Personnel: Martin Mull (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Peter Frampton (guitar); Timothy May (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Michael Melvoin (piano, electric piano, keyboards, synthesizer); Ed Wise (grand piano, electric piano); Gary Coleman (vibraphone, marimba, timpani); David Parlato (bass instrument); Hal Blaine (drums, drum); Paulinho Da Costa (congas, percussion); Bones Howe (tambourine, triangle, crotales).
Recording information: Heider Recording, Hollywood, CA (03/09/1979); The "B" Room At Filmways (03/09/1979).
Photographer: Aaron Rapoport.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Debbie Hall; Edie Lehmann Eichhorn; Gene Morford; Stan Farber; Ron Hicklin.
Arranger: Michael Melvoin.
Rhino reissues Martin Mull's eighth and (so far) last album, 1979's Near Perfect/Perfect. Like other standup comics, Martin Mull refers to the live appearance captured on the disc as a concert, but in his case the term seems more appropriate, since, as usual, much of the show is given over to musical performances, and his standup routines often serve as introductions to the songs. This is musical comedy, but not in the sense of a Broadway show, as Mull lampoons country, pop, and disco in the tunes while contributing lyrics that range from an account of a particularly unfortunate one-night stand ("Pig in a Blanket") to the story of a trucker who prefers fruit to any other food ("The Fruit Song"). As ever, Mull maintains the persona of a suave yet seedy phony, making fun of his own background in comedy ("For years, I went under the name `plus opening act'") and the dives he played in on his way up (the song "This Takes the Cake"). His most elaborate spoken comedy bit begins with a discussion of ecology before turning outrageous, and by the end he has reached the ultimate in hubris in the song "I Found It," the chorus of which is "I want to be God." Appropriately, God himself interrupts Mull to take him to task for this before the comedian returns to the stage to encore with a final piece of musical philosophy, "Life Is Better Than Death." After this album was released, Mull spent more time in situation comedy on TV than on the "concert" circuit. ~ William Ruhlmann