Sunday, 20 April 2014

Joshua - The Automatic Camel (1971)

My friend Stuart gave me this single a couple of weeks ago, "Here, you'll like this" he said. Not only do I love it, but its been on my wants list for a little while now. I'm a sucker for children's television theme tunes from the 1970's and this piano instrumental song ,"The Automatic Camel" by Joshua (aka Joe Griffiths) was used as the backing tack for the music on the UK animated kids show, "Chorlton and the Wheelies", which ran for 40 episodes between 1976 and 1979. This type of music always reminds me of the more playful side of the Beatles, much like the whole Popsike genre. The b-side "Mr Cuffling's Cake-Walk" is equally as enjoyable as the flip.

From the 7" promo sleeve - Joe Griffiths?
I cant find a lot of information about Joe Griffiths, but the connection with producer Harold Franz links them to at least two more single releases under different names.

Independant Operator b/w Share My Caravan as Joe Griffiths (Philips 1970)
Love Is Love, Is Love b/w All You Have To Do Is Say Hello as Umbrella (RCA 1972)

...anyone heard these?

So, a bit of a fun tune for this Easter holiday. I hope you enjoy...


  1. Dunno about Joe Griffiths either, but afterreading your post I found on Soulseek an LP by him on KPM (music library label like de Wolfe) called "A Child For All Ages" (1978) [KPM 1212].

    Track Listing:

    joe griffiths - 01 - whippersnapper strut.mp3
    joe griffiths - 02 - a hippo called hubert.mp3
    joe griffiths - 03 - big top.mp3
    joe griffiths - 04 - reggie reggae.mp3
    joe griffiths - 05 - don't stop now.mp3
    joe griffiths - 06 - the swarm.mp3
    joe griffiths - 07 - pecking orders.mp3
    joe griffiths - 08 - tom & jerry (a).mp3
    joe griffiths - 09 - tom & jerry (b).mp3
    joe griffiths - 10 - the perils of pauline.mp3
    joe griffiths - 11 - top dog.mp3
    joe griffiths - 12 - tingles.mp3
    joe griffiths - 13 - mock baroque.mp3
    joe griffiths - 14 - swings & roundabouts.mp3
    joe griffiths - 15 - purrfection.mp3
    joe griffiths - 16 - the hump.mp3
    joe griffiths - 17 - mumbo jumbo.mp3
    joe griffiths - 18 - donkey cart.mp3
    joe griffiths - 19 - summers green.mp3
    joe griffiths - 20 - summer tranquility.mp3
    joe griffiths - 21 - sweet dreams.mp3
    joe griffiths - 22 - first love.mp3

    The titles suggest this is the same guy. Listening to the first cuts now......definately the McCartney vibe, more Admiral Hawlsey-ish Wings than Beatles. Popville gives it a thumbs up! :)


  2. Good find Popville. I'll have to keep an eye out for this album. The titles do look very tempting!

  3. Joe was part of the Tramshed Fundation, a music and comedy revue at the Tramshed Theatre, Woolwich during the 1970s and 1980s. Other Alumni included Hale & Pace (before they were famous). I have a self-released LP of the Fundation recorded on 8th July 1978 and featuring Joe with singer/comedienne Jane Lee and comedian Phil Skinner. I believe Joe also took part in some children's TV programmes about that time. According to the Movie Dude website, he appeared in the pilot episode of Regan in 1974. I am inclined to believe that the Joe Griffiths Popville mentions is the same.

  4. Yes exactly as Phil says. Tramshed at Woolwich mid late 1970s. And his name was Joe or Joshua. The sleeve photo looks like him - slim build, beard, and Automatic Camel was def his theme tune - hearing it on your site has brought back those memories, thank you. He sat on a stool rocking back and forth as he played. As the audience got excited he played with increasing gusto, more pronounced hand movements,and greater stool rocking. That got the audience more excited .... and so on. Don't know anything else to help you though. The tramshed still exists

  5. Joe (my uncle) and certainly still rocking and testing the structural integrity of piano stools with his enthusiastic style of playing.