14 August 2010
Second Hand Record Dip Part 59 - Tetley Take You Stargazing With Maurice Woodruff
Who: Maurice Woodruff and His Orchestra
What: Virgo Predictions for 1969 and Virgo Characteristics
Where: Music and Video Exchange, Camden High Street, London
Sometimes when you pick up one of these records - which some second hand stores have started filing under a special "Oddities" section purely for the benefit of saps like me - you doubt it will be as promising as it looks. Most commercially sponsored singles are just junk, too slick to be laughable, and performed by people watching the clock in the studio, meaning they'll never be good pieces of work in their own right. Somewhere in my box of seven inches I've got Noel Edmonds introducing a promotional record for Royal Mail greetings cards, which I've long thought about uploading - it's just that there's nothing particularly interesting about it.
This attempt at a commercially sponsored record, however, which I assume came free with x amount of packs of Tetley's tea, is so flawed it's brilliant. For the uninitiated, Maurice Woodruff was a well-known "psychic" in the sixties, having famous clients who included Peter Sellers, who made many of his career decisions through the man. On this record, Woodruff sounds less like a trustworthy mystic than an invented Sellers character - his voice is weedy and hesitant, and the net result sounds untrustworthy and ridiculous even if you believe in astrology. Woodruff has the voice of a gentleman who sold housewives black market materials during World War II, and not at all like the sort of person whose palms I'd choose to cross with any silver. The over-dramatic orchestral music which greets Maurice is so blaring and pompous it also makes his eventual entrance seem even more ridiculous - like a malnourished, rapidly blinking man emerging from behind the Wizard of Oz's curtains.
As for whether his predictions are accurate, we'd need a Virgo who was around in 1969 to come forward and verify that. Any volunteers?
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