Friday, 15 June 2012

Grumbleweeds - In A Teknikolor Dreem (1972)

I'm just old enough to remember the Grumbleweeds television show from the mid 80's which is why it came as a surprise that they had a collectable "psychedelic" record on Philips from 1972.  That was the rumour that was going round a few years ago and I was dubious to spend serious dosh on an LP that I was convinced I could find, no problem, from a charity shop or car boot. The album title track, a tough acid rocker, surfaced on the first volume of the Electric Asylum compilation series which was probably the spark that triggered an increased collectors interest.  There might be some substance to this rumour after all! Three more songs turned up in early 2010 on the penultimate volume of Paul Martin's fab Pop Cycles compilations.  I had heard enough and eventually bit the bullet and tracked one down on ebay for £15. Very reasonable considering that it was selling for a hundred plus a few years previously.

On the whole the album is pretty good with plenty of Beatlesque and Bee Gees type pop and only a few duff tracks (their take on "My Sweet Lord" ain't great).  Not worth spending three figure amounts on but definitely worth picking up cheap.  Nice artwork too.  I'll producer Gil King finish off this blog entry with some actual facts taken from the LP liner notes.  This should make a nice change from my bad analogies.  Take it away Gil...

This album will probably come as a pleasant surprise to the many fans of the Grumbleweeds. Anyone who has seen them in cabaret will probably agree that they have one of the zaniest comedy acts in the business.  Until recently the only time they sang in their act was when they did their wildly funny send-ups of Elvis, Mick Jagger or Roy Orbison, but now they are beginning to sing their own original material to acquaint their public with this added dimension to their considerable talents as entertainers.  Nine of the songs on the album are written by members of the group and they have a particularly Northern flavour, which is accounted for by the fact that the boys are from Leeds.

Maurice Lee is the leader of the group, who in his own words is so fabulous he finds it hard to be humble!
Graham Walker is fat, bald (almost) and very funny, but has to bear the stigma of being Charlie Drake's double.
Robin Colvill usually sits in the middle, which is probably why he complains of having a permanent headache.
Albert (Abbo) Sutcliffe is Elvis-mad and ordinary mad as well.  He writes some very nice lyrics and has the good fortune to be the brother of:
Carl Sutcliffe - Genius extrordinaire, who writes most of the songs and sings lead vocals most of the time, but has know to be wrong (once!)

The sessions were not without incident, and during Teknikolor Dreem, Maurice, who provides a long loud scream in the number, after doing his bit keeled over and lay on the studio floor.  Naturally, we all ignored him (the gags had been thick and fast by this time), but after two or three minutes he was still there.  In fact, he'd screamed so hard and long that he passed out cold!  We'd particularly like to thatnk the two policemen who arrived from West End Central late one night to investigate a report about a lunatic who had been singing out on the roof, sitting on a chair wearing headphones for a particular sound we were after.  It took us a while to get going again after that!

The Grumbleweeds, now a duo of Colvill and Walker, continue to play the cabaret scene to this day.  For info and bookings check out their official website.


  1. Very very nice. Thank you.

  2. I have the singles from the album but not yet the full LP - hopefully I'll have the good fortune you did and find one for not too silly a price!