Monday, June 30, 2014

The Unusual Electric Shocks of Roger Ruskin Spear

In this blog's world, The Great British Band Of The Sixties isn't those loveable mop-tops from Liverpool (good as they were), but of course, the Bonzo Dog Band. Tho comparing them to the Beatles isn't quite accurate, as the Beatles were pretty much a straight-ahead (if wildly creative) rock band, and the Bonzos were a Dada/ jazz/ comedy/ psychedelic / performance-art / avant-'tarde / rock band. And Roger Ruskin Spear - he of home-made robots, fanciful stage props, explosions, and performing on a theremin hidden in a mannequin's leg - carried on the band's traditions perhaps more faithfully than his two more celebrated band mates Viv Stanshall and Neil Innes, both of whom went off into some rather non-Bonzo-like (tho frequently rewarding) directions. Spears' two solo albums in the early '70s following the band's dissolution sticks with the original Bonzo plan of playing crazed "trad" jazz, rock parodies, covers of forgotten old novelty records, and wildly inventive original creations, all drenched in good-humored absurdity. When I first came across a copy of "Electric Shocks" in a thrift store in the '90s, I'd had no idea that Spears had made any solo albums. I certainly wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was.  Originally it's follow-up album "Unusual" was posted here as well, but something, er, unusual happened to the files, so we're only posting "Electric Shocks." Hopefully I'll get a good uncorrupted copy of "Unusual" cuz it's a goodie. But to make it up to you, three bonus tracks have been added.

Roger Ruskin Spear "Electric Shocks"

1. All by Yourself in the Moonlight
2. I'm a Fly
3. Mattress Man
4. Blue Baboon
5. The Liberty Laughing Song
6. Doctor Rock
7. Patrick Moore
8. Make Yourself a Happiness Pie
9. Livin' Doll
10. Call Of The Freaks  (BBC radio flash 10-08-1971)
11. Drop Out (single b-side)
12. Trouser Freak (single) 


Tom_Wheeler said...

I was talking with my son, who grew up listening to The Bonzo's, Neil Innes, The Rutles, etc. about comparing The Rutles to the Beatles, and I like his statement; " The Beatles sound like The Rutles, but their lyrics aren't as good."

Take care,
Tom Wheeler
The Invertebrates

Pierre said...

Make yourself a happiness pie

Taylor Jessen said...

"Unusual" is indeed great - here's a transfer I made from vinyl:

I'll post about it eventually on my blog "Fuji Puzzle Box", where I've been posting a bunch of rare and out-of-print albums and some Firesign Theatre goodies from the vault.


Mr Fab said...

So The Invertebrates DID have a Bonzos influence! Well, that explains a lot.

Thanks, Pierre, I will. Because "you gotta laugh."

That is a great blog you got there Taylor. And by 'great' of course I mean: lots of stuff I like, inc a number of albums I own, and even a couple I was thinking about posting here.

Bald Man with a Cowlick said...

Thanks so much for this! You've vastly improved a frenzied week - as has Taylor. My poor wife will just have to suffer through this mishegoss...

Anonymous said...

Thanks, fascinating blog!

Greg said...

I posted about Roger a couple of years back at Music/ Not Music, but only posted one song.

Bravo to you, sir!

Ready to come back on Radio Misterioso some time soon?

Mr Fab said...

I'd love to, Spacebrother!

Greg said...

Name a Sunday. Even tomorrow (7/20.)