Sir Henry at Rawlinson End (recording)

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For the film of the same name, see Sir Henry at Rawlinson End (film).
Sir Henry at Rawlinson End
Studio album by Vivian Stanshall
Released 1978
Genre Spoken word
Comedy
Comedy music
Label Charisma Records
Producer Vivian Stanshall
Vivian Stanshall chronology
Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead
(1974)
Sir Henry at Rawlinson End
(1978)
Teddy Boys Don't Knit
(1981)

Sir Henry at Rawlinson End, released in 1978, is a largely spoken-word, solo comedy recording by Vivian Stanshall, a British musician with the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. It originated in his performances and recordings for the John Peel Show on BBC Radio One in the mid-1970s, and a track on the Bonzo's 1972 album Let's Make Up and Be Friendly.[1]

Description[edit]

In 1970, Stanshall took over John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show, while the emcee was on holiday. Contributing to Peel programmes over several years, Stanshall played many new and old songs. He piloted and previewed many different musical and spoken-word comedy sketches and songs. Peel would later broadcast recordings made especially by Stanshall as parts of a sporadic "Rawlinson End" saga, such as, "Aunt Florrie Remembers (From Giant Whelks At Rawlinson End, Part 21)," recorded on 16 October and broadcast on 27 October 1975.[2] Ultimately, Stanshall compiled and edited several of these turns for release, all of which related to Sir Henry Rawlinson and his country seat, Rawlinson End.[1]

The album Sir Henry at Rawlinson End (1978) was released on the Charisma Records label (CAS 1139), featuring Stanshall as multiple characters, talking and singing, in a portrayial of the fictional history of Sir Henry Rawlinson. It is filled with puns, double-entendres, pop-cultural references and clever wordplay. Stanshall initially takes the role of an unnamed narrator, then shifts between character and narrator. The recording features many musical interludes, performed on a variety of odd musical instruments. Guest performers include Steve Winwood and two of Stanshall's children: his biological son Rupert Stanshall and his stepdaughter, Sydney Longfellow (the child of his second wife Ki Longfellow-Stanshall).

Characters[edit]

The tracks are named after musical pieces, and most feature at least one vocal number, intermingled with spoken-word performances. Stanshall's characters include Sir Henry Rawlinson, his wife Lady Florrie Rawlinson (née Maynard), their children Ralph (`Raif') and Candice Rawlinson, and Henry's brothers Hubert (the younger brother) and Humbert (late older brother, deceased, and now a ghost).

Additional characters include the staff of Rawlinson End: Mr. Cumberpatch (former gardener), Old Scrotum the Wrinkled Retainer (butler) and Mrs. E (housekeeper); various relatives: Florrie's brother Lord Tarquin Portly of Staines and his wife Lady Phillipa of Staines. Other characters include the landlord of the local pub Seth One-Tooth, Reg Smeeton, a walking encyclopedia; and "contract house clean[ers]" and "resting theatrical artistes," Teddy Tidy and Nigel Nice.[3]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[4]

Allmusic's retrospective review was laudatory, commenting,

"Stanshall is superbly entertaining, a wordsmith who can trip from the sublime to the louche in the wink of an eye, from wicked puns to appalling jokes in a tale (of sorts) set in a country estate, and told in more accents than you can shake a stick at."

Allmusic say that, though the concept of the album is complete nonsense, this doesn't take away at all from its entertainment value.[4]

Tracklist[edit]

The fifteen tracks are essentially one long performance piece, but are divided as follows:

Tracks (songs)

  • Aunt Florrie's Waltz - Theme: "Rawlinson End theme"; Aunt Florrie's Waltz
  • Interlewd - Theme: Interlewd
  • Wheelbarrow - Wheelbarrow
  • Socks - Socks
  • The Rub - 'The Rub
  • Nice 'N' Tidy - Nice 'n' Tidy
  • Pigs 'Ere Purse - Theme: Intermission for clarinet and lips - Pigs 'ere Purse
  • 6/8 Hoodoo - Theme: 6/8 Hoodoo
  • Smeeton - Smeeton
  • Fool & Bladder - The Fool & Bladder
  • Endroar - Endroar
  • The Beasht Inshide - The Beasht Inshide
  • Junglebunny - Theme: Junglebunny; Theme: Soft "Rawlinson End theme"
  • Rawlinsons & Maynards - Rawlinsons & Maynards
  • Papadumb - Theme: Papadumb; Theme: "Rawlinson End theme"; "Rawlinson End theme" variations

Personnel[edit]

Other media[edit]

The story as described on the LP (as well as most of the script) was used as the basis for the 1980 film version Sir Henry at Rawlinson End starring Trevor Howard as Sir Henry, and Vivian Stanshall as Hubert (and voiceover narration). To tie in with the film, Eel Pie Publishing released the script/transcription as Sir Henry at Rawlinson End And Other Spots, a 112pg script book. (ISBN 0-906-00821-2)

In 1983, a semi-sequel entitled Sir Henry at N'didi’s Kraal was released by Demon Verbals, with the catalogue number "VERB 1".

In 1994, Stanshall joined Mel Smith and Dawn French (both playing Sir Henry in different adverts) in a series of television advertisements for real ale purveyor Ruddles Beer.[5]

In 1995, Virgin released Sir Henry at Rawlinson End on CD and cassette under their "Virgin Chattering Classics" label. The sequel Sir Henry at N'didi’s Kraal was released on CD by Edsel in 1999.

In June 2010 Guilty Dog Productions, with the full support of the Stanshall family, resurrected the 1978 LP and re-imagined it as a one man show starring Mike Livesley as the narrator and all characters, backed by a 6 piece band replicating the instrumentation of the original. The show won rave reviews, Liverpool Echo Review, Daily Post Review and Liverpool 7 Streets Review. The show received its London Premiere on October 14, 2011. The Premiere was a huge success and the show drew praise from Neil Innes and Adrian Edmondson who were in the audience. The show also received another rave review, this time from MOJO Magazine's Andrew Male. After this success a London run is now in the preparation stages.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Vivian Stanshall's Radio Flashes", Ian Kitching website, Accessed February 4, 2008
  2. ^ Vivian Stanshall, Rawlinson End, Sansun, UK
  3. ^ a b Sir Henry... transcription. Accessed February 4, 2008
  4. ^ a b Allmusic review
  5. ^ Ruddles Ads. Accessed February 4, 2008

Liverpool Echo Review, accessed October 1, 2011

Daily Post Review, accessed October 1, 2011

Liverpool 7 Streets Review, accessed October 1, 2011

MOJO Magazine Review, accessed October 19, 2011

External links[edit]