“Baked Jam Roll in Your Eye”: Unlikely Alien Invasion

Eyeballing the list of artists who released 45s on Decca’s progressive imprint, Deram, I am amused by the “far-out” names that remain largely unknown on this side of the pond:  West Coast Delegation; The Wards of Court; Rubber Bootz; Cuppa T; Granny’s Intentions; John Street & the Inmates of No. 12; The Crocheted Doughnut Ring; The Virgin Sleep; Bernie & the Buzz Band; Anvil Flutes and Capricorn Voices; Martin’s Magic Sounds; Currant Craze; and The Syn, among others.  A shameless attention-getting ploy perhaps but a harmless one.

Similarly, a song title such as “Baked Jam Roll in Your Eye” practically begs to be heard — fortunately, this tune about Martian invaders armed with lethal pastries does not disappoint:

Timebox – “Baked Jam Roll in Your Eye” – March, 1969

“Baked jam roll in your eye:  are you trying to kill or feed me?” the humans straight-facedly inquire of Martian commander, Klaus.  Will the Earthlings prevail armed only with song?

“Baked Jam Roll in Your Eye” is Timebox’s successor to “Girl Don’t Make Me Wait,” with its brilliant B-side, “Gone Is the Sad Man” — a song that could easily be mistaken for some long-lost Beatles single.  Would you be surprised to learn that one of the song’s co-writers, Paul ‘Ollie’ Halsall, would later become part of the Pre-Fab Four (depicted as Leppo, “the fifth Rutle” in the faux-documentary, All You Need Is Cash)?  Neil Innes, at a 1997 Beatlefest in Los Angeles, would identify Halsall as a primary contributor in the making of the first Rutles album and pronounce him “the most underrated guitarist in the world.”  Halsall, who died in 1992, enjoys distinction as one of rock’s only vibraphone players.

A-Side composed by Mike Patto & Ollie Halsall

Timebox 45

Godfrey Daniel: Punk Doowop Revivalists

I discovered Godfrey Daniel’s one and only album at the local library bookstore that sells donated materials, including record albums and 45s.  I was struck first by the label – Atlantic – and secondarily by the following somewhat cryptic text on the back cover:

“Godfrey Daniel fans are a tough bunch to please.  They know what they want, and they won’t be disappointed with this, their first recording on Atlantic Records.

Now you can thrill at home to the group that’s been knocking them dead coast to coast with the sound of today.  Their honest, throaty vocals, their steady driving beat, makes you want to get up and dance.”

As it turns out, Godfrey Daniel is kind of a “punk” Sha Na Na who specialize in skewed doowop-era takes on what some would consider hoary hard rock “standards” of the late 60s and early 70s, such as “Purple Haze” and “Honky Tonk Woman” — or Led Zeppelin’s uncredited bombastic take on Muddy Waters’s “You Need Love” (i.e., “Whole Lotta Love”):

“Whole Lotta Love”     Godfrey Daniel     1972

Atlantic, surprisingly perhaps, would issue the group’s irreverent version of Woodstock highlight – Sly & the Family Stone’s “Dance to the Music” – as the A-side of the group’s lone single released in 1972.

Godfrey Daniel20 years later Tiny Tim would team up with Brave Combo to take a sad song – “Hey Jude” – and transform it into a marvelously daffy and danceable mambo number, but remember: Godfrey Daniel helped pioneer this type of rock parody.

Take a Sad Song was finally reissued on compact disc in 2005 — Jason Gross of the Minneapolis City Pages, in his review, declared “this lost nugget is up there with the best mashups.”

Godfrey Daniel LP

Neil Innes Sings “Godfrey Daniel”

Neil Innes (of Rutles and Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band fame) conjures unforgettable images in this outsized Elton John spoof from Rutland Weekend Television in which the glam rocker straight-facedly sings at the chorus, “Godfrey Daniel, he ain’t done nothing wrong.  Let him go back to Ohio – or wherever he belongs.”

“I Just Want to Touch You”: The New Rutles?

Why am I not terribly surprised that Todd Rundgren’s Utopia went to the trouble and expense of dressing up as Fab Four lookalikes in their video for affectionate Beatle pastiche, “I Just Want to Touch You”:

From 1980 album, Deface the Music, just two short years after spoof Rutles documentary – All You Need Is Cash — written by Eric Idle & Lorne Michaels, with songs composed by close friend of The Beatles and guitarist for The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Neil Innes.

Paul Lester’s excellent and informative essay that accompanied the CD reissue of Deface the Music points out that this track was considered but ultimately rejected for feature film, Roadie – purportedly since the song too closely emulated the early Beatle sound and songwriting style.

Released in the UK as the kick-off track on a 4-song EP — check out the cheeky copy on the back of the sleeve:

Utopia 45“Meet UTOPIA, an instantly likeable and aware quartet of bright young lads, carving a niche in today’s feverish pop market-place.  No Post-Industrial Funk for these pop-picking boys, just catchy snatches of hot rock ‘n’ roll.  Take the first cut, ‘I Just Want to Touch You’; a perfect example of Todd’s expressive lead vocals, combining with the harmonies of Willie and Roger.  Once heard, never forgotten, ‘Silly Boy’ of course is purposely tongue in cheek, showing how UTOPIA’s writing has expanded into wider fields.  Flip the disc over and straight into ‘Life Goes On’ revealing a more complex side to the band’s musical tastes.  A real grower this, and certain to become a stage favourite.  Finally, but not least, the record finishes with ‘All Smiles,’ a sure-fire UTOPIA classic, containing enough hooks to catch a haul of mackerel.  So there it is, four great songs by a great band.  Roll up folks and meet UTOPIA.”