2007   JANUARY 10   #010

Play It Safe! Vol. 4

Play It Safe! Vol. 4 (47:45)

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??

There are detailed instructions included for rigging up a whole myriad of different types of turntables with a twist-tie (included in the jacket) so the record will properly repeat over and over until you come home. Sucks to be you if your burglar decides to eavesdrop on an entire side of the record and figures out your clever little scheme! Maybe he'll steal your turntable and then you'll really be a sitting duck!

- Contributed by: Pea Hix

Images: Front Cover, Back Cover, Special Reusable Ties

Media: 12" LP
Album: Play It Safe! Vol. 4
Label: Penta Sales Corp.
Date: 1972