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15 Reviews
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally!, 11 Sep 2010
By 
Jim Kauffman (Doylestown, PA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead! (Audio CD)
After 30 years, this brilliant album is finally available on CD. This was Viv's first solo effort after leaving the Bonzo Dog Band, and he took the opportunity to explore types of music that the Bonzos couldn't or wouldn't. Don't expect "Sir Henry at Rawlinson End" either--this album is short on comedy and long on songwriting and experimentation. It's almost a world music album, with lots of unusual instruments and African drumming. Very powerful and wonderful stuff--it's a crime it was unavailable for so long.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At long, long last, 10 Sep 2010
This review is from: Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead! (Audio CD)
I didn't ever believe we'd see this released after all these years.
I remember playing it for the first time as a young teenager, having been used to the Bonzos for years and thinking - what the...?
It grew on me. There is pain and a little joy in the lyrics, as well as a playful use of words. My favourite is the last track, 'Strange Tongues' which contains a Viv favourite line "Corpses peeping out of windows". And now crackle free!
It is an indispensible part of the Bonzos history and an important step forward for the brilliant and sadly missed Viv.
The musicians come from Viv's associations with Traffic, including Steve Winwood as well as his old and trusted friend, Neil Innes.
Glad that the packaging reflects the orginal product - I hope it too comes with lyrics and Vivs original sleeve drawings.
Is it too much to wish for some of the recordings he made prior to his death to make it to CD in the future?
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First listen - This is an uncomfortable album - Possibly brilliant ..., 9 Sep 2010
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This review is from: Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead! (Audio CD)
Take the lyrics from "Strange Tongues" -

Strange tongues comfort me
Darkened rooms calm me down
Make overtures to your insanity
Good to have friends around

Well dark - And the rest of the album is similarly - how to put this? - frightening?

But don't let this put you off - If you are a fan already this gets you further inside Stanshall then ever before. Have to sign off now & listen to it again ...
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Daft, rude, and rather musical., 23 Sep 2010
This review is from: Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead! (Audio CD)
This is the sort of album that could be a big disappointment. But it isn't. It's a very special album for more than one reason. After all, how many numbers do you know about your willy? Having to secure it with, 'a bit of wire and a wingnut', has stuck in my mind since hearing the album in the '70s. The boozed up, 'Bout of sobriety', is a terrific romp.

Apart from Stanshall daftness, the other reason to treasure this album is that most of Traffic are playing on it. The presence of Winwood, Capaldi and Grech means that some numbers sound like refugees from a Traffic album.

If you have any interest in Stanshall, Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead will make you love him all the more.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WELL DONE POPPYDISC/REV-OLA, 23 Dec 2010
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This new 2012 version has been remastered beautifully and contains brand new sleeve notes and exclusive photos from the Stanshall familY as well. This is the definitive version of this album and is back out on lp and compact disc. Do not buy the Harkit Records cd as that was a cheap and tacky bootleg, with this version the stanshalls get paid and MOUA is back on vinyl for the first time since 1974! The new lp version has never sounded as good as this ever. And Poppydisc is the label imprint run by JOE FOSTER of Creation Records and the respected re-issue label Rev-ola so quality is guaranteed! YOU CAN SAFELY BUY THIS OR THE POPPYDISC CD VERSION AND KNOW YOU ARE GETTING A WELL CRAFTED ARTEFACT, PREPARED BY PEOPLE WHO KNOW AND LOVE THEIR MUSIC. DO NOT BUY THE HARKIT CD! (THIS REVIEW WAS WRITTEN ON THE DATE OF THE LP'S REISSUE MONDAY 21ST MAY 2012!)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dancing on the edge, 6 Jun 2012
It took years and years to get this incredible album released again. It took two years to shove whoever Harkit Records are back into the dank hole they'd crawled out of to steal a man's genius for small profit. But now, thanks to Joe Foster of Poppydisc Records and his inimitable cronies, here's the real album (remastered vinyl, CD, download) out there again: to shock and surprise and bemuse and thrill. Vivian exposed himself on this one. He put his raw real life into it, no poncing about. Only a true poet would or could write songs like these, only a man dancing so close to the edge he comes _this_ close from stepping off could say these things aloud. He's showing you his heart here. He's suffering and exulting right out in the open and using all of his considerable skills to rip out his heart so that he can show you yours.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Insane in the Membrane..., 15 Aug 2010
By 
Chip Kaufmann (Asheville, NC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead! (Audio CD)
...insane in the Brain". That relatively recent song wasn't written by Stanshall but it aptly describes this one of a kind album that has finally gotten a commercial CD release almost 40 years after it was made. Viv would not have been surprised by this for this remains one of the most highly personal albums ever made and one for which the 5 star rating is purely subjective. I bought this album back in 1974 when it first became available as an import (I already had all the other Bonzo albums). Friends and acquaintances either loved or hated it and the same holds true for today although the former is beginning to catch up with the latter. Here is Stanshall in all his demented glory, his faults and brillance on display for all to hear. How you take it or where you go from there is up to you.

The opening Afropop influenced DEAD EYES sets the tone from the get go that this recording will be "different and original like everybody else". Despite the schoolboy lasciviousness of HOW THE ZEBRA GOT HIS SPOTS and DWARF SUCCULENTS which remain both shocking and funny and the sad but wry observances of RED EYE and BOUT OF SOBRIETY, STRANGE TONGUES remains the true masterpiece of the album as it creates its own harrowing atmosphere of someone trying to come to grips with his inner demons. Once heard and processed it cannot be forgotten. Now I can throw away my CD-R taken from less than satisfactory downloads and have the original artwork and extras as well. "Stop the tape, I got spittle all over my moustache." VIVA VIV!.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hello Old Friend, 12 Aug 2010
By 
Mr. R. P. Gill "A groan man" (Royal Leamington Spa England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead! (Audio CD)
It has taken 30 odd years for this Viv album to make it onto cd. The tracks that I loved as a teenager are a joy to hear again. Hear this and then go and see Three Bonzos and a Piano live (other Bonzos are available). We have sadly lost Viv so lets make the most of his pals while we can. WHY CAN"T I BE DIFFERENT AND ORIGINAL LIKE EVERYONE ELSE?
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Viv Stanshall, 31 Dec 2010
By 
Mr. Philip J. Davidge "Mad Phil" (Leeds, West Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead! (Audio CD)
An all musical album by one of our finest comedic/musical talents. Just reading the list of guest musicians on the CD insert tells me how well respected Viv was. A very talented man who originally fronted the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, such a clever and versatile (if slightly weird!) person. So underrated; he should have been a massive star, yet many people have never heard of him. Those of us who are familiar with the great man are well aware of his exquisite talents, but unfortunately so many people aren't. He puts so many of the comedic/musical talent that followed him in the shade. A unique man; a unique person; a great entertainer,sadly no longer with us, showing on this album he's a multitalented man. Very difficult to categorise or pigeonhole Viv Stanshall - a truly rare talent and an acquired taste.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius, 20 Sep 2010
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This review is from: Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead! (Audio CD)
About time this little gem was released on CD, an odd record from the Ginger Geezer but like all his output after the Bonzo's - utterly brilliant.

It has been available to download from various sites and if you could afford it to buy on vinyl from ebay but by buying the released it is hopefully going to put some money back to Vivians family.

The music itself could be described as "World" and the lyrics are just a pure joy with excellent wordplay (although sad in places) dripping with humour and inuendo.

A great album from an under appreciated true original.
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Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead!
Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead! by Vivian Stanshall (Audio CD - 2010)
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