Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Monday night at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood I saw the Rutles - no, not just the 1978 film "All You Need Is Cash" (though they showed that too) but the actual original foursome. As a huge Python/Rutles/Bonzos fan from childhood, I just about fell off my chair when I read the Rutles were back - the Pre-Fab Four! A legend that will last a lunchtime. A millstone in pop music history.

The hilarious and musically spot-on Beatles parody band, which started as a sketch on an Eric Idle post-Python TV series, has strangely taken on a life of it's own with a series of Rutles tribute shows in LA and New York featuring Beatles impersonaters The Fab Four covering Rutles songs, mixed with video clips and live theater - yup, not the real Rutles but an incredible simulation. A bit confusing, isn't it? As the ads say, "Nostalgia for something that never existed."

Rutlemania! Through the 21st in Hollywood, then 4 more shows in New York.

Eric Idle and Neil Innes are working togther again, some 33 years after they first unleashed the Rutles on the world via the short-lived series "The Rutland Weekend News." A companion album, "The Rutland Weekend Songbook" is out-of-print, never on CD (except an obscure Japanese pressing), but thanks to Mrs Fab's copy she brought back from England years ago, we can now hear the original versions of songs that later appeared on proper Rutles albums, like:

"I Must Be In Love" - complete with the screams of Rutlemaniacs.

"Children of Rock'n'Roll/Startime" - 50 seconds or so of what would later be "See How The Good Times Roll."

Other non-Rutles related, but still quite good songs from the album:

"Accountancy Shanty/Football" - Years before it's appearance in the 1983 Python film "The Meaning of Life," here's the original pirate's shanty about high finance on the high seas, then a goof on soccer/football 'ooligans.

"Protest Song" - wicked Dylan parody; Innes performed this onstage with Python. But not at Che Stadium (which was named after Cuban guerilla leader Che Stadium.)

"Communist Cooking"/"Johnny Cash Live at Mrs Fletchers"
"24 Hours in Tumbridge Wells/The Fabulous Bingo Brothers/In Concrete" - parodies of: the Sinatra/Gene Kelly musical "On The Town," aged vaudvillians, modern rock.
"I Give Myself To You" performed by the Alberto Vascetomy Singers.
"Song O' The Insurance Men/Closedown"

And more HERE, courtesy of the I'm Learning To Share blog, including the Stevie Wonder-goes-to-the-laundromat funk of "Front Loader," and the new disco move "The Hard To Get."

And surviving members of the Bonzo Dog Band released a reunion album last December, but that's for another time. Ouch!


Changa said...

Thank you!

I now have ticket's and I am going to be there friday!


Tim said...

do you know that someone uploaded the whole RWT series 1 and 2 onto torrent?

Suspiciously high quality AND have the colour bars and count in, hmm. Given that apparently Eric Idle never wants to release them, I think someone has leaked them intentionally.

BTW I have better copies of Front Loader et al...