As My Nanny Used to Say, That’s the Trouble with Ungulants


The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Pour L’Amour des Chiens – This was the band’s reunion album from 2007, their first in thirty-five years. Vivian Stanshall had died in 1995, but some of the earlier members returned, and others filled in for the vocals that Stanshall would have originally done. The most famous of them was Stephen Fry, credited as a New Millennium Bonzo. I think it’s also the first album since their first where they officially included the “Doo-Dah” in the band name. As with their older albums, it’s a mixture of covers (some done straight and some much less so), satire, and weird novelty numbers. “Hawkeye the Gnu” plays on the 1958 Lord Rockington’s X1 song “Hoots Mon,” which in turn is adapted from the Scottish folk song “The Hundred Pipers.” I didn’t get the joke in the title on my own, but it’s a play on the phrase “Och aye, the noo,” meaning “Oh, yes, just now,” which apparently is used more by people imitating Scots than by actual Scots. “Let’s All Go to Mary’s House” is a song from the 1920s and “Making Faces at the Man in the Moon” from the 1930s, with the introduction to the former including a callback to “Shirt.” We veer into country/western territory with the bizarre “Purple Sprouting Broccoli.” “Wire People” features a spoken vocal centered around a single pun. “I Predict the Riot” is a cover of the Kaiser Chiefs song with commentary from cranky old men. “Mornington Crescent” is a jazzy song that references several London Tube stations. The line “You’re harder to understand than Mornington Crescent” relates to a bit on the radio program I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue that it seems like a lot of Brits are familiar with, but Americans not so much, essentially a game that consists of naming Tube stations, but with complicated rules that don’t make any sense. “Early Morning Train” contrasts a quiet, old-fashioned song with a jerk loudly talking on his mobile phone. “My Friends Outside” parodies Tubeway Army’s “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?”, and ends with an exchange making clear that it’s not close enough to violate Gary Numan’s copyright. There’s a humorous contrast in “Beautiful People,” a cheerful sing-along with rather darkly comedic (if also identifiable) lyrics. The rock anthem “Ego Warriors” is a call for individuality with a lot of brief jokes along the way. Sam Spoons performs “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” complete with solos on flowerpots and dustpans, with sport-style commentary throughout. Also scattered throughout are brief promotions for non-existent products, like a potato with a chicken inside. I think the band really pulled out all the stops on this record. It’s not their best work, but it shows that their style of humor can still work in the third millennium.

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