Mason Williams first claim to fame was as a writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. He capitalized on that success with the release of The Mason Williams Phonograph Album, which contained the instrumental “Classical Gas.” Released as a single it reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in June of 1968. The single propelled the album to commercial success.
His mainstream success belied the quirky side of his creativity. “Classical Gas” was very different from what would follow. His next release, The Mason Williams Ear Show, while not as successful, was more in tune with who he is as an artist. That album, and its predecessor have been reissued by Real Gone Music.
The Mason Williams Ear Show is an eclectic affair containing a number of tracks that present his quirky brand of humor. “The Last Great Waltz” is odd at best and contains a speeded-up vocal. “$13 Stella” is an ode to a cheap guitar. “Cinderella-Rockefella” contains the type of weird and off-kilter humor that was so common on the Smothers Brothers television show.
“Baroque-A-Nova” was another try at creating a mainstream hit. His guitar play was excellent but the sound was a little to close to his previous big hit and failed as a single release. That failure helped move the album from the mainstream to more of a niche release.
The sound quality has been enhanced by modern-day technology and the enclosed booklet presents a fine history of Williams and the album.
The Mason Williams Ear Show is a creative album from a mind that continues to travel the road less traveled.