Friday, 18 March 2016

No-so-funky Chicken

We had a couple of friends down last week, always a good excuse to go trawling around Bristol’s many secondhand stores and charity shops in search of vinyl bargains. I picked up a few handfuls of rubbish: some not quite as awful as their covers or titles seemed to promise, but a few delights I shall endeavour to share with you over the coming weeks.

One of the albums I picked up was the thoroughly atrocious Party Sing-A-Long by the Cockerel Chorus, a ragbag group of footie fans who had scored big in the UK charts with the Tottenham Hotspur chant Nice One Cyril. Written by Spurs fans Helen Clarke and Harold Spiro, Nice One Cyril was written to celebrate Tottenham’s much-loved left-back Cyril Knowles, and reached number 14 in the UK singles charts. There is a story that Iron Maiden’s Nicko McBrain is drumming on the single: maybe one of you can tell me if this is true or just an urban legend.

The Cockerel Chorus was fronted by Spiro and Jamie Phillips, who sings the faux-operatic intro to the song. Harold was a season-ticket holder at Spurs and a noted songwriter – co-authoring songs for the Yardbirds, Peter Noone, Tina Charles, Olivia Newton-John, The Troggs and Georgie Fame amongst others, and TV theme music for Kenny Ball and dog trainer Barbara Woodhouse. Of course he also wrote the horrific David ‘Diddy’ Hamilton song Just Like That, which I featured here a couple of years ago.

Party Sing-A-Long is a horrible album, with yobbish cover versions of recent hits including Long Haired Lover from Liverpool, Tie a Yellow Ribbon and Part of the Union, but the worst has to be the awful cover of Loop Di Love, which had been a hit for serial offender Jonathan King (as Shag) in 1972 but which had originally been a hit in Germany for J Bastos (aka Rolf Steitz) in 1971. Who in their right mind would have thought to throw this on the turntable to turn their flagging party around?

As a bonus, I also present to you both sides of the Breadcrumbs reggae version of Nice One, Cyril. Possibly one of the dumbest reggae records of all time, this atrocious slab of cheese was issued in the UK on Trojan’s Attack Record imprint in 1973. The kazoo solo is priceless! Thanks to for the photo.


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