Monday, September 04, 2006


A couple of posts ago I tried to reactivate the comments section by asking my millions of readers who they thought would win in a fight between the Mike Sammes Singers and The Cliff Adams Singers (or, as Richard would point out, The Cliff Adams Singers featuring Cliff Adams and His Cliff Adams Singers). I knew I was on a hiding to nothing, but thanks to Kek-W who suggested that the Mike Sammes Singers would easily win, unless the Black And White Minstrels turned up. Everyone in the East End of London knows about the Minstrels and their rep: that fat bloke with the lovely baritone used to be known as Grievous Bodily Harm. Enough said.

However, I know that, despite their easy goin', easy listenin' reputation, The Cliff Adams Singers were a right lot.

After recording Sing Something Simple, the honey voiced vocalists would retire to a local pub, the Old Bull And Bush, which was a hostelry favoured by many a showbusiness type in the 1950's through to the 1970's. It was demolished in 1982.

The Adamsiz would descend on the pub and the drink would flow way into the night. They would always insist on a lock-in. Anyone of a more sensible disposition would make their exit as quickly as possible. There would be scenes of debauchery not seen since the days of the Roman Empire. All sorts of sexually transmitted diseases ran rife through the world of showbusiness at one point, and most of the problems led back to the doors of the Cliff Adams Singers.

Put it this way, there were several incidents in which members of the high kicking Tiller Girls dance troupe had to retire because they were "in the family way". There would be so much gossip from those in the know that the expression "she's been down the Old Bull And Bush" became a part of the parlance of the day.

The person to ask about these days of debauchery is variety and light entertainment expert Roy Hudd. However, it is best to "soften him up" first by plying him with a few shots of single malt, and asking him some slightly less seedy stories, preferably ones about how the Glasgow Empire was the graveyard of many a variety act. When he is completely plastered, just whisper the words "Cliff Adams" in his ear and you'll find out more than you ever wanted to.

Just don't say I didn't warn you.

Yay! I'm the first to post!

I'm sure she won't mind me saying this..but my Nan was one of those high-kickers. But she didn't do it when she was 'up the bull and bush'. What a star!

Glad to see you back and on top form! Yipppppeeeeeee!xxxx
Canadian readers don’t click on this as it contains Corrie spoilers.
Roy Hudd health scare.
Look at those magnificent thighs! Those were the days.
"Down at the Old Bull and Bush...Bush! Bush!"

"...favoured by many a showbusiness type in the 1950's through to the 1970's. It was demolished in 1982." And the B& W Minstrels are still there. Buried under the rubble.
Molly - so, is your gran one of the dancers in the picture? Fourth from left? She must have had a good pair of pins then.

MJ - get well soon then, Roy. Mind you, he could probably do with losing some weight for his own good, and playing the part of a funeral director is tempting fate, isn't it?

Arabella - I can't imagine that the kind of stick thin birds who populate television nowadays would be up to all that high kicking. All that energy used wouldn't square with a diet of a couple of glasses of water and a stick of celery a day.
Kek - ... along with the little German band. Fa la la la la la la.
I will hear no ill spoken of the Mike Sammes Singers - they sang on my version of "The Jungle Book" soundtrack and that classic Music for Pleasure double album, "The Aristocats and Songs from Pinocchio" Sing Something Simple, however, I associate with my stepfather, who was also a big fan of Arthur Askey - nuff said. But what about the Ray Coniff Singers? From the pics on the back of my parents' albums, they certainly looked as if they could hold their own.
Betty, I salute your extensive knowledge of the mainstream media of the time, but sadly I have to forgo taking part in this worthy discussion.
I saw it and ran, and I ain't going to look back now. You have reminded me why I took drugs in the 60s and don't regret it.
Rhino75 - I've just looked up the Ray Conniff Singers on Google Images and found a site with pictures of a 1999 studio session, and they get around to meeting some fans, including Doug and Warren!

I think there should be a limit on the number of singing groups taking part. I mean, you could get the Johnny Mann Singers or James Last's Orchestra involved, but it would be a big free for all and there would be so many casualties it would end up looking like that scene in Gone With The Wind where all the Civil War dead and dying are laid out.

Tom - the Mike Sammes Singers did backing vocals on I am The Walrus, so I imagine some of them turned on, tuned in and dropped off, as they used to say in those days. Mind you, I spent a large part of the '60's on drugs - strawberry flavoured junior aspirin, Cherry Victoria cough linctus, heroin (it was the only thing to shut me up so my parents could get a decent night's sleep) ...
Betty, you have almost encyclopaedic knowledge of the music industry. There has got to be some money in it for you somewhere, surely.
I am now going to be on a one-person mission to revive the term "Old Bull And Bush". Said with a raised eyebrow and a knowing look.
Hansi would make a great General. His men would do anything for him.
Tomski - oh, if only ... sadly, I would only be of use as a researcher on Desmond Carrington's Radio 2 show (if it's still going) now that his mind is "not what it was".

Billski - I'm sure you're too young to remember The Good Old Days. If so, you have had a lucky escape. "This time ... chiefly ... YOUR-SELVES!!"

Geoffski - I would be scared of Hansi. He looks like a real bruiser. Anyone unfamiliar with him can have a look here - http://www.shb-denmark.dk/Files/Billeder/James_Last242.jpg

and now I know what to say to Roy Hudd if I ever meet him. The things you learn from blogs.
Desmond Carrington is still going and broadcasts from his front room in Scotland. He's just as likely to play Whiskey in the Jar as he is something by Al Bowlly. Good old R2

They'd all run a mile if The Ladybirds walked in. That one with the glasses had a wicked bolo punch after a couple of Jacks.
Realdoc - oddly enough, you would probably have come in useful when Roy Hudd had his funny turn on the set of Coronation Street.

Richard - ah, it's back to the old certainties - Desmond Carrington and the Ladybirds.

I've heard of it being improper to hit a woman in glasses, but don't know what the etiquette is if you're thumped by a woman in glasses.

I haven't heard Desmond's show since it was moved to Tuesday evenings. I kept forgetting and it WAS SUPPOSED TO BE ON A SUNDAY AFTERNOON. That was the way it was. They reduced it to an hour as well!
Can you remember those really rotund grandmothers who used to do high-kick routines on Blankety Blank and other such programmes? What were they called? The Rollies or something? They were great. They were squashed into blue leotards and I think the main one wore glasses. I think she would pull a mean punch. But I think I'd be quite flattered if she did punch me.
Betty, what *are* you talking about?


Tiller girls - isn't that what Speaker of the House Betty Boothroyd used to be which was a bit scandalous? Or something?

Oh - it's another Betty!
Yes. Des was on in the car as we went out this evening and he played Joe Jackson's Tuxedo Junction, Cat Stevens' Old School Yard and the Eton Boating Song. Never judge a book etc...When Eric Morecambe's biographer went through his study he found a Frank Zappa album.
Toss the June Taylor Dancers and the Up With People revue into the mix. The resulting choreographed optimism would lay waste to these so called songsters like a pack of methamphetamine crazed ninjas let loose in an old folks' home.

except for the Ladybirds, of course. the Ladybirds kick ass.
Do you know, when I was a kid I used to watch those high kickers on telly and not even think about getting horny. Oh for the simple life.
Molly - The Rolly Pollies (I've probably spelt that wrong but couldn't be bothered to Google it). There was something of the World Of Sport Saturday afternoon all-in wrestler about them.

Richard - Desmond rocks, actually. I can remember him saying "not only did the Beatles define time, they were time itself". You wouldn't get that from Chris Moyles.

First Nations - brilliant use of imagery. Beating people up through the power of positivity.

I don't know if you genuinely know the Ladybirds, or if it's done in a jokey way. I can't believe the Ladybirds were big in America, but, if they were, the world seems a nicer place.
Tom ...


*furrows brow, trying to imagine a time when Tom never thought about being horny*

I'm not sure, can Chris Moyles actually speak? In five years time he'll be on Radio 2 and considered a national institution.

Ooh. Your options have disappeared. What's going on?
I wish Moyles would decide to take time out from the public eye, but, face it, he is too much of a wanker to even consider that.

As for the commenting options, normal service will return ASAP ;-)
Spisnterella - sorry, you seem to have got lost in the mist of my impending dementia. Anyway, Betty Boothroyd was certainly a dancer, but I wasn't blessed with either the energy or the legs to be a Tiller Girl, sadly enough.
I meant Spinsterella, and I didn't mean that I don't have any legs. Just not very shapely ones.

*bangs head repeatedly on desk*
Spin, I have it on good authority that Betty has been at the creosote again. I'm sure she will have recovered come this evening.
Easy Bettsters. The Mike Sammes singers would win every time.
How do I know this?

Well, I used to own a copy of The Mike Sammes Singers Sing Baccarach & David (yes, Trains & Boats & Trains will *never* be the same again....) and on the sleeve notes, it says that the Mike Sammes Singers are, "quite simply, tops in their bag..."

I think that settles it, don't you?

They also do the "got one got one, everybody's got one ...etc." b.v.s on I am the Walrus. Top that.

btw - who's Spisnterella?
Robert Swipe - "tops in their bag" - another Beatles reference? "Everyone's talking about bagism. Even the Mike Sammes' Singers" as J. W. Lennon said.

Spisnterella is the aplpe of your eye.
Well, someone had to go on top - and which woukd you prefer, the MSS or Yoko "Bloody" Ono?

Again, I say - "easy"

You forgot the Magazine. I play Magazine too....

qgumvudf - you *really* don't like pissed posts, do you Bettseter?
I know you play Magazine, but I was trying to make shallow,sweeping generalisations about each person's podcasts without really providing any real insight into what they sound like. I was aiming for the same level of stupidity as the line I heard in that documentary about girl bands which we watched last night - "The Philadelphia sound was like Motown, only spanglier". Who the fuck writes that stuff, and how much do they get paid?
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