This third album by the Firesign Theatre, widely considered their masterpiece, introduces one of the comedy troupe's most enduring characters, an Everyman named George Leroy Tirebiter. Their first album to follow one theme and character through the whole of both sides, DON'T CRUSH THAT DWARF is an impressionistic travel through the life of Tirebiter, from childhood to old age, using the sound of a television changing channels to mark the beginning and ending of sketches.
That sounds straightforward enough, but as with all things Firesign Theatre, it isn't--the sketches are so densely layered, both in terms of the story and the actual soundscape of the album, that multiple listens are essential for catching even a third of the jokes. Headphones are a must for anyone who wants to delve deeper into the album than that, as is patience and a free-associative mind. DON'T CRUSH THAT DWARF, HAND ME THE PLIERS probably isn't the best starting point for Firesign Theatre neophytes--the more discrete standalone pieces on WAITING FOR THE ELECTRICIAN OR SOMEONE LIKE HIM are a lot easier to get into--but once attuned to their mindset, it's their most satisfying record.
Rolling Stone (10/15/70, p.32) - "...The secret message of the Firesign's last album was that the United States had lost its gigantic war on fascism...But this record will send you coasting on gales of laughter to a very unpleasant realization: time is running out..."
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