Home Read Albums Of The Week: Vivian Stanshall | Dog Howl In Tune

Albums Of The Week: Vivian Stanshall | Dog Howl In Tune

Nearly 30 years after his death, the Bonzo Dog frontman's unreleased recordings have been lovingly curated and completed in this magnificent posthumous release.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “During the last five years of his life, ex-Bonzo Dog Band member Vivian Stanshall was working on a final album of music to follow up his much-loved 1981 album Teddy Boys Don’t Knit, which featured classics such as Terry Keeps His Clips On, The Cracks Are Showing and Ginger Geezer.

Stanshall had spent his time in the 1980s working on his “English comic opera in the grand tradition” Stinkfoot, which first ran in Bristol Harbour in 1985, with a later revival in London. He had also found success writing material with his friend Steve Winwood, co-writing the title track to Arc Of A Diver, working on Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells 2 (he had been an integral part to the original Tubular Bells as the narrator) and various advertising campaigns. For a considerable period Vivian had wanted to record and release another rock album and had been collecting songs as far back as the 1970s. With money he earned from his advertising work he funded various recording sessions and had interest from a major record label, but sadly he tragically died in a 1995 fire before an album could be completed.

The 12 tracks on this album are taken from a selection of 60 or so finished or nearly completed recordings on the tapes left by Stanshall, as his hitherto unpublished legacy. Andy Frizell (The Wizards of Twiddly, The Coral, Kevin Ayers) is a musician and producer who worked with Vivian briefly in 1994. Using the surviving recordings, he has pieced together Vivian’s final album, adding missing instrumentation while paying reverence to the original vision. The collection includes the Beefheartian monster-mash blues of the title track, as well as the wistfully melancholic No Time Like The Future on an album that wears it’s heart fully on its sleeve. It is by far the most biographical album Vivian ever made and draws on songs from Stinkfoot and other projects. Goodbye Mother is the poignant last song from the project Shackleton, based around the exploits of the Antarctic explorer, which never saw the light of day, whilst Boy in Darkness was written by Vivian for a project with Winwood, whose version has yet to be released.

Musicians include Jack Bruce (Cream), Ollie Halsall (Pato), Susie Honeyman (Mekons), Neil Innes and Rodney Slater (Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band), Mike Kellie (Spooky Tooth) and others.”


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