26 August 2008
Second Hand Record Dip Part 15 - Frank Sidebottom - Frank's Firm Favourites
Who: Frank Sidebottom
What: Frank's Firm Favourites
Label: Regal Zonophone ("Borrowed off EMI on Hire Purchase through their Christmas Club")
Found: Reflex Records, Portsmouth (RIP)
Cost: One pound
Somehow I get the sneaking suspicion that I'm going to be wasting both my time and yours if I put any effort into analysing this one. Sticking entirely to the conceit the performer Chris Sievey developed for Frank, he is a man living with his mother in Timperley who has frustrated pop star ambitions which he attempts to realise via cheap recordings and instrumentation.
If you've never enjoyed his work or found it remotely amusing, chances are this showcase EP released via EMI (of all people) in 1985 is not going to change your mind one jot. The routine is well established, with clumsily delivered lyrics, inappropriately cheery vocals, and a general air of utter incompetence dominating the proceedings.
If you've never heard Frank Sidebottom before - and I'm willing to bet there might be a number of non-British readers that applies to - this isn't a bad place to start to get a general idea of the level of humour. It is, without question, very whacky, childish and frequently utterly ridiculous, and will irritate as many people as it will cheer. Speaking purely from a personal point of view, I found this EP was good for a couple of spins, then I promptly forgot all about it - if I hadn't chanced upon it in a bargain box in Portsmouth, I doubt very much I'd have ever bothered picking it up. Still though, it's an interesting diversion, and clips of his shows on YouTube show whole audiences crying with laughter at his versions of songs by The Fall and The Smiths.
For the record, the songs on the Popular Medley are:
You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) (Dead or Alive)
The War Song (Culture Club)
What is Love? (Howard Jones)
Last Christmas (Wham!)
The Power of Love (Frankie Goes to Hollywood)
Won't You Hold My Hand (King)
Wouldn't it Be Good (Nik Kershaw)
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