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The Remains of Tom Lehrer Box set, Original recording remastered

4.6 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, Original recording remastered, May 23, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Rarish set of archive recordings

Amazon.com

This three-CD set collects many of Tom Lehrer's tunes, described by Time magazine as "brilliant and coruscating parodies," bringing back a bygone era when the "liberal consensus," as Lehrer calls them, knew who they were and could, therefore, laugh at both themselves and the well-defined enemy. Delivering clever, witty rhymes about topical subjects was Leher's strength. In "Wernher Von Braun" [the Nazi German scientist who later worked for NASA], Lerher sings: "I'll sing you a tale of Wernher Von Braun / A man whose allegiance is ruled by expedience / Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down / 'That's not my department,' says Wernher Von Braun." Using a rollicking piano as accompaniment, Lehrer will remind some of Mark Russell, the current political satirist, but Lehrer's more pointed humor and grating, nasal voice make him a much tougher listen. His Jimmy Durante-like delivery, however, doesn't completely trump his truly quick mind and clever use of language. --Wally Shoup

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Fight Fiercely, Harvard
  2. The Old Dope Peddler
  3. Be Prepared
  4. The Wild West Is Where I Want To Be
  5. I Wanna Go Back To Dixie
  6. Lobachevsky
  7. The Irish Ballad
  8. The Hunting Song
  9. My Home Town
  10. When You Are Old And Gray
  11. I Hold Your Hand In Mine
  12. The Wiener Schnitzel Waltz
  13. Poisoning Pigeons In The Park
  14. Bright College Days
  15. A Christmas Carol
  16. The Elements
  17. Oedipus Rex
  18. In Old Mexico
  19. Clementine
  20. It Makes A Fellow Proud To Be A Soldier
  21. She's My Girl
  22. The Masochism Tango
  23. We Will All Go Together When We Go
  24. I Got It From Agnes
  25. That's Mathematics

Disc: 2

  1. Introduction
  2. I Wanna Go Back To Dixie
  3. The Wild West Is Where I Want To Be
  4. The Old Dope Peddler
  5. Fight Fiercely, Harvard
  6. Lobachevsky
  7. The Irish Ballad
  8. The Hunting Song
  9. My Home Town
  10. When You Are Old And Gray
  11. The Wiener Schnitzel Waltz
  12. I Hold Your Hand In Mine
  13. Be Prepared
  14. Poisoning Pigeons In The Park
  15. Bright College Days
  16. A Christmas Carol
  17. The Elements
  18. Oedipus Rex
  19. In Old Mexico
  20. Clementine
  21. It Makes A Fellow Proud To Be A Soldier
  22. She's My Girl
  23. The Masochism Tango
  24. We Will All Go Together When We Go

Disc: 3

  1. National Brotherhood Week
  2. MLF Lullaby
  3. George Murphy
  4. The Folk Song Army
  5. Smut
  6. Send The Marines
  7. Pollution
  8. So Long, Mom (A Song For World War III)
  9. Whatever Became Of Hubert?
  10. New Math
  11. Alma
  12. Who's Next?
  13. Wernher Von Braun
  14. The Vatican Rag
  15. Poisoning Pigeons In The Park
  16. The Masochism Tango
  17. The Hunting Song
  18. We Will All Go Together When We Go
  19. L-Y
  20. Silent E
  21. O-U (The Hound Song)
  22. S-N (Snore, Sniff, And Sneeze)
  23. N Apostrophe T
  24. Selling Out
  25. (I'm Spending) Hanukkah In Santa Monica


Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 23, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: May 23, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set, Original recording remastered
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Rhino / Warner Archives
  • ASIN: B00004SWBH
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,931 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Tom Lehrer is one of the greatest anomalies in popular music: he burst on the scene for a dozen years with five albums (two of which where essentially live versions of studio recordings), then retired into academia, not performing in public for decades. To further discourage any chance of his becoming popular, his song medium was "novelty" parody and social satire, both of which tend to have short shelf lives.
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.
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Format: Audio CD
...or at least that's how Tom Lehrer, with his customary self-deprecating wit, might describe it. To his fans, however ("all three of them," he might add), this boxed set is, to quote Christopher Walken in "True Romance," "as good as it's gonna get, and it won't ever get that good again."
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.
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Format: Audio CD
Tom Lehrer is not dead! No, at age 72 he continues avoiding the spotlight and insisting that he is not in show business. This boxed set of his complete works is a testament to his genius for satire. His earliest work demonstrates his skill in parodying various song styles on albums he recorded in the mid-fifties. His political side is revealed in deftly turned tunes written for the 60's TV series "That Was the Week That Was". Also included are children's songs from "The Electric Co." There are a couple of new songs too. Dr. Demento's biographical notes are indispensable. Listening to Tom Lehrer's music is almost as good as being in his math class.
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Format: Audio CD
No, not swear words.
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.
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