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Not Insane or Anything You Want To


1972 - Not Insane or Anything You Want To: Columbia KC 31585

A real gem in a slimey sea of slime would not be an appropriate way to start this review or anything like it. I'm Not Insane but you will be if George Papoon and the Great Glutamoto, yes the big guy, come knock, knock knockin' at your front door. The Monster Island/Martian space party segment may be all you can stand, unless of course you sit down to rest your back... The justly famous play "Waiting on the Count of Monte Cristo, or someone like him" is perhaps the silliest parody of Shake-a-Speare ever devised and where would we be without those wacky commercial (thanks for the) interruptions? Although Not Insane isn't widely recognized as the great album that I (and millions more just like me) know it is I urge anyone: and everyone?} to find borrow purloin or otherwise ransack you vice-principals garden for that buried copy and listen to it NOW!! And whatever this dog does to your car... he's not FOR SALE but I am. So stay glued to this frequency for further developments ... ahso please to be apologize forgot to mention very strange Nick Danger spin-off w/Roto Noto Motor Detective... and no Bhuddist writers... 

willie(who never sneazes)willy

 Certainly, the album has a density to it that makes initial penetration difficult. (I'm tempted to get punny with that last statement, but never mind.) In response I can only offer my opinion that it is WELL worth the effort. The album is truly hilarious and I assure you that you will be able to listen to it and understand it completely without straining if you give several attempts. (I find the same is true of some of Shakespeare's more difficult plays as well.) Put it in your car stereo and let it soak in for a week. You will be rewarded by marathon runs of puns and bizarre references to everything from basketball to alchymical symbolism that are as brilliant as anything Firesign ever did. I think Firesign knew this album would be difficult for the casual listener: one of the first jokes I cracked up at on the album was the Fool who says: "and yet, I speak so fast, I know what I mean!!!"



This is one of the Firesign's most disjointed albums. However, there are some excellent pieces - especially the Shakespeare parodies - throughout, which makes it all doubly frustrating. The material that makes up this recording is much more effective when seperated and presented in the form in which it was (apparently) originally intended. Basically, the album is made up of three components.
The first is the Shakespeare material, which is hilarious and a lot easier to follow than on "Shalespeare's Lost Comedie," the fleshed-out version of the Shakespeare routines. It's also helped along considerably by being able to hear the interaction and reaction between the Guys and their audience.
The second part is the National Surrealist Convention and "Young Guy, Motor Detective." Both of these are performed (mostly) live and featured in the "Martian Space Party" film. The Convention is extended in the film, which, again, helps it impact. "Young Guy" is actually in a longer form than in the film, but is not one of their stronger pieces (it's a somewhat confused take-off on Japanese action films which was a smaller section of a once-proposed album "theme").
The third portion is random, studio-recorded & live commercial parodies, which are funny but almost second-nature to the Guys. The "theme" of the album was rejected at the eleventh hour, so what remains is a extremely confusing premise involving radio prison and an all-seeing robot named "Walter." So, what we have here are truncated portions of several different pieces, none of which totally satisfy as none of them are complete, immersed in a muddle of half-baked linking concepts and strange audio effects. Any one of the album's components could have been extended to make a strong record, but it seems as if the Group was experiencing too much professional turmoil to see any of it through.
This record caused the group to take a break, pursue solo projects, and rest up for their "comeback." It stands as the final moment of the first phase (some say "Golden Years") of the Firesign Theatre. They would produce good-to-excellent material after it, but no subsequent work reflects the out-and-out surrealism of their first four studio albums. They would have involved, cross-referencing linking material on other albums, but it would be more grounded in reality from now on (i. e., narrarators & TV crews as opposed to stream-of-consciousness whimsy).

-- Phil Buchbinder