Artist: "The Rutles"
Album: "The Rutles"
Genre: Comedy
Label: Warner Brothers

Reviewer: Max Burbank
Posted: 2/17/2009

Review: Eric Idles 1978 Mockumentary “All You Need is Cash” is a comedy classic in every way you’d expect from a former Python. Funny as it is, though, the absolute backbone of the film is the soundtrack. It deserves to be considered on it’s own, and I think that while the two pieces are wound together, it’s the songs that approach genius.

The real star here is Neil Innes, a man who has unjustly (though quite happily) worked for decades in the shadows of giants.

You know who he is, but may not know it. Remember Sir Robin’s Minstrel in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”? The one who sang ‘When danger reared its ugly head, sir Robin turned and bravely fled’? That’s Neil Innes.

Well before Python, Neil was a member of the Bonzo Doo Dah Dog Band, a sort of wild collision between British Music Hall traditions, psychedelia and flat out lunacy. Who liked them enough to put them in a movie? The Friggin’ Beatles, that’s who. Sadly, the movie was “Magical Mystery Tour” a nearly incompressible (yet to my mind charming) made for TV film, over which the Beatles had complete artistic control, which turned out to be a mistake as they’d never made a movie before and were taking an awful lot of drugs.

The Band “Death Cab for Kutie” takes its name from one of the Bonzo’s songs.

Innes wrote both songs and sketches for Monty Python, one of the only non-cast members who did.

The soundtrack of “All you Need is Cash”, simply called ‘The Rutles’ is brilliant on several levels. Every track is it’s own song, but also a direct musical reference to a Beatles number. They are not parodies, they are not ’sung to the tune of’. “Piggy in the Middle” is it’s own song, but it’s the exact sort of song “I am the Walrus” is. The melody isn’t the same, it’s similar enough that you know exactly what’s being made fun of. It’s parallel universe. “Double Back Alley” is such a sharp take on “Penny Road” it manages to illuminate something I never heard when listening to the Beatles version, the exact Paul McCartney treacley nostalgia that would take him from legendary greatness to the sort of boob that wrote ‘Ebony and Ivory’ and ‘Silly Little Love Song’.

Each track lovingly captures a specific moment of the Beatles arc and somehow pays homage while stripping it bare. And, here’s the thing, they are all great songs completely on their own and taking dead seriously. I guarantee you, if you could somehow find a musical tabula rasa, someone who’d never once heard the Beatles, and played ‘The Rutles’ for them, they’d say “Hey, that’s a great album. How did I never hear of this band?”

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeWhole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Forum Virgin
Feb 17th, 2009, 06:12 PM
I've never heard of Penny Road. I know Penny Lane, but not Penny Road.
Must be a forgotten classic....
Feb 17th, 2009, 07:08 PM
either that or its a typo, smart alec
Feb 17th, 2009, 07:23 PM
I'd like to hear this, I like python quite a bit
As u wish...
Feb 18th, 2009, 02:33 AM
god, this movie is great...and if u didnt no any better...ud think the soundtrack was by a "real" band..."ouch!" and "piggy in the middle" are f'ing classics!!
poop turtle
Feb 19th, 2009, 05:03 AM
being a huge bonzo fan ive only ever ventured into the late viv (ginger geezer) stanshall's work, although quite aware that innes had done python work i never really knew he did the rutles.

shall have to check this out. thanks max