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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 6 March 2003
What is it about Tom Lehrer? Why do these period-piece satires from the late 1950s resonate down the decades, such that a retailer on something called 'the Internet' can still turn a dollar selling them? Simply, Lehrer coined a kind of musical humour that is simple, universal and stands up to repeated playing.
What was risqué in 1959 is still funny now, as Lehrer indulges his everyday passions for murder, drug abuse and necrophilia in a Noel Coward piano style in front of an appreciative audience of middle-class Americans for whom the newfangled rock'n'roll was (as Lehrer puts it) "for children".
One of the joys of this CD - an amalgam of 'An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer' and 'Tom Lehrer Revisited', so you also get 80 good minutes - is that it is live. Lehrer's introductions are often as funny as the songs, and he proudly quotes his New York Times review: "Mr Lehrer's muse is not fettered by such inhibiting factors as taste."
Lehrer sells himself, and the humour crosses all ages: a CD bought for my father-in-law at Christmas went down so well that another had to be acquired for his 10-year old grand-daughter...
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on 8 August 2006
Tom Lehrer is completely brilliant, and these songs that kept my parents laughing in the 1950s are just as relevant and entertaining today. The man is a wonderful musician and the musical jokes are as clever as the verbal ones. This CD is also excellent value with 23 of his finest songs for just £6.97. There's not a single duffer amongst them, which works out at a miniscule 30p per track. Unmatchable for laughs and value.
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on 4 October 2005
Now this man is a lyrical genius. Hilarious throughout, not only from the songs but also the in between song speeches, often explaining a song coming forward. The best of the songs are Oedipus Rex, Lobachevsky, and The Irish Ballad.
There must of been thousands of people just like Mr Lehrer, doing the exact same throughout the 50's and 60's but he is one of the only ones remembered today. And rightly so for he is hilarious and has joyful little ditty's. His lyrics were widely controversial at the time, and may be even more so now. They remain truly dispuable.
This is probably a good purchase as this is Tom Lehrer at his best. I do not recommened buying his 3 disc set unless you love this, as it is fairly pricey. But i feel it is worth the money. This is 78 minutes of songs and speech and is totally delightful. At the price, it is a steal.
I recommend this for anyone with a decently intelligent sense of humour and a good sense of fun, you will love it.
Enjoy!
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on 18 January 2004
This album is both humourous and musically brilliant. I suspect that it is as entertaining today as it was when it was recorded over 40 years ago. Although the appeal of some of the songs might be limited to those with a rather warped sense of humour (such as myself,)one cannot deny the brilliance of the composer and performance. Tom Lehrer takes frequently used song topics, (the most obvious being love) and adds his own refreshing and amusing slant to them. He also writes his own humerous lyrics while maintaining established forms such as the ballad and walz. My personal favourite is track 6, "in old Mexico." Generally a great album and I would recommend it to anyone with a sense of humour and an open mind. It will be especially appreciated by those with musical skills.
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on 4 May 2001
This CD is a must for anyone looking for a laugh. All of the songs are sensational, each one giving you a barrel of laughs. It's hard to tell you the best ones as they are all just as superb as each other, but the ones to listen out for include Poisoning Pigeons, Masochism Tango, Old Mexico and Oedipus Rex. Elements is also a sensational song, It's surprising that he managed to learn it with it's quick tempo and the names of every known chemical element at the time.
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on 6 November 1999
If nothing on this CD makes you laugh, check your pulse. There are lyrics on this CD which are cutting even in 1999 and the laughs start 10 seconds into the CD. The story of the necrophiliac who finds his perfect job, the introduction to It makes a fellow proud to be a soldier and the Masochism Tango are all top moments. Needs to be listened to and rewards those who do listen. Buy this CD!
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VINE VOICEon 20 February 2010
I am a great Tom Lehrer fan and have been made so by this recording. The songs are witty and, although written quite a time ago now, are still pertinent to the modern age.

His delivery is immaculate and the timing superb. The dialogue with the audience is cosy and he reads them really well knowing exactly which remarks are likely to elicit the best response. There is, of course, one major obstacle and that is the fact that Lehrer does not have a singing voice particularly and relies upon speaking the works most of the time - but this does not really matter and I would add that one scarcely notices. (This is particularly of note when I point out that I have a passion for "bel canto" singing!) What he does possess in spades, however, is very clear diction and this is perfectly obvious in the "Elements Song". It took me a long time to learn personally and getting the diction absolutely correct required considerable effort and repetition! Mind you, I do not have Lehrer's familiarity with the text.

It is also worth noting that this man is a more than competent pianist and songs are written true to the intended styles. This is particularly true of "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park" (very 1940s Hollywood) and the Vatican Rag (which is wickedly funny).

Everytime I listen to this recording, I really lament the fact that song writing such as this appears to be thing of the past with the subtle humour now replaced by something rather cruder and lacking in Lehrer's gentle intelligence. Many modern artists could learn much from him.

Finally, in summary, I would say that this recording is a "must" for anyone wishing to listen to humorous song written and performed with cheerful and careless brilliance. It certainly will not be an "Evening Wasted".
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on 26 December 2013
I was first introduced to Tom when I found an evening wasted in my Dad's old record collection. Later I found another evening wasted in my Uncle's record collection (in the States). For years I only had two bad tapes that I made of these (by then 20 year old) LPs. During the the 90s these albums were in the UK music catalog for order. I placed them on order at my local music store in Preston Lancashire. I went in and pestered them for a full year (on and off) before giving up. At one point Tom had more fan sites than any other person on the then fledgling internet and now the internet is where you can turn to for his recordings. It is surprising how often the mention of his name produces recognition in random places, the friends of Tom are a self selecting group and I have never met an un-interesting one. Never have we need a voice like his than we do now.
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on 22 January 2014
I bought this because my cassette tape of Tom Lehrer concerts finally gave up the ghost. His humourous observations from the late 50s/early 60s still seem pretty relevant today and still make me laugh.

There are however a couple of minor niggles with this recording -
1. Why was it deemed necessary to remove the Introduction, which is funny in its own right, and
2. Why rearrange the tracks so that the preambles don't refer to the previous track - e.g. Be Prepared (now track 2) followed I Hold Your Hand In Mine (now track 18) and the preamble to Be Prepared refers to that; there seems to be no purpose as all of the tracks are there, just in the wrong order. It just removes the continuity of the performance, which would jar a bit on anyone familiar with the original concert recording.
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on 14 October 2014
I first heard Tom Lehrer in 1956 when I was doing National Service in the Army. One of my friends had a copy that I think his father bought in USA. I thought it was so funny and clever and have wanted to hear it again since then. At the time is was banned by the BBC, but was played on the Third Programme ( Now Radio 3)
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