The Complete Albums 1959-61
Catalogue Number: ACTRCD9063
Shelley Berman is one of the coterie of comedians who made the transition from the club stage to a recording contract and television shows during the late ’50s and early ’60s, around the same time as Bob Newhart, both of them employing similar techniques of depicting one end of a telephone conversation and a satirically observational raconteur style. Beginning life as a straight actor and then a sketch writer, before doing stand-up comedy, which earnt him a contract with the Verve label – he became the first stand-up comic to perform at Carnegie Hall. This 3-CD set, comprises the complete content of his first four albums for Verve, released between 1959 and 1961 – “Inside Shelley Berman”, “Outside Shelley Berman”, “The Edge Of Shelley Berman” and “A Personal Appearance” presented in chronological order. His debut album won the inaugural Grammy award for a non-musical recording, and was the first comedy recording to be certified gold. His oblique view on contemporary life through a series of narrative vignettes led one critic to observe that he “singlehandedly transformed modern neuroticism in high art”, playing on issues which challenged suburban sensibilities at a time of acute social change. For those who were around at the time, it’s a stimulating reminder of the comedy of that era, while for others it’s an enlightening insight into the development of modern satirical comedy.