Uploaded on Feb 8, 2012
Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him was the first comedy album recorded by The Firesign Theater. It was originally released in 1968 by Columbia Records.
Temporarily Humboldt County
W.C. Fields Forever
Le Trente-Huit Cunegonde
As originally programmed on vinyl, side one consisted of three short pieces:
"Temporarily Humbolt County" is a compressed timeline of the European expansion into North America and the displacement of the Native Americans, a theme the group would revisit often. (The group had been told by friends in Humboldt County, California, that the local Indians added "Temporarily" to the county's name as a way of saying no one could really own the land.)
"W. C. Fields Forever" is a plotless series of vignettes satirizing hippie culture and philosophy, through a parade of characters at a commune (referred to by a narrating character as "The 'Lazy O' Magic Circle Dudes Ranch and Collective Love Farm") who variously take drugs, eat "natural" foods, practice yoga and embrace Eastern religions. The commune's spiritual leader, "Tiny Doctor Tim", who speaks as if he is very drunk, appears to be a parody of counter culture figure Timothy Leary. The title was inspired by the American comedic actor W. C. Fields and the Beatles song "Strawberry Fields Forever".
"Le Trente-Huit Cunegonde" imagines what the world would be like if the counterculture of 1960s were the mainstream. People are arrested for not possessing drugs, politicians use the word "groovy" in their speeches, and bomber aircraft drop copies of Naked Lunch.
Side two consisted of one 18-minute long track:
"Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him" begins as what appears to be a Turkish language instruction record and quickly becomes a Kafkaesque fantasy of paranoia in which an unnamed innocent (played by Phil Austin) is manipulated by mysterious strangers and authority figures into situations beyond his control. (In the written script, the character is called simply "P." for Phil, a reference to Kafka's use of "K." in The Castle.)
A highlight of side two is the "Beat the Reaper" sketch, a mock game show in which the contestant is injected with a disease and must guess what it is in order to win the antidote (if the contestant fails to self-diagnose, he is sent home with the disease). This segment, included on both the Shoes for Industry: The Best of the Firesign Theatre and Forward Into The Past compilations, probably comes closest to being a self-contained bit that can be successfully separated from the rest of the story.
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