21 August 2016

Big Cherry - Give A Dog A Bone/ Come In Bonzo

Label: Pink Elephant
Year of Release: 1973

Many of the novelty singles released during the 70s were a damn sight more entertaining and imaginative than the "adult" pop which otherwise got taken seriously. I've probably made a case for "Popcorn" by Hot Butter being a genuinely groundbreaking piece of work already on this blog, yet at the time it wasn't really seen as anything other than a quirky experiment.

No such claims can be laid at the feet of Big Cherry, unfortunately, who were clearly a bunch of session musicians summoned into a studio to record a two-sided single about dogs. Yep, you read it right first time. I'm not sure whose marketing idea it was, but it would seem that someone at the label felt that there was a significant gap in the market for canine-themed pop music, something I haven't really witnessed before except in the mockumentary "Best In Show".

Both sides of this record are classier than "God Loves A Norwich Terrier", actually, but it's the B-side that really overloads itself with minimal eccentricity. "Give A Dog A Bone" is chirpy, inoffensive pop music about owning dogs, whereas "Come In Bonzo" is sung entirely from the gruff perspective of the dog. "Find yerself a lamp-post/ with high-class sanitation/ Master gets an 'efty fine/ For barker's aggravation" growls the singer, while analogue synths bleep and squeak in the background and the band knock out something between a conga rhythm and a krautrock beat. It's probably the result of an off-the-cuff studio jam, but despite its sheer silliness, it's shockingly addictive. It also sounds so much like a Denim out-take that it's almost hard to believe it isn't one - does Lawrence have this in his collection, I wonder?

I have no idea who performed on this record, but if you're a guilty man or woman, please do step forward. It's a fine piece of work.


Arthur Nibble said...

Sorry, can't find anything about the band members, but this was definitely released in The Netherlands, Germany, the USA, and in the UK (the latter on Penny Farthing).

Arthur Nibble said...

Re canine themed pop music, there was Gilbert O'Sullivan's defining moment "Get Down", then "Shannon" by Henry Gross (a song dedicated to the recently deceased dog of a Beach Boy) was a top tenner in America and a top 40 smash in the UK in 1976 - and you should also try non-hit (and you'd see why) "Fluffy" by Gloria Balsam if you're really brave!

23 Daves said...

It was issued all over the place, yes - so either it was a small hit in one of those countries, or it was strongly expected to be a hit.

And thanks for the heads-up. And of course, there's always the old Left and to the Back fave Wonderdog (aka Simon Cowell in a dog costume).