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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 15 November 2010
The quote above is followed in the song "Armchair" by the father figure, sounding very like Sir Henry Rawlinson, admonishing his son for playing with the tubular sculpture, "stop banging it. It's not a toy you're supposed to enjoy the thing." It really couldn't get more surreal or funny than that. No getting away from it; in the field of popular music you'll be hard pushed to find much like this. Was there ever anyone quite like him? This album came close to the time of Sir Henry at Rawlinson's End and it shows. The album as a whole mixes the surreal Sir Henry humour with some darker moments, biting satire and comical story telling. Taken as a whole the album is funny, sad and very lovable too.

Vivian Stanshall was not yet forty years old but his voice is very weathered indeed and Sir Henry's voice appears on several tracks. So Vivian Stanshall's voice isn't the sweetest singing instrument but in several tracks he gives a virtuoso acting display. On occasions, the tobacco stained baritone is a positive advantage. Slave Valse is quite incredible - apart from Emperor Claudius, the British and sea sickness the poetic density is almost impossible to follow but his acting and the shanty music carry everything along brilliantly.

There are several autobiographical tracks - sometimes downbeat but the Tube and Armchair sound positively sentimental. Nouveau Riffes is a bitter but easy to follow damning of the music industry. The music throughout, with a fair amount of instrumentals by Stanshall himself sounds quite slightly decadent English folksy at times. Other tracks employ a variety of styles even with "Terry Keeps His Clips On" offering Klezmer clarinets.

So it inhabits the "green nowhere" of Rawlinson's End but with some of the densest poetry. With impeccable annunciation and the wordiness of the songs there is more than a hint of a bygone age. I'm even reminded of Noel Coward. The closest thing to it that I can think of is William Walton's "Facade", with Edith Sitwell's surreal "abstract" poems inhabiting a world of the bored rich, "Daisy and Lily, Lazy and Silly" sums it up. Vivian Stanshall's dense poetry inhabits a similar world but his work is more personal and the servants get a verse or two.

To add to these there are the surreally nerdy characters such as Terry sounding like a re-enactment of one of Michael Palin's characters in Monty Python.

On reflection I have reinstated the fifth star because, although some songs are weaker than others, the best is absolutely priceless. I appreciate that this eccentric mix will not be to everyones' taste. Make no mistake, after the Bonzo's this is Vivian Stanshall unleashed. His poetry or lyrics are exrtraordinary, though perhaps Neil Innes has more of a talent for melody and immitation. That's the point though, Vivian Stanshall, in popular music at least, is like no one else: a true original. Even at its darkest, outrageous humour is never far away. One thing that's a real bonus is that all the lyrics are included in the sleeve notes: they're a bewildering joy to read even without the music. It's seems to me the more time passes since his death the more precious his outpourings now seem.
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on 11 March 2006
After the Bonzos Stanshall's career stuttered from disc to disc .
Sometimes - as with " Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead " - you marvel that the disc ever made to the market . Brilliant in parts but thrown away .
Teddy Boys Don't Knit shows what he could do with a great producer and great musical support .
The disc has its downbeat side " Calypso to Collapso " but features some truly original masterpieces , Slave Valse , for example , which are quite ignored in comparison with the Bonzo hits .
If only he could have done more like this . He was truly inimitable
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on 8 May 2004
If you're a fan of the Bonzo Dog Band......or even if you're not - by this damn album, it's brilliant!
Just listen to the Biwilderbeeste, Ginger geezer, Cracks are showing and....well, all of them. On first listen, they'll just sound like some strange old guy singing nonsense but all the songs have got beutiful messages hidden in them.
Accommpanied by a clutch of great musicians (Richard Thompson for example), your CD collection is worse off for not having it!
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on 21 February 2009
Before this CD came out, the only time I ever heard the ludicrously wonderful "Terry Keeps His Clips On" was on Noel Edmonds' show, when he was a BBC Radio 1 DJ, I guess at the very start of the '80s. I remember Noel trying desperately to stifle his sniggers as it played. Music in them days didn't always take itself too seriously, I'm happy to say. I guess it all started with Spike Jones, The Goons followed then The Bonzo Dog Do-Da Band and it just got crazier and crazier... until the nineties arrived and the sickly sweet Boy and Girl groups came along and ruined it all.

Buy this if you like barking mad music.
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on 31 January 2010
Vivian Stanshall was a genius. A true British eccentric his music echoed his life, chaotic and verging on self destructive but always with a touch of brilliance. Some of of the songs are autobiographical but presented without self pity and with a wicked sense of humour. His genius is shown in songs that are deceptively simple or uproariously chaotic.

He is still remembered fondly, Neil Innes, a fellow member of The Bonzo Dog Doo Da Band, still tells audiences stories of Viv's escapades.
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on 13 August 2014
What an enormous loss it was when Viv departed. This is really terrific - particularly in my shed with a few similarly minded chaps are round for a few latenight shandies. Funny, strange, nostalgic, occasionally introspective, but very heart-warming, particualrly "Terry Keeps His Clips On"....go buy it!
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on 1 August 2015
The songs are OK but the arrangements are quite unsympathetic. Bass, guitar and drums doesn't really suit this kind of music. Nowhere near as good as Bonzos.
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on 15 June 2013
All you would expect from the master of the odd. Very pleased to add this to Bonzos, Rutles and Wierd Al collection.
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on 13 November 2013
grt album a classic well worth a listen had it years ago as vinyl so buy it now please. nick
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on 29 January 2015
Not my cup of tea but exactly what the recipient wanted, fast delivery thanks
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