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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Smoke, Smoke, Smoke that Cigarette


Phil Harris had several successful careers over his long lifetime--wiseacre bandleader on Jack Benny's radio show, his own successful radio sitcom with wife Alice Faye through the early 1950s, then voicing Disney films in the 60s (most notably as Baloo the bear in The Jungle Book). But in this clip from the Steve Allen show in the late 50s, Phil does a particularly groovin' version of the Merle Travis song "Smoke Smoke Smoke That Cigarette" backed by a searing hot little jazz combo.

I've been on kind of a Phil Harris binge the past few days, having recently acquired his 1958 album That’s What I Like About the South, which contains the title song (penned by Phil himself), some tunes that pay homage to his Dixieland roots, Phil's hit "The Thing" from the early 50s (trust me, you'll know this one when you hear it), and even a few songs the liner notes unabashedly refer to as minstrel songs. It's kind of an oddball collection, but Phil's warm good humor shines through on each song.