Paul posted this clip last year, but it’s worth another airing: After eight years with the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, in 1970 Vivian Stanshall formed the short lived BiG GrunT with fellow former Bonzos Dennis Cowan on bass and Roger Ruskin Spear on wind instruments and infernal machines, plus “Borneao” Fred Munt, the ex-Bonzo roadie, on conga drums and saxophone.
The group, seen here in this amazing performance of “11 Mustachioed Daughters” from March 30, 1970, didn’t last long as front-man Stanshall was sadly sidelined with a hospital stay for a nervous breakdown.
For Bonzo Dog fans, this is the equivalent of finding the Holy Grail. The original edit and soundtrack of The Adventures of the Son of Exploding Sausage - the rarely seen Bonzo Dog Band film from 1969. It’s the Bonzo’s own Magical Mystery Tour (yes, I know they were in that), a film with no real story, just a day-in-the-countryside, with some children and a farm. You’d probably get arrested for trying something like that now… Here’s how the BFI database describes it:
The Bonzo Dog Band drive into the country in a truck, unload their equipment in some woods only to find some of it taken away by some children. They eat and play at a party, and the Bonzos play a number of instrumentals in a stable yard, including `Rockaliser Baby’, `We are Normal’ and `Quiet Walks and Summer Talks’. At the end they are driven away in a white car. Note: No words are sung. Featured alongside the Bonzo Dog Band are the children Amanda, Jennifer and Ashley Lees, Edward Roebuck, and Olivia Smith.
Clips from this film have been on YouTube over the years, usually with “words sung”, but this original instrumental soundtrack is fantastic, which as one comment on YouTube says:
‘Not just a funky old time jazz band. They give early Pink Floyd a run for their money here.’
Ah, tis true. So, if you like Vivian, Neil and co. (and why not?), do make yourself some tea and scones, and settle down and enjoy this lovely trip to the delightful world of The Bonzo Dog Band.
Not going out tonight? Then stay in and enjoy over 2 hours worth of compilation footage of the Blizen Jazz Festival, from 1969. The concert includes performances by Deep Purple, The Move, Humble Pie, Shocking Blue, The Moody Blues, Soft Machine, Marsha Hunt, leading up to a joyous set by The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.
Here’s the listing as posted on YouTube in no particular order:
Shocking Blue - August 22, 1969
“Venus” + interview
Deep Purple - August 22 1969
“Wring That Neck”
Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band - August 22, 1969
“You Done My Brain In”
“Quiet Talks And Summer Walks”
“I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”
“Canyons Of Your Mind”
Taste - August 22, 1969
“Blister On The Moon”
Moody Blues - August 22, 1969
“Have You Heard” (Part 1)
“Have You Heard” (Part 2)
Soft Machine - August 22, 1969
“Moon In June” + interview
Marsha Hunt & White Trash - August 22, 1969
“My World Is Empty Without You Babe”
Brian Auger & The Trinity - August 22, 1969
“I Just Got Some”
Steve Shorter & Tilly Set - August 22 1969
“Move On Up”
Humble Pie - August 24 1969
“The Sad Bag Of Shaky Jake” /” I Walk On Gilded Splinters”
Life - August 24 1969
“Baby Please Don’t Go”
Blossom Toes - August 24 1969
The Move - August 24 1968
“Sunshine Help Me”
Roland and The Bluesworkshop - August 23 1968
Belgian TV - BRT
Various clips from this concert have appeared on the web over the years, but when placed altogether like this, it is a fab 2 hours. Enjoy!
Heresy, I suppose, but I was more pissed off at the demise of the Bonzo Dog Band than I was by the splitting of The Beatles, the retirement of Ziggy Stardust, or the return of Take That. The Mop Tops were grown-up music and a different generation, and after Stardust there was always Aladdin Sane, but neither could have inspired me to run home from school as I did for Vivian Stanshall, Neil Innes and co. when they shared billing with the proto-Pythons, Palin, Jones, Idle and Gilliam on Do Not Adjust Your Set. Now that’s the kind of thoughtful anarchy parents should encourage their children to watch, not Glee or High School Musical, but something with wit and humor that leans towards culture and art and thinking about life, with all its wrinkly absurdities.
It was always Vivian, of course, that rather scary looking Ginger Geezer, who was the Peter Cook of Pop, a chummy Evelyn Waugh, a more interesting Stephen Fry, the missing link between The Beatles and Monty Python.
I saw Vivian Stanshall’s Week when it first went out in 1975, then or thereabouts, and was mesmerized by the great ginger god’s wit, surreal humor and seemingly boundless energy, who, I knew (as did everyone else, surely?), made life that little bit more fun.
The print of this documentary is water-color cloudy, but honestly it does somehow underline the unreality that such a superb human should have ever visited this blue marble planet and in our life time to boot. Well, dearhearts, how lucky are we?
Now here’s what the blurb says:
‘In this film shot in 1975 (after the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and before the Sir Henry movie) Viv articulates his interests and obsessions with his usual surreal humour and some intoxication by the river.
“If I had all the money I’ve spent on drink — I’d spend it on drink.”