Monday, March 20, 2006


Last week, the husband kept whistling a familiar tune. I'm sure I recognised it as being Something From The 1960's which possibly featured someone singing in Japanese. The husband recognised it as being Something Off A Reggae Compilation. Presumably it was a cover of the 1960's track with the Japanese vocal. As it must have been on one of his vast number of Fifty Quid Bloke reggae compilations, a trawl through each track with an Eastern-sounding name began.

Against all the odds, he managed to find out that the track was by the not-that-obscure Augustus Pablo, and was called Suki Yaki. Thing is, the track credits the writer as Mr Pablo, which threw a spanner in the works, I can tell you.

Now, I've not got anything against Mr Pablo, whose sprightly music is an ideal accompaniment to cleaning the bath or doing a spot of ironing (passing the bong isn't really a frequent activity around ours unless the in-laws pop in). I also don't like to speak ill of the dead, but I'm sure he nicked the melody wholesale from somewhere else.

I'm almost certain the song was one of those that accrued Jimmy Saville about 30 million points on the Old Record Club, for the title AND the artist. Blimey. It did even better for Sir Jim than A Walk In The Black Forest by Horst Jankowski.

For some reason, I think it may have coincided with the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, but I can't be absolutely sure. Anyone who could help with further information would really put my mind at rest.

Come to think of it, the only person reading who is likely to have even the vaguest shred of an idea is a lurker on this blog, goth/eco-warrior Grunhaus. That is, unless awful former disc jockey Mike "275 and 285" Read or Sir Lord Tim Rice read the blog, in which case I really would feel depressed.

It obviously wasn't going to knock Engelbert Humperdink singing 'Please Release me' off the number one spot was it?

Sorry, ace musical historian I may be, but I cannot be of assistance this time.
it doesn't help you at all, but i feel compelled to share memories of jimmy saville's old record club playing on the enormous stack system in the corner of the dining room as the soundtrack to my mum resentfully cooking sunday lunch while my stepfather systematically worked his way through the drinks cabinet. prominent in my mind is a song about the death of someone called "little jimmy brown" and it went "bom bom bom bom...all the chapel bells were ringing....".

there. aren't you glad you mentioned it now?
I may not be understanding what you are asking, but I have a recording of Suki Yaki by Kenny Ball, at the time that his records were getting into the top 20 regularly. Composed by Mr, Mrs or Miss Nakamura.
And jolly tuneful it is too.
You can hear some 30 seconds of it in a-legal stylee from here


which might just start him off again.

Anyone remember The Goodies pirate radio station when the only record they had to play was "A Walk in the Black Forest" by Horst Jankowski? I do.
You're all very mad. Mike Ried has hair that grows down to his eyebrows in simian fashion and Jimmy Saville once asked me to marry him. I refused and told him I was 7.
Garfer - Engelbert, now there was an excellent hair colour/hairdo/sideburns combination. Indeed, one that was copied in the pictures in the front window of provincial barbers throughout the 1970's.

Surly Girl - oh God, the Old Record Club and its predecessor Saville's Travels. Weren't Sunday afternoons bleak? Anyway, I know the song you're referring to and will have to find out what that is now ... Graham Archive ... Uncle Ted. If I carry on in this fashion I'll feel like killing myself.

Vicus, you seem to be on the right path. I'll have to investigate further. I like Kenny & His Jazzmen's March Of The Siamese Children. Did he have a love of Eastern culture? Or did he think "some of them Oriental birds are really fit"?

Richard - thank you for the download thing, which isn't working in time honoured fashion. Unfortunately the Goodies' pirate station has been wiped from my memory - I can only recall the giant kitten on the GPO tower and the bloke who laughed himself to death watching the Ekky Thump martial arts special. I've just listened to A Walk In The Black Forest from Marks And Spencers' classic Take It Easy album (1997) though.

Caroline - hey! Mike Read's musical Oscar Wilde (honestly) closed after one night, which is a record apparently.

Thank you for sharing the harrowing Jimmy Saville story with us again. Jimmy has disturbed me in many ways over the years and I've not even met him.
Now I was in my prime in 1964 - so I don't remember a thing that happened.
Hi Mr and Mrs B

Suki yaki? Meaningless in Japanese - someone said it was like issuing 'Moon River' in Japan and calling it whatever the Japanese is for 'Beef Stew'. Great favourite with the late Princess Margaret, apparently, for whom K.Ball could do no wrong.

Personal Pas de Deux reminiscence of Sir J. Saville on keinwohnhaus.blogspot.com, or will be when I've got round to posting it.
Originally done by Kyu Sakamoto in 1962, and entitled 'Ueo Muite Aruko' which may or may not mean 'Walk With Your Chin Up'. One of the early 'Posture' movement records, along with 'Walk Tall' by Val Doonican. Kenny Ball covered it, had a big hit, so they hurredly released Mr Sakamoto's version in the UK. What is very strange is that I was whistling the exact same tune last week as well. I think they are putting something in the water.
There’s a reggae version of Sukiyaki by a Japanese woman named Sayoko. She recorded it in Jamaica with Beenie Man. Perhaps the husband recognised it from the “Reggae Summer Splash”
compilation? Any chance of providing us with an audio clip of the husband’s version?
Kaz - I too was in my prime in 1964, and I can't remember much about it either, not because I was drugged up to the eyeballs but because I was about a year old. I wish I could have been a teenager then in one way, but then again I don't have the legs for miniskirts and I don't suppose Hednesford, Staffs. was particularly swinging (still isn't).

Interpretor Pavlov - your blog is showing great promise (well, there are two posts so far, including the encounter with Jimmy).

That Princess Margaret used to put it about, didn't she? Hanging around with Peter Sellers and the like.

Teri Yaki is that gaunt looking woman in Desperate Housewives isn't she?

Grunhaus - I underestimated your response: thank you for solving the problem. The "Posture" movement never really took off as far as I can tell. Mind you, 30 years later James put out Sit Down, the definining anti-walking-tall anthem, so it must have had some kind of resonance down the years.

MJ - I've not heard Sakayo's version. Being very old now I have difficulty keeping up with the modern day "pops".

I don't think there's much chance of an audio clip of the husband singing anything but earthy football chants ("stick yer blue flag up yer arse" etc.)
You're making me sound like a real man instead of a sad excuse for one.

Can you get whistling lessons? I fancy doing a pod cast.
Geoff: You could be the next Chris Ullman...
Geoff's quite fond of crooning in the Bing Crosby style when the mood takes him. Is there a www.happycrooner.com?
Oh, by the way MJ I've just looked at the happy whistler site and have to retaliate with our own Ronnie Ronalde, star of the music hall from the 1930's, who is about 150 now and I think lives in New Zealand - http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~rronalde/
you're all scaring me now. it's like top trumps.

bert kaempfert - whistlin' safari. whistling: 10. posture: 6. crap sixties noodling: 11
Betty: Ronnie Ronalde is described as “The World’s Greatest Whistler” yet Chris Ullman (The Happy Whistler) is the 4-time International Whistling Champion. So who, really, is the Whistling King? I demand a Whistle-Off!
Geoff: All I can say is (insert ‘Der Bingle’ voice here)… Mmm-bo-ba-ba-boo.
Surly Girl - you are right. I think I need to go outside and get a big of fresh air because I'm feeling a bit queasy.

MJ - to be fair, Ronnie has got about 70 years of whistling under his belt, and I think he might be a bit frail to enter into a full-on Whistle-Off.
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