Michael Livesley and Brainwashing House: Sir Henry at Rawlinson End
Vivian Stanshall was a British poet, author, singer/songwriter, musician and playwright and in the 1970s created Rawlinson End, an examination of British high society focusing on the on goings at the fictional house of the same name. The series started as a British radio series on BBC Radio 1's John Peel Show. In 1978 he released an LP version telling of the story and in 1983 his fourth and final album Sir Henry at N'didi's Kraal was released as a sequel.
Returning to present day, Michael Livesley and Brainwashing House have recently released a new version of the original story. This is an on stage adaptation and includes the following musicians: Bill Leach (musical director, guitar, banjo, ukulele, mandolin, surpeti, jaw's harp), Ged Fox (trumpet, penny whistle, kazoo, sousaphone), Chris Hough (double bass, banjolele), Jonny Hase (percussion), Susie Honeyman (violin, D=Stroh-violin) and John Lewis (clarinet, violin, recorder, Stroh-violin). Besides the Brainwashing House Band other artists include Andy Frizell (crumhorns, recorders, percussion, backing vocals), Rick Wakeman (piano) and Neil Innes (ukulele on "Wheelbarrow"). Michael Livesley provides vocals and narration.
To like this album you will have to appreciate British sense of humor and the art of narrative. It almost acts as a novel set to tape as much of the disc is taken up with the spoken word. It is both witty and sarcastic and much of the time the music plays second fiddle to the voices. If you enjoy old time folk and waltzes with a hint of carnival atmosphere featuring many unusual acoustic instruments (see list above) you may want to explore this further. As for myself, while I appreciate the skill and talent that went into this production, it probably isn't something I will reach for again.
1. Aunt Florrie's Waltz
5. The Rub
6. Nice 'N' Tidy
7. Pigs 'Ere Purse
8. 6/8 Hoodoo
10. Fool & Bladder
12. The Beasht Inshide
14. Aunt Florrie Remembers
15. Rawlinson's & Maynards
Added: August 11th 2016
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Project's Official Site
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