The Remains of Tom Lehrer Box set, Original recording remastered
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Top Customer Reviews
Despite all this, Lehrer's pointed wit has remained popular among a small but passionate group who appreciate brilliant, cutting comments about the hypocrisies of our race relations ("National Brotherhood Week"), collegiate life ("Bright College Days"), and parodies of every song type.
This box set combines all of Lehrer's previously released albums, plus a smattering of bonus tracks, including songs written for the children's show "Electric Company" (who would've thought that the man who wrote "Masochism Tango" and "Vatican Rag" would be a good educational influence on children?)
The real bonus of this handsome box set, however, are the (hard-cover bound!) lavishly illustrated liner notes, which include an interview, notes, complete lyrics, and rare photos. Rhino did its homework on this one, and it shows. It would've been nice to hear some of the real obscurities ("Physical Revue" or the "Subway Song"), but I guess those would entail another studio session.
There are only a handful of novelty songwriters who deserve this kind of treatment, and none with the relatively limited output that Lehrer has. Congratulations, Rhino for a beautiful package on one of the seminal performers of this age.
If you are the sort of Pavlovian Lehrer enthusiast for whom the name "Tom Lehrer" calls forth such phrases as "pride of my record collection," "would even buy a bag of cow offal if it were a Tom Lehrer bag," or "what exactly DID the Sunday school teacher and the kindly Parson Brown do together?", you obviously must buy this set. In fact, you probably have already bought this set, played it an unhealthy number of times, and are unlikely to be reading this review anyway, since you hardly need to be sold on the myriad wonders of this collection. (Preaching to the choir is not only fun, it's easy.)
If you are the casual sort of fan who already owns the four available Lehrer CDs (the live albums and the Rhino collection of his two studio albums), you must then ask yourself if you desperately need the handful of previously unreleased songs, such as a few "Electric Company" ditties and a couple of newer tunes. If not, you may well opt to stick with your current Lehrer collection and eschew the repackaging, though you risk being snubbed by the Rabid Tom Lehrer Completists of America (twelve members at last count, of whom Lehrer himself is steadfastly not one).
If, however, you are new to the musical stylings of Tom Lehrer -- staggering thought, that -- there is no better place to start, and finish, than here.Read more ›
Really adult topics.
Like religion, prejudice, politics and chemistry. If you've never heard Tom Lehrer, and God knows, he doesn't get much airplay, you've missed the most influential comic musician of the last century. The Simpsons, Weird Al, Animaniacs, South Park -- all their creators have acknowledged a debt to Lehrer's intelligent but bitter humor. (Don't compare him to Mark Russell - that's like saying if you've never heard the Beatles, they sound a lot like the Backstreet Boys.)
While most of this music is over 40 years old, the irony has not rusted. (Ooh that's good! I'm copyrighting that phrase!) His pointed barbs at society and church are as sharp as ever. Consider the Vatican Rag, at one time banned on most stations as vehementally anti-Catholic: "Get into that long processional, step into that small confessional, then the guy who's got religion'll, tell you if your sin's original. If it is then play it safer, drink the wine and chew the wafer, 2-4-6-8, Time to Transubstantiate."
Lehrer's clever rhymes were non-pariel - who else could create lyrics consisting solely of the names of the elements? Check the Rhino website for the Tom Lehrer chat.
But don't miss this set.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As an avid Tom Lehrer fan I have been looking everywhere for a complete set of his works.
It is perfect and really has the full collection of studio recordings and live... Read more
This is an almost complete collection of everything written by Tom Lehrer (The Subway Song, at least, is missing).He only put out three albums, two in the 1950's and one in 1965. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Karvin Spurgeon
Arrived undamaged except the case was cracked on one of the disc cases, but mine was used and the discs were fine so it all good. Tom Lehrer is hilarious 10/10Published 10 months ago by Ross Smyth
Tom Lehrer is a riot and it's great that all his albums are available on DVD. So funny and so many if these songs are so relevant 40 years later.Published 17 months ago by Rew Godow
Great recording. Combines all his songs for easy listing. I still keep the originals and he is funny as ever.Published 19 months ago by David Whatley
Such great satire. Holds up very well over all these years.Published 19 months ago by Hendrick Mcdonald
There are lots of goodies in this set. Lehrer's "Elements", "New Math" and "Lobachevsky" are as relevant today as they were when he first did them.Published 20 months ago by DoctorT