This is one of the best records in my collection. I have a thing for spoken word records, and this is by far the best spoken word record I’ve ever heard. I usually like to play this record for people without telling them what it was intended for, to see if they can guess why anyone would buy it. The idea is straightforward enough: you put this record on in repeat mode while you’re out of the house in order to fool potential burglars into thinking someone’s home. Like those automatically light timers, except for sound. Of course, it would be far easier and more convincing just to leave the TV or radio on, but that wouldn’t be NEARLY as much fun!! Plus, this is in STEREO so you’re sure to get the extra added illusion that the voices are coming from different parts of the room!
The truly great thing about this record is all in the execution. The couple bantering back and forth here presumably had kind of a rough script they were following, and sort of semi-improvised their banal conversation. It’s actors trying to sound as inconspicuously actor-ish as possible. Add to this the fact that, as per the instructions on the jacket, you’re supposed to play it at a level where someone standing outside the house can hear that there’s people talking inside without being able to make out what’s being said, and to me that’s a recipe for pure performance art! (In fact, I’ve considered staging a performance with two actors, using this LP as the entire backdrop.)
Another thing is that this is Vol. 4, of supposedly at least a four volume series! What do the other couples sound like?? This one is sort of a New York Jewish couple. The jacket says “The people talking on the PLAY IT SAFE record are like you. They talk about the things you talk about every day… day or night.” Well, what if i don’t happen to be a New York Jewish couple?? Are there alternatives on the other volumes? And if so, why doesn’t it say on the jacket what sort of couple I’m getting?? What if I need the “disfunctional white trash” couple??
Don’t worry if you don’t have a record player — WFMU has the MP3. But if a 47+ minute audio file has you download-shy, here’s a sample of the banter you’re missing:
HUSBAND: You’re always gossiping. It drives me insane.
WIFE: Well, what else do I have to do? I mean … around the house all day?
HUSBAND: You’re not chained to the house.
See? Be shy no more. This is your safety we’re talking about! Unless of course you’re not part of a Jewish, NY couple. For the rest, there’s Vols. I-III.