Johnny Carson, Here’s Johnny!, Casablanca SPNB-1296, 1974
Casablanca was one of the biggest labels of the 70s, but in 1974, it was just starting out. Without much of an artist roster, they looked for other ways of selling records. Releasing a greatest hits record on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson was one of their earliest releases. Even in 1974, Carson was mining his past to increase his income.
As schlocky as it seems to have a sound recording of a TV that was taped before a studio audience might seem, there are some pretty decent moments on here. Unfortunately, much like the way the show ended up, the Carson bits go on too long and take up too much of the space on the album. Which isn’t helped by the lengthy crowd responses, some of which I suspect were added in way after the fact. No one wants to hear the first 5 minutes of the first show when three minutes of it Johnny Carson being introduced and cheering while he gets ready to begin his monologue.
There’s a really unnecessary poster included, but the real draw are some of the music and comedy bits. Johnny always gave a great introduction, and some of these are just incredible. Lenny Bruce and Bette Midler (“she had an unusual start singing in a Turkish Bath in New York”…which is one way to put it). I wouldn’t go our of my way to find this record, but it was a decent listen.
Cost: $2, $512 Remaining