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Something Like This... The Bob Newhart Anthology ()

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It's a testament to Bob Newhart's considerable talents that his TV shows, particularly his '70s classic The Bob Newhart Show, overshadowed his comedy records which were trailblazers in their own accord. His first album, The Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart, became the first comedy album to ever reach the top of the charts, and it did so in 1960, when there were scores of other comedians, singers, rockers, and Broadway soundtracks vying for the coveted pole position. Newhart succeeded then, and his records remain fresh, because they were elegantly written, easily delivered, perfectly formed sketch comedy, the kind of routines that could appeal to all audiences, yet still contained twists and asides that proved how hip and clever Newhart was. This is the same trait that fueled his television shows, and while certain particulars of both the show and the records may have dated, the routines remain uproariously funny because of their construction. Newhart created a setting and existed within it, letting little details speak large volumes. This is apparent throughout Rhino's splendid double-disc set, Something Like This... The Bob Newhart Anthology, which contains 24 tracks from his eight albums for Warner Brothers. Since most of these records are out of print, this is a blessing for Newhart fans, but anyone with even a passing interest in comedy should check this out, because there are few comedy records that ever transcend time like this. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi Hide synopsis

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