Personnel: Mark Irwin, Dave Kane , Emily Bell Spitz, Lenny Williams (piano).
Recording information: Ronald Reagan International Trade Center, Washington DC (2003-2004).
Director: Bill Strauss.
Photographer: Mike Loomis.
The Capitol Steps' musical political satire is in a class all by itself. Not only are their parodies brilliant, but also each of their members are incredible mimics of their targets. Democrats take their share of hits, particularly in the sidesplitting "Green Green Grass at Home" (discussing the probable marijuana use by most of the 2004 presidential candidates), the "Democratic Hit Parade" medley, with "The Lieberman" (based on "The Candyman"), the pompous General Wesley Clark in a revamp of Gilbert & Sullivan into "Modern NATO General," as well as a pair of lisping singers saluting Howard Dean with "Gay Dean Believer." Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is presented in "Hillary's Way" as the wronged spouse of the former president in a hilarious send up of "My Way" (including the line "all hopes were blown"). President George W. Bush is the primary target, as the Capitol Steps have him performing Bill Withers' hit as "Ain't No Surplus, No It's Gone," and James Brown in "Papa's Got a Brand New Baghdad" (which adds the senior Bush's nasal vocals). "SuperCaliforniaRecallFreakShowWasAtrocious" (borrowed from Mary Poppins) introduces some great mimics of several of the candidates to replace the haplessly recalled California Governor Gray Davis, especially the singers lampooning Arianna Huffington and eventual winner Arnold Schwarzenegger. The downfall of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq borrows from the Rolling Stones to bid a not-so-fond farewell to his two brutal sons "Goodbye Uday, Qusay." Hussein himself is represented in prison, getting in a few digs at Bush's expense during a funny dialog between the two, then singing "Spider Hole" (to the tune of the old Spiderman television theme). "Frogs at War" suggests that the French military is both arrogant and in a hurry to surrender when confronted with war ("When I heard a war had started I put on my plastic plants" and "We're like Springsteen, born to run"). The 24th release by the Capitol Steps is a winner from start to finish. ~ Ken Dryden