Worst of Monty Python’s Flying Circus
(Worst of) Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1970)
For a very short time during the mid-’80s, the album Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1970) circulated under the title The Worst of Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1985) as part of the BBC’s Audio Visual International series. The troupe featured writer/actors Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Terry Gilliam. Gilliam was also the primary component of the Pythons’ highly stylized visuals — such as the unmistakable “foot-through-the-TV” image. The contents were not lifted directly from the audio track, but rather re-recorded with the incorporation of canned laughter — a trait that would not be repeated on their subsequent platters.
Listeners who are likewise familiar with the TV dialogue will note discrepancies on “North Minehead Election” and the quintessential “Dead Parrot” sketch. The latter is among the gems that the Pythons kept during their live performances. This is also true of “Trades Description Act” (aka “Crunchy Frog”) and another iconoclastic entry, “Lumberjack Song.” Here, it is tagged onto the end of a homicidal “Barber” scene, the way it initially aired.
The copyright to the record is still owned by the BBC, making it one of the few pieces of material the Pythons themselves do not own, subsequently it did not gain a 2006 special edition release. One of the tracks makes specific mention to the album being in stereo, and Chapman demonstrates it by walking from one speaker to another. The effect was totally lost as the album was recorded in mono, which the Pythons did not know at the time. They felt disenchanted by the BBC’s album producing methods, and for their remaining albums sought very different approaches.
- 01 Flying Sheep 2:48 Flying Sheep
- 02 Television Interviews 1:59 Man with 2 Buttocks
- 03 Trade Description Act 3:26 Crunchy Frog
- 04 Nudge Nudge 1:42 Nudge nudge
- 05 Mouse Problem 3:12 Mouse Problem
- 06 Buying a Bed 3:56 Buying a Bed
- 07 Interesting People 3:16 Interesting People
- 08 Barber 1:40 Barber
- 09 Lumberjack 2:19 Lumberjack
- 10 Interviews 3:15 Interviews
Producer – Ian MacNaughton
Background Music – Tony Foster
Cover Design – Terry Gilliam
Written and Performed by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin
Other Performers – Carol CLeveland, Terry Gilliam
The album was recorded in one day in front of a live audience at the Camden Theatre in London. Recalling the rather muted response, Eric Idle would later claim “they were a particularly dead audience.”