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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > Music > Political > Educational > The Tom Lehrer Collection (Shout! Factory DVD/CD Set)

The Tom Lehrer Collection (Shout! Factory DVD/CD Set)


Picture: C     Sound: B-     Extras: B     Compilation: B



Good, bold satire has become too much of a lost art and some people do it so well and simply that we forget how effective the direct approach is.  Tom Lehrer is a pianist/singer/songwriter who started out as a mathematician, moved on to music satire and is one of those artists whose work you have heard, even if you did not know it was him.  He has enough material that Shout! Factory has issued a DVD/CD set of his work called The Tom Lehrer Collection and it is surprisingly enduring and wide-ranging.


You can also add censored, as he is not always politically correct, nor should he be.  His first album arrived in 1956 and that was enough to launch a second career.  By 1965, his 6th album That Was The Year That Was hit the Top 20, inspired a TV series and his work did stir controversy.  However, you likely best know his work for animated sequences on the original Electric Company (reviewed elsewhere on this site and also from Shout! Factory) including O-U (The Hound Song), L-V and the immortal Silent E.


The CD has 26 tracks, while the DVD has 12 with clips, plus four live concert clips and four Electric Company clips, so you will get a great portrait of a man and his work when you finish the set.  Comedy and music are neglected these days, so it is nice to see anyone do such a fine compilation.



The 1.33 X 1 footage here is shot on analog NTSC videotape and starts with early black and white video footage, then moves to later color clips.  They all have their softness and other video flaws.  Ironically, the four clips from The Electric Company are some of the best-looking here.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound on the DVD is often monophonic, but some of it is at least simple stereo and some of The Electric Company clips have the stereo-sound versions added in.  The PCM 16/44.1 sound on the CD is monophonic for the most part, only stereo on the last tracks and usually a little compressed.


Extras include a 16-page booklet and if you decide to include the CD or bonus tracks on the DVD as we did, then they too are bonus features.  Either way, The Tom Lehrer Collection is a solid set and one worth getting your hands on.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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