Canadian entertainer Bob King seems to be a lonely guy, and a hungry one, too. Of the 11 original songs on his album The People on My Street, 3 are about sandwiches, 2 are about loneliness, and 2 describe inanimate objects marrying each other. As a theme, this makes no sense, but then nonsense is what King is after. Sometimes he succeeds, sometimes he doesn’t.
The hilarious song ”Sandwiches” (”Once I went to England and visited the queen. She handed me a sandwich and she threw me out of the door”) is a success; it has been recorded by children’s stars such as Fred Penner. ”The Sandwich Polka,” in which sandwich-eating Sam and Sadie find true love, is not. A nonsense song should make you laugh out loud. ”Polka” doesn’t.
”Horace the Clown,” in which a clown and a pig are separated forever, isn’t funny; it’s sad. So is ”Pretty Penny”: The title character marries Dollar Bill, only to lose him when he is put in a video game. Sad’s okay if it’s also pretty, but King doesn’t sing well enough to make these ballads work.
On the plus side, ”Sitting on the Farm” is, like ”Sandwiches,” a potential classic. The progressive lyric describes a working food chain with verve and spirit. Still, two good songs do not a great album make. B