Archive for the ‘The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band’ Category

sticiceSOUNDTRACK: NEIL INNES-Tiny Desk Concert #127 (May 11, 2011).

innesNeil Innes is one of the musical voices of Monty Python and The Rutles.  He is also the creator of The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.  I was delighted to see that he did a Tiny Desk concert.

In addition to creating clever songs, he is big into wordplay.  So, he has some great statements before starting:

“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen here and viewer.”

“It’s wonderful to be.”

“You know, not so long ago and its been very lucky for me.”

He plays his perhaps most well-known song, “I’m the Urban Spaceman” on guitar.  It is wonderfully surreal (at the end he describes it as a medley of hit).

For “Democracy” he play a tiny ukulele.  This song is not funny (well a little).  It is political, straightforward and pointed.

For the final song, he play The Rutles’ “I Must Be In Love” (with appropriate accent).  He tries to get everyone to sing the really high Ooooh note and then gives up.

And then he’s gone.  It’s delightful.

[READ: August 10 2015] Stick Dog Dreams of Ice Cream

By this point (the fourth book) the Stick Dog series has gotten a little predictable.  I mean, basically the dogs want to get food right?  But Watson still manages to keep the stories funny.  I see that for this book the illustrations are “by Ethan Long based on original sketches by Tom Watson”  I have a hard time believing that Watson was too busy to draw these very simple figures, but whatever.

I also find it hard to believe that these dogs have never tasted ice cream before–surely they have scavenged a wrapper somewhere.  But best not to think too carefully, right?

because it is summer time and it is very hot.  The dogs are all looking for something to cool them off.  They go out in search of a nice cool water source.

But the best parts of the story are when the dogs get distracted.  On the way for water, Poo-Poo smells something.  They hope it is hot dogs or pizza, but it is…a squirrel.  Stick Dog is afraid of this because Poo-Poo will be not let the squirrel go.  But Stick Dog convinces him to leave it.  And they are off. (more…)

Read Full Post »

walrusdec SOUNDTRACK: THE BEATLES-Magical Mystery Tour (1967).

I have never remmtally thought of Magical Mystery Tour as a real album.  And it turns out I had good reason to feel that way.  It was originally released as a double EP in Britain (with the first six songs).  The rest of the tracks only ever appeared on the American release.  Those five songs were released as singles before this album In Britain and the U.S.), which means that this was the only place you could get these songs unless you bought the singles (eventually they were put out on the “blue album”).

So the first six songs are from the soundtrack to the TV movie Magical Mystery Tour (which was a flop as a film, but a hit as a soundtrack).  And the last five songs were released in different ways.

I’ve always liked “Magical Mystery Tour” it’s bouncy and fun with good harmonies.  I never much cared for “The Fool on the Hill” I tend to not like Paul’s piano ballads that much (they remind me too much of his solo and Wings material), although I do enjoy the way he wails the vocals later in the song.  The slide whistle solo is quite a treat and I also like the bass harmonica (my new favorite weird instrument).

This album also features two songs that I don’t know well at all (and I assumed I knew every Beatles song).  “Flying” is a weird fun little instrumental with “La La Las” at the end I really like it, and if I still made mix tapes I would often find a place for it on them.  And “Blue Jay Way” a song I don’t know at all.  It’s another George Harrison vaguely Indian song, although this one has more guitars than his other songs.  I find I can’t really get into it.  “Your Mother Should Know” is one of those songs that I like but I don’t love and don’t really think about too much.

But then there’s”I am the Walrus (“No you’re not, “said Little Nicola).”  It’s a cliché to really like this song but I really do.  It’s weird and goofy and the music is just fantastic.  I love all the elements (and didn’t realize that the spoken section at the end is King Lear).  I feel like The Beatles must have been huge to make a such a weird song become such a big hit.

And then came a bunch of singles: “Hello Goodbye” which I think hearkens back to the earlier Beatles, songs but which has a bit of the psychedelic elements form later Beatles thrown on top (including Paul’s shouting vocals in the background).

“Strawberry Fields Forever” was intended to be included on Sgt Peppers‘ but they needed a single to release during in the lengthy amount of time it was taking them to record the album (a whole nine months!).  This song holds up really well, with some really interesting chord progressions and mild dissonance.  And the middle of the song is fascinatingly split in the stereo version so that it’s all drums and sound effects in the left ear.  It was released as a double A side with “Penny Lane.”  Although I said I don’t really like Paul’ piano songs, I do like “Penny Lane” quite a lot, I find it very satisfying.

“Baby You’re A Rich Man” was the B-side to “All You Need is Love.” I always felt the song was kind of weird and it turns out that the two parts were two different songs (Lennon: verses; McCartney: chorus) that they just stuck together.  It’s a weird mic of fun sing along rocking chorus and peculiar Eastern melody in the verses.  “All You Need is Love” was first performed on Our World, the first live global television link watched by over 400 million in 25 countries.  The BBC had commissioned the Beatles to write a song for the United Kingdom’s contribution.  They apparently wrote a song that was simple enough for it to be universal, and man, were they right.

So, there’s all of these fabulous songs sort of tacked on to the end of this soundtrack.  Beatles releases were sure weird.

Incidentally, the film also used “Death Cab for Cutie” performed by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band in its soundtrack which you can see here.  Obviously, this is where Death Cab for Cutie got their band name, but also, Neil from thee Bonzos was involved in The Rutles, who did such great parodies of Beatles songs.

[READ: January 15, 2015] “The Red Dog”

This was a sad holiday story about an eight year old girl with learning disabilities.  She evidently lives away from her family for most of the year but is allowed to come home for Christmas and the summer vacation.  It’s clear that Katie is a handful.  She tends to lash out easily, but she also seems to be able to control herself as well.

There’s some weird aspects of the story that I didn’t fully understand.  Like the fact that while her family ii shopping they tell her to stay outside because they’re afraid she will damage things in the store.  But her family leaves her outside for at least a half an hour, just standing in front of the store (“don’t move an inch”).  And she behaves, even though it is rather difficult.  But really, they leave her standing outside of a store for over half an hour? (more…)

Read Full Post »