"If, after hearing my songs," Lehrer says in this disc's liner notes, "just one human being is inspired to say something nasty to a friend, or perhaps strike a loved one, it will all have been worth the while." Makes him s... more »ound like a modern punk, eh? Not so, though. Lehrer, ever the king of jolly vitriol, recorded these still potent parodies in the '50s--and the best of them, "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park," "The Masochism Tango," and "The Elements" (which joins science with Gilbert & Sullivan) remain both nasty and striking. Musically, Lehrer comes across like a demented Cole Porter, wrapping sophisticated, showy tunes around his acerbic jokes. Lyrically, he's a clear forebear to folks like Phil Ochs and Barry Crimmins, who also cloak their commentary in comedy. --Michael Ruby« less
"If, after hearing my songs," Lehrer says in this disc's liner notes, "just one human being is inspired to say something nasty to a friend, or perhaps strike a loved one, it will all have been worth the while." Makes him sound like a modern punk, eh? Not so, though. Lehrer, ever the king of jolly vitriol, recorded these still potent parodies in the '50s--and the best of them, "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park," "The Masochism Tango," and "The Elements" (which joins science with Gilbert & Sullivan) remain both nasty and striking. Musically, Lehrer comes across like a demented Cole Porter, wrapping sophisticated, showy tunes around his acerbic jokes. Lyrically, he's a clear forebear to folks like Phil Ochs and Barry Crimmins, who also cloak their commentary in comedy. --Michael Ruby
Bret B. (Grendel) from TEMPE, AZ Reviewed on 6/9/2018...
Tom Lehrer is one of the funniest men alive. To think that a Harvard maths prof. makes a side living singing silly songs to albeit large audiences is funny in itself. Then there is his work and this is even more entertaining. Granted that some younger audiences might not get all of his references but things like The Vatican Rag are universally funny.
Great artist — Great album
Hardly A Waste!
Brent Evans | Rockhampton, Australia | 07/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was introduced to Tom Lehrer 11 years ago by my then drama lecturer. I never got the chance to thank her by introducing me to the clever wit of this genius. Lehrer was tackling topics in the '50s and '60s than some still skirt around today. This was the first album of his I heard, and it still remains my favourite. The audience is right behind him on this recording. to think that Lehrer actually put his albums out on his own indie label. . .a trendsetter even then! This album was released with a corresponding studio album of the same material (MORE OF TOM LEHRER); I prefer these songs in a live setting. While some of the songs might have dated somewhat, I guarantee you'll get more than one belly laugh out of the clever, caustic wit of Tom Lehrer, the U.S.A's funniest mathematician.POISONING PIGEONS IN THE PARK - Delivers a poisonous dose to all those 'Springtime walking in the park with my love' type songs.BRIGHT COLLEGE DAYS - Come on, all of you must have heard a school song you wanted to cringe at. They're trotted out at every school reunion.A CHRISTMAS CAROL - A carol celebrating the monetary (and the montonous) aspects of Joyous Yuletide.THE ELEMENTS - Inspired by the tongue twisting genius of Danny Kaye and the music of Gilbert and Sullivan. Lehrer sings the periodic table of elements! I wish I could've heard this song much earlier . . .it could've stopped me from failing high school science!OEDIPUS REX - A title soing that never was for the movie version of Oedipus Rex. "Of all ideals they hail as good, the most sublime is motherhood". LOL!IN OLD MEXICO - A ballad of Old Mexico; complete with a half a ton of angry pot roast, Lehrer's brother's pet dog Rover, typhoid, dysentary, and a stolen wallet!CLEMENTINE - The traditional singalong as reworked by Cole Porter, Mozart("Or one of that crowd . . ."), a bebop beatnik, and Gilbert and Sullivan.IT MAKES A FELLOW PROUD TO BE A SOLDIER - Tom Lehrer was in the army for two years; from January 1955 to January 1957. This track is full of characters he could have rubbed shoulders with during this time, but most likely didn't.SHE'S MY GIRL - Despite all your lover's faults (inability to cook, bathroom habits), you still love her/him. This track could use a bit of a gender swap, though.THE MASOCHISM TANGO - A tango for all you gluttons for punishment who want the love for your partner to be a flame, not an ember.WE WILL ALL GO TOGETHER WHEN WE GO - This should have become an anthem for the 'anti-nukes' and 'anti-war' protestors from the '60s til the present day. It packs the same punch as the early Dylan protest songs or the later electric ones by the Turtles, Country Joe & The Fish et al."
Vampire Angel | USA | 01/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have to say that I would never have piccked this CD up and listened to it if it hadn't been for my dad. He listens to the oddest selection of music, so I, being his child, have grown accustomed to it; but this CD was the best out of all my dad's CDs. Although I am only a teen, and I do not understand all the references, political and otherwise, the CD gave me a chance to sit back and relax for 45 minutes and laugh. I enjoy Lehrer's dry sense of humor and it is entertaining to try to decifer what Lehrer is saying(as in the song The Elements, has to wait till I took chemistry to figure out what all he was saying!).
ok, basically what I am trying to say is that this CD is just perfect!"
Quality always holds up.
Rocco Dormarunno | Brooklyn, NY | 07/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One reason why the great songs of Tom Lehrer hold up after all these decades is that some of the issues they cover have not gone away. The Cold War may be over, but the weapons remain. And anyway there are other ways Armegeddon may arrive. Misunderstanding between the sexes will never vanish. But I think the real reason Tom Lehrer's "An Evening Wasted..." has held up so well for so long is that his humor and craft are top quality. We still read Mark Twain's acerbic satires. Will Rogers is still an American icon, while others have come and gone. And in the tradition of Twain and Rogers, Lehrer, while commenting on contemporary conditions, takes them and twists them in a way that is nothing short of brilliant. And, without realizing it, has given us a better understanding of his times, while making us laugh (or weep) at ours. Forget all that heavy stuff: this is just a darned funny collection!"
Kori Frazier | Kent, OH United States | 08/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a teenage folk music fan who discovered this CD upon one of my regular browsing sessions at Borders, and picked it up on a whim after listening to the first two tracks. Tom Lehrer is a comedy genius--this has to be one of the funniest comedy recordings I have ever heard. In this day and age where Weird Al Yankovic is the favorite satirical recording artist among music fans, it is amazing to listen to this album and see how much Lehrer was ahead of his time, as well as how funny these songs are even after over forty years. But the the funny songs are not the only pleasure of this recording--I was also duly impressed with Mr. Lehrer's ability as a pianist. For more musical comedy fun, check out CDs by the folk artist Loudon Wainwright, III."
Lehrer is hilarious!
Eels Sang Lino | anywhere but here | 12/30/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is hilarious! How can you possibly deny the genius of tunes like "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park" ("When they see us coming the birdies all try and hide, but they still go for peanuts when coated with cyanide"...) or "The Elements" (the periodic table set to Gilbert and Sullivan, as you probably know by now). Lehrer's black humor and commentary always makes me laugh when I pop this disc into my player, and as an added bonus, this is a live disc, so we are treated to Lehrer's monologues as well as his songs, which are usually just as funny as his songs, if not more so. Highlights include the story of Dr. Samuel Gall, inventor of the gallbladder, and a bit about his friend Henry ("He spelled his name H-E-N-3-R-Y. The 3 was silent, you see"...)who wrote novels ("about a young necrophiliac who finally achieved his boyhood ambition by becoming coroner"). Even though these tunes were written in 1959, they haven't dated, and still remain as fresh and funny today as they were 46 years ago. If you enjoy black humor, and like to laugh, what are you waiting for? Buy this, and/or any other album by Tom Lehrer, today!"