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Berrymans Offer More Original, Skewed Fun (CD review)

Lansing State Journal, Lansing, MI, October 27, 2005  
by Chris Rietz 

A breathless love song to the guy who can diagram sentences; a song called "Dem Deer" involving the phrases "dey're dere" and "dose does"; a Christmas letter that's the last word in mind-numbing banality. 

And oh, that's only the beginning. It's Lou and Peter Berryman with their 16th album, released this week, marking 25 years of recording, mastering the elusive craft of writing funny songs. 

He plays the 12-string guitar, she the accordion; he writes the lyrics, she writes the music. It was an arrangement that worked great for George and Ira Gershwin, although those guys wrote nothing but love songs. Being funny for a quarter of a century; now that's hard. 

But if degree of difficulty were the measure of greatness, our most revered artists would be guys who can hit the curveball. Peter and Lou succeed because the skill and sophistication of their craft doesn't show; they just make you laugh -- and memorize the texts, and repeat verses to your friends. 

Like Neil Simon's Sunshine Boys, the Berrymans have been funny for so long, they could write a guidebook: triple meter is funnier than duple meter, for example, or satire is funnier when it's not mean-spirited, or that syllable-perfect rhyming and scanning make funny songs even funnier, the musical equivalent of a straight face. 

...[Their new CD] "Some Days" the latest in what seems like an inexhaustible supply of clever, funny stuff -- and in their unassuming, slightly skewed Wisconsin way, completely original. Now how rare is that? 

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