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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 15 November 2008
I imagined it would be extremely difficult to write a brief, glowing review about something that is linked to the death of one of my favourite presenters/performers.....but this programme, originally broadcast in June 2008, and splendidly hosted by Stephen Fry, is a glowing tribute to Humph. Excellent, funny and emotional contributions from Graeme Garden (who uses the quote in my title for this review.....and how right!), Tim Brook-Taylor, Barry Cryer, Jeremy Hardy, Sandi Toksvig, and many more, make for a really great 50 minutes of listening that you can come back to again and again. Humph was such an unassuming & charming man with a remarkable (aristocratic!) background - friend of Loius Armstrong, cartoonist for the Daily Mail after WWII, jazz legend, and the ultimate chairman of panel games. This Radio 4 programme is a really fitting tribute to a great, great man. You will laugh and you will shed a tear.....an excellent tribute. Highly recommended
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 3 January 2009
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I fear some other people reviewing this item may actually be reviewing the life of the great man. Humph, it goes without saying, deserves five stars all the way. The three stars that I give this CD should in no way be seen as a slight to Mr Lyttelton. The fact is though that this is a one-time listen. Various friends and colleagues are assembled to give praise, which is all very fine, but what would have been better would have been less tribute talk and more excerpts of Humph being Humph. There is no better tribute to the man than his glorious music, his superb wit and peerless comic timing.

A highlight though was the recording from the VE day celebrations in London. The typical BBC announcer described the scene including reference to a trumpeter playing for the crowds below him. Wafting up over the decades you can make out the tune of Roll out the Barrel drifting up from the throng as the announcer falls silent. It was of course Humph, as ever the life and soul of the party.

Better to remember him through his own work I think, than through other people's reminiscences. Its very right that this programme was made and broadcast in the wake of his passing, but that doesn't make it a CD you will necessarily feel the need to own. Personally I will remember Humph without it, as I remember also Lionel Blair on Give Us a Clue, his hands a blur, trying to pull off twelve angry men in under two minutes.
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VINE VOICEon 29 December 2008
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I don't need to recommend this well-presented obituary to existing Humphrey Lyttelton and ISIHAC fans - it's a fine thing to have - and included are plenty of funny anecdotes and clips (just don't expect this to be a compilation). As the original free broadcast it is pleasant and blameless, as a cd to buy though it is lacking in range and detail.

There isn't enough jazz, at least one full track with the band surely would have made this a more rounded tribute. As would hearing from a wider range of people than predominantly Radio 4 personalities. Still, it is clearly labelled and aimed at the radio show fans, and a worthwhile remembrance of a man who needs to be remembered.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When Humphrey Lyttelton died in April of this year my immediate thoughts were of loss of a great jazz trumpeter and band leader. In the late 1940's he was one of Britain's first revivalist musicians, his number `Bad Penny Blues' (a few bars are played on this CD) being the first jazz recording to get into the hit parade, and he remained involved up to a few weeks before his death. By this time he had been presenter of BBC's `Best of Jazz' for 40 years, and his initial success with the programme led him to becoming, in 1972, host to the BBC radio comedy panel game `I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue'. Many will feel his loss from this slot more deeply than from jazz - but perhaps it was his jazz talent that underpinned his terrific sense of timing. Humph, as he was known, became famed for his style of delivery where deadpan pauses were as important as words.

The long running series (36 years!) of `I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue' was introduced as "the antidote to panel games" and was a hilariously funny send up of celebrity shows with panellists playing ridiculous games and contributing to repartee. Humph was a genius for witty execution of script interspersed with ad-libbing. The show's `near the knuckle humour' was not merely ribaldry - it was a wordsmith's delight with ongoing puns, one-liners and double entendres that was always fun and not overtly offensive. This CD of a BBC Radio 4 broadcast in June 2008 is presented by Stephen Fry as a tribute to Humphrey Lyttelton with numerous contributions from previous participants, contributors and writers. The duration is 52 minutes and it is divided into 17 sections. Snippets from actual programmes including examples of games, and brief references to Humph's supporters (a surreal Samantha and a punch-bag pianist) are introduced with explanations on production of radio presentations. Until I listened to this tribute CD I gave greater credence to Humphrey Lyttelton's ripostes whereas the dialogue by writer Graeme Garden and others appears to give more credit to prepared scripts.

The CD makes a wonderful and well deserved tribute to Humphrey Lyttelton, but from my point of view the accolades and reminiscences take up too much of the time and become somewhat repetitive - leaving not enough time for excerpts from `I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue'. Attention to earlier complete recordings (of which many are available via BBC Audio) will demonstrate better Humph's relaxed manner enhanced by his own flourishes - and clearly his own double-edged interventions. I could replay and find something new in almost any programme repeat, but this CD is unlikely to be played more than once.
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on 29 April 2009
Is it possible that here was a man with no enemies? Witty, clever, talented, modest - who wouldn't enjoy an evening of his company? Given the way that certain panel game hosts have come and gone on tv, I suspect he wouldn't have lasted 35 odd years if he rubbed anyone up the wrong way. (I guess that would have been a job for Samantha, anyway.) I await the next series of ISIHAC with trepidation. I wonder if Humph might just be completely irreplaceable. Not many of us are.

This is a happy collection of reminiscences from friends and admirers - many of whom it seems were both of those things. It is naturally mostly Clue related, but there are plenty of touches of the life he had before ISIHAC propelled him to his status as a National Treasure.
Buy this and enjoy it. Especially the cheeky bits. (Anthony Worrall Thompson might just be about to keep Lionel Blair company in my thoughts.)

NB I have also recently read his autobiograpy "It just occurred to me" and that sits very nicely with this as a celebration of his life.
It Just Occurred to Me...: The Reminiscences and Thoughts of Chairman Humph
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on 16 July 2009
I listened to this CD at a friend's house one evening not being familiar with Chairman Humph or I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue and I have to say it made my day.

The wonderfully warm tone of the memories people have of Chairman Humph and his talents give you the impression of a much beloved man and this CD serves as a great introduction to his work for newcomers like me as well as a nostalgic trip down memory lane for those who have known and loved him for much longer.

I am aware that some reviewers believe this to be a one listen wonder, but I don't think this is the case. It is something to put on during a cold wet afternoon when you need reminding of the better aspects of human nature. A bit like a well loved family film on a Sunday afternoon, this CD will most likely make you smile and perhaps shed a tear or two while curled up with a cup of tea. A fitting tribute to a man whose work I will be listening to much more in the future.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Without a doubt my third-favourite Humphrey (behind Humphrey Bogart and Humphrey the former cat-in-residence of Downing Street) this CD contains a wonderful tribute to the broadcaster Humphrey Lyttleton. Something of a throwback to the golden age of radio, Humphrey's jokes on "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue" were always a shining example of how to straddle the boundaries of 'healthy vulgarity' (as Henry Root once put it), without straying into the territory of mindlessly degenerative filth. A humble and dignified man, despite his renown as a musician, Lyttleton was rarely one to blow his own trumpet on the show- something for which I simply could not adequately thank him. Fortunately, this CD does not feature too much of the abominable cacophony that inevitably ensued (in the name of something that is referred to simply as 'jazz'), whenever he got together with his insufferable band!
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Humph stands out as one of the great jazz trumpeters and radio presenters of the last century, and this program, ably presented by Stephen Fry, pays tribute to him. Part biography, part excerpt; it focuses fully on the positives and describes his various accomplishments in glowing terms. The excerpts are funny and the personal reminiscences of people who knew him touching, but if you didn't know him and just want laughs, I'd go for an ISIHAC collection instead. If you want biography you need balance, if you want laughs you need more variety, and if jazz more music. I enjoyed this on the radio and I enjoyed it on CD, but whether I'd want to play it again for a third time?
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 24 December 2008
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is, to be fair, a tribute to the late Humphrey Lyttelton and it does say so in small print on the CD case, but it's slightly misleading nevertheless as the main title is "I'm sorry, I haven't a clue" in huge colourful letters - so I was expecting a great deal more in the way of extracts from the legendary radio show than there turned out to be. I would suggest that at least 80% of the content is made up of presenter Stephen Fry talking about the life of the celebrated jazz musician and later game-show celebrity, interspersed with contributions from several people who worked with Humph or knew him well. He undoubtedly deserves a tribute such as this and more, and he will be sadly missed for many years despite his legacy living on, but the harsh truth is that this CD, in terms of its entertainment value, is rather short in quantitive terms - perhaps only ten collective minutes' worth of extracts are to be heard in all.

But the quality very nearly makes up for it. While the personal tributes are touching and heartfelt, the real value for the listener stems from the comedy clips, and these are of the highest standard - despite the fact that there has been little in the way of cherry-picking thanks to that standard being so very consistently high down the years (since 1972 in fact). I considered quoting an example, but I know that there is no substitute for hearing the Humph's deadpan delivery first-hand, and all I can say is that there may be only ten minutes-worth of laughs here, but they are memorable and you might be recounting more than one of the gags to your family and friends later that day.

He may have had a good innings, as they say, but no matter when he eventually passed on it would always be too soon. He is irreplaceable and without doubt one of the 'Great Britons' of the 20th century, not to mention the 21st too. A legend to all who knew him.
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VINE VOICEon 23 December 2008
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Humph was and still is a legend. I have never been a jazz cognoscenti, but I have long been a massive fan of ISIHAC, or Clue, whichever abbreviation you prefer, so when I was offered this product to review I did whatever the equivalent of biting the hand off is to an email. I was not disappointed.

This is a recording of the BBC Radio 4 programme, first aired in June 2008: it features contributions from all the regulars of Clue, plus a few others, such as Melvyn Bragg, whom you would not expect to hear. All are unanimous in their praise of Humph, as you would expect.

It starts with a comprehensive, compact biography, which includes his Jazz accomplishments, interspersed with clips from the man himself, taken from Clue, commenting on various aspects of his life. It then moves on to the main focus, which is his role as the chairman of Clue.

There is not much more to say without redundancy. The clips taken from Clue, including outtakes and edits not before broadcast, had me laughing out loud, thumping the arm of my chair. Some of the contributions had me swallowing a lump in my throat. This is a celebration of the great man's enormous contribution to the world of comedy panel games. He is and will forever be greatly missed - this is a pretty good summary of the reasons why.
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