21 December 2013

The Pipkins - Pipkins Maxi Party


Label: Columbia
Year of Release: 1970

The Pipkins were an absurd and frankly faintly irritating novelty group created by songwriting supremo Roger Greenaway working in tandem with sometime Edison Lighthouse (and Brotherhood of Man and Flower Pot Men) singer Tony Burrows.  "Gimme Dat Ding" went top ten in both the USA and the UK as numerous people wigged out to the sounds of two respected music industry men putting on silly voices.  Like a high-budget version of your Dad and Uncle's drunken Christmas turn after the last dregs of Vermouth have been supped from the bottle, it remains something of an anomaly. The saloon room piano boogie may have slightly helped invent Lieutenant Pigeon, but beyond that the hit is something of a solitary twig on pop's family tree (and perhaps thank God for that).

Given the international success of "Ding", it's probably not that surprising that The Pipkins brand continued for several years as Burrows, Greenaway and various record labels tried to milk the concept for more hits.  There was even a long-playing record where you could apparently hear the pair's footsteps walking down into the distance as the run-out grooves pulled the needle towards the record's end.

Of all the examples I've heard, however, this single remains the most ludicrous.  The third outing for the project, "Maxi Party" tried to get the pair to do a big hits medley, but sounds utterly deranged - too deranged to sell, in fact - and actually genuinely funny.  Sounding less like Jive Bunny and more akin to Vic and Bob's bizarre approximation of Paul Simon and Neil Sedaka, Burrows and Greenaway growl and squeak through "Mama Told Me Not To Come", "Give Me Just A Little More Time", and "In The Summertime", backed by a cheap and nasty, out-of-tune sounding piano.  I admit that side one is probably all you need to hear to get the gist of the joke, but there is something strangely delightful about hearing grown men with falsetto voices squealing through Randy Newman and Chairman of the Board songs with all the respect of a demolition crew.

Perhaps to prove that the whole thing was just a big jape and there were no hard feelings intended, Greenaway even kicks two of his own compositions in the balls, namely "My Baby Loves Lovin'" and "Melting Pot", the latter of which descends into scatological humour and leaves the single nowhere to go but off the turntable.  Nice work, lads, and it's pleasing to know that your careers survived this strange diversion, but please don't reform under this guise and make any more records of this ilk.

4 comments:

Timmy said...

Even I cannot persuade myself to download this...

23 Daves said...

Come on! Do it, do it!

Actually, I don't think anyone needs to listen to this more than once.

Doctor Gaz said...

oh my lord

23 Daves said...

Everyone's enjoying this one, then? Consider it my little Christmas gift to you all…