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Monty Python / Total Rubbish boxes

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Universal Music’s recent Monty Python box sets are a superb celebration of the audio-only exploits of the influential comedy group.

Monty Python’s Total Rubbish is available as a nine-CD set or a nine-LP vinyl box. Both come with an excellent hardcover books with entertaining notes by Robert Ross, guiding you from album to album. The graphic design is authentically Python, thanks to the hands-on involvement of Terry Gilliam.

The nine CDs are packaged in two gatefold wallets, which along with the book, slot neatly into the sturdy outer slipcase. All the records are pressed onto 180g vinyl and the design fairly accurately reflects the original issues, with the distinctive Charisma labels, “FREE RECORD” on the Tie And Hankerchief labels and so on (the die-cut sleeve for Tie and Hankerchief isn’t recreated however).

Both boxes have their advantages and disadvantages. The CD set is compact, contains all the bonus material from the 2006 Virgin reissues and is about half the price of the vinyl box. On the other hand, these albums were recorded expecting the listener to be playing a vinyl record. Therefore there are plenty of comedic moments relating to the vinyl format itself that make far more sense (and are funnier) if you’re playing the LP. Examples of this include Michael Palin saying “Sorry Squire, I scratched the record…” at the end of side one of Another Monty Python Record which then repeats ad infinitum thanks to the run-out groove, or Terry Jones screaming “Not this record!” several times at the beginning of Monty Python’s Previous Record before the sound of a needle being scratched to end his ranting.

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The the two concentric grooves on Matching Tie and Handkerchief – which back in the 1970s had customers complaining that side two was a con because it only lasted half the length of side one – is maintained here, but of course on the CD the effect is lost (the content on the grooves is simply repeated one after the other). It should also be noted that if you buy the vinyl box you do still get all the bonus material, but via a download card, rather than physical media.

Although the book breaks down the albums track-by-track – or should that be skit-by-skit – the design on the records accurately recreates the original where there was often not much information at all about what you would hear. If you aren’t familiar with the albums I’d recommend jumping into the unknown, without referencing all the details – it’s much more fun.

Both sets come with a heavyweight vinyl seven-inch which replicates the original Tiny Black Round Thing flexi-disc which was originally issued with the NME on 25 May 1974. A nice touch in a set full of nice touches.

The involvement of the Pythons enriches the whole offering. The book is highly entertaining, telling of the group complaining one minute about the penny-pinching BBC when they put together the first record (recorded only in mono, much to their annoyance) and then moaning that Charisma spent far too much on the second album (Another Monty Python Record) due to a kind of rock ‘n’ roll lackadaisical attitude (“We would record hours and hours of material and no one was making notes” says Terry Jones).

To be honest you don’t need to do anything much to make Monty Python more entertaining than they already are. However if you are going to do a box set, you may as well do it properly. Total Rubbish is beautifully presented and really enhances the original material – the detail and the enthusiasm that has been put into the task is very welcome. One wonders what future generations will make of a set like this when it gets passed down the line? My guess is that they will probably laugh. Hard to think of any other reaction. Highly Recommended.

Monty Python’s Total Rubbish is out now on CD and LP. An expanded two-CD version of Monty Python Sings (Again) is also available featuring a few previously unreleased tracks and the entire Monty Python’s Flying Circus album.


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Monty Python’s Total Rubbish: 9LP Vinyl Box+7″

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Monty Python’s Total Rubbish: 9CD Box+7″

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Monty Python Sings Again 2CD Deluxe Edition

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12 responses to Monty Python / Total Rubbish boxes

  1. Tim H says:

    Would love this but having already got The Instant Monty Python CD Collection it would be replicating basically everything…tis pity!!

  2. spaceboy says:

    Think I’ll wait for the price to come down a little. $182 (@ Amazon US) seems a bit much…

  3. Fat Old Bloke says:

    I have the 2 CD Final Rip Off
    Will this be included in this box?

  4. Paul Kent says:

    Have they fixed the terrible sound on Matching Tie? My copy of the 2006 remaster is very muddy with poor stereo separation – worse than the original CD transfer.
    @ Fat Old Bloke – This box collects all the studio albums and soundtracks so The Final Rip Off isn’t included as everything on it is from the original albums (apart from the new Michael Palin links)

  5. John says:

    Final Rip Off is not included, according to the listing on Amazon UK.

    I have all the 90’s releases on Arista and Charisma, plus one 2006 Virgin. I’ve never sought-out the Virgin re-masters, because I read some years ago that the earlier releases were considered to be better sounding. Has anyone on here some thoughts on the sound quality of the 2006 re-masters and their earlier counterparts?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Don’t have the others to compare, but what I would say is that these were done by Sean ‘Beatles Remasters’ Magee, so there’s a reasonable chance these may sound the best.

  6. Paul Kent says:

    @ John – I only bought them for the extra tracks, to be honest, but was surprised at how much better they sounded. My only gripe, as I said, was with MT&H which is inferior to the original – it sounds like you’re listening to it through a sock and, certainly for the first few tracks, the stereo mix is poor, seeming to lean more to the left channel. Maybe this has been fixed and I just fell unlucky but I’d stick with the original (luckily I kept my old copy).

  7. Friso Pas says:

    Does the vinyl boxset has a download card for all the content or only the bonus content?

  8. Boaz Halachmi says:

    After the VAT deduction for international orders, it is the cheapest at
    Amazon.de

  9. Pingback:Black Friday Deal / Monty Python's Total Rubbish vinyl and CD boxes | superdeluxeedition

  10. Carol Austen says:

    Hi. I have the original LP record box set which I bought in the late 70’s early 80″s not sure as I was a young teenager at the time. The box has a different design though, so I am wondering if it’s the same box set. If I recall it was expensive then at $80 something dollars which I had to pay off. If anyone knows I would like to find out how many were made.

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