Mort Sahl

Mort Sahl's America

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Though the voice sounds a bit more gruff and the delivery is a bit more slow-paced, this is still unmistakably Mort Sahl. It had been 24 years since his previous album, during which time he had been ghostwriting scripts for movies and hanging out with industry types. That doesn't mean he'd lost his interest in politics, though; on Mort Sahl's America he steps right back into the fray despite the intervening years, and if the switch from talking about Nixon and Kennedy straight to talking about Dole and Clinton is maybe a bit jarring at first, you start to feel right at home when you realize that he's still not sparing anyone his barbs. This release, adapted from a video, is split into two long tracks. The first part features a trio of topics: politics, women, and movies. (The talk about women was largely spurred by his divorce five years previous, and his subsequent return to the dating scene.) In the second part, Sahl brings out Senator Eugene McCarthy for a chat, an interesting tactic considering Sahl's ongoing attacks against politicians of all denominations. This part of the album is much slower paced -- though McCarthy shares much of Sahl's sensibilities, he's certainly not as polished and takes his time. It's also a far less funny section, as the discussion often veers into more serious territory. That's not to say that there aren't any laughs on the second half, because, as usual, Sahl's take on the subject material is so absurd you just have to laugh despite yourself. With the slower pace and a second half that features far more McCarthy than Sahl, it would be easy to say that this isn't exactly prime Sahl; at the very least it does show him in a much more reflective and thoughtful mood.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
34:13
2
33:57
blue highlight denotes track pick