Sunday, January 21, 2007

tadpoles

tadpoles

This week I experienced a -very small- paradigm shift: I found out something about the Tadpoles album that changed the way I mentally classify the four original Bonzo Dog Band albums.
I used to think of them as two pairs: the first and third (Gorilla and Tadpoles) seemed to belong together, and so did the second and fourth (The Doughnut in Granny's Greenhouse and Keynsham). I never owned Let's make up and be friendly, so I didn't worry about that one's position in the scheme of things. What seemed odd was that Tadpoles and Keynsham came out in the same year, while they are probably the two most differing albums that the band produced.
I had some kind of theory about why this should be: I imagined there might be two factions in the band, one that wanted to play the Temperance Seven-type material, and one that wanted to do the absurdist/rock parody/weird stuff. And I figured they alternately got their way.
Well, as the song goes, we were wrong. Turns out that Tadpoles was not exactly a new album when it came out: for the larger part it consists of songs that the band had played in the children's television program Do Not Adjust Your Set (at this point it is traditional to mention that this program featured some future members of Monty Python). Somehow for twenty years I have managed to overlook the fact that the sleeve of the record mentions this... The DNAYS material is in the faux-twenties style that the Bonzos had been playing when they started out, but it was not really representative anymore for what the band was doing at that time. If you take Tadpoles out of the chronology, the development of the band from Gorilla > Doughnut > Keynsham makes more sense.
What caused me to surf the web for Bonzoiana? YouTube. There is some great Bonzo related stuff there.
My favourite is this scary version of Eleven Mustachioed Daughters by the awesome Vivian Stanshall & biG Grunt.

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