This blog entry is specifically aimed at Tilt, Burkesworks and Chris Browning, though it may appeal to Andrew Rilstone and Colin Smith (and the rest of you) too.
I was looking through the Wikipedia entry for Terry Jones a couple of hours ago, and discovered something I’d never known before, that he and Michael Palin had written the lyrics for an album of baroque/toytown pop in 1968, Diversions by Barry Booth. It’s out of print now (even the CD release from a few years ago) but I’ve managed to track down a copy on rapidshare. I’m only listening to it for the first time now, but it’s absolutely lovely. Sonically, the closest I can think of to it is the Bee Gees’ Odessa or Robin Gibb’s unreleased Sing Softly Sisters but as if they’d been sung by George Formby. (It sounds quite a lot like Johnny Young & Kompany’s version of Craise Frinton Kirk actually).
Lyrically, it’s Palin and Jones in whimsical mode, rather than vicious, and the result seems to sit somewhere between Neil Innes, Jake Thackray, McCartney in storytelling mode, Something Else era Kinks and groovy 60s film soundtracks, with a strong Yorkshire accent.
I’ve not given a particularly great description here – I’ve only listened to this album once – but you should be able to tell if this is your kind of thing or not. If you’re not sure, here’s a review by Miles Kington from when the reissue came out.
Ha! With those reference points, now you’re talking. And it’s very strange that you should mention Barry Booth because only the other day I was looking at his website after he’d replied to some or other broadcasting-related blog I was reading. What a diverse CV the guy has!
Downloading now, should make a fine musical accompaniment as I finish transcribing my chat with Mr Gilliam the other day (by the way, Tilt was being asked about!)
Once a denizen of the BIFF never forgotten, it seems. I’ll try and be back next year.
Good man! Be great to see you back here again.
That is rather special and I can’t think why it isn’t more famous.
Ooh, do I win points for knowing this album? I used to have a copy, but gave it to a Python living friend. As far as I can recall, his voice made it quite difficult to listen to the whole thing all the way through, but I loved “Hottest Day of the Year”.
PS I read your review of Watertown the other day. For the full Watertown experience I recommend actually having your wife leave you, it really does add that extra bit of oomph.
You definitely win points for knowing that – an album of this type that neither Tilt nor burkesworks previously knew is so obscure that one might best class it as non-existent.
As for the Watertown thing, dedicated as I am to music I’m slightly more dedicated to my wife. Plus, frankly, the album is so powerful already that I’m pretty certain it would drive me to suicide in that state…
I used to work for the record company that released Diversions, so I had ready access to such things, plus geeky men in record companies tend to compete with each other to have the most obscure music taste. You end up pretending to like Ganryu Island by John Zorn, and scoffing at Captain Beefheart for being far too poppy & commercial, when secretly you quite fancy listening to a bit of Supertramp.
Makes sense. I’ve done a bit of that kind of thing myself. Can’t be bothered with it any more – I like what I like, and that’s it.
Now thank you for that nudge! Am I hesitating to check it out?
I am not.