Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Wild Oates

What do you do when you come across an album cover featuring a trio; all wearing a 'Tommy Cooper' Fez, two of them wearing some sort of psycho ward hospital gown and one of them being vertically challenged? answer: you snap it up pronto, of course!

Wild Oates were a three piece comprising of...

Col Roberts on vocals/bass guitar/trumpet/ euphonium

Glen Forrest on vocals/guitar and banjo (wearing the shorts)

Big Mick on vocals/drums/percussion (I'll leave for you to work out which one he is in the photo)

I can't find any reference to this on t'interweb so it's beholden on me to give it a proper write it using as much information I can muster from the record itself. Wild Oates were sowing their seed in 1979 when they cut this keepsake at Box Studios, Heckmondwike in Yorkshire. The music is cabaret with a touch of the vaudeville's. I'm guessing that they covered the workingmens clubs and pubs of the North of England. I bet they were great entertainment and I can imagine them doing an audition in Peter Kay's 'Phoenix Nights' club. It's wonderful that private pressings like this, capture the spirit of a very important part of English social/musical history. The traditional cabaret scene is disappearing fast and needs documenting properly before all these clubs are closed down or converted into soulless chain pubs. Needless to say, the cover versions are massacres and the comedy songs aren't very funny, but somehow I doubt that mattered, on a boozy Friday night in a smoky club, as the glitter ball sparkled and you necked your eighth pint of frothy ale served in a proper glass. I shall treasure my copy, which is signed by two of the members (Col didn't deign to autograph this artifact) but will I listen to it again?, as Captain Oates sort of said "I am just going to put it outside, and may be some time" (before it gets played again)

Side 1

Old Bazaar In Cairo
Cowpunchers Gun
The Most Beautiful Girl In The World
Don't Cry For Me Argentina
Old Shep

Side 2

Down Our Street
Did You Ever
Little Green Apples
Folsom Prison Blues
Marsden Cuckoo
The Show Must Go On

Pub Quiz Time! What's the best ever Fez related song in rock? answer: The Fez by Steely Dan, Of course!

1 comment:

Steven Taylor said...

Just found a single by this group in an old box of vinyl at an auction.4 tracks, misty,orange blossom special The man in the moon and cowpunchers gun. blurb on the single cover says they were a northern club circuit trio who did appear on the BBC at some point.

I couldn't find anything on the web about them either.