Saturday, April 21, 2012

YEAR: 1980
LABEL: Charisma/Arista
TRACK LISTING: Sit On My Face, Announcement, Henry Kissinger, String, Never Be Rude to an Arab, I Like Chinese, Bishop, Medical Love Song, Farewell to John Denver, Finland, I'm So Worried, I Bet You They Won't Play This Song on the Radio, The Martyrdom of St. Victor, Here Comes Another One, Bookshop, Do Wot John, Rock Notes, Muddy Knees, Crocodile, Decomposing Composers, Bells, Traffic Lights, All Things Dull & Ugly, A Scottish Farewell
IMPRESSIONS: The last thing anybody ever expected in the year 1980 was for Monty Python's Flying Circus to suddenly release another album. However, that's what astonished fans got when they group was obliged to provide a final album for their record label after all those years. Luckily for us, the material was not just dashed off but in fact stands quite well with Python's previous recorded output. This album more music-heavy than previous Python albums and, while some of the songs don't quite match up to their usual standards, many are now beloved classic Python tunes. Each of the non-musical comedy sketches also has a lot to recommend them and hold up for me very well; even the couple which are not particularly hilarious are still well-worth listening to and I hold them all close to my heart. This was, in fact, the first new album of Python material I ever bought since everything else had already been released by the time I became a Python fan in the late 70s. And, with the possible exception of a couple new tracks included on the 1990s cd collection "MONTY PYTHON SINGS", this would be the final (non-soundtrack or "best of" collection) album the Pythons would give us. Or would it. . . ? Stay tuned for tomorrow's post for the surprising answer. . . .
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: Sit On My Face, Henry Kissinger, String, Never Be Rude To an Arab, I Like Chinese, Bishop, Medical Love Song, Farewell To John Denver, Finland, I Bet You They Won't Play This Song On the Radio, Here Comes Another One, Bookshop, Do Wot John, Rock Notes, Crocodile, Decomposing Composers, Bells, All Things Dull and Ugly, A Scottish Farewell
FACT SHEET: MONTY PYTHON'S CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION ALBUM is Monty Python's Flying Circus' ninth album (not counting "best of" MONTY PYTHON'S INSTANT RECORD COLLECTION). It is, obviously from the title, an album made by the comedy troupe to fulfill a contractual obligation to produce one more album owed to Charisma Records. "Bookshop" was originally performed on "AT LAST THE 1948 SHOW" in 1967 by John Cleese & Marty Feldman. "Sit On My Face" uses the melody of Gracie Fields' "Sing As We Go" and was threatened with legal action for copyright infringement for using the tune without permission; however the song remained on the album. The same cannot be said however for "Farewell to John Denver" which was removed from subsequent pressings of the U.K. album on "legal advice" presumably because of threats from John Denver due to the use of "Annie's Song" without permission. Subsequent pressings of the album contain a spoken "Apology" by Terry Jones where the original song appeared. Original print advertising for the album by Charisma Records contained the tagline: "Now A Major Lawsuit!". Since CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION was released on Arista Records in the U.S., who also owned the copyright to John Denver's "Annie's Song", the track remained on U.S. pressings. The original U.K. pressing of the album contained an unintentionally out-of-sync mix of the song "I'm So Worried" which was corrected in subsequent pressings and never appeared on the U.S. release. "Henry Kissinger" and "Medical Love Song" exist in two versions: longer versions containing extra verses appear on the "MONTY PYTHON SINGS" cd. "Rock Notes" provided the name for late 80's-early 90's actual rock band Toad the Wet Sprocket"; the original occurrence of the group name actually pre-dates the CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION album and appeared in Eric Idle & Neil Innes' mid-70's TV programme "RUTLAND WEEKEND TELEVISION" in a parody of "THE OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST".

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