Years ahead of his time, Lehrer only retired from his secondary career asa satirist when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, thusrendering satire redundant. Lehrer went back to Harvard to his originalvocation of Mathematics, which he pursues with great success to this day. What a loss to civilisation!
After many playings, the humbly entitled An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrerstill makes me laugh for the simple reason that Lehrer's wit is timeless. It's extraordinary to think these songs were recorded in 1958; they retainevery ounce of freshness and vibrancy nearly half a century on, and darnnearly the same relevance it had then. Think of the Masochism Tango inthe context of the Internet age and the song has a whole new agenda; Ican't hear We Will All Go Together When We Go without thinking of thecurrent gung-ho Anglo-American pursuit of anyone deemed to be a enemy ofcivilisation and freedom; in fact, go through this collection and you'llfind essential truths lurking at every corner.
Furthermore, Lehrer's dazzling, scalpel-sharp wit and awesome intellectallowed him to toy with audiences like a cat with a mouse (talking about anecrophiliac coroner, he advises those members of the audience notlaughing to "look it up in the dictionary when you get home.") Many ofhis targets are explored in the form of gentle skits on popular songstyles, but don't be deceived - barbed comments lie in waitthroughout.
You will not be disappointed - Lehrer was a talent ahead of his time inchallenging the mores of American society, perhaps more genteel than thosewho followed him (such as Lenny Bruce), but in his day just asrevolutionary.