Thursday, 29 April 2010

An open letter to Lionel Morton...

Dear Mr. Morton,

Firstly, I would like to say thank you for the many hours of entertainment you provided as a presenter on one of my favourite television programs as a child. Growing up in England during the 1970s 'Play School' was a firm favourite in the Krum household and I have many a'fond memory of you, along with other members of the gang (Brian Cant, Johnny Silvo, Carole Ward, etc, never liked Johnny Ball too much) telling stories, playing games, singing songs and generally having fun. My brothers and I would regularly participate in activities you encouraged on screen and thoroughly enjoyed singing along to beloved Nursery Rhymes like 'Three Blind Mice', 'Old McDonald' and even some of the more crazy ones you occasionally made up.

Enough of the niceties though. This isn't some belated show of gratitude, far from it on fact. I am actually writing a rather disgruntled response to a certain record you released in 1973 on the U.K. budget label, Contour.

Now, as a 34 year old man, with an unhealthy obsession for, what are known in the collectors' world as, 'drum-breaks', I was most disappointed to discover the omission of Roger Swallow's banging skins on the re-recording of 'Fearless Fred's Amazing Animal Band' from the aforementioned LP. As drum-breaks on novelty records go, the original version, from the 'Play School' album, is actually up there with the best of 'em. I've found numerous copies of the BBC released version over the years but never one which retains any condition. I guess the kids who owned them back then had as much fun listening to them as I did watching your show and held little regard for the care and attention that vinyl so desperately needs.

Imagine then, how pleased I was to find an album, which includes the said track, in near mint condition. 'Over the moon' you might say. OK, so the cover isn't nearly as attractive as the 'Play School' one but I can live with it. What I can't live
without though is the DRUM-BREAK. Where's it gone? Why? What on earth possessed you to go back in the studio and re-record the whole song without including Ollie The Octopus' hard hitting drum solo? I mean, come on, the pathetic little knocks that can be heard on the newer version are just not doing it. Didn't you realise at the time there would be people, twenty to thirty years later, searching for obscure sources of sample material on records like this? You really should have thought more carefully before depriving the drummer of his shine. You could have had an album, with your face across the whole front cover, which would later become a fabled piece amongst the break-digging community. Instead it's just another throw-away kiddies LP that will never be included in any Ikea-Expedit-Show-Off-My-Records display type photos. You could have been up there, up amongst the best of 'em...

If only you'd included those drums

Anyway, glad I've got that off my chest. Just in case you've forgotten what the different versions sound like I've recorded them both for you to compare*.

Feel a bit silly now, don't you Mr. Morton?

Yours sincerely,


Lionel Morton 'Fearless Fred's Amazing Animal Band'
(from 'Play School'. 1972, BBC Records, U.K, LP)

Lionel Morton 'Fearless Fred's Amazing Animal Band'
(from 'Lionel'. 1973, Contour, U.K, LP)

*Drum break on the original version just after the 1min mark.


Mac said...

Ha, ha...

My first Drum Break.

Had the OG as a kid one of my favourite LP's growing up, had to mint up though.

One of the first breaks I sampled to, when I got my first SP1200.

That second version is truly wac, I feel your disappointment sir.

Waxer said...

Yes yes Krumster! Very amusing post! I don't own this record but a very good mate of mine does with the original break on it, as sampled right at the end of the payback mix by Coldcut, haha honestly really quality read!!!

MR KRUM said...'re thinking of 'Bang On A Drum', another Play School LP that Lionel also appeared on.

If you don't know this one check the soundclip - the drums are much harder.

@ Macca...if you come across another minty copy of the Play School LP (for less than £1) could you pick it up for me. Haven't seen one in ages!

Mac said...

Will do Krum.

Amazingly Shadow used the drumz on this:

Joe said...

Ollie the Octopus is the man! I don't know who that other mother F&%ker is!!

Daily Diggers said...

Lionel should be ashamed. How dare he smile like that on the cover - BASTARD! He's knows he is quilty.

Bring back the drums!


DJ Kool JB said...

might we possibly be able to dl this song??

boogiejuice said...

The 45 version is just the song, no story intro, no drums. Produced by Johnny Harris.

Anonymous said...

I would have to ask for a couple of songs Lionel performed to be played on Sounds of the Sixties because I haven't heard them for years.