3 CD set - 2011
Five full albums, plus bonus tracks
The idea of a group specialising in trad jazz, dadaism and absurdist comedy making an impression on children’s television is unthinkable today, but the Bonzos’ musical interludes on the late 60s teatime laughfest Do Not Adjust Your Set proved to be an important career springboard. It was enough to endear them to the UK’s student population, arguably even more so than their brief appearance in The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour.
Spearheaded by Viv Stanshall and Neil Innes, the bonkers collective had already released 1967’s Gorilla by the time TV came calling: a haphazard affair that perhaps relied too much on vaudevillian novelty, though the silliness of The Intro & The Outro (“Count Basie on the triangle!”) marked them out as The Goons of 60s pop. The following year’s Doughnut In Granny’s Greenhouse was equally maniacal but more fully-formed, featuring good-natured digs at the Brit blues and psychedelia scenes (Humanoid Boogie, The Trouser Press).
1969’s Tadpoles was more collaborative, Stanshall and Innes stepping back a little to allow writing contributions from other members, though the doo-wop delirium of Viv’s Canyons Of Your Mind scores the most emphatic bullseye. The collection is rounded off by Keynsham and Let’s Make Up & Be Friendly, both of which suffer from a sense of fatigue and a suggestion that past glories are merely being re-uphosltered, though the latter hints at the aristocratic surrealism of Stanshall’s upcoming Sir Henry At Rawlinson End.
Reviewed by Terry Staunton
|Brand||Warner Bros. Europe|
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