I think I still haven’t found the weirdest record in my collection, although we’re getting closer. Let My People Come is a musical that ran for two years at the Village Gate in the 70s. It was written by Earl Wilson Jr. and produced and directed by Phil Oesterman. You should really wait to play these songs until your kids aren’t around. Or your Mom. Or the guy in the cubicle next to you if he’s kind of a creep. You should really just play them on headphones.
(“Opening Number – Let my People Come”)
Let My People Come ran for more than 1,500 shows at the Village Gate, although it didn’t survive the transition to Broadway. It has enjoyed worldwide popularity since and numerous revivals, most recently and near to us at Chicago’s Stage 773 this past December.
It was subtitled “A Sexual Musical” and through songs like “I’m Gay” and “I Believe in my Body” conveyed a positive message of sexual liberation that went over well with, um, people that go to musicals. The original cast album was even nominated for a Grammy in 1974.
(“Come in my Mouth”)
A lot of the music isn’t that great, though, although it’s all HILARIOUS! Some gags are better than others – “Come in my Mouth” is about as close to a fellatio anthem as you’re going to find (or is it?). Let My People Come is the ranchy grandaddy of South Park and Avenue Q. It even got into it’s own legal mess, and later pressings of the cast album had to drop one track (“Cunnilingus Champion of Company C”) because MCA, who owned the rights to “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” sued over copyright infringement.
(“Let my People Come”)
Are we a more sexually liberated society than we were in the middle 70s? Sure, but it’s a guarantee somebody’s going to complain about these tracks. Did I mention you really shouldn’t play these songs while your kids are around? You can find lots of songs more offensive that the FCC lets people play over the airwaves every day (like “Lollipop” by Lil Wayne), but one thing you can count on is somebody being offended even though there’s a knob on every radio for changing the station.
And my favorite thing about Let My People Come is that it makes me laugh. They’re some of the least sexy songs I’ve ever heard, but they make me laugh every time. Of course, I still can’t watch Rowlf the Dog and Sam the Eagle sing the “Willow Tit Willow” song from The Mikado without giggling. Hee, hee. Sam said “tit”!
More succinctly, from the album’s liner notes:
People are sexual, if only because they are human and mortal, and if they understand and deal with that fact they will be able to move on to something else, something more spiritual. Earl and Phil are presently working on a new Broadway musical called “Spirit”.
I guess they never moved on, because the promised new, more spiritual musical never came.
Tomorrow: Another weird record, and this one will have – I swear! – sex with robots!