Title - 'Vivian Stanshall's Sir Henry at Rawlinson End'
Artist - Michael Livesley & Brainwashing House
For those not in the know, Sir Henry at Rawlinson End was released way back in 1978 and is, for the most part, largely a spoken-word, solo comedy recording by Vivian Stanshall, a British musician with the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. [The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - also known as The Bonzo Dog Band - was created by a group of British art-school students in the 1960s. Combining elements of music hall, trad jazz and psychedelic pop with surreal humor and avant-garde art, the Bonzos came to the public attention through a 1968 ITV comedy show, Do Not Adjust Your Set.]
Sir Henry originated in his Rawlinson End Radio Flashes for the John Peel Show on BBC Radio 1 beginning in 1975, and a similarly-named track on the Bonzo Dog Band's 1972 album Let's Make Up and Be Friendly.
1. 'Aunt Florrie's Waltz'
5. 'The Rub'
6. 'Nice 'N' Tidy'
7. 'Pigs 'Ere Purse'
8. '6/8 Hoodoo'
10. 'Fool & Bladder'
12. 'The Beasht Inshide'
14. 'Aunt Florrie Remembers'
15. 'Rawlinsons & Maynards'
The story goes, now that I have done my homework - for no, I had no idea about this new album, or its steeped history either - that back in 1970, Stanshall took over John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show, while the presenter was on holiday. Contributing to Peel programmes over several years, Stanshall played many new and old songs. He piloted and previewed many different musical and spoken-word comedy sketches and songs. Peel would later broadcast recordings made especially by Stanshall as parts of a sporadic "Rawlinson End Radio Flashes" saga, such as, "Aunt Florrie Remembers (From Giant Whelks At Rawlinson End, Part 21)," recorded on 16 October and broadcast on 27 October 1975.
Ultimately, Stanshall compiled and edited several of these turns for release, all of which related to Sir Henry Rawlinson and his country seat, Rawlinson End. Ergo, the album Sir Henry at Rawlinson End was released on the Charisma Records label in 1978, and features Stanshall as multiple characters, talking and singing, in a portrayal of the fictional history of Sir Henry Rawlinson.
In truth, it is filled with devilishly clever puns, double-entendres, pop-cultural references (of the day, obviously), and clever wordplay. Stanshall initially takes the role of an unnamed narrator, then shifts between character and narrator. The recording features many musical interludes, performed on a variety of odd musical instruments.
But it's the guest performers that really start to add the juice to this breezy wonderment, for we're talking the inclusion of Steve Winwood, Rick Wakeman, Neil Innes, and even Susie Honeyman. Oh, and two of Stanshall's children also get to play along: his biological son Rupert Stanshall and his stepdaughter, Sydney Longfellow (the child of his second wife Ki Longfellow-Stanshall).