Record Review: The Vindaloo Summer Special

Vindaloo Records | UK | 12" | 1986 | UGH 13T

The Vindaloo Summer Special: Rockin’ With Rita UK 12″ [1986]

  1. Ted Chippington/The Nightingales/We’ve Got A Fuzzbox And We’re Gonna Use It: Rockin’ With Rita [Beach Party Mix]
  2. The Nightingales: Let’s Surf
  3. Ted Chippington: Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside
  4. We’ve Got A Fuzzbox And We’re Gonna Use It: Fuzzy Faves

I was a fan of We’ve Got A Fuzzbox And We’re Gonna Use It. Just hearing their name without knowing anything else pretty much predisposed me to liking them! I ran across the name in the UK press of the mid-80s and soon enough, the ladies made the leap from the infamous C-86 tape to the WEA backwater that was Vindaloo [?] Records. For years I thought that I had a complete Fuzzbox collection [even the lame 2nd album stuff] until I chanced across references to the “Vindaloo Summer Special” and I then had to hit the net and scare up a copy.

The disc is a conceptual release with three of the Vindaloo label’s recording artistes. Heck, now that I check, everyone signed to the label at the time was in evidence here. Vindaloo Records was run by Robert Lloyd whose own band, The Nightingales were also in full force here. The A-side features all three collaborating on Ted Chippington’s “theme song” “Rockin’ With Rita.” Chippington, was not actually a musician. He was a post-alternative British comedian with a Teddy Boy image and a flat line in deliberately bad standup comedy that sounds just a shade to the left of, say Henny Youngman. From what I understand, the modern equivalent would be Neil Hamburger, but don’t quote me on that. I’ve only read an interview with Hamburger.

As a Fuzzbox fan did this enlighten my world? Not really. This is a record for pathetic trainspotting fans like myself with a sick compulsion to feed. There also exists a 7″ version in presumably a shorter version that I’ve not yet run across. The Nightingales then go solo first on the B-side with the decent “Let’s Surf,” which won’t exactly manage to make you forget about those Dick Dale records on your rack, to put it kindly. Still, it’s high art next to the Ted Chippington portion which follows. His two minutes of fame consists of an endless series of one-liners deadpanned by a Teddy Boy phoning it in what I hope is a deliberately bad performance designed to skewer the entire idea of standup comedy.

Playing cleanup are the label’s heavy hitters, Fuzzbox, with a three-song medley of mid-60s novelty tunes: Sittin’ In The Back Seat/Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini/Kookie Kookie [Lend Me Your Comb].” If you’ve heard their classically loopy takes on “Spirit In The Sky” or especially “Boheminan Rhapsody,” you might be in for a shock at the workmanlike, if not reverent treatment afforded the tunes here. Still, it does hail from the time when Fuzzbox were We’ve Got A Fuzzbox And We’re Gonna Use It and thus it has a charm that their later, sellout WEA material thoroughly lacks.

At its best, this record stands as a testament to Lloyd’s attempt at putting out a post-modern summer fun record in the middle of the 80s when post-punk had pretty much pooped out. At its worst, it reminds you why you hate standup comedy so very much.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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