This disc -- featuring the ultra-hip humor of Lord Buckley -- is among an increasingly hard to find handful of releases in the compact disc medium. The origins of this title hark back to 1970. Somehow, Frank Zappa got ahold of these Buckley raps, which had been documented by amateur recording engineer Lyle Griffin. He edited and then subsequently issued them on his Straight Records vanity label. Part of the unique charm of these five stories is that they were spun in a highly intimate setting with an audience of only a handful -- as if the location may have been someone's living room. Likewise, only "Bad Rapping of the Marquis De Sade" is available elsewhere. These recordings were made at some point in 1956, and contained material that was concurrently part of Buckley's live repertoire. However, in late 1960, Buckley's cabaret card (which enabled him to work at establishments selling alcohol) was revoked -- making these (or any) recordings of Buckley all the more exceptional. The extended mile-a-minute story of the Marquis De Sade -- or "Da Marc" as Buckley calls him -- varies only slightly from the performance version on the World Pacific release Bad Rapping of the Marquis De Sade (1969). One disconcerting difference is the intermittent microphone outages on this recording -- which ultimately derail Buckley's stream-of-consciousness train of thought. "The Raven" (aka "The Bugbird") is an absolute stunning hip interpretation of Edgar Allan Poe's poem of the same name. Buckley's recitation retains the same rhythmic patterns as the original and is likewise faithful in storyline. Both "Governor Slugwell" -- which was one of Zappa's favorites -- and "The Train" display Buckley's immense vocal talents. His uncanny and often eerie sense of mimicry -- even in the form of a brass band -- never fails to leave audiences speechless. For the hip-minded, this is an essential release.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer