VIVIAN STANSHALL Sir Henry At Rawlinson End (1978) – Plus… Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead (1974), Christmas At Rawlinson’s End (1975), Teddy Boys Don’t Knit (1981) & Sir Henry At Ndidi’s Kraal (1984)

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

FIRST POSTED IN 2007: Here’s a spoken word oddity (with musical interludes) from the late, great Bonzo Dog Band co-founder/madman Vivian Stanshall. More of an insane radio play than a musical offering, Sir Henry At Rawlinson End – Stanshall’s second solo release – has a larger history that spilled over into other Sir Henry serials, via CD, video and BBC performances. To be honest… this stuff is way over my Americanized head, and even though I’ve had it nestled on the CD shelf for decades, I’ve never understood it in the slightest. Which isn’t to say I don’t thoroughly enjoy it. I do. I just wish I knew why. Judging by what The All Music Guide has to say, I’m obviously not alone. “Essentially, a parody of British radio serials… 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.” We’ve got two versions of Sir Henry At Rawlinson End, my original CD rip, which is sequenced as a continuous piece (52 minutes split into 2 sides), and a track-separated vinyl rip (courtesy of craigie), boasting excellent sound and a more easily accessible listening experience. Find Sir Henry At Rawlinson End at Amazon, HERE.

Aunt Florrie’s Waltz (3:48)
Interlewd (1:53)
Wheelbarrow (3:55)
Socks (6:01)
The Rub (7:59)
Nice ‘n’ Tidy (2:22)
Pigs ‘Ere Purse (0:42)
6/8 Hoodoo (2:38)
Smeeton (4:17)
Fool & Bladder (2:48)
Endroar (3:05)
The Beasht Inshide (2:14)
Junglebunny (4:03)
Rawlinsons & Maynards (1:58)
Papadumb (3:07)
Aunt Florrie’s Waltz II (1:16)

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

Christmas At Rawlinson EndSir Henry At Ndidi's Kraal
Christmas At Rawlinson’s End: The Peel Sessions – December, 1975 (1975)
Sir Henry At Ndidis Karaal (1984)
An Unreleased BBC Performance And A Final Sir Henry CD

Two more illuminations of the Sir Henry saga. The first, Christmas At Rawlinson’s End, is an unreleased 1975 BBC performance (thanks to Winking Tiger for the share), while the second, Sir Henry At Ndidis Karaal, is the single track, 1999 CD issue (with the nifty Ralph Steadman cover art) of Viv’s 1983-84 recordings. I’d say more about all of this, but… I literally can’t. You’re on your own with this definitely mad, succinctly English story time fare. You can find Sir Henry At Ndidis Karaal at Amazon, HERE.

Christmas At Rawlinson End – The Peel Sessions
Christmas At Rawlinson End, Part 1 (10:44)
Christmas At Rawlinson End, Part 2 (8:44)
Christmas At Rawlinson End, Part 3 (7:36)
Christmas At Rawlinson End, Part 4 (13:21)

Sir Henry At Ndidi’s Kraal
Sir Henry At Ndidi’s Kraal (51:43)

Men Opening Umbrellas AheadTeddy Boys Don't Knit
Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead (1974)
Teddy Boys Don’t Knit (1981)
Musical Offerings… But Equally Perplexing

Viv’s first and third albums (the Sir Henry‘s being his second and last), and a bit more in line for those familiar with Stanshall via his contributions to the legendary Bonzo Dog Band. Still, while they are musical concoctions, they’re also wildly divorced from the realities of the music business, which is pretty much what fans have long-cherished Stanshall for – who’s probably best known to the masses as the introductory voice heard in Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells (we’ve got some rare Viv-related versions of Bells in the archives, HERE). As above, I’m not comfortable dissecting Viv’s work. I’ve always enjoyed it (especially the sometimes jam-oriented, Men Open Umbrellas Ahead, from my own post-Bonzo 70s days), but I’ve just never really understood why. Find Men (HERE) and Teddy Boys (HERE) at Amazon.

Afoju Ti Ole Riran (Dead Eyes) (7:53)
Truck-Track (4:00)
Yelp, Bellow, Rasp Et Cetera (4:46)
Prong (1:02)
Redeye (5:21)
How The Zebra Got His Spots (4:55)
Dwarf Succulents (2:17)
Bout Of Sobriety (2:48)
Prong & Toots Go Steady (1:58)
Strange Tongues (6:43)
Baba Tunde (Single B-Side) (3:29)
Lakonga (Single A-Side) (5:06)

Teddy Boys Don’t Knit
King Kripple (2:59)
Slave Valse (4:48)
Gums (2:13)
Bewilderbeeste (3:01)
Calypso To Colapso (3:09)
The Tube (3:28)
Ginger Geezer (3:18)
The Cracks Are Showing (0:54)
Flung A Dummy (3:19)
Possibly An Armchair & Embodying Fresh Faced Boys (5:25)
Terry Keeps His Clips On (3:43)
Bass Macaw & Broken Bottles (3:03)
Nose Hymn (2:28)
Everyday, I Have The Blows (5:07)
Smoke Signals At Night (3:16)
Nouveau Riffe (3:41)


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

    Search HERE

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

    Yeah, this is weird alright.

  • drfeelgoed
    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:

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

    Hi Koen,

    Nice to hear from you. Many thanks.

  • Anonymous
    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!

  • Anonymous
    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…

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

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

  • zappahead
    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.

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

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

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

    thank you for this

  • David
    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.

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

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

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

    Dear Willard,

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

  • 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

  • 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*

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Andy
    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!!

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


  • Anonymous
    October 27, 2014 - 05:56 | Permalink

    Grunt how! Grunt how!

  • October 27, 2014 - 11:06 | Permalink

    The great British Loons are always worth celebrating!

  • Timmy
    October 27, 2014 - 14:41 | Permalink

    All creative things are good. Even these offerings! Ahhhahahah just kidding !!!!!!!!! It’s coo, it’s coo.

  • yoyopants
    October 28, 2014 - 13:59 | Permalink

    Wheee! A Kozmik Konlfluence! Mind-readers! Whilst putting my Bonzo Dog folders in order over the weekend I’d JUST been thinking – – “…There! Now what I REALLY need to do is get the Viv stuff in hand once and for all…” Bam! Manifested! Thanks so much, really looking forward! Cheers!

    • Willard
      October 28, 2014 - 14:04 | Permalink

      Well, there you go.

  • shane
    October 28, 2014 - 23:38 | Permalink

    Hooray! A vastly underrated artist. I have all the vinyl albums and Ndidis Kraal on CD but haven’t ever heard the Christmas program. Thank you much!

  • Shuggie
    October 30, 2014 - 03:26 | Permalink

    Frere Willard thanks to you I am now two separate gorillas.

  • September 23, 2015 - 07:56 | Permalink

    I never noticed before that the initials of “Sir Henry At Rawlinson End” spell SHARE – thanks for doing so. I spent years waiting for Umbrellas to come out on CD – there was a crappy pirate release, but I now have the currently available CD which is from a better source and authorised by Viv’s widow Ki. There is more Stanshall/Peel stuff out there on bootleg, including some tracks recorded with Keith Moon. It would be nice to see an official release of those some time.

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