Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hunting Tigers Out In Indiah - The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band

The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band were known for their intensely surreal stage shows, bizzare satirical pop songs, and including an explosion in most of their performances. And choirs of robots that blew bubbles. And an invisible strip tease. And singing via living dummies. And that's barely scratching the surface.

The Bonzos were the creation of Vivian Stanshall and Rodney Slater, founded while they studied together at the Central School of Art. The band incoroporated an enormous variety of genres, styles and sounds into their music, eventually leading to the suprise psyche-pop hit Urban Spaceman.

Earlier on however the band had placed an emphasis upon discovering obscure and forgotten British novelty numbers and giving them the Bonzo treatment. It's in this vein that we have today's Best Song Ever: Hunting Tigers Out In Indiah.

Hunting Tigers was originally written by British song writing trio Robert Hargreaves, Stanley J. Damerell and Tolchard Evans, better known for writing hits like If (They Made Me A King) made famous by Perry Como amongst others. The Bonzos would perform the music hall style number on the proto-Pythons television show 'Do Not Adjust Your Set' complete with hunting gear and fake tigers. It's from this show that many of the tracks from their third album Tadpoles were pulled.

In the hands of The Bonzos Hunting Tigers becomes a Ripping Tales comic brought to life, the ink running with colonial pomp and hallucinogens. The bass and guitar lines wind and whip like a charmed snake while glockenspiels jingle their way through the jungle canopy above pianos that slam and twist a bluesy Tiger's rag. And of course leading this crazed Safari are Stanshall and the Bonzo's, giving a clipped, meticulously enunciated sermon on the dangers of tiger hunting. It's catchy, it's mad, and it just may (no, no it won't) save your life should you ever find yourself stranded in India surrounded by Tigers.

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