To most people, Jack Sheldon is remembered for singing Schoolhouse Rock tunes “Conjunction Junction” and “I’m Just a Bill.” However, he’s a trooping and surviving jazz trumpeter great with one of the most distinctive singing voices ever. Just released is a new documentary about him called Trying to Get Good.
Apparent in the Schoolhouse Rock tunes is his great sense of humor. He’s appeared as a regular in 60’s sitcoms and starred in a comedy called Run Buddy Run, which is remembered fondly by enough people writing to the great TV site TV Party, that I would have to say it would probably gain cult status if it ever emerged on television again or on DVD.
Though he’s recorded numerous jazz albums, Oooo-But It’s Good! is not one of them. Most of the album contains comic monologue (the only song, “Born to Lose” is not included here in the downloads) . Although this was probably recorded during a period when he abused drugs and alcohol (he certainly sounds it here), it nonetheless presents a vivid imagination with a dark tinge. From rat experiments to WWII as a “fun” war, he approached material with a sensibility similar to his friend Lenny Bruce. A fascinating lost album.