is the elder Freberg's transformation into the role of "Star-Spangled Banner" author Francis Scott Key on "Rumplemyer's Shoes: The Francis Scott Key Story." Similarly exceptional is his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in "Abe Lincoln in Analysis" -- featuring the number "Show Folk" -- and the slice-of-life "Abe Lincoln at Home in the White House" with Daly, Helmsley and Foray. "The Middle Years" concludes in the wake of World War I with "Two Tin Pan Alley Songwriters" -- Freberg and Goodman -- coming up with the new patriotic selections "Hello, Peace, Hello" and a reprise of "There'll Never Be Another War," a tune introduced after the Civil War era "Appomattox Courthouse Bar & Grill" sketch. ~ Lindsay Planer