Wednesday, December 7, 2022

VA - Climb Aboard My Roundabout, The British Toytown Pop Sound 1967-1974 (3 x CDs)


VA - Climb Aboard My Roundabout, The British Toytown Pop Sound 1967-1974 [2022] (3 x CDs)

When the Beatles released "Penny Lane" in early 1967, it struck a tinkling, twinkling chord with a generation of budding English eccentrics, oddballs, and bandwagon jumpers. Suddenly everyone and their Uncle Arthur embraced music hall-inspired, psychedelically inclined vignettes about little old ladies, tootling trains, precocious kiddies, and other topics previously deemed not very "rock & roll." It was a rock-ribbed group indeed who could withstand the urge to join in; even the mighty Stones fell prey to the charms of toytown in a weak moment. The kids at heart who run Grapefruit Records feel no shame to hold a soft spot for this sound and Climb Aboard My Roundabout! The British Toytown Pop Sound 1967-1974 is a cornucopia of harpsichords, vocal harmonies, bubblegum-sticky melodies, corner-pub piano thumping, and Mellotron whirl. From bands as big as the Kinks, David Bowie, and the Spencer Davis Group to small-fry groups such as Dragonmilk, Kidrock, the Cortinas, and Persimmon's Peculiar Shades and a bunch -- the Mindbenders, the Shadows, Tomorrow, the Idle Race -- who land somewhere in between, the collection makes a case that this mostly overlooked, sometimes derided variant of psychedelia is just as wonderfully weird and tuneful -- and brilliant -- as any other strain. Yes, it can be childish, it can be silly, and some of the songs here stretch the boundaries of believability, but that's all part of the charm. Who would be such a tough nut not to be swept away by the creaky falsetto and swinging beat of the Wimple Winch's "Lollipop Minds" or the gentle mod clang and thrilling vocal harmonies of Scrugg's "Lavender Popcorn." Who wouldn't be tickled by the rollicking good nature of Magic Valley's "Uptight Basil" or the drunken singalong at sea of the Alan Bown!'s "Mutiny." Who wouldn't be moved by Harmony Grass' nostalgic ballad "Happiness Is Toy Shaped" or Tim Andrews' lachrymose "Sad Simon Lives Again." Hard-hearted bums who don't believe in magic, that's who! Everyone else is free to proclaim Mark Wirtz -- creator of both Keith West's "Excerpt from a Teenage Opera" and his own "(He's Our Dear Old) Weatherman," two pinnacles of the sound -- the honorary mayor of Toytown and start looking for their own little gingerbread house to move into. Maybe it's on the side of town that skews a little tougher and where the neighbor might be Ambrose Slade (later to drop the Ambrose), or maybe it's the twee side where Friends rouse the block with a chorus of "Piccolo Man" every morning. No matter where one ends up, this collection will be the perfect soundtrack to a life well lived. Fine for listening straight through on a tangerine-colored Sunday afternoon spent wandering -- either a meadow or bustling city streets -- it's also an invaluable source for further discovery. In fact, one would be hard-pressed to find a compilation more focused, more well curated, or more enjoyable than this. (AllMusic review by Tim Sendra)


Pt.1      Pt.2 


Track list


01 Idle Race The Skeleton And The Roundabout (Mono Mix) 2:22

02 Kaleidoscope Jenny Artichoke 2:35

03 Fruit Machine Cuddly Toy 2:30

04 Kinks Phenomenal Cat 2:36

05 Alan Bown! Little Lesley 2:10

06 Picadilly Line Emily Small (The Huge World Thereof) 2:30

07 Fire Man In The Teapot 2:22

08 John Carter And Mickey Keen Mr. Light 2:31

09 Clifford T. Ward The Dubious Circus Company 3:16

10 Kidrock Ice Cream Man (Alternative Version) 2:41

11 Wimple Winch Lollipop Minds 3:08

12 World Of Oz Peter's Birday (Black and White Rainbows) 2:54

13 Tony Hazzard Ha! Ha! Said The Clown 2:18

14 Tim Andrews Sad Simon Lives Again 2:42

15 Mindbenders Uncle Joe, The Ice Cream Man 2:22

16 Cortinas Phoebe's Flower Shop 2:43

17 Persimmon's Peculiar Shades Coplington 2:33

18 West Coast Consortium Colour Sergeant Lillywhite 3:06

19 Herd Our Fairy Tale 2:38

20 Hetherington Teenage Love Song 3:11

21 Mirage Ebeneezer Beaver (Demo Version) 2:00

22 Next Collection Fairy Tale (Demo Version) 2:11

23 Barry Wigley Brother Jack 3:00

24 Good Time Losers Trafalgar Square 2:54

25 New Generation Sadie And Her Magic Mr. Galahad 2:51

26 Morning Glory Marjory Daw 3:05

27 Syn The Last Performance Of The Royal Regimental Very Victorius And Valiant Band 3:23

28 Majority One Rainbow Rocking Chair 2:24

29 Keith West Excerpt From a Teenage Opera 4:31


01 Scrugg Lavender Popcorn 2:19

02 Ambrose Slade Knocking Nails Into My House 2:25

03 Jigsaw Mr. Job 2:16

04 David Bowie Uncle Arthur 2:09

05 Timon Bitter Thoughts Of Little Jane 2:19

06 Astronaut Alan And The Planets Cellophane Mary Jane 2:31

07 Tuesday's Children Mr. Kipling 2:24

08 Frabjoy And Runcible Spoon It's The Best Seaside In The World 2:46

09 Kenny Everett And Now For A Little Train Number 2:03

10 Fairfield Parlour Glorious House Of Arthur 2:46

11 Simon Dupree And The Big Sound Laughing Boy From Nowhere 2:50

12 Tomorrow Auntie Mary's Dress Shop 2:44

13 Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band The Equestrian Statue 2:43

14 Denis Couldry James In The Basement 2:48

15 Turquoise Tales Of Flossie Fillett 3:04

16 Picadilly Line My Best Friend 2:33

17 Harmony Grass Happiness Is Toy-Shaped 2:26

18 Bullring Birmingham Brass Band 2:27

19 Persimmon's Peculiar Shades Watchmaker 2:17

20 Timothy Blue Room At The Top Of The Stairs 3:08

21 Spencer Davis Group After Tea 3:19

22 Kidrock Dream, Dream, Dream 2:26

23 Complex Lemon Pie Fair 3:16

24 David Matthews Uncle Henry's Magic Garden 2:19

25 Bill Niles Bric-A-Brac Man 2:32

26 Chas Mills And Mark Wirtz What's Good For The Goose (Full Version) 2:44

27 Nirvana Everybody Loves The Clown 1:59

28 Christopher Sharkey 2:01

29 Secrets Poor Johnny 1:27

30 Pure Gold Fairground 2:35

31 Riot Squad Toy Soldier 3:10


01 Mark Wirtz (He's Our Dear Old) Weatherman 4:01

02 Cardboard Orchestra Zebedy Zak 2:39

03 Tapestry Florence 2:17

04 Gilbert O'sullivan Mr. Moody's Garden 3:01

05 Alan Bown! Mutiny 3:05

06 Magic Valley Uptight Basil 2:29

07 Kidrock Bang Bang 2:50

08 Wild Silk Toymaker 3:00

09 Peter And The Wolves Lanternlight 2:46

10 Dave Christie Love And The Big Brass Band 2:36

11 Friends Piccolo Man 2:18

12 Hi-fis Uwe Aus Duisberg 2:01

13 Tony Rivers And The Castaways Einer Kleiner Mise Musik 2:43

14 Music Box The Happy King 4:59

15 Tintern Abbey Mrs. Daisy 2:34

16 Blossom Toes Mrs. Murphy's Budgerigar 2:40

17 Gene Latter Annie's Place 3:01

18 John Pantry Glasshouse Green, Splinter Red 2:36

19 Timothy Blue Henry Everyday 2:25

20 Shadows Dear Old Mrs. Bell 2:32

21 Dragonmilk Mr. Nice Guy 2:27

22 Ayshea Mister White's White Flying Machine (Album Version) 5:11

23 Fire Magic Shoes (Demo) 3:56

24 Jason Crest King Of The Castle 2:57

25 Marty Wilde Through My Telescope 2:16

26 Tots Time To Go Home 2:22

27 Mark Wirtz The Sad Story Of Simon And His Bugle 3:18




  1. Very good..........


  2. OK, this is new to me. Looking forward to it. Have heard a few songs, but never this category. Wow, every time

    1. Hi Pol,
      There are such wonderful tunes on this set. I am sure you won't be disappointed..

  3. Thank you, wonderful post, an interesting sub-genre.

    1. You're welcome, Nimrod.
      It is a great sub-genre that has always intrigued me.

  4. Love it !......many thanks Butterboy for sharing this great collecton and featuring my favourite UK band Kaleidoscope / Fairfield Parlour ( Peter Daltrey ).......Love & Peace Stu

    1. Love & Peace, Stu.
      Hope you find some new material among this lot.

  5. Replies
    1. Have fun, Gummo.
      Lots to love in this set.

  6. Thanks a lot Butterboy! Great! I love this!