July 10, 2012

IMMORTALIZING THE MUSIC OF DOLPHY

Aside from the usual song-and-dance numbers in some of his old films, not everyone knows that The King of Comedy has once dabbled into the world of music, teaming up with the equally funny and iconic Panchito on novelty tunes that deal with familial issues, basketball games, and gossiping. In 2007, Alpha Music released The Best of Dolphy and Panchito, a retrospective on the immortal works of the comedy tandem during their heydays. Brimming with impeccable comedic timing and satirical charm, the compilation record is a solid proof of how the duo understood Filipino humor and sensibility by the street code; throwing back-to-back punchlines that never aged in the course of time.

One of the tracks in the album (“Family Planning”) was actually a Filipino version of Toots and Maytals’ “Monkey Man”—a reggae/ska staple popularized by seminal cult band, The Specials. Dolphy and Panchito retained the perpetual ‘ayayayayayay’ hook while converting the lyrics into a cool but real-as-slap lesson on birth control.

Just like Yoyoy Villame, these two also made it a point to unintentionally inject social commentary in ways that don’t blade the skin, spoofing popularly old tunes that imbibe the wisdom of the old. They also sang about the hardships experienced by our countrymen; but instead of bathing in its misery, Dolphy and Panchito capitalized on humor and sometimes, insult-mongering to poke fun at our inner slums, leaving us a trail of learning to ponder on from time to time. 

Aside from the Dolphy and Panchito outing, Dolphy recently teamed up with Zsa Zsa Padilla, Zia Quizon, and friends to release his very first solo album, Handog Ni Pidol: A Lifetime of Music and Laughter. While the attempt at recording was seen by many as an instant cash-in to his bigger-than-life showbiz legacy, it was an album made to showcase The Comedy King’s love for music. Esteemed Entertainment columnist Baby A. Gil writes, “Dolphy, the singer is not likely to win singing contests anymore. But the Rat Pack swagger and cool approach to material so characteristic of the man remain. These coupled with the well-chosen songs make the CD a great treat. Here is the music he likes and that we can all associate with his career.” 

 As a music icon, Dolphy is an underrated talent whose contributions in the music scene still remain unrecognized. But his comedic style, “funny in a Chaplin-esque way” as once described by Jose Javier Reyes, lingers in the sonic stamps of music icons, from TVJ to Parokya Ni Edgar, from the witty limericks of Michael V to the double entendre of pedestrian novelty acts. His influence jumps from one generation to another, trying to make the most out of what’s branded as Filipino humor.

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