8/1/12

Tom Lehrer - Voices of VISTA #33 (c. 1966)

Final post before vacation, but it's a good one. A mega-rare good one!
It's a bit tricky to explain, and I will refer you to the Wikipedia article on VISTA (without sending you to a Microsoft article accidentally), but basically VISTA, which stood for Volunteers in Service To America, was sort of like the Peace Corp, but in this case, the volunteers did their work domestically, rather than overseas.  It was founded by LBJ's office in 1965, and sort of doesn't exist anymore, and sort of does.  Like I said, it's tricky. Also, there's the Veterans Information Systems and Technology Architecture, but that's something else altogether and a horse of another color.
But for our purposes here, you just need to know that there was a weekly radio show, which went out on 12" LP's, and featured whoever would donate their time, energy, and material to support the cause... and that Tom Lehrer was featured on side one of LP #33.
I love to debut first-time-ever-on-the-Internets items here at The Sphinx.  Rather than sit on this gem and try to slowly build up a Tom Lehrer Rarities Volume 6, which may or may not ever even happen, I'm debuting it now, for your enjoyment.
I will say, though, that while it contains a great interview, there are, sadly, no original performances.  Instead, three cuts from THAT WAS THE YEAR THAT WAS are played (with the treble jacked up to the high heavens for some reason):  "Pollution," "New Math," and "MLF Lullaby." 
A note on the date:  Reading the Wikipedia article, VISTA was begun in 1965, and I seriously doubt that this particular program could have been put together before 1966, especially if it was actually the 33rd one.  Mr. Lehrer refers to the TV show ("That Was The Week That Was") folding, and my guess is this interview was recorded in 1966.  Or maybe veeeeerrrrrrryyyyy late 1965, but I'm going with '66 personally.
Please enjoy this rare-as-hen's-eye-teeth rarity! When I get back from vacation, I need to share the contents of a second letter I received from the great man himself, where he was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about the remaining rarities out there that exist!

2 comments:

KL from NYC said...

The Vista radio programs were usually broadcast to satisfy the station's PSA (Public Service Announcement) requirement, and then were dumped in the garbage, so they show up occasionally but not often. I don't remember seeing one by Tom Lehrer, though.

If you come across any of the 15-minute music PSA programs put together for the US armed forces, you can put those right up on eBay and make some money.

Arthur Castro said...

ANOTHER GREAT SCORE! I just acquired a vinyl rip of the "Tomfoolery" soundtrack. I cannot remember if you had this available or not... Let me know so I can pass it your way ASAP...