Dingetje - Dertien Daverende Dingetjes

Label / Cat No: CNR 660 095

First Released: 1981

 

What The Album Blurb Says:

 

Mocht deze LP niet aan uw verwachting voldoen, dan kunt u hem nog altijd als place-mat gebruiken*

 

What I Say...

 

I'm sorry.  I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry.  I go away for a little while.  Well, OK, six years or so, and when I come back you end up with this.  Sorry.  See, I had recorded a pile of these albums back in 2010 so I had a stock of ready made sound files to digest and review.  Completely at random I chose one of those to come back to Forgotten Albums with, and frankly I wouldn't blame you at all if you now took a six-year sabbatical.

 

OK, so, the very first thing you need to know is that Dingetje appears to still be active.  My extensive research (read: quick online search) for every album now includes Spotify, a golden shining opportunity that was not there for me before.  After a quick browse there, the only song there thankfully, is called 'Hetgrotepiemellied'.  Google translate failed me, until I realised the words ran together, and it is in fact called 'Het Grote Piemel Lied' or to save you the trouble, 'Big Willy Song'. This is what we're dealing with here, folks.

 

So, Dingetje means 'little thing' or 'gizmo' or 'thingy' depending on context.  I suspect that he's also making a willy joke here too.  The album title means 'Thirteen Thunderous Thingies', and indeed we have 13 tracks here, but 'Thunderous'?  Crikey, no.

 

Imagine for a moment that we somehow melded all the members of The Barron Knights into a single entity, stuck on a 'comedy' moustache, surgically removed all the talent and humour and then gave him a record deal, then you'd have Thingy.  Send him to Utrecht, and Dingetje would be born.

 

On the very first listen I didn't know what to expect.  It became clear early on that the opening song 'Houtochdiekop' was a version of 'Shaddup Your Face' by everyone's favourite Italian, the Australian Joe Dolce. 'Oh', I thought, 'Taking a novelty song, and opening it up to the domestic market.  That's admirable'.

 

Only it wasn't.  It really wasn't.  Firstly, Dingetje can't sing.  He can talk, he can shout, and he can do 'funny' voices, but he really can't sing.  By the time we get to just the second track 'Met Melk Meer Mans' (With More Milk Man?) I'm ready to cut my own ears off and stuff nettles down the bleeding canal just to avoid listening to any more.  But of course, for you dear reader, I persevered.

 

And what we have is basically an album of either sketches over music, or 'parody' versions of songs that shouldn't be touched - Baggy Trousers, Giddy Up Go, Cocaine In My Brain or *gasp* The Floral Dance.  As I don't speak Dutch, I'm sure a lot of the "comedy" passes me by, but occasionally there are lapses into English which give an insight into the level of humour.  In 'Schipol' for example which closes side one (or Kant 1 as it's labelled - must resist, must resist), he hilariously sings the 'bing bong' of an announcement tone, followed by a series of rip-roaringly amusing announcements.  In one he says "Ladies and Gentlemen, your attention please.  Flight KL644 has landed.  In the Atlantic Ocean".  I'm sure you'll agree, the mirth-meister is on form there...

 

In fairness to Frank (as his mother knew him), he has a very wide repertoire.  He does awful white reggae, awful ska, awful rock and/or roll, awful blues, awful novelty, and so on and so on.  He's not content to ruin just one genre, oh no, iconoclast that he is, he's out to undermine music itself.  Not bad for a boy from Zandvoort.

 

I'm sorry to say that old Gizmo was certainly still active up until at least 2013 according to his YouTube channel, but from what I can make out I don't think he's been a major cultural force since this album was released back in 1981.  We like to think of the Dutch as tolerant, liberal people, but I would strongly urge them to rise up in rebellion against this fiend, and ensure at the very least he never has access to a microphone again.

 

The only YouTube clip I could find that wasn't a) utterly hideous to listen to, and b) full of sexist overtones was his version of 'Shaddup Your Face' which I'm pleased to say has only had 382 views (including mine) in 4 years.  Really, I can only apologise again.  Sorry.

And to cleanse your ears and eyes, the proper version of Baggy Trousers.

Sound Clips (sorry, convention says I must)

Tracks

 

Kant 1

 

1. Houtochdiekop

2. Met Melk Meer Mans

3. Reggae Met Een Rumboon

4. Telefoon Uit Suriname

5. Ik Ga Weg Leen

6. Ik Ben Een Bofkont

7. Schiphol

 

Kant 2

 

1. Klere Zooitje

2. Illegale Joop

3. Henkie

4. Dat Is Blues

5. Ik Ben Vaandeldrager

6. Te Duur

 

*The Album blurb translates as "If this record does not meet your expectations, you can still use it as a place mat".  I know what I'm eating off tonight.

 

Final Score:

 

0 out of 10

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Man of Brass - The Best Of Harry Mortimer O.B.E.

Label / Cat. No: EMI DUO130 
First Released: This Compilation 1981 

What the Album Blurb says is here - Be warned, it's very, very long!

 

What I Say

I think we need to talk about the blurb for a bit. Did you read all of it? No? I'm not surprised. Bit much really. I think it's fair to say that the author, Jack Oliver was given a brief to fill out the inner sleeve of a gatefold album, and he has done so. However, apart from the tedious repetition of how great Harry was and how fantastic the EMI recordings of his work are, one thing becomes painfully obvious. As we go on and on, the grammar becomes more and more tortured. Allow me to give you an example from the final quarter of the blurb:-

It was featured in a notable series of EMI records and a taste of the superb quality of the band is provided by their performance of the suite KENILWORTH by Sir Arthur Bliss, one of the classics of brass band literature, recorded in 1960 which appears on side 2 of the second record of this album.

I suspect that the deadline came round a bit quick for Mr Oliver, and he found himself the night before, hunched over his typewriter, desperate to fill the blank page before him. It started well enough, but as the night wore on, and our Jack started to tire, the language got more and more tortured.

But, bless him, he managed it, and he even used the UNEXPECTED CAPITALS trick that I'm so fond of. It works particularly well when confronted with things like "ALL-STAR BRASS", making it seem exotic, exciting and mysterious...!

But we can easily sum up this massive amount of blurb in the following way.

Harry Mortimer played the cornet. He started playing in his Dad's band, and continued to play in his Dad's band in an example of crass nepotism. He could hold a tune, better than most, and played in both brass bands and orchestras. He kept busy, had a job with the BBC for a while, and helped to popularise brass band music in the post war years. He organised the odd extravaganza like "MEN O'BRASS" where his maxim was clearly more is more, and he chucked together all the bands he worked with so that there was a big crowd of blokes playing brass instruments instead of a small crowd. Here are some recordings. They were made by EMI. Enjoy. Oh, and he also did a bit of conducting on the side.

See. That wasn't too hard was it. But no, instead we had to have Jack Bloody Oliver going on and on about 'Harry Mortimer' always bloody 'Harry Mortimer', never just Harry, or Mr Mortimer, or even Hazza. No. I shan't let it get to me. But really...

So, where was I? Oh yes, Brass Band music. It seems, as it goes, Harry Mortimer was a bit of a fan, and that's fair enough. But I'm not. I'm afraid I was put off by my next door neighbour, James Hearn. When we were children, he would practise his bloody trumpet every Saturday morning, without fail, starting at 9 o'clock and going on for a couple of hours. Yes, exactly. Prime Tiswas time, ruined by a trumpet. To be fair, it wasn't his fault, and he was very good at it (or at least, he became very good at it, though not as good as Hazza, of course...), but that put me off brass as a whole. 

Therefore, I'm not really in a very good position to tell you whether this is a good brass album or not. It certainly seems very... professional. There's lots of brass, a few tunes we know, and plenty we don't. So I'm going to have to take the middle ground here and just say it's OK.

And what have we learnt?

Well..... firstly, that Brass Bands all appear to have double entendre names like 'Black Dyke' and 'Fairey'.

Secondly, there is (or at least was) a whole thriving brass band community, one that probably was damaged irrevocably by the closure of the mines in the 80s. Which reminds me - if anyone out there hasn't seen Brassed Off, they probably should.

Thirdly, there was a composer called 'Granville Bantock'. I wish I'd called my child Granville Bantock. I promise that if I ever get a dog, that's what I shall call it. And he was a fine looking fellow too. Proper beard - the works...

Fourthly, you can go a long way if your Dad's leader of the band.

And finally, Harry Mortimer, the 'Man Of Brass' himself does indeed look like a cleaned up version of Father Jack Hackett...

Edited to add - Thanks to Gareth for pointing out that Harry Mortimer also looks like Rowley Birkin QC....

Oh, and of course, I couldn't leave an entry on Brass Bands without this now, could I....?

Sound Clips

Tracks

Side 1

1. Overture: ZAMPA

2. MAC AND MORT

3. RICHMOND HILL

4. Polka Brillante: SHYLOCK

5. ALPINE ECHOES

6. IL BACIO

7. CHAMPION MEDLEY MARCH No. 3

Side 2

1. TRUMPET CONCERTO IN E FLAT

2. ZELDA

3. HAILSTORM

4. THE SWALLOWS SERENADE

5. A HUNTING MEDLEY

Side 3

1. OPENING FANFARE

2. THE THREE TRUMPETERS

3. Suite: KENILWORTH

4. JENNY WREN

5. THE SHEPHERD'S SONG

6. THE LOST CHORD

7. RADETSKY MARCH

Side 4

1. BLAZON

2. RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES

3. TO A WILD ROSE

4. Overture: THE BARBER OF SEVILLE

5. SPRING (Elegiac Melody No. 2)

6. JESU, JOY OF MAN'S DESIRING (from Cantata No. 147)

7. GALOP AND FINALE (from the William Tell Overture)

Final score:

5 out of 10

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Keep Fit and Dance with Peter Powell

Label / Cat. No: K-Tel INTL ONE1167
First Released: 1982

What The Album Blurb Says...

An Album to help you take shape and have fun while you’re doing it.

Exercising to your favourite music has proved to be one of the most successful and enjoyable ways of keeping fit.

Feel better and look good.

Keep Fit and Dance is precisely what it says. This album will give you a range of exercises you can do easily in your own home – either by yourself or with your friends or family.

The dance steps are fun to work out and you’ll find when you’ve learned them you can use them to very good effect in the disco or at parties.

One word of advice – don’t overdo it! Gradually build up the exercises as you feel fitter and more supple. Only do what you feel capable of doing.

Enjoy yourself.

*If you are in any doubt about your health or ability to do these exercises, you should consult your doctor before commencing the exercises.

What I Say

1982. What a heady year that was. E.T., The Falklands 'Conflict', The Commodore 64, Come On Eileen, T.J. Hooker, and, most importantly, Jane Fonda's very first 'Workout'.

Naturally, on this side of the pond we needed to find a British answer to this American type, trying to tell us how to exercise. A home grown role model to knock Hanoi Jane into a cocked hat. Who had the necessary gravitas, the long history of keep fit and the engaging personality to take on the future heavyweight of workout videos? Peter Powell, will you please step forward.

Yes, Peter Powell. That Peter Powell. It's sad to think that a man who was once one of our most highly regarded radio stars will forever be remembered as the man who married, and was left by, Anthea Turner...

 


...but we won't dwell on his marriage mistakes when we have this record in front of us. Oh no, we'll focus on his career ones. I think the problem here is that 'generally being a bit matey' isn't quite enough to compel people to start exercising. There is no authority from the man - he cajoles in a quaintly cheesy way, but there's no way you're going to listen to him and think,"oh, well I'd better start exercising then". No presence, you see.

Equally, I'm not convinced that Peter Powell at this point had ever been anywhere near a gym. His photo on the cover of him in a sweatshirt and wearing a towel casually round his shoulders isn't enough to convince me that he's a regular aerobics aficionado.

Speaking of which, it's interesting that this album (which only achieved number 13 on the British album charts for just the one week) was also released in America. Taking on La Fonda on her own turf, eh? I have no idea how well it did, but there is one interesting addition to the album:-

...it features the words 'Aerobic Dance Program' on the cover. Clearly the word 'Aerobic' hadn't made it to the UK at that point, but was a major selling point in the USA.

Anyway, as I was saying, I have no belief whatsoever that Peter Powell had even thought about joining a gym before this album, so his sports clothes and fake involvement annoy all the more. He's clearly in a sound booth, probably sitting in a nice comfy chair, telling the listeners 'I know it hurts' and then scoffing like a schoolgirl into his sleeve. The barrage of 'terrific's and 'great's really.... grates. The whole thing is so contrived.

See, at least with a video, you can see that the instructor / celebrity is actually doing the workout, and therefore has some kind of a bond with you. Having just a disembodied voice which, for all you know could be sat within reaching distance of a plate of doughnuts and a trifle, just doesn't inspire.

To make up for this lack of visuals, there is a free poster included which demonstrates all the moves that you should know for complete involvement with this record. Is it Peter himself, photographed in the various stages of exercise? No it sodding isn't. It's the same leotard-clad lovely who graces the cover in a range of clothes and hairstyles to try and convince us that K-Tel weren't so cheap that they would only pay for one model.

I'm not sure how helpful the static images are in getting you to do the right exercises, but here are the moves to the first routine.

 All in all I found this record fairly confusing. I've never indulged in 'keep fit' products in my life, and if this is in any way representative, then there's no chance of me ever getting involved. The instructions are confusing, they come too fast, Peter, for all his DJ skills seems to have little sense of rhythm or timing and the whole thing just seems a bit rushed. I imagine the results of trying this at home would be akin to something from the golden age of 'The Generation Game'.

I know we all need to exercise in these post-holiday girth-widening times, but take it from me, this album is not your friend.

As a final point, as the songs are secondary, with the exception of the 'Can-Can' which demonstrates the bizarre pace, nasty matiness and general weirdness of this album, the soundclips are just some of my favourite Peter Powellisms from this record. I'm sure they'll become your favourites too.

Sound Clips

Tracks

Side 1

1. The Shakedown (‘Use It Up and Wear It Out’) – A general warm up and de-tenser. A preparation for the exercises to come.
2. Firming The Body (‘Isn’t She Lovely’) – Firming exercise for the stomach and thighs.
3. Firming The Legs (‘Physical’) – Leg kicks and ‘bicycles’ for firm shapely legs.
4. Body Stretches (‘Body Talk’) – Let’s tone up some of those muscles that don’t get used too often.
5. Looseners (‘Ai No Corrida’) – You’ll be amazed what you can do with just the back of a chair for support!
6. Troublespots (‘Young and Beautiful’) – Waist, bottom, bust – you know the spots that need a little extra attention.

Side 2

1.The Energiser (‘Hooked on a Can Can’ – specially edited version) – A lighthearted track to ‘get some energy into your body’ – when you’re feeling very fit, play this track twice!
2. Absolute Collapse (‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’) – Rest for a few moments after the exertion of the last track and take a few deep breaths.

Now learn four simple dance sequences:-

3. The Strut (‘D.I.S.C.O.)
4. The Wrap (‘Celebration’)
5. The Rotor (‘Cuba’)
6. The Slice (‘Hands up’)
7. Danceability (‘Dance Yourself Dizzy’) Put all the steps together and enjoy yourself.

8. Relaxation (‘The Canon Suite’) – After the exercises a special time put aside for you to relax your body and mind.

Final score:

3.25 out of 10

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