Personnel: Emily Bell Spitz, Lenny Williams (piano).
Recording information: Ronald Regan Building And International Trade Center Am (2007-2008).
Capitol Steps, a group of former Capitol Hill staffers, are up to their usual hijinks with the hilarious musical parodies released in the midst of the 2008 primary campaign. "76 Unknowns" (based on "76 Trombones") lampoons the numerous presidential hopefuls whose campaigns quickly fell apart, while "Huckabee" is a hilarious sendup of "Let It Be," about the last G.O.P. presidential candidate to fight Senator John McCain for the nomination. President George W. Bush, known for his many vocal stumbles in public appearances, becomes Kermit the Frog in "The Brain-Mouth Connection," while "The Rain in Spain Lies Clearly on the Plain" is transformed into "McCain's Campaign," describing the unexpected rebound of the Senator's campaign, which was nearly out of money and thought to be on the verge of collapse in 2007. "Obama Meets Osama" (using the music of "Black and White") envisions a meeting between Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama and terrorist Osama Bin Laden. Former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney is the target in "Help Me Fake It to the Right," former New York City mayor and presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani is skewered with "Relying on Nine-Eleven," borrowing the music from "Stairway to Heaven." Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is the focus of "Hillary's Way," an amusing sendup of Frank Sinatra's hit "My Way." Circa 2008 current topics are also covered. "Buy, Buy American Pie" laments the lack of homemade (in other words, U.S.-raised ingredients) in food products. "Ten Pills and You're Fine" ridicules the outpouring of medicines for diseases and conditions that people had never heard of, set to Michel Legrand's "The Windmills of Your Mind" (with one line being "Cause Levitra and my Cialis keep my husband up all night"). The vocalists do a great job with their impressions (particularly of Bush and ex-President Bill Clinton). This terrific CD, like many earlier efforts by the Capitol Steps, ought to be required listening for history classes in the future. ~ Ken Dryden