By day, Sheldon is a corporate lawyer and a law professor. He also runs the Folk Concert Series at the Watchung (NJ) Arts Center. But, there are times where he indulges himself by writing songs, playing guitar, and performing on stage. Winner of the 2001 New Jersey Folk Festival New Folk Songwriter Competition, Sheldon's music has been described as "a drunken meeting between Cole Porter and Tom Lehrer." Tickle is produced by Andy & Denise (www.andyanddenise.com), who also contribute to the album with additional guitar work and harmony vocals.
The album opens with Sheldon's tribute to sex throughout the ages, It's All Been Done Before. This song contains one of the most clever rhymes I've heard: "Spoil the child and spare the rod? Not if you're the Marquis de Sade!" The song concludes with the lines "So, darling, strictly entres nous, might I do the voulez vous with you? Though it's been done a million times before, come on darling, let's just do a little more."
Old Dark Lord of Mordor is a parody of Cold Missouri Waters by James Keelaghan, most recently recorded by Cry Cry Cry (the Dar Williams, Richard Shindell, and Lucy Kaplansky supergroup). The song evokes a slightly skewed view of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In Sheldon's interpretation, an aging Frodo is bitter about his experience destroying the ring. Frodo badmouths his colleagues in the Fellowship of the Ring, referring to Merry, Sam and Pippin as "Chia Pets" and saying Gandalf was a drunk. Frodo even gets his digs in at Tolkien's fans, insinuating that they are Ivy league potsmokers.
Sheldon is a master of different genres besides singer-songwriter folk music. Fridge is Elvis Presley's long-lost rock-n-roll ode to his refrigerator. The song is performed in a style of the early 1950s Elvis, except sang by the overweight 1970s Elvis. Jersey Girls is an acapella sailors' chant paying homage to the women with big hair from the malls of the Garden state. Somehow I can't remove the picture from my head of this sound wafting up from the longshoremen in the Port of Newark.
Not every song on the album is a comedy number, however. Lullabye of Broadway is a loving tribute to New York City, presented starkly by solo guitar and vocal. Sheldon sings a touching tribute to his father who has now passed across the Great Divide.
I very much enjoyed this CD. The sound quality is excellent and Sheldon's vocals are prominent in the mix. Fans of Christine Lavin, Jamie Anderson, and John Forster will enjoy Scott Sheldon's brand of humor. The title of the album is quite appropriate, if you need your funnybone tickled.
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