Title - The Toy Dolls - The Albums 1989-1993 [5CD]
Artist - The Toy Dolls
For those unaware, The Toy Dolls are an English punk rock band formed in 1979. Departing from the angry lyrics and music often associated with punk rock, The Toy Dolls worked within the aesthetics of punk to express a sense of fun, with songs such as Yul Brynner Was a Skinhead, My Girlfriend’s Dad’s a Vicar and James Bond Lives Down Our Street.
Although there is often alliteration in their song titles (ie: Peter Practice’s Practice Place, Fisticuffs in Frederick Street, Neville Is a Nerd, Quick to Quit the Quentin), but they are probably best known however for their sole UK hit, a punk-rock cover of Nellie the Elephant.
Following on from the success of Captain Oi’s previous The Toy Dolls box-set (The Albums 1983-1987), a further 5 CDs (and some 74 tracks) make up the extensive second volume, The Toy Dolls - The Albums 1989-1993 (out September 3rd, 2021).
Disc 1 is the debut album Dig That Groove Baby which hit #10 in the Indie Chart back in 1983.
Disc One: Dig That Groove Baby (1983)
1. THEME TUNE
2. DIG THAT GROOVE BABY
3. DOUGY GIRO
4. SPIDERS IN THE DRESSING ROOM
5. GLENDA AND THE TEST TUBE BABY
6. UP THE GARDEN PATH
7. NELLIE THE ELEPHANT
8. POOR DAVEY
9. STAY MELLOW
10.QUEEN ALEXANDRA ROAD IS WHERE SHE SAID SHE’D BE, BUT WAS SHE THERE TO MEET ME….NO CHANCE
11.WORSE THINGS HAPPEN AT SEA
12.BLUE SUEDE SHOES
As I’m sure we are all well aware by now, The Toy Dolls are all about fun, and their long-awaited full-length debut, 1983’s Dig That Groove Baby, is an absolute punk gem.
Bandleader Olga (aka Michael Algar) is capable of jaw-droppingly fast guitar picking, while lending his purposefully effeminate voice to numerous silly characters.
Besides containing the definitive version of their classic Nellie the Elephant, the album finds Olga tackling other comedic ditties such as Spiders in the Dressing Room, Glenda and the Test Tube Baby, and the long-winded Queen Alexandra Road Is Where She Said She’d Be, But Was She There to Meet Me...No Chance.
Anyway, you get the picture and if all this doesn’t do it for you, then the band’s 100-mph cover of Blue Suede Shoes certainly will!
The second disc features 1985’s #4 Indie Chart album A Far Out Disc which includes the Indie hit singles We’re Mad (#4) and She Goes To Finos (#4).
Disc Two: A Far Out Disc (1985)
1. A FAR OUT THEME TUNE
2. SHE GOES TO FINOS
3. RAZZMATAZZ INTRO
4. MODERN SCHOOLS OF MOTORING
5. CAROL DODDS IS PREGNANT
6. YOU AND A BOX OF HANDKERCHIEFS
7. BLESS YOU MY SON
8. MY GIRLFRIEND’S DAD’S A VICAR
9. COME BACK JACKIE
10.DO YOU WANT TO FINISH…OR WHAT?!
12.CHARTBUSTER / RAZZMATAZZ OUTRO
15.FLORENCE IS DEAF (BUT THERE’S NO NEED TO SHOUT)
16.A FAR OUT THEME TUNE
In 1985, and having already established themselves as the class clowns of the European punk scene, the band upped the ante by increasing the number of skits and segues and including a frenetic cover of the surf classic Wipe Out.
Guitar hero, pixie-thin British jester, and exhausting front man Olga leads the listener through a demented working-class Romper Room that begins and ends with the nursery rhyme instrumental A Far Out Theme Tune.
Other highlights include the Ramones-like She Goes to Finos, which was originally released in 1979 by Olga’s previous group, the Showbiz Kids, and the loony-bin anthem We’re Mad, which spent 13 weeks in the indie Top 20.
A few of the instrumental segues, like Chartbuster/Razzmatazz Outro, interfere with the flow of the record as opposed to smoothing it out, and the production is a bit muddier than the band’s previous offering.
While not as strong as other records in their catalog, even a weak Toy Dolls album harnesses more energy than an entire year of new releases!
Idle Gossip (1986), the band’s third album, and an Indie Chart #12, is to be found on Disc 3 and it includes the Geordie’s Gone To Jail hit single.
Disc Three: Idle Gossip (1986)
1. IDLE GOSSIP
2. DO YOU WANNA BE LIKE DOUGY BELL
3. THE LAMBRUSCO KID
4. YOU WON’T BE MERRY ON A NORTH SEA FERRY
5. HARRY CROSS (A TRIBUTE TO EDNA)
6. GEORDIE’S GONE TO JAIL
7. SILLY BILLY
8. IF YOU’RE IN A POP GROUP YOU’LL END UP PAYING A FORTUNE PRACTICING AT PETER PRACTICE’S PRACTICE PLACE
9. PC STOKER
10.I TRIED TO TRUST TRACEY
11.KEITH’S A THIEF
12.I’LL GET EVEN WITH STEVEN (STEVE IS TENDER)
With their continued trademark sound of hyperactive, wacky punk that hasn’t changed one bit since the Toy Dolls started out, Idle Gossip not only maintains the tradition of having a playful attitude, but it also never fails to get old no matter how many albums they put out.
The wackiness and energy are still there with Olga’s helium-fueled vocals and the 78-rpm speed. It’s always great to see a band like the Toy Dolls maintain their offbeat sense of humor, and with nursery rhyme song titles like Silly Billy, You Won’t Be Merry on the North Ferry and I’ll Get Even with Steven, this record provides the ultimate alternative to anti-depressive medication.
Disc 4 features 1987’s Bare Faced Cheek LP with its seminal Yul Brynner Was A Skinhead opus!
Disc Four: Bare Faced Cheek (1987)
1. BARE FACED CHEEK
2. YUL BRYNNER WAS A SKINHEAD
3. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH NEAL?
4. HOWZA BOUTA KISS BABE!
5. FISTICUFFS IN FREDERICK STREET
6. A DIAMOND
7. QUICK TO QUIT THE QUENTIN
8. NOWT CAN COMPARE TO SUNDERLAND FINE FARE
9. NEVILLE IS A NERD
10.PARK LANE PUNCH UP
11.THE ASHBROOKE LAUNDERETTE… YOU’LL STINK, YOUR CLOTHES’LL SHRINK, YOUR WHITES’LL BE BLACK AS INK
12.BARE FACED CHEEK
In truth, Bare Faced Cheek is a rather uneven offering from punk comedians the Toy Dolls, proving that no amount of humor can make up for average songwriting.
Despite their hilarious lyrics, tunes such as Yul Brynner Was a Skinhead and How Do You Deal With Neal? quickly fade from memory.
And though singer/guitarist Olga and his ever-changing backup cast score a few winners with Fisticuffs on Frederick Street and Howza Bouta Kiss Babe, it’s far too little to make this album interesting to anyone but hardcore fans.
The fifth disc features 20 non-LP cuts by the band including their ultra-rare debut 45s, their contribution to the legendary Strength Thru Oi! compilation plus the not-so-rare, but nonetheless very important UK National Chart #3 smash hit Nellie The Elephant.
Disc Five: Rare Dolls
1. TOMMY KOWEY’S CAR (ORIGINAL 7″ VERSION)
2. SHE GOES TO FINOS (ORIGINAL 7″ VERSION)
3. DEIDRE’S A SLAG (STRENGTH THRU OI!)
4. SHE GOES TO FINOS (STRENGTH THRU OI!)
5. TOMMY KOWEY’S CAR (EP VERSION)
6. SHE’S A WORKY TICKET
7. EVERYBODY JITTERBUG
8. TEENAGER IN LOVE / I’VE GOT ASTHMA
9. CHEERIO & TOODLE PIP
11.ALFIE FROM THE BRONX
13.DEIDRE’S A SLAG (1984 VERSION)
14.RUPERT THE BEAR
15.NELLIE THE ELEPHANT (1984 VERSION)
16.FISTICUFFS IN FREDERICK STREET
17.JAMES BOND (LIVES DOWN OUR STREET)
18.OLGA… I CANNOT
20.GEORDIE’S GONE TO JAIL (JAPANESE VERSION)
Rare Dolls is a rather fantastic collection to round out the new 5 CD set nicely, especially as it features a lot of their most famous recordings.
In closing, this fifth and final disc not only makes this a must have for all The Toy Dolls fans, but given it features most all of their best work, is most definitely a brilliant, and conclusive collection of the band’s formative years.
The booklet includes notes on each of the albums plus pictures of all the sleeves whilst each disc comes in a cardboard wallet depicting the original artwork and all are housed in a sturdy clam shell box!
Official 5CD Purchase Link