For a very short time during the mid-'80s, the album Monty Python's Flying Circus (1970) circulated under the title The Worst of Monty Python's Flying Circus (1985) as part of the BBC's Audio Visual International series. The troupe featured writer/actors Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Terry Gilliam. Gilliam was also the primary component of the Pythons' highly stylized visuals -- such as the unmistakable "foot-through-the-TV" image. The contents were not lifted directly from the audio track, but rather re-recorded with the incorporation of canned laughter -- a trait that would not be repeated on their subsequent platters. Listeners who are likewise familiar with the TV dialogue will note discrepancies on "North Minehead Election" and the quintessential "Dead Parrot" sketch. The latter is among the gems that the Pythons kept during their live performances. This is also true of "Trades Description Act" (aka "Crunchy Frog") and another iconoclastic entry, "Lumberjack Song." Here, it is tagged onto the end of a homicidal "Barber" scene, the way it initially aired. In addition to the aforementioned principal cast, Carol Cleveland begins her association as the sole female Python. She quickly proves a worthy comedienne and is heard on "Buying a Bed," "Visitors," and "Me, Doctor." All of the material was garnered from the first (of four) seasons airing between October 5, 1969, and January 11, 1970. This CD should not be mistaken for the similarly titled Worst of Monty Python (1976) double LP, a repackaging of their subsequent studio efforts, Another Monty Python Record (1972) and Monty Python's Previous Record (1973), both of which were drawn from the original television show, albeit later episodes.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer