Michael Livesley - Sir Henry At Rawlinson End soundtrack review

English as tuppence…

Michael Livesley - Sir Henry At Rawlinson End soundtrack cover

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Upon discovering former Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band mainman Vivian Stanshall’s left-field masterpiece Sir Henry At Rawlinson End, Michael Livesley was so appalled to find it was no longer being performed that he elected to stage it himself. Admirable? Yes. Foolhardy? Arguably. After all, to embark upon the reanimation of a work so linked with its late author can surely only invite unfavourable comparison.

Livesley also elected to try to replicate Viv’s rich and fruity delivery of his ornate Stanshallian prose himself. On hearing of Livesley’s courageous plan, one would have to be a pretty ripe old cheese to wish him any ill. Who wouldn’t want to see a stage production of Henry wherein Auntie Florrie, the wider Rawlinson clan and, of course, Old Scrotum were made hideously mottled flesh? But an album?

Surely the existing article with Stanshall, Steve Winwood et al is enough for anyone. But Rick Wakeman would beg to differ: he not only bunged it out on his own Rraw label, but he also played on it. Like fish and house guests, comedy never improves with time, and while Livesley’s Henry could have done with a shade more brandy, this ain’t at all bad.

Ian Fortnam

Classic Rock’s Reviews Editor for the last 20 years, Ian stapled his first fanzine in 1977. Since misspending his youth by way of ‘research’ his work has also appeared in such publications as Metal Hammer, Prog, NME, Uncut, Kerrang!, VOX, The Face, The Guardian, Total Guitar, Guitarist, Electronic Sound, Record Collector and across the internet. Permanently buried under mountains of recorded media, ears ringing from a lifetime of gigs, he enjoys nothing more than recreationally throttling a guitar and following a baptism of punk fire has played in bands for 45 years, releasing recordings via Esoteric Antenna and Cleopatra Records.