26 August 2008

Second Hand Record Dip Part 15 - Frank Sidebottom - Frank's Firm Favourites

Frank's Firm Favourites front

Frank's Firm Favourites Back

Who: Frank Sidebottom
What: Frank's Firm Favourites
Label: Regal Zonophone ("Borrowed off EMI on Hire Purchase through their Christmas Club")
Year: 1985
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)

Thank you.


Paperback Tourist said...

You know it is, it really is...

Cocktails said...

There are some things about this country that I really, really don't get...

Having said that, I thought you might be interested to know that I did actually buy that Tiny Tim record and you're right, it does divide households. I think its great, much better than expected, but erm, no one else round here does. I've been reliably informed that it is the worst record I've ever come home with. So cheers for that!!!!

23 Daves said...

I was listening to "God Bless Tiny Tim" only the other day with the windows open, then quickly decided to close them when I noticed some local youths staring curiously and disapprovingly up at my window. It might not have helped that I was singing along, of course...

and now I no longer live in a houseshare, it's nice to know that I still have the ability to divide households, alebit ones filled with people I don't know.

Anonymous said...

Reflex records is still there
but it is awful
emo goth dress up nonsense
I liked frank's version of anarchy in the uk, that was good.
Have you read Mark Smith's book, dave? I enjoyed it

23 Daves said...

I'd heard that they closed it down and relocated it to Gosport... perhaps it's just a case of "RIP" in spirit, then!

I haven't read Mark E's book yet, no - I haven't heard universally good things about it, so I may wait until it comes out in paperback (if it comes out in paperback, that is...)

Anonymous said...

thanks very much for this! Fantastic stuff

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing this, and it's a great blog you've got going.
Love a bit of Sidebottom. Have you seen his Channel M late night test card. It's bizarre as! Check it out!