- by Jeff Penczak Rating:5 Release Date:2016-10-09 Label: Mega Dodo
Following his one-off single with Eric Clapton, et.al. (Sean Head Showband’s brilliant tongue twister ‘Labiodental Fricative’), Viv Stanshall grabbed a couple of fellow Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah doo-gooders (Dennis Cowan and Roger Ruskin Spear, along with Bonzo roadies-cum-guitarists Bubs White and Borneo Fred Mount) and superstar-in-waiting drummer Ian Wallace (who would shortly pound the skins on the lone album from Stanshall’s Bonzo partner, Neil Innes’ The World project), and GRunted out four biG ones for John Peel’s 1 March 1970 In Session programme. The results finally get their first official release.
‘Blind Date’ was originally written for crooner Matt Monro(!) and would soon become the lone single from the band. In one of its earliest performances, Viv and the boys turn in their finest honkey tonkin’ backing for Viv’s tale of a dating agency that sets up the titular date between a gorilla and a pygmy. It’s pure Bonzos in everything but name.
Next, the band revisits (annihilates is more like it) the ol’ Bonzo chestnut ’11 Mustachioed Daughters’, retaining some of the funky ethnic backing and still sounding like a bunch of jungle natives getting restless, with Bubs and Borneo shredding their guitars while Viv shreds his vocal chords. It left me...breathless!
‘The Strain’ sounds like Stanshall’s suffering through a painful bowel movement – ‘We’re gonna squeeeeze it out...” biG Grunt, indeed. The rear is brought up by the previously unreleased instro ‘Cyborg Signal’, which highlights Spear’s wonderful sax work and some inspired ‘Pinball Wizard’-styled guitar pyrotechnics blazing through equally alluring cascading guitars, Wallace’s soon-to-be memorable King Crimson drumming. Luckily Viv keeps his yap shut, making this the go-to track for more than just its scarcity. More details on the project and session are available on Viv’s family-run website.