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Monty Python, Again

No Spam here.

Monty Python: The Other British Invasion. Great DVD documentary about how the comedy troupe changed America…albeit by accident.

This two-disc documentary about the origins of Monty Python is an informative and enjoyable blend of archival information and contemporary interviews. There are no skits within, only occasional excerpts; instead the programs focus upon how the infamous troupe first met, overcame numerous obstacles and eventually became world-famous practitioners of absurdly silly comedy.

Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, John Cleese, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam and Eric Idle all found that thread of madness in their youthful experiences that demonstrated they saw life a bit differently. And once they realized that there were others who shared this skewed vision, they quickly immersed themselves in a myriad of artistic endeavors until their paths finally crossed into this immortal configuration.

Read the full review at PopMatters.

***

R.I.P. Jay Reatard

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Blast From The Past – The Raves

Really, really fab!

Your collection, if like mine, contains several hidden gems that even you forget about over time. But when you stumble across them years later, you immediately know why you were hooked in the first place. With so many bands springing up in the post-Beatle era and beyond, how could you know about them all? Some incredibly talented ones never got too far outside of their zip code for one reason or another, but we all know there are diamonds in that rough…

One such band was The Raves, from Atlanta. Years after its release. their album Past Perfect Tense is still a sixteen-track breath of fresh air. Here’s what I wrote for TransAction a dozen years ago…

My God, two of them even *look* like John and Paul! This collection of Beatle-esque pop from the 1980s proves that along with The Flashcubes and The Toms there were many other great bands that didn’t get their due. Chuck, John and Jim Yoakum handled the guitar-bass-drums axis while Ken Kennedy added some flash lead guitar. Although the production immediately screams “local band”, the songs don’t – they’re pure New Wave pop.

 “Any Way You Can”, “Every Little Bit Hurts” and “Make Up Your Mind” are just three of the sixteen tracks that you can play in tandem with bands like Artful Dodger, The Jags and The Sinceros. “Tonight It’s Going To Be Great” is The Records via Buddy Holly and you’ll like the Elvis Costello nod on the intro to “Chastity”. Four guys weaned on classic pop rock who decided to make some of their own.

Go ahead – drop a few more names. The Rubinoos. Dwight Twilley. Sloan. Everly Brothers. Name any melodic or powerpop band you want…if you like them, you’ll like this. I have no idea what happened to the band after this – a very common tale – although Chuck did work with the late Graham Chapman of Monty Python.

But do try and track down this hard to find little gem – you will be richly rewarded.

The Raves at AllMusic.com

A couple of YouTube videos courtesy The Yoakum Channel.

An old interview at Bubblegum The Punk

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T.G.I.F. – Ten Dead Parrots

Monty_Box_p1050 box wrap no marks

Thank God it’s Python!

Argument Clinic

The Parrot Sketch

Silly Olympics

Job Interview

Ministry of Silly Walks

The Black Knight

The French Taunter

The Bridge of Death

Upper Class Twit of the Year

Bring Out Your Dead

Bonus track:

Spam, spam, spam, spam,your word here and spam

comedy mask

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Forty Years of Python

I want to start an argument

I want to start an argument

You’re either in or you’re out.

You either get it, or you don’t.

You can either recite the entire sketch by heart – hell, some entire movies by heart – or you can’t.

And if you’re in those latter camps, you’ll just never understand the clandestine language that Monty Python fans share. It’s like a secret handshake – overhear someone dropping a classic line about silly walks, or dead parrots, or Mary, Queen of Scots, and it’s an open invitation to join the conversation and be accepted all in one fell swoop. Skull and Bones never had anything this insidious, this lethal, this great. The Pythons might not have pioneered sketch comedy in Britain, but for reasons I (and they) can’t understand, they crossed The Big Pond and twisted our minds in a different way than Benny Hill or Peter Cook or even Peter Sellers could. What began as a cult is now an inseparable part of the American comedy fabric.

For the past 24 hours, you couldn’t turn on the TV without seeing some combination of John Cleese and Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam and Eric Idle hamming it up with newscasters, talk show hosts and…well, pretty much anyone who would have them. Michael Palin was traveling, but even the late Graham Chapman made an appearance (even though he had ceased to be…)

Why another British Invasion? It’s the fortieth anniversary of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and the surviving members of the troupe are here in the United States to accept an award and to revel in the six part series Almost The Truth (The Lawyer’s Cut). If you missed that ceremony tonight, click here. The six part documentary starts airing on IFC on October 18th.

Better yet? The series is available on DVD just nine days later(a link to my published review will follow in the coming days). This project is not yet another collection of broadcast clips, but a combination of recent interviews and archival footage that follows the troupe from inception to legend, featuring input from several of today’s leading comedic lights. I’s truly special.

So buckle up. And always look on the bright side of life.

Here’s a link to a poor soul who had his mind twisted. As for me…well, I’m a lumberjack and I’m O.K.

 Forty Years of Monty Python

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