Monday, August 30, 2010


I'm quite fond of the work of Neil Innes and have been since back when he was with the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. His songs have a depth of impish wistfulness which appeals to me. The combination of his sometimes beautifully poetical music with slyly off-kilter, occasionally even sinister, lyrics and delivery are always worth a second or third listen. His dark songs are very dark indeed, though always with an element of "let's take the piss out of the bogey man" to be found somewhere. And his straightforward let's-be-silly songs are an utter joy. It's a nice day, so I thought I'd share.

His stuff for "The Rutles" was spot on. In fact, that was part of the problem: it was too spot on, the songs are Beatles pastiches rather than parodies. But they did the job they were supposed to do and they're fun to listen to. He could always do a good Beatles; have a listen to Montana Cafe.

"The Innes Book of Records" and collaborations with one or other of the Monty Python team gave him free rein to romp around and show his versatility. Here's a selection of goodies:

  • "My Little Ukelele," a nice, but definitely not slavish, George Formby number.
  • "UFO Shanty," not trad. arr. Grainger. Come on, K9!
  • "Cats Don't Like The Rain," one of my favourites. I think the music's beautiful and the lyrics sneak up on you.
  • "Down That Road," inspired by all those Inspirational Ballads, complete with cynically-manipulative descending chords, that used to get sung all the time by blokes with lots of teeth on "Stars On Sunday."
  • "Mississippi Moon," has a very obviously Stan and Ollie vibe with touches of Leroy Shield's incidental music which then lurches into the vocal equivalent of a Krazy Kat Kartoon.
Here's a video version of "Godfrey Daniels," a multi-layered absurdity. And, like all the best absurdities, worth having a think about.

I did mention sinister, didn't I? Here's the video to "Down That Road." The world was a dark place long before Royston Vasey...

And lastly, well here's a treat. A daft and deft delight.


Lulu LaBonne said...

That was a treat - what a talent!

nursemyra said...

I can't believe I've never heard of him before! The Elton had me in stitches. And then I watched The Road.... oh my

Pat said...

New to me - all three - liked the way 'in the mood ' sneaked in.

dinahmow said...

Ta very much!