Martin Mull Rob Patterson - Essay

Rob Patterson

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Mull's persona, a nice guy version of the blindly self assured and patronizing Garth Gimble character he so successfully portrayed on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, is so visually based that his records have rarely done his humor justice. Bringing Martin Mull and His Fabulous Furniture right into your living room is a task for video discs, not records, and it's a testament to his insanity that he comes across on vinyl so well anyway.

[I'm Everyone I've Ever Loved] works the best of all his albums, due for the most part to the intermixture of comic vignettes that recall the wonderful early records of Stan Freberg and Bob Newhart … with uncannily realistic song jokes. Hence when he goes gospel ("Damn it, Jesus Christ, I missed church again … But I was hung over so bad, I hope St. Peter don't get mad when it's time for him to read that honor roll"), gets forced into doing disco ("We could go stand on the corner and kiss these ten dollar seats goodbye. Instead let's get up, get down!") or "buys" the "Philly sound" ("Long, long ago in a dream there was something always chasing me … boogie man"), the real joke is that the arrangements are right on target, mocking each style through accurate recreation.

Given the fact that comedy records rarely last after the four or five listenings it takes to learn all the jokes, this one has at least enough chuckles per groove to commend it. Since nobody but Mull dares to cover all bases, in his own words, "kinky, straight and gay," with tongue set squarely in cheek, anyone with an interest in pop music will find Martin Mull's irreverence refreshingly funny.

Rob Patterson, "Records: 'I'm Everyone I've Ever Loved'," in Creem (© copyright 1977 by Creem Magazine, Inc.), Vol, 8, No. 12, May, 1977, p. 70.