Back in the sixties, everyone who made a record wanted a big pop star hit and don’t you kid yourself otherwise. Comedians were no exception, and while the primary purpose of their records – though not always – might have been to make people laugh, they were always propped up by songwriters, producers and session musicians with an eye on rotation BBC Light Programme play and a steady stream of income, and a lot of the resulting records turned out far better than they had any right or reason to be.
I’ve written a feature for Shindig! magazine looking at the hidden beat, jazz and psych highlights chortling away in the discographies of everyone from Mike And Bernie Winters to The Goodies, and here’s a complete playlist of the comedy discs that I highlighted in the piece. There’s tape-fiddling from George Martin, unexpected Kinks covers, late-night satire, ahead-of-the-game parodies of psychedelia, a protest song against Mods and Rockers, and a rare chance to hear Professor Stanley Unwin performing with a a full honkity-blow jazzlopper…
You can get Issue #88 of Shindig! both in print and as a Digital Edition from here, so I won’t be posting the full ‘sleevenotes’ for this. You’ll have to buy the magazine instead!
Bernard Cribbins – Ringing On The Engine Bell
Peter Sellers – After The Fox
Peter Cook And Dudley Moore – The L.S. Bumblebee
The Goodies – Taking You Back
Bill Oddie – Nothing Better To Do
Mike And Bernie Winters – Fallout Shelter
Harry H. Corbett – The Green Eye Of The Little Yellow God
Millicent Martin – Gotta Lotta Lovin’
Lance Percival – End Of The Season
Stanley Unwin – Goldilocks
If you’ve enjoyed this, you’ll enjoy my book Top Of The Box, covering every single released by BBC Records And Tapes, which is available in paperback here or from the Kindle Store here. There’s also a feature on Stanley Unwin’s collaboration with Gerry And Sylvia Anderson The Secret Service in Well At Least It’s Free, available in paperback here or from the Kindle Store here.
You can find another playlist I did for Shindig! – showcasing the weirder and more wonderful corners of the BBC Records And Tapes back catalogue – here. There’s another featuring records I discovered through Radio 2’s Sounds Of The 60s here, and one recalling the many artists I discovered through compilation tapes here.
There’s a lengthy feature on my lengthy hunt for the music from the early series of The Goodies here, and one on my obsession with tracking down the That Was The Week That Was albums and singles here.
© Tim Worthington.
Please don’t copy this only with more italics and exclamation marks.