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MONTY PYTHON Reissues EMI (2006)

It's often said that Monty Python had the same influence on comedy as the Beatles did on music. No mean comparison, but quite accurate. For all the key milestones before (The Goons, Great 1948 Show et al), it is Monty Python that is the yardstick.

EMI are re-releasing and remastering all 8 albums with history, sleevenotes, bonus tracks - the Fully Monty.

Another Monty Python (PYTHCD1) kicks off, and although with some great moments, it doesn't come over so well on record. Obviously recorded with sketches in mind, the group were still relying on the visual effects of TV. After the introduction there's the classic Spanish Inquisition, which returns throughout the set. The mock TV show Ethel The Frog is there, and the very amusing Camp Judges.

The highlight, though, is the epic Spam finishing with The Spam Song, complete with operatic Vikings. ***

Monty Python

Their Previous Record (PYTHCD2) (nice play on words in the title) works a lot better on record. More audio oriented, there's the Eric Idle rants, Denis Moore, the Argument sketch and so forth. The whole set runs much more smoothly. The comedy is as funny as it is irrelevant. And if you need a massage from the Swedish Prime Minister...

And as usual there's the big horns that connect the pieces. ****

Matching Tie And Handkerchief (PYTHCD3) kicks off with the Election Forum, and we soon get the legendary Bruce sketch, Bruce Song included. Definitely keeps you smiling, chuckling to oneself and the odd laugh out loud you just can't help. ****

First of the film soundtracks, The Holy Grail (PYTHCD4) is probably the weakest, with the emphasis on visuals that just don't come over on record (or CD), and the mock Oscar commentary is just annoying. However there is the Camelot song and The Knights Who Say Ni which readdress the balance. ***

Monty Python

Live At Drury Lane (PYTHCD5), to much audience amusement (their laughs hint at the visuals, making for a much funnier show), gives us Gumby Flower Arranging, Nudge Nudge (huge cheer), Bruce's Song and Four Yorkshire Men. This is pure pleasure. *****

The Life Of Brian (PYTHCD6) was a classic film. If you liked it I'm sure you'll love this. ****

Monty Python

The Meaning Of Life was more of a series of themed sketches than a film, hence it working so well on CD. Fish Morning and Birth kick things off, and their view on the Third World (Yorkshire) worth checking out. The classic song Every Sperm Is Sacred is there, with Bloody Catholics following.

What also really works is the Live Organ Transplant, those death throws loud, complete with the Galaxy Song. Like the previous soundracks the sketches are edited / shortened, but you get most of the catchphrases. ****

Finishing with the Contractual Obligation album starts off musically with Sit On My Face. From then on it's not so good. More professional, more musical, more cohesive, but comically weaker. To the point where Contractual Obligation was more than just an amusing title. ***

All the albums come with bonus tracks, from demos of songs to radio ads, and Live At Drury Lane features an interview too.

If you have any remote interest in Monty Python (and if you don't it's probably because you're dead) you'll love some of these.

Review by Joe Geesin

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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