This is essentially a repackaging of the double-disc Final Rip Off compilation released in 1988. However, the contents were condensed and slightly amended onto a single CD for 1994's appropriately named The Ultimate Monty Python Rip Off. Contained within are vintage skits and sketches from Another Monty Python Record (1971) and Monty Python's Previous Record (1973) -- which consist primarily of bits lifted from the four seasons of their groundbreaking BBC-TV program Monty Python's Flying Circus. The albums Matching Tie and Handkerchief (1973) and Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album (1980) are also extracted -- as are, to a lesser extent, the troupe's highly underappreciated concert recordings Live at Drury Lane (1974) and Live! At City Center (1976), which are the sources for "Lumberjack Song" and "Four Yorkshiremen." There is not much in the way of new or unheard material. What is offered up is relegated to a few wraparounds and fresh voice-overs done by Michael Palin -- namely his "Introduction" and a couple of other links between the larger works. Joining Palin are Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and occasionally Terry Gilliam -- who is best known for his visual contributions to the show and subsequent films. As this is essentially a best-of, listeners are treated to favorites that include "Fish Licence," "Parrot," "Australian Table Wines," and the Viking-led ode to "Spam." There are plenty of songs from the Python's cinematic efforts, namely "The Galaxy Song," "Every Sperm Is Sacred," and "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life." While in search of a starting point into Monty Python's catalog, one can't go wrong with The Ultimate Monty Python Rip Off. Earnest enthusiasts are encouraged to locate the 2006 remasters of each respective album mentioned above, as they are likewise packed with a bevy of previously unreleased material.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer