Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cubes and cloches

A few weeks ago some reference or other reminded me of a song by the Barron Knights which I'd heard once on the radio while lying in bed in London in the late 1970s. And eventually I tracked it down. Now the Barron Knights were a British band specialising in humorous parody versions of pop songs. they started out back in the 1960s, and I have to say that their efforts from back then sound very lame now. They got better in the 1970s, issuing a wonderful record called "A Taste of Aggro" which comprised very well-crafted parodies of Boney M's Rivers of Babylon, The Smurf Song, and Brian and Michael's Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats And Dogs. Sadly I can't find it online.

The one I remember from London? Oh yes. Remember the Rubik's Cube and its brief dominance of our lives? Well, here is a Barron Knights song about it. Not, for once, a parody. I especially lov ed the twist (so to speak) revealed in the line which follows "It's reduced me down to tears". I also love the utterly warped instrumental breaks in between the verses.

OK, maybe I'm easily pleased or just nostalgic. Your mileage may vary. However, while searching for Mr Rubik I came across this track which demonstrates that when the Barron Knights were at the top of their parodic game they could hold their heads up with Weird Al Yankovic or anyone else.

Here's the original for comparison (I know you're not all old enough to remember it). And here are the same guys doing the even-more-original French version in a recording with Edith Piaf. I don't know whether its being in French helps it to transcend naffness for an Anglophone listener, or whether it's just Piaf's magic. The latter is possible, though I have hitherto found her fairly resistible. She fairly nails this one: I think we can take her introductory disclaimer with a large dose of sel de mer.

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