The English have a grand tradition of the music-hall comedy song. They always seemed to produce such clever work. From George Formby to the Goons and beyond, their humour reaches me in a profound way.
Today's track is a piece by Bernard Cribbins, recorded in early 1962 at Abbey Road Studio 3 by none other than (soon to be forever known as the Beatles producer) George Martin. This was the same studio that the Fab Four recorded pretty much everything they committed to vinyl for the next 8 years starting in September of that year. (Bernard famously quipped in an article for The Guardian "we warmed the studio up for them!")
This record features some clever editing and dropping in of sound effects onto the original tape (something very tricky to do with the primitive technology of the day!)
We know George Martin as the man who helmed the Beatles records. Bernard, on the other hand, was a veteran of the British film industry, starring in some Carry-on films and some early Dr Who specials. He is extremely well known to people now as Wilfred Mott, father of Donna in the recent series' of Doctor Who. He also narrated the children's show "The Wombles" in the 1970s.
This song is brilliant inasmuch as it's the tale of a bunch of workmen trying to move something heavy into a flat in an apartment building. The efforts of our boys are, well, pretty crap, really. So they end up drinking a few cups of tea. In fact, they drink a hell of a lot of tea. In fact, if this song doesn't hold the record for the most cups of tea drunk in a two-and-a-half minute pop record, well then it bloody well should. Between the three blokes mentioned in the song, they drink no less than 16 cups of tea!
Anyways, the song is made all the funnier by the dubbed in sound effects and the cheeky brogue of Mr Cribbins. At 51 years old, this song is still a charmer and never fails to raise a smile.
Check it out below, with a cute little period clip of an amination made for television to support the song.