Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Firesign Theatre Presents "The Giant Rat of Sumatra"

The Tale of the Giant Rat of Sumatra is a comedy album recorded by The Firesign Theatre and released in early 1974 by Columbia Records.
This Post is for Captain Ganga !!!

Side one - London

  1. "Chapter 1 - Not Quite The Solution He Expected"
  2. "Chapter 2 - An Outrageously Disgusting Disguise"
  3. "Chapter 3 - Where There's Smoke, There's Work"

Side two - Chicago

  1. "Chapter 4 - Where Did Jonas Go When The Lights Went Out?"
  2. "Chapter 5 - Pickles Down The Rat Hole!"
  3. "Chapter 6 - The Electrician Exposes Himself!"

Following a rather disjointed string of solo projects and anthologies, this was the group's first album to consist entirely of a single cohesive narrative since I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus. This began something of a second wind that would continue with Everything You Know Is Wrong and In the Next World, You're on Your Own before the group finally ended its association with Columbia.

Philip Proctor plays detective Hemlock Stones (Sherlock Holmes) and David Ossman plays Flotsam (Watson), his "patient doctor and biographer".

The lighthearted tale is full of puns, including a running gag in which Flotsam, eager to chronicle the adventure, tries to write down everything Stones says but mishears it all as something similar-sounding; for example, "rattan-festooned" is written down as "rat-infested." Allusions also are made to Sherlock Holmes's use of cocaine (though it is referred to as cocoa) "Stones,you snowball!", his violin playing, and other familiar story elements.

The members of the group take different attitudes towards this album. In the liner notes to Shoes for Industry: The Best of the Firesign Theatre David Ossman is cheerful when discussing it and says that "I always thought it was the closest thing to the relentlessly pun-filled one-acts we did in clubs." In fact, an earlier bootleg version is not only closer to the spirit of their nightclub performances, but is strikingly reminiscent of The Goon Show, which was one of the group's main inspirations. It bears almost no resemblance to the version that was finally committed to vinyl.

Phil Austin, on the other hand, says "The Sherlock Holmes album didn't do anybody any good . . . the general public was by that point beginning to tire of psychedelia anyway, and we were unfortunately always going to be associated with that."

The review in 1983's The New Rolling Stone Record Guide tends to agree with Austin and calls this album "A halfassed comeback containing only one good joke."

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Captain Ganja said...

Hi Brad... just thought I'd officially thank ya here in print for that "The Giant Rat Of Sumatra" download. Got some good laughs listening to this one. A most definite PMLOL here!


Captain Ganja

Viagra Online said...

I've watched this record in my grandparents house I think it's amazing and the only thing that I always critique is why the rat has to be the worst character.