Friends Roadshow – Live at the Melkweg
A year and a half ago, I had the pleasure of digging in Amsterdam. On the advice of some Dutch collectors, I found myself at the flea markets of Waterlooplein on a rainy day, where I stumbled upon this gem. In my book, passing on a record with a cover like this is not an option.
Though billed as a group, the record is quite obviously focused around the personality and comedic stylings of Jango Edwards, a self-described “clown and fool.” Jango (né Stanley Ted) was born in Detroit in 1950. He started a theatre troupe in London that eventually developed into the Friends Roadshow. This explains why the entire album and liner notes are in perfect English. The Friends found themselves at the Melkweg Amsterdam (a venue still very much alive) on February 27 & 28, 1978 to record this album.
The music, ranging from uptempo swing numbers to punk rock (his words), is amusing, but mainly feels like filler in between Jango’s monologue sketches that mostly focus on satirizing religions in an absurdist and sexual way. His delivery is one-of-a-kind and his confidence is enviable (he seems to have no problem performing and appearing on his album covers naked, with his goods tucked in). But his unpredictability is funnier than his actual jokes and concepts.
Overall, it is a wonderful listen, and I’d imagine it was a killer live show. One of the two truly special finds from my trip (review of the second one forthcoming). Fans of The Firesign Theatre will be right at home.
Jango now teaches clown lessons in Europe. His site is here.
Here is an account from Dave Norket, who is credited as a writer on some songs but doesn’t play any instruments.
Milkyway Records, JC-27282-8 (there is also a German edition on Polydor)