What and when was your first exposure to Monty Python? Mine was in early 1975 but it wasn’t the TV show–it hadn’t yet begun to air on PBS yet (at least not on the Southern California affiliate). Nor was it ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ which wouldn’t open until the spring of that year. My first exposure was the group’s third LP, ‘Monty Python’s Previous Record’, a sonic comedy experience unlike any I’d ever heard. The albums don’t get discussed or played much anymore–the movies and the TV material are mostly what people know and revere. And yet for all of my sincere and deep love and appreciation for everything Python, I can’t help but feel that they never really topped the recordings. Perhaps that’s because it was my first exposure to their humor. But I wonder if there’s something more to it–perhaps the fact that the humor was audio only and thus even more surreal and strange than when it was accompanied by visuals. I was incredibly excited to see them on film that spring but remember being slightly disappointed by ‘Holy Grail’–it was funny but more ‘normal’ than the record albums. Grounding the group in visuals–seeing what they actually looked like–made them mortals. The audio-only Python’s were voices from another world–they were dangerous and scary and weirdly kinky in a way that the filmed Python’s could never be. Of course I love Python in any of its iterations (except for the dreadful Hollywood Bowl concert that I went to when I was in High School–there was nothing funny about seeing them standing on that huge stage, far in the distance, reciting their routines. It was as if a local drama club had coopted the material and was ‘doing’ Python). As of this writing I would say that much as I love the TV show and some of the movies it remains the records that I cherish, with the above coming in #1, ‘Matching Tie and Handkerchief’ following closely behind (which really counts as one and half albums because of that funky thing they did on side two which splits the tracks so you get different versions of side two each time you play it) and ‘Another Monty Python Record’ coming in third. Enjoy the above if you’ve never heard it or enjoy it again if you have.


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