Before A Mighty Wind, before This Is Spinal Tap, there was Lenny and the Squigtones.
Michael McKean and David Lander first created the characters of Lenny & Squiggy (then known as Lenny & Ant’ny) while members of the comedy troupe The Credibility Gap. When they were hired as writers for the Happy Days spin-off Laverne & Shirley (along with fellow Gap member Harry Shearer) they lobbied for their creations to be included as recurring characters.
After the show had gained success, an album was released, Laverne & Shirley Sing, featuring Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams performing in character. It sold well enough to justify a follow-up featuring the show’s other duo. On the show Lenny and Squiggy had often been shown performing with their band Lenny and the Squigtones, so an album by the erstwhile greasers actually made more sense than one by two bottling plant employees. Lenny & Squiggy present Lenny and the Squigtones is presented in the form of a concert and was, in fact, recorded live at the Roxy in Los Angeles. McKean and Lander stay in character throughout. The only thing that breaks the fourth wall is a joke that revolves around the “Happy Days gang” and a musical version of “In Cold Blood”.
The comedy shows an edge to the characters that is, no doubt, more in line with the original Credibility Gap version than the tamer presentation seen on Laverne & Shirley. The between-song sketches are perfectly tailored to the actors and they never fail to milk the most out of the jokes.
The music is also top-notch, expertly capturing an authentic 1950’s feel. Like the music in This Is Spinal Tap and A Mighty Wind, the songs never make fun of the style, but have fun with it. And in an interesting connection to Spinal Tap (the one that lands this in the Tap canon), Christopher Guest plays guitar for the band and is credited in the liner notes as Nigel Tufnel. His guitar work is actually noticeable, most clearly on “Foreign Legion Of Love”, which bears distinct similarities to Spinal Tap’s “Stonehenge” and “Clam Caravan”.
Run, don’t walk, to your favorite record store to get Lenny & Squiggy present Lenny and the Squigtones. Then walk quietly home when you realize it’s long out of print, extremely difficult to find and darn expensive if you do. But by whatever means you employ, you must find this album. No fan of the Spinal Tap genre of recordings should be without it.
- Vamp On* (:50)
- Night After Night (2:30)
- Creature Without A Head (3:49)
- King Of The Cars (2:11)
- Squiggy’s Wedding Day (5:55)
- Love Is A Terrible Thing (2:52)
- Babyland* (For Eva Squigman) (3:16)
- (If Only I Had Listened To) Mama (2:10)
- So’s Your Old Testament* (1:29)
- Sister-In-Law (3:05)
- Honor Farm* (2:08)
- Starcrossed (2:59)
- Only Women Cry* (1:30)
- Foreign Legion of Love (4:20)
- Vamp Off* (:36)
note: tracks with a (*) are spoken word tracks
Released by: Casablanca
Release date: 1979
Total running time: 39:40