Car Boot Vinyl Diaries

Car Boot Vinyl Diaries

Friday, 13 February 2015

Little Box Of Horrors - Part 4

Welcome to the fourth and final part of Little Box Of Horrors, where I delve into a long forsaken box of deplorable discs found in the cupboard under the stairs, that once belonged to my partner's late parents. I think you'll agree after checking out this post that I've definitely saved the worst until last. Previous posts can be found here, here and here.

Firstly, let's take a look (and unfortunately a listen) to Carry On Cutler!

Adge Cutler & The Wurzels - Carry On Cutler! (1969)

Former roadie for Acker Bilk (among other things) Alan John Cutler found himself in need of a backing band in the mid sixties when he decided to make a go of a career in music. Friend John Miles managed to secure him a contract with EMI, helped assemble the band and became their agent and manager.

Adge and co. made a type of pub-singalong music peculiar to the West country which came to be known as 'Scrumpy & Western', and which Adge describes in the sleevenotes to this album as "good time folk...I write songs so that people can sing them." A string of singles, EPs and albums followed, and after Adge's death in 1974 in a road accident the Wurzels carried on releasing records with various lineups, and indeed continue to do so today.

Like many of their albums, Carry On Cutler! was recorded live in a Somerset country club (with some additional recording at the White Buck Inn, Hants.) before a noisy and appreciative audience where the beer and cider were evidently flowing. The songs are either covers or re-workings of folk songs which reference rural stereotypes in a humourous, bawdy manner. Titles include their first single Drink Up Thy Zider which was the one half of a double A side that the BBC didn't ban, The Chewton Medip Love-In, Riley's Cow Shed and Down On The Farm. I think you get the picture. If not, here's a taste. (You may find it helpful to get hammered on cider first):

Ironically their biggest hit came after Adge's passing, with 1976's no.1 hit Combine Harvester, a remodel of Melanie's Brand New Key. They played Glastonbury a couple of times and made a covers album in 2002 called 'Never Mind The Bullocks, Ere's The Wurzels' which includes songs by Oasis and Blur as well as the Gina G Eurovision entry re-titled Ooh-Arr Just A Little Bit - still available on CD if you're tempted. Oh, okay.

Here they are with The Kaiser Chiefs' Ruby from the follow-up 'A Load More Bullocks':

The final lousy long player to be unearthed from the Box is this ear-numbing offering from Don Estelle & Windsor Davies:

Don Estelle & Windsor Davies - Sing Lofty (1975) (MFP reissue)

Before his acting career took off, 4'9" Estelle had pursued his dream of becoming a successful singer. Indeed he had a pleasant, powerful tenor, but his diminuitive stature ruled out a future as leading man or pop idol. After a minor part in Dad's Army he landed the role of Lofty Sugden in the 1970s sitcom It Ain't Half Hot Mum opposite Windsor Davies' BSM Williams, and together they enjoyed a no.1 single (Whispering Grass) taken from the 1975 cast recording.

Here we have a fairly dull, though not unpleasant, bit of club-singer crooning from Estelle through the usual easy listening suspects. Sadly, Davies crops up far too often to liven things up with his 'comic' interjections, which wear very thin very quickly. He even treats us to an entire monologue on final track A Message From Battery Sergeant-Major Williams, which on this copy of the LP is mostly incomprehensible thanks to a fortuitous series of scratches. A little light relief is provided on Paper Doll and I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire by the soothing tones of the Mike Sammes Singers (mentioned here in Part 3), but the highlights for me are the sound effects employed during Three Coins In The Fountain, which due to their unique nature should have warranted a title change to Dropping The Kids Off At The Pool:

I pride myself in being able to get through most terrible records in the name of research, but these last two albums really took some effort and I couldn't manage more than one play for either. In short: NOT recommended.

Well, that's it for the Little Box Of Horrors series. All of the repellent recordings are back where they belong in the cupboard under the stairs and Car Boot Vinyl Diaries will resume looking at records I actually invited into my home, i.e. rockin' and poppin' boot sale and chazza finds.

Ta-ta for now xx


  1. I chanced upon Don Estelle singing to a backing track in Norwich's Anglia Square a couple of times in the early Noughties.

    Preferable to the Wurzels, in that he could sing, but this must be classed as faint praise. Dunno whether he sold any of the CDs he was touting...

    1. I'm surprised he'd moved on to CDs. Apparently he touted homemade cassettes for many years!

    2. I bow to your expert knowledge. It could well have been cassettes. I didn't get that close.