DUCK SOUP * BABA BROOKS AND HIS BAND * ISLAND 235 * UK
The other side, officially the A side, of a great Treasure Isle vocal track, is this mighty Ska instrumental by the great Jamaican trumpet player Oswald F. 'Baba' Brooks. The title comes from the 1933 Marx Brothers film of the same name and although it bombed both critically and commercially at the time it is rated, by many, now as their greatest and funniest film being rediscovered in the 1960s by an audience less deferential to authority. The film is a short satire and lampooning of blundering dictatorial leaders, authoritarian governments (their politicians) and even the absurdity of government itself. Fortunately, unlike most of their other films, Duck Soup has none of those silly Harpo or Chico musical interludes or the love story sub plot centered around Zepo. The story is: Groucho, as Rufus T. Firefly, is made leader of Freedonia by the country's richest dowager millionairess, the widowed benefactress Mrs. Gloria Teasdale, played by Margaret Dumont. Here's an example of Groucho's insulting, and flattering, when he finds out she's a wealthy widow, banter with her.
Mrs. Teasdale: As chairwoman of the reception committee, I welcome you with open
Firefly (snapping back): Is that so? How late do you stay open?
Mrs. Teasdale (with high regard): I've sponsored your appointment because I feel you are the most able statesman in all Freedonia.
Firefly: Well, that covers a lot of ground. Say! You cover a lot of ground yourself. You'd better beat it. I hear they're gonna tear you down and put up an office building where you're standing. You can leave in a taxi. If you can't get a taxi, you can leave in a huff. If that's too soon, you can leave in a minute and a huff.
Firefly: Not that I care, but where is your husband?
Mrs. Teasdale: Why, he's dead.
Firefly: I'll bet he's just using that as an excuse.
Mrs. Teasdale: I was with him to the very end.
Firefly: No wonder he passed away.
Mrs. Teasdale: I held him in my arms and kissed him.
Firefly: Oh, I see. Then, it was murder. Will you marry me? Did he leave you any money? Answer the second question first.
Mrs. Teasdale: He left me his entire fortune.
Firefly: Is that so? Can't you see what I'm trying to tell you? I love you.
Mrs. Teasdale: Oh, your Excellency!
Firefly: You're not so bad yourself.
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