Shelley Berman

The Edge of Shelley Berman

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Although it wasn't originally authorized for release by Berman and it consisted of outtakes from his first two albums, The Edge of Shelley Berman is surprisingly good (and even Berman admits that some of the material here is his best, despite any ill will generated by its unauthorized release). Side one is strong pretty much all the way through, featuring a telephone conversation between a father and his 15-year-old daughter about the subject of sex (because her mother "doesn't believe in it") and a phone call from Alvin to his girlfriend, Shirley, to discuss a few romantic problems, which ends up with Alvin listening to a long litany of complaints about himself instead. Side two is a bit more erratic, starting out with a couple of fairly unmemorable pieces, followed by a piece that's similar in tone to the Alvin and Shirley cut, except replacing Shirley with a close male friend. At the end is another installment of "PTA" (previously heard on Outside Shelley Berman), where Berman calls out to the audience for questions about children and responds in the persona of a child psychologist; unfortunately, the interaction isn't anywhere near as good this time out. The strangest choice is the very last track, in which Berman praises the audience for being the best part of the act; taken out of the context of the live setting it seems pretty pointless. After being out of print for many years, The Edge of Shelley Berman was finally released on CD by laugh.com in 2002.

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