Songs & More Songs By Tom Lehrer

February 12, 2017 - Comment

Back in print at last, here are the two 10″ LPs that Tom Lehrer put out on his own label during the ’50s! Mind you-these are not the live albums that came out on Reprise during the ’60s these are Tom’s original studio recordings, 28 of ‘em to be exact, with notes and a new

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(as of 24 September 2018 10:30 UTC - Details)

Back in print at last, here are the two 10″ LPs that Tom Lehrer put out on his own label during the ’50s! Mind you-these are not the live albums that came out on Reprise during the ’60s these are Tom’s original studio recordings, 28 of ‘em to be exact, with notes and a new Lehrer interview!In the wake of the ’80s comedy boom that made casual obscenity and bodily functions safe for TV, a listen to these ’50s classics from a piano-playing Harvard grad student with a thin singing voice sounds tame if not quaint. Yet Lehrer’s first two self-produced albums, among the first generation of comedy LPs, remain beloved gems of musical parody, and noteworthy for their original success in an era when their topics were strictly taboo for broadcast media. He kids cold war paranoia (“We Will All Go Together When We Go”), sends up then-hip folk revivalists with a cheerful murder ballad (“The Irish Ballad”), and gets laughs out of incest (“Oedipus Rex”), drugs (“The Old Dope Peddler”), and racism (“I Wanna Go Back to Dixie”). Closer to Gilbert & Sullivan (whom he in fact raids for one melody) than Def Comedy Jams, Lehrer can still raise a modern frisson when he plays necrophilia as romance (“I hold your hand in mine dear, I press it to my lips/ I take a healthy bite from your dainty fingertips…”). –Sam Sutherland

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