Review

Monty Python Sings is exactly what it sounds like: 25 songs (six under a minute) written and performed by members of Monty Python's Flying Circus. The numbers should be instantly familiar to fans of their legendary sketch comedy series and theatrical features. Each member of the troupe is represented to some degree or another, including director/animator Terry Gilliam with the tiny tune "I've Got Two Legs" (:33), and two co-written by the late Graham Chapman (to whom the compilation was dedicated): "Medical Love Song" and "Knights of the Round Table (Camelot Song)." John Cleese, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin contributed to several compositions, but the lion's share were written/co-written by the most musically inclined member, Eric Idle. Neil Innes (the Bonzo Dog Band), with whom Idle collaborated on the Beatles spoof The Rutles, assisted with arranging and composed the music for "Knights of the Round Table." All of the songs are sung by Pythons, with the exception of "Brian Song," which features Sonia Jones channeling Shirley Bassey's Bond anthem "Goldfinger" -- quite successfully, too, although it's hard to imagine Bassey singing, "He had arms and legs and hands and feet/this boy whose name was Brian." It's debatable whether those not already enamored by the Pythons' unique brand of humor would be won over by this recording. For the already converted, however, it represents an opportunity to have all of their best known songs in one place: Life of Brian's "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" ("when you're chewing on life's gristle/don't grumble, give a whistle"), "Lumberjack Song" (I'm a lumberjack/and I'm O.K./I sleep all night/and I work all day"), and, of course, "Spam Song" ("lovely Spam/wonderful Spa-a-m"). For better or for worse, many of their most politically incorrect songs are also included: "Sit on My Face," "Penis Song (Not the Noel Coward Song)," "Never Be Rude to an Arab," and "I Like Chinese." Although packed to the brim with (lyrical) comedy, Monty Python Sings is strictly a musical recording and does not include any sketches, spoken word pieces, or narration. ~ Kathleen C. Fennessy, Rovi

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