The first posthumously released album from legendary comedian, actor, and social critic George Carlin begins with a rant about how the police are not to be trusted. He goes on to state that he believes he is one of the few individuals in America who thinks and acts for himself, and that if you want to be an individual, you must plan for yourself. The rant sounds like it could've originated from nearly any point during Carlin's lifetime -- amazingly, it was recorded in 1957, near the very beginning of his career. The remainder of the album is focused on a live set recorded at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on September 9-10, 2001. His hatred of cops only deepened during the half-century since the 1957 rant was recorded -- and so did his hatred of everything else. He rails against people who snitch on members of their own family, and accuses America of being a nation of squealers and rats. He makes the all-too-true observation that there is way too much music in existence, and that it's all whiny love songs. He demands that people write more songs about calamities or diseases rather than emotional pain or relationships. He takes his obsession with violent tragedy to its logical conclusion during "Uncle Dave," which is where the album gets its title. He starts out by describing how entertained he is by horrible news, natural disasters, and high death tolls. Then he shifts into a heavily detailed, rapid-fire monologue about a chain of events ending with the destruction of the entire universe -- a non-stop blowtorch explosion of fatalities culminating in an end-times fantasy. It couldn't be more misanthropic, yet he seems so cheerful and excited that his over-the-top grim scenario is somehow charming (if you have a certain sense of humor, anyway). It doesn't make sense to refer to what he did as merely "ranting" -- he was incredibly focused and confident, and he threw his bile with conviction and purpose. Naturally, the concert was shelved after the terrorist attacks, which occurred the day after the show's recording. Carlin reworked some of the material later on for subsequent gigs/TV specials and tried to use the title I Kinda Like It When a Lotta People Die again in 2004, but this was shot down after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Thankfully, he kept the material locked in the vaults after such horrific events, and while it makes sense that it never saw release until several years after his death, it certainly deserved to see the light of day. Even if one doesn't share Carlin's outlook on life, it's completely undeniable that he was the master of his art form. ~ Paul Simpson
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