Monty Python

The Monty Python Matching Tie & Handkerchief (Arista/Legacy)

Monty Python

The Album of the Soundtrack of the Trailer of the Film of Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Arista/Legacy)

Monty Python

Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album (Arista/Legacy)

Almost 40 years after the BBC tapped five well-educated Brits (Cambridge, Oxford) and one gifted American animator for a new sketch program that was almost called Owl Stretching Time, Monty Python endures: everything from a prehistoric fossil to a Ben & Jerry's flavor (Vermonty Python) has been named in their honor, and in the past month alone, newspapers have described Australian gas prices and a meeting of the Pennsylvania Game Commission as "Pythonesque." That said, albums were never their forte, simply because Python's humor was always as much visual as it was verbal: the dead parrot nailed to its cage or Ministry of Silly Walks, to say nothing of Terry Gilliam's borderline-disturbing interstitials. Though each contains Python's trademark sublime absurdity and outright nastiness, it's hard to imagine Arista/Legacy's three reissues winning many new converts. 1973's Matching Tie & Handkerchief is a straight sketch album, wherein Thomas Hardy writing his new novel is called like a horse race ("It's like Tess of the D'Urbervilles all over again!"), and a meeting of the wasp/tiger club ("Wasp Club/Tiger Talk") affirms that people getting stung and mauled is always hysterical. 1975's Holy Grail soundtrack has enough of the film's classic bits to make it worthwhile, plus several songs that have nothing whatsoever to do with the movie. By 1980's mostly musical Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album, they were simply trying to be as offensive as possible, a mission accomplished on the glorious "Sit on My Face" alone. A post-Rutles Eric Idle particularly shines, but save your money and buy a tank of gas and ticket to his Tony-winning 2005 Broadway smash Spamalot, playing Houston's Hobby Center through Sunday, instead.

(Matching Tie & Handkerchief) **.5

(Holy Grail; Contractual Obligation) ***

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