VIVIAN STANSHALL Sir Henry At Rawlinson End (1978)

Sir Henry At Rawlinson End (1978)
Even Stranger Than The Bonzos

Here’s a spoken word oddity (with musical interludes) from Bonzo Dog Band founder and resident madman Viv Stanshall. To be honest… even though I’ve owned this for years, I’ve rarely heard it all the way through. The CD is sequenced as a continuous piece (52 minutes split into 2 sides) and is, frankly, somewhat over my Americanized head, though I still enjoy Viv’s patented strangeness. According to the All Music Guide, I’m not alone.

The former Bonzo Dog Band frontman lets his imagination run riot on what is, essentially, a parody of British radio serials mixed with his interpretation of P.G. Wodehouse, all tempered by the deflating sensibility of, say, Monty Python. Does it make sense? No. Is there a plot? No. Does it matter? Not a bit. Stanshall is superbly entertaining, a wordsmith who can trip from the sublime to the louche in the wink of an eye, from wicked puns to appalling jokes in a tale (of sorts) set in a country estate, and told in more accents than you can shake a stick at. The music (uncredited, but quite probably former bandmate Neil Innes) ranges from ’20s perky to neovillage brass band, making an apt accompaniment for the words. With Stanshall as your guide you’ll get thoroughly lost, but come the end, you really won’t care. So maybe, ultimately, it really is completely mad. It doesn’t matter. It’s madness touched with genius in conception and performance, and that’s always been a rare enough commodity. Stanshall’s individual, eccentric talent shines like the dong with the luminous nose.- AMG

Part One(26:40)
Part Two (25:26)

You might consider getting this version instead. Thanks to craigie* for offering this “remastered,” track-separated vinyl rip of Sir Henry At Rawlinson End. The sound is outstanding – better than the CD – and should make for a much easier listening experience than the limiting 2-track disc version.

Aunt Florrie’s Waltz (3:48)
The Rub
Nice ‘n’ Tidy
Pigs ‘Ere Purse (0:42)
6/8 Hoodoo (2:38)
Smeeton (4:17)
Fool & Bladder
The Beasht Inshide
Rawlinsons & Maynards
Aunt Florrie’s Waltz II



  • 1
    December 10, 2007 - 21:40 | Permalink

    Find Sir Henry At Rawlinson End (CD & Vinyl Versions) HERE.

    Christmas at Rawlinson End & Sir Henry at Ndidi’s Kraal HERE

  • 2
    December 13, 2007 - 00:36 | Permalink

    Yeah, this is weird alright. Do you have another ex Bonzo, Roger Ruskin Dpear's "Electric Shock" ? Thanks

  • 3
    Capt. Willard
    December 13, 2007 - 02:24 | Permalink


    Wish I did. Had it on LP in a previous century, but haven't heard it since. Sorry.

  • 4
    December 14, 2007 - 07:58 | Permalink

    I haven't listened to it yet, but thank you in advance anyway!

    I googled a bit & more info about this weird album can be found here:

  • 5
    Capt. Willard
    December 14, 2007 - 15:35 | Permalink

    Hi Koen,

    Nice to hear from you. Many thanks.

  • 6
    Capt. Willard
    December 14, 2007 - 18:52 | Permalink

    Here's a Viv website, too.

  • 7
    December 17, 2007 - 02:31 | Permalink

    I just found Roger Ruskin Spear's 2nd album, UNUSUAL here

  • 8
    Capt. Willard
    December 17, 2007 - 03:15 | Permalink


    Many thanks.

  • 9
    December 23, 2007 - 07:09 | Permalink

    Wow. I've been looking for this forever! A thousand thanks! The second LP would be agreat, too….but it looks like the thread has gone to sleep. Anyway, thanks for this so freaking much!

  • 10
    December 28, 2007 - 03:30 | Permalink

    Hey this is Vivs daughter Silky… if there are any albums you can't find… you can always go to the site and ask my mum about it. She has all the good stuff, I do too… but it is all in Vermont. And I am not.
    Just go bug her… she'll love it. Hehehehehe…

  • 11
    May 30, 2008 - 22:39 | Permalink

    We all want to see a pic of Viv's daughter.

  • 12
    November 9, 2008 - 00:26 | Permalink

    i say old bean…jolly decent to let me hear the further adventures of sir henry….very much obliged…nice and tidy……tidy and nice…..kindest regards.

  • 13
    Art Simon
    January 11, 2009 - 20:35 | Permalink

    Awesome! I remember Stanshall from Tubular Bells and one Bonzo Dog Band release. Very Cool!

  • 14
    joe v berlin
    January 31, 2009 - 16:20 | Permalink

    thank you for this

  • 15
    May 8, 2009 - 19:13 | Permalink

    Bonzos kick buttocks, but this is the funniest album I've ever heard. Even the best of Firesign Theater must stand at a distance, and that's an unmitigated compliment.

    When i saw this album, I nearly cried in disbelief and paid a measly $1.75 (used! and incredibly rare! in the US!) I was at a small record store in Missoula, MT, on tour with my band. At the time, I had a top 10 list in my head of the hard-to-find records I HAD to own! This tiny shop gave me six of them in one fell swoop.

    Viv's album was the best in the bunch.

    I got home, put needle to vinyl, and fell over laughing. No acid necessary.

    On the band's next tour, a couple days later, I played a tape I'd made of it, and we had to pull the truck over because we were all laughing too hard to drive.

    Brit comedy? Yeah. Eccentric? VERY! Can Yanks get it? If they're intelligent.

    Brilliant? Absolutely.

  • 16
    July 28, 2009 - 08:51 | Permalink

    You guys should check out the movie, of Sir henry, featuring Trevor Howard..
    its excellent, and quite mad

  • 17
    March 12, 2010 - 10:55 | Permalink

    Dear Willard,

    Many many thanks for reposting this gem of vintage British weirdness – much appreciated! Cheers, Dave Sez.

  • 18
    roy rocket
    November 19, 2010 - 13:22 | Permalink

    Hey, Cap.
    Bit late with this one, but I've got 'Crank' as an audio rip over at mine.

    Includes Stanshall telling his own story interjected with some fantastic music.
    Maybe unique within the blogosphere.
    Hope you don't mind me including my link…
    Regards, roy

  • 19
    Winking Tiger
    July 29, 2011 - 11:19 | Permalink

    Alright! I’ve got new DL’s for both ‘Christmas At Rawlinson End’ AND ‘Sir Henry At Ndidi’s Kraal’… all in one link. Thanks to Dashing Blade (he’s going to re-install this new link on his own blog this weekend as well.)

    Thanks to Willard and A Dashing Blade for making a dream come true… :)

    The MP3′s for ‘Christmas At Rawlinson End’ are at 192kps, ‘Ndidi’s Kraal’ is 320kps.

    • 20
      July 29, 2011 - 12:10 | Permalink

      Very cool. Thanks for doing all the leg work, Winkie.

  • 21
    Winking Tiger
    July 29, 2011 - 15:26 | Permalink

    The pleasure is mine… One, I wanted these albums too, and there must be others who want them, who also frequent this blog. I had a devil of a time looking for them elsewhere. Two, I’ve DLed so much great stuff from here, when I get a chance to help, I pounce like a… like a… wombat. ;)

    And thanks again to Dashing Blade for the link and the faster-than-a-sabre-jet response to my email (I wrote him an email back as well, in case he doesn’t see this.)

    Viv Lives!

  • 23
    Winking Tiger
    July 30, 2011 - 00:38 | Permalink

    Let me tell ya, if you’ve ever been down a tin mine in Tasmania, blithely munching on a vegemite sandwich, and had a wild wombat jump out of your lunch bucket and attach itself to your face, you’d know…

    To this day I have to sleep with one eye open. ;)

    Those eyes… *shudder*

  • 24
    July 21, 2012 - 00:26 | Permalink

    Although Stanshall cowrote one of my favorite Traffic songs (“Dream Gerrard”), I have never investigated his work on his own, and precious little from the Bonzos either. That should change. So much music, so little time… thanks for putting this up again!

  • 25
    Kwai Chang
    July 21, 2012 - 06:29 | Permalink

    This is great stuff. Sir Henry is the epitome of blue blood snobery. I love Vivian and all three of these together equals SCORE!!! It’s funnier with each listen. Also, there is a much weirder movie. Vivian is in it but not as Sir Henry. He is the eccentric brother that lives on the compoubd grounds. Very strange…but it does compliment the three records. Thanks.
    PS- Every bit as good as McGough & McGear.

  • 26
    Kwai Chang
    July 21, 2012 - 11:01 | Permalink

    Hahaha…I used to think Vivian looked bizarre on this album cover…until I saw the movie.

  • 27
    December 31, 2012 - 12:36 | Permalink

    I’ve loved the Rawlinson End stuff since I first heard it in the 70′s. Brilliance personified! Has anyone been to see the ‘Sir Henry at Rawlinson End’ stage show? Saw it last year in London and it’s bloody fantastic! They are doing a special show next March for Viv’s 70th with Neil Innes and this is their website Happy New Year!!

    • 28
      December 31, 2012 - 16:49 | Permalink

      Thanks for the info Andy.

  • 29
    April 29, 2013 - 15:53 | Permalink


  • 30
    June 15, 2013 - 05:43 | Permalink

    Sorry to be late to the party…. does anyone have a link to the track separated version? The one in the comments is dead.

    • 31
      June 15, 2013 - 11:09 | Permalink

      New link up, thanks.

  • 32
    June 15, 2013 - 14:48 | Permalink

    Thanks Willard.

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