Friday, July 20, 2007

A stray Bonzo Dog: Roger Ruskin Spear - Unusual (1973)

Roger Ruskin Spear put out two fine solo LPs in the 1970's, following the demise of The Bonzo Dog Band. 'Unusual' is the second one, a little harder to find, and probably the better of the two.

It's very much an extension of the Bonzo Dog sound. What it loses for the lack of the other Bonzos, it makes up for by virtue of Spears' manic inventiveness.

Similar to his use of elaborate gadgets and patchwork machines in the Bonzo Dog live performances, his arrangements and certainly his production give the album an 'everything and the kitchen sink' feel. To say nothing of his 'genre hopping'...

...There's a lot going on in the grooves of this album!

Sometime after his solo recordings, Spear began to put playing music on the back burner, though he's been present at the Bonzo Dog Band reunion shows.

According to band mate Neil Innes, in more recent years he's been teaching at the Chelsea College of Art, is 'into the amateur radio scene', and is 'alive and well in South London with wife Susan and two dogs'.

From Roger Ruskin Spear's 'Unusual' LP
(United Artists Records, 1973), Listen to:

Pinball Wizard
On Her Doorstep Last Night
Trouble With My Trousers
Shove-Off Shostakovitch
I Love To Bumpity-Bump (On a Bumpy Road With You)
When Yuba Plays The Rhumba On The Tuba Down In Cuba
Frank The Ripper
Morecambe And Wise
Heartbreak Hotel
My Goodness How (Or The Revolutionary New Concrete Mixer Show)

(click for audio)

- - OR download all 11 tracks in one 32.5 Mb zipfile.


Anonymous said...

May I just say: YOU RULE! I thought this album was near-gone impossible to find and now I find some beautiful soul's gone and put the entire damn thing online. Well done sir, I am truly indebted to you!

Anonymous said...

There was a book, I think, called "Does Humor Belong In Music?" and If this album doesn't prove the fact, then nothing else can. Bonzos Forever!


Kip W said...


Thank you!

Arthur Fuqsake said...

Oh joy. Sandra still smells. Good Man ... Thank you so much!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for this! I bought the album years ago,but after all this time, it doesn't sound as good as this copy! Very nice!

BonzoGal said...

In 1992 I was lucky enough to meet Mr. Spear at a show in London, and I videotaped the show for him with his camera. After the show he gave me a big hug- a memory I treasure to this day.

RRS rooooolz!!!

Gormski said...

In the early to mid 90s roughly Roger Spear built an amazing skateboard ramp in New Malden for the local council there. Really nice bloke as is his wife Sue.

J said...

My name is Bryan Chandler, I'm a dj at KUSF 90.3 fm in San Francisco. I did a spotlight on Vivian Stanshall on KUSF-fm San Francisco. It contains a rare interview with Vivian in 1979!
I recently created a new audio archive which streams many of the excellent and wide-ranging programs that we broadcast on KUSF.  We currently have over 2200 Posts and over 45 thousand visitors.
This is quite obviously a labor of love that takes a lot of daily effort, so I really hope you'll check out some of the shows at your pleasure. 

Here is the website:
The KUSF website is here: 
Thanks and best regards,

lindsay said...

yaayyy never thought I'd hear them again when my old tape finally wore out. fantastic!

De Minimus said...

This is awesome- somewhere I have this LP, but can't locate it. I also have the EP of his with Release Me. Thank you so much for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, kind sir!

Anonymous said...

OH MY GODDESS.... I had this LP (bought it in the UK) and some STOLE IT. SO, I have been trying to find a copy to match Electric Shocks for DECADES now, and HERE IT IS! BLESS YOU SIR for sharing this wonderful rare piece of eclectia! My year is now made :)

Anonymous said...

Splendid work sir! Thank you very much indeed for sharing this.

Omega said...

thank you very very much. I have been searching for this album for many years on line. You have done a very very good job.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for keeping the sounds alive.

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