Songs & More Songs by Tom Lehrer

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Product Description

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

Customer Reviews:

  • Still politically incorrect after almost 50 years!
    Hooked on Tom Lehrer ever since hearing him on Dr. Demento, I instantly fell in love with his ingenious satyrical lyrics. I have loaned this album to several coworkers and have received nothing but favorable reviews. Praise to the release of this CD where the original recordings - not only the concert versions - are available to those of us who did not live hear Harvard in the late 1950's. My favorite song has to be Clementine - ala Cole Porter, Mozart, Scat Jazz, and Gilbert & Sullivan - PURE GENIUS! Buy this CD - it will be one of the best in your collection, great for any party or get together when you want all to have a good cderebral laugh. I wish Tom would write and record again....more info
  • Blast from the past
    I first discovered Tom Lehrer in the seventies, listening to the ABC (that's Australian Broadcasting Commission) where Monday and Tuesday nights were comedy nights. Mostly British stuff from the BBC with a leavening of ex-colonial humour. I am a big fan of Gilbert and Sullivan and I found that Tom Lehrer had the same ability as W.S. Gilbert to skewer all that is pompous, vain and ridiculous in society with wit and charm. Despite the parochial and topical nature of some of his work - as an Aussie I was only ever vaguely aware of Hubert Humphrey and had/still have no idea who George Murphy is/was - Tom Lehrer's humour still has resonance today. Pretentious celebs, pornography and pollution are still issues today and, hello, could this be a better time to revisit "Send the Marines".

    This complilation contains most of his recorded output, in studio versions. I already own "That Was The Year That Was", "Tom Lehrer Revisited" and "An Evening Wasted" and the latter two CDs are certainly enhanced by the inclusion of Mr Lehrer's witty repartee with the live audience but this CD completes my collection with, in particular, "The Elements", "Oedipus Rex", "It Make a Fellow Proud To be A Soldier" and "I Got It From Agnes". After hearing the studio version of "My Home Town" I am now inclined to accept that the "missing" line may, indeed, have been written that way.

    If you are looking for the definitive Tom Lehrer collection, this is it. ...more info
  • Still relevant - and funny - after all these years.
    I grew up with the music of Tom Lehrer, and still startle friends and relatives with spontaneous singing of snippets from his tunes. People who have never heard him stare - and laugh! It amazes me how relevant the material still is 40 years after it was written....more info
  • Songs and More Songs by Tom Lehrer
    Tom Lehrer's recordings date back to the 50's, but they remain very funny and totally original...more info
  • After 40 years, still singing his songs.
    I love the songs on these albums. Sure he stretches the "rhymes at times", but what melody! What sentiment! I tried to take one of his albums (half of this one) to school for "show & tell", so I could share this beauty with my fellow 1st graders (1959), but my parents did not think the faculty of PS 173 were ready for "I Hold Your Hand In Mine" or "My Home Town". There is no real appreciation for the arts in Public School....more info
  • oh the wild west is where i wanna be !
    i too took one of these albums to show and tell this was the end of the 70'S and kids whose ears were used to the sounds of the brothers gibb were not pleased, nonetheless, real humour nothing scatological, still funny as hell...more info
  • For the family
    While political and topical satire reflects a certain era, some of these songs are just plain funny, and the satirical references make a talking point to my kids and now grandkids. Plus, they find some of the satire directly applicable to their world....more info
  • All the world seems in tune on a spring afternoon.
    Tom Lehrer is the most brilliant song satirist ever recorded. This CD contains all two of his studio albums. Both of these albums were later recorded as live albums. Arguably, the songs sound better with an audience's reactions, as well as Mr. Lehrer's spoken commentary on the songs. But even alone in a recording studio with just a piano, the songs are clever and funny. In addition to the two albums, the CD includes the four songs he re-recorded with an orchestra in 1960 (two of which were unreleased at the time) and one song ("I Got It From Agnes") which he used to perform in concert back then, but he considered to be too risque to record at the time (he finally recorded it in 1996). This is a great collection that I highly recommend to fans of funny music....more info
  • True then, too true today.
    Tom Leherer's songs too true in the time they were released, strike a true chord in today's unsettled world. For example "National Brotherhood Week" from "That Was the Year That Was" speaks of the same hate and hypocrisy that we are too scared to admit exist today. Ditto too, "Who's Next" the song detailing the insanity of the nuke race. (Tom must be in seventh heaven, after learning about the Pakistani and Indian bombs, which are almost more ludicrous than even he could imagine.) I grew up with Tom, Jonathan Winters, and Charles Addams (even before the TV shows that couldn't approach the oddity of the Addams experience.) I miss Mr. Leher's inspired lunacy, and "So-Called Voice". But, I can still listen to his albums and revel in a world where humor that required an I.Q. over that of room temp.could exist and flourish....more info
  • Old Favorite
    This is an old favorite of mine. Anyone with a fondness for the amazingly clever lyrics and music of the immortal Tom Lehrer will wax nostalgic at this collection of many of his best oldies....more info
  • Great Album! This guy was pushing to envelope!
    For somebody from his time, and of his background, Lehrer was definatly one who was unconcerned with other's opinion of what was deemed as acceptable. Right On!...more info
  • Tom Lehrer, satirist.
    I have been listening to Tom Leher for years, on LP records and, twice, in person. He is the most talented satirist going, since Gilbert and Sullivan. This CD is a gem....more info
  • Irreverant, Hillarious
    After 50 years these songs are as funny as they were when they were written! Tom Lehrer's humor is timeless, untarnished (and slightly sick). "Be Prepared" is a MUST for parents with kids in the Boy Scouts. It and "My Home Town" are two of just about the funniest lyrics ever put on paper....more info
  • The orignal musical terrorist...
    I've sprung Tom Lehrer's songs upon an unsuspecting group of people more than once, and the reactions are priceless, from shock to uncontrollable guffaws. This re-issue of Mr. Lehrer's first two ourages is a must for any collector of recorded weirdness......more info
  • Astonishing
    BOB DYLAN, CHUCK BERRY, AND TOM LEHRER, THE THREE GREAT LYRICISTS OF POPULAR AMERICAN MUSIC. These songs are from his original studio releases on two 10" vinyl disks back in the 50's. My parents actually saw him live in NY on his "Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer" tour, and never recovered. As a pre-teen, I was permanently hooked. My original 50's vinyl versions are decimated by endless play on a Webcor portable phonograph. All four releases are a scream, and in fact, if you don't need the original release versions on this CD, the live performances are even funnier....more info
  • Missing the monologue / introductions - only half the experience
    This is a compilation CD containing songs from Tom Lehrer's first two LPs. It contains a lot of material in one package. Tom Lehrer is brilliant. Unfortunately, the songs alone are only half the experience of listening to him. His original LPs contain satrical monologue introductions to each song which both set the context and, in some cases, are as funny as the songs themselves. They are sorely missed here. For this reason, I can't recommend this particular CD, even though I recommend Tom Lehrer full-heartedly. This CD is only half of Tom Lehrer, so I only gave it half a rating - 3 stars. Do yourself a favor and buy the re-issues of the original LPs to get the full flavor of this artist / satirist.
    ...more info
  • if you must buy only one Tom Lehrer album, buy this one...
    I just ordered this CD for a friend of mine in the US. I'm not an emotional person, but I respond to the level of Tom Lehrer's excellence. He is first rate - his command of the English language is superb; he don't play or sing too bad either.

    If I were to buy just one CD of his work, this would be the one. I was introduced to the music and wit of TL when I was in high school over 30 years ago. I have also personally thanked my high school music teacher (Jay Braman) who first introduced me to TL. Tom Lehrer is a true American treasure....more info

  • If I could give it ten stars, I would.
    This is quite possibly the best music written, along with Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. The songs are not out dated at all, as one actually could wish in some cases. The world is still the hysterical place Tom Lehrer described.

    On this album Tom Lehrer flawlessly demonstrates how really good music depends on text and melody, and text and melody alone. I can't really understand how people have dared writing music since this was first published as everything else pales in comparishion. ...more info
  • Good Clean and Memorable Satire
    When Tom Lehrer started identifying our cultural foibles and poking fun at people who had entirely too much influence in our lives, he helped us all to deal more effectively with the mistakes and challenges of a military-industrial complex gone terribly wrong.
    His humor lightened the load of uncountable, free-thinking Americans, and demonstrated the value of contemplating the world around us, and trying to make a diference in the lives of our neighbors....more info
  • I love it and I'm young!
    I'm 18 to be exact, and lets just say Tom Lehrer was the subject of my college application essay (I'm going to Berkeley). I was ever so glad when this cd came out, it comprised the two album I had yet to find. I recoment it to everyone I know, everyone can understand it. His lyrics are so simple, yet genious, the man is amazing, his power over humor is greater then any comiedian today. he has a talent for rhyme and a emmence vocabulary, like in such songs as: Lobachevsky, When You are Old and Gray (my favort rhyme flow), The Elements(The ulitment rhyming machine), and other great works like Oedipus Rex, and Clementine. What makes Tom Lehere so powerful is if your dumb you'll get his humor, and if your smart you'll really get it....more info
  • Tom Lehrer-Satirist Extrordinaire
    I was first introduced to Tom Lehrer's music back in the early 1970's when I was in junior high school-Years later,I started listening to Dr.Demento's weekly show-Lehrer has been an integral part of the program since its inception 30 years ago-Anyway,the songs are brilliant-My favorites are "We Will All Go Together When We Go","Be Prepared","The Elements",& "Fight Fiercely Harvard"-It's a darn shame that Lehrer got out of the business-We need more topical singer/songwriters of his ilk....more info
  • a moral for our times ???
    I remember listening to this album as a child of 8 to 10 (1960-1962). I'd listen to it by the hour in the basement. My parents would realize what I was doing & then mysteriously, the album would disappear ... until I would find it again, in some remote area of the attic. The phrase that stuck with me the most over the last 35+ years was ... "and lying she knew was a sin... a sin, a sin, and lying she knew was a sin."...more info
  • Happiness returned
    In the sixties an enlightened uncle bought my brother and me a Christmas Present LP 'Songs by Tom Lehrer, and a year later 'More Songs'.

    These 'went down a treat' at twenty-something parties; unfortunately they also 'went down a treat' with one party goer and went with him or her. A recent BBC radio programme ran interviews with the Prof. together with a selection of his songs, and prompted me to search the net successfully for the re-issues.

    So, after 30 years the performances are as fresh and cynical as ever, and surprisingly little dated - as is evidenced by the younger reviewers...more info

  • Not The Same
    Buyer beware! Yes, these are the usually great, sometimes brilliant, sometimes annoying Tom Lehrer songs BUT his introductions are gone. These are rather sterile recordings, with no audience reaction and, more importantly, none of the wonderfully funny verbal introductions that were half the fun of Tom Lehrer's music. The songs are there. And most, while not as wonderful without the introductions, do stand on their own. Just know what you're getting. ...more info
  • Sick! Sick! Sick! And I love it!
    Tom Lehrer has remained timeless despite the four decades that have passed since much of this recording. I do not recommend serenading ones beloved with this material. The result varies from the ridiculous to the obscene.

    I Hold Your Hand In Mine and The Masochism Tango are high points in what really is a top quality album. We can only hope that the rest of his recorded material will make it onto disc in the near future....more info


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