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April 12, 2005

Britain's national holiday, St. George's Day, is on April 23rd, so it's a program British stuff, most of it rather silly, as well as an interview with Jim Rose (of the Jim Rose Circus) about sideshows, con men, carnivals and his new book Snake Oil.

Selection Source Performer(s) Comments
L'Amour Perdu / Gibberish The Rutland Weekend Song Book Eric Idle and Neil Innes It makes as much sense as anything else on the radio, really. "L'Amour Perdu" is a deliberately cheesy instrumental version of funny mock-Parisian number from Innes' earlier solo LP (see below).
The Background to History Matching Tie and Handkerchief Monty Python's Flying Circus Selections from this lecture on the medieval open-field farming system are now available on a long-playing record "The Ronettes Sing Medieval Agrarian History".
9 - 5 Pollution Blues History of the Bonzos The World The World was a group formed by Neil Innes after the Bonzo Dog Band dissolved in 1970. This originally appeared on the group's first (and only) LP, The World
Can Blue Men Sing the Whites? Cornology Bonzo Dog Band "Or are they hypocrites for singin' blues?" Viv Stanshall provides the characteristic vocals.
Doctor Rock Electric Shocks Roger Ruskin Spear He's got the treatment that satisfies your soul! Backing vocals are by The Flamin' Groovies.
Dream / L'Amour Perdu / Song for Yvonne How Sweet to be an Idiot Neil Innes Innes is the main link between The Bonzo Dog Band and Monty Python, having written and performed for both. This is a great little trio of interconnected numbers. The last one is a particularly sweet love song.
All by Yourself in the Moonlight Electric Shocks Roger Ruskin Spear A simple little nocturnal song slowly turns into a full-scale riot, complete with racing cars and complaining neighbors.
Ning Nang Nong EMI Comedy: Spike Milligan Spike Milligan A member of the original cast of The Goon Show, Milligan was a wildly inventive comic along the lines of Jonathan Winters. This rather silly number harks back to his days in India.
The Q5 Piano Tune EMI Comedy: Spike Milligan Spike Milligan Q5 was a TV show hosted by Milligan in 1969. The song is indescribably silly.
How to Write Your Own Gilbert and Sullivan Opera The Anna Russell Album Anna Russell It's a kind of vitamin pill containing all the essential elements of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. As long as you have these "you can put your opera - where you like".
Onion Radio News 32 The Onion's Finest News Reporting Doyle Redland New High-Viscosity Mayonnaise Will Help Americans Swallow. You'll need to it to swallow the radical right's agenda, too.
Chapter 6 - The Electrician Exposes Himself The Tale of the Giant Rat of Sumatra The Firesign Theatre Concluding this story from The Cheque Book of Hemlock Stones, the detective, Dr. Flotsam, Violet Dawn Dudley, Frank Acne, Jr. and pretty much everybody else find themselves face to mask with The Electrician. Will his fiendish plot succeed? And what the heck IS his fiendish plot, anyway?
Interview Self Jim Rose and Chuck Lavazzi Jim talks about his circus, his nearly fatal career as a motorcycle daredevil, and the America's enduring interest in the freak show. He also relentlessly plugs his new book, Snake Oil, and gives some examples, including tips on how to survive jail.
There is a Sucker Born Every Minute Barnum (OC 1990) Jim Dale Sure, this musical biography of P.T. Barnum is thoroughly American, with music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Michael Stewart and a book by Mark Bramble. But the star, Jim Dale, is English and spent much of his performing career in Britain.
I'm Henery the Eighth, I Am A Little of What You Fancy Harry Champion Known for the energetic exuberance of his performances, Champion (1866 - 1942) was one of the great East End Cockney music hall stars of the early decades of the 20th century. This was probably his biggest hit; the recording is from 1931.
Down at the Old Bull and Bush A Little of What You Fancy Florrie Forde Florrie Forde (1876 - 1940) was the queen of the sing-along music-hall act. She was born in Australia, appearing for the first time in London in 1897. Her other hits included "Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag" and "It's A Long Way To Tipperary". Andrew Sterling later re-wrote his own lyrics on commission from the Anheuser Busch brewery, re-titling the song "Under the Anheuser Bush".
I Love a Lassie A Little of What You Fancy Sir Harry Lauder Edinburgh-born Sir Harry Lauder (1870-1950) was one of the most popular and beloved of all the English music hall stars. He wrote most of his own songs, along with the comic monologs that accompanied them and - starting in 1912 - several books. Aside from this one, his best-known song is probably "Roamin' in the Gloamin'".
The Trombone Song Lost Empires (OS 1986) Laurence Olivier Lost Empires was a Granada TV series (adapted from the autobiographical novel of the same name by J.B. Priestley) about a young man coming of age while working backstage for a music hall troupe during World War I.
Oh, Flo Lost Empires (OS 1986) Jane Arden, Diana Plamerston, John Asquith, Stephen Brigden, Bruce Morrison "Oh, Flo / Why do you go / Traveling alone in your motor car?" Songwriter Harry Dacre (1860 - 1922) seems to have had a thing for wheeled vehicles. His best-known song is "A Bicycle Built for Two".
Ali Baba's Camel By Jingo, It's British Rubbish! The Bonzo Dog Band Here we are full circle with the Bonzos, this time with a Noel Gay novelty number from the 1940s or thereabouts. Gay is best known (at least here in the USA) for his 1937 musical My and My Girl, a revival of which was a big hit on Broadway in 1986
Jazz, Delicious Hot, Disgusting Cold By Jingo, It's British Rubbish! The Bonzo Dog Band This manic parody of "hot jazz" is a Bonzo original.

Acronyms and other mysteries defined:

OC: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Cast recording of a Broadway show, along with the date.

OS: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Soundtrack recording of a film, TV show, etc.

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