Recording information: The hungry i, San Francisco, CA (07/1965).
Imagine a Harvard professor (which he was) with a gift for the piano (which he had), and the iconoclastic humorous bent of a Lenny Bruce or George Carlin (right on the money), and you'll get a good picture of musical humorist Tom Lehrer, whose delightfully twisted ditties presaged the counterculture of both the Beats and the hippies. Unlike those bohemian types, Lehrer never let it all hang out; his professorial demeanor was part of his shtick, making his outrageous lyrical content all the more effective.
Though he was a key comedic figure throughout the '50s, THAT WAS THE YEAR THAT WAS is Lehrer's only '60s studio recording, and his last before his early retirement from music. No stone is left unturned, as he skewers the Catholic church to ragtime accompaniment on "The Vatican Rag," mocks phony liberalism and racial unrest in "National Brotherhood Week," and takes a well-aimed shot at the then-current folk revival in "The Folk Song Army."