#841 Monty Python – Previous Record

This is the second Python record to come up from my collection, you’d think I had dozens of them, but that’s the joy of random serendipity. This is Monty Python’s third album, released in 1972, with sketches drawn predominantly from their 3rd series of the Flying Circus.

I first heard this as a young teenager, when my brother and I had a few cassettes recorded by a friend that were smuggled into the house, effectively as contraband. As I mentioned in the previous review, I was familiar with the albums way before I saw the Pythons on TV.

By this album, they had moved beyond merely rummaging through the BBC’s box of sound effects and hired Neil Innes and Andre Jacquemin to create a musical soundscape to support many of the tracks. It was the songs, and the sheer and surreal joy of language that often came with them, that really turned me on as a teenager and tickles my nostalgia-loving ribs now. One only has to hear the dulcet tones of Michael Palin saying “Even words like tits, winkle and vibraphone cannot rival the embarrassment potential of sound. Listen to this, if you can” for it all to come flooding back.

The album features re-recorded edits of some of their most well-known sketches from the TV series, such as Argument and Fish Licence and Ann Elk’s Theory on Brontosauruses. But many of my favourites are the lesser-known sketches: Australian Table Wine, the recurring Dennis Moore skit, replaced by the recurring Massage from the Swedish Prime Minister on side two. The reason this is repeated three times is because they originally planned to have multiple concentric tracks on both sides. In the end this didn’t happen, but they managed the ‘3-sided disc’ for their next release, Matching Tie and Handkerchief.

The silly songs and verbal play are what makes Python stand out above the slapstick, such as the Money Song, Yangste Kiang, the 1972 Eclipse of the Sun, the wonderful (and irritating) Travel Agent and the bonkers Eric-the-half-a-bee. Listening to it again on this vinyl LP I bought a few years ago at a Dutch record fair, I realised that the What Do You Do Quiz, must be the first Python introduction to the later infamous ‘ni!’ from the Knights Who Say Ni, in the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Best Bits: Yangste Kiang – this always cracked me up, love the impressions, the music and the all-round silliness of this sketch
Genre: Comedy
Like This, Try This: We want…..a shrubbery!


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