Phono Erotic is proud to announce its second release by the deliciously Outsiderist Music Hall ensemble that is The Blood Tub Orchestra.
Now let’s clear something up straight away; this is no retro pastiche but a real working group tampering with the remnants of the almost lost and forgotten songbook of the lower classes, The Music Hall. Once considered one of the seven curses of London that detracted those working class types from their duty to make money for Queen, Empire and the intolerant ruling elite, Music Hall was a den of vice, sharps and wanton behavior, a lurid spectacle of unblushing immodesty…well not too much has changed for the binge drinking masses, festival frenzied fornicators and the crack den denizens of the inner cities, other that nowadays, the leopards’ spots are equally placed on the disposable equity burdened middle classes, who are quietly having their purses pinched by the pasty faced sharks of the new unfettered borders in this current great empire of finance.
The rousing rancorous heyday of these ‘palatial shams’, where ‘the modern comic vocalist doled out feeble jingling idiocies of his own composition’ lasted only a few short years in reality before it was sanitized by those with an eye for a fast buck and the state backed rise of the Temperance movements. It then slowly dissolved over 100 years into the tepid light entertainment of 60’s and 70’s Variety Shows and televised ‘spectaculars’ such as The Black & White Minstrel Show and on to the further degenerate televised horrors of shows today like ‘Strictly’ and ‘Britains Got No Talent’ (sic).
So it is with great relief, honour and privilege that we announce The Blood Tub Orchestra’s declaration of intent to strive for the restoration of these glorious days of bitter humour, coarse innuendo, political satire and a damn us all to hell and the trenches of a jolly old knee’s up, come one, come all, to restore the lost voice of the Great British cattle classes.
The great Harry Champion would no doubt raise a laugh at such wry commentry. Our Harry, the voice of the people throughout the 2 World Wars and an endless amount of skirmishes in both battlefield, bar brawl and brothel no doubt, provides us with the ammunition of the lewd entendre laced standard, ‘The End Of My Old Cigar’, given more than a healthy dose of boiled bully and gin tonicised blather, in this rousing interpretation.
The Immobile One and generally uncheeky chappie, Sam Mayo’s performance of ‘I Played My Concertina’ gives us the starting point for our next insight into the Pre-WW1 mentality of ‘ornery people’ and their laughter in the face of misery, with yet another piece of lyrical smut. Please note, no smiles were cracked during the recording of this performance.
While the first side of the EP represents a small sampler of the sort of thing to expect from the forthcoming Blood Tub Orchestra album, the second side was recorded live at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, one of London’s rare thus far unscathed multi-purpose cultural venues, a true anomaly that lives and breathes many of the attributes and attitudes of the heady days of the East End music halls and the stainged glitter hangover that goes with it.
Blood Tub’s belt and braces revamp of Lesley Sarony’s ‘Bloomin’ Well Dead’, an ascerbic prod at the hypocrisy of behavioral misdemeanor at funerals, still rings as true today as it ever did. And finally there’s, ‘Oh Father, Do Come Home’, one of a number of satirical jibes aimed at popular hit of the day, ‘Father, Dear Father, The Brokers Are In’, a
In the Temperance song of warning style that increasingly infiltrated the Music Hall scene, in order to combat the profligacy of the immoral games of ‘fox-and-goose’ distracting our fine young fellows from their devotion to good deed and good stead. Again, nothing changes, with the recent Government Guidelines recommend that alcohol consumption to be limited to 6 pints or 6 glasses of wine per week, ring a bell? Ah well, bah humbug to the lot of ‘em! Who’s for a quick tiddly wink or three?
The Blood Tub Orchestra are a most interesting and innovative outfit. A delightful and enthralling experience with their wholly unique idea of unearthing Victorian and Edwardian music gems from often long-forgotten artists and rattling their bones to breathe new life into them by evolving the pieces into fully-formed 21st century creations whilst retaining the characteristics and soul of the original, historic works. The ghost has firmly spooked the machinery. The rose-tinted veneer is peeled back and injected with the spirit of the age, both ancient and modern.
With the cosy mothball whiff of fancy dress nostalgia removed, a straight bare knuckle fight between the song and the performers ensues, finding its place in creating the most mouthwatering proposition since The Rolling Stones re-introduced Blues to America. Great Britain, this means you!
The Blood Tub Orchestra is comprised of a rag tag assortment of musical waistrels. Tim Whelan (Transglobal Underground, Furniture etc), Ashley Davies (Project Dark, London Dirthole Co etc), Kirsten Reynolds (Project Dark, LDC etc), Rob Lewis (Pulkas, LDC etc), Debbie Smith (Echobelly, Ye Nuns etc) plus various guests.