More From The Vinyl Graveyard
“Sings Great Comedy War Songs” has got to be one of the best album titles ever and, despite my ignorance about its creator Alan Randall, this little vinyl gem just had to be rescued from the oblivion of the charity shop bargain bin.
Our Mr. Randall turned out to have been a respected jazz musician who actually made a very respectable living with his George Formby tribute act that took him all round the world. No, I’m not sure why anybody would pay to see a George Formby tribute act but it was, after all, different back then in the days of black and white television.
The songs are indeed mostly of the war years – yes, I know that most of the years in the 20th century were war years of one sort or another – but you will be disappointed if you are expected irony or satire for there is exactly none of those here. There is even a cover of the theme from Dad’s Army (still on the telly in 2017!) and other legendary tunes like “Mr Wu (Is in the Chinese Navy Now)” that may well set your teeth on edge as our Mr. Randall evokes the Blitz spirit with nothing less than total cheeky chappie determination.
In terms of performance, the songs were actually something of a surprise with fine sound quality and spirited arrangements lifting proceedings above what you would expect of a release on a budget label like Contour. Of special note is the ukulele playing with that little instrument taking a proper beating at the hands of Alan Randall and the results making you wonder what he would have done with a man’s instrument like a Fender Strat.
So should you track this one down yourself? Possibly. The cover alone is worth the price of admission and, who knows, you might even like what Alan Randall does with his ukulele.