Last time I posted about a missed episode it turned up anyway, but it seems the episode to be shown on June 2nd according to current advance schedules will be that originally broadcast on 3rd June, missing out the 27th May broadcast. Again, if this is true we can only speculate - has host Jimmy Savile blocked his shows from the run? Has the tape, shown on UK Gold in the dim and distant past, been lost? Who knows, because we'll never conclusively find out after the start of May shenanigans. What we'll miss if it's not shown, as well as a lot of repeats including JJ Barrie and a band who make their notable TOTP debut in this week, is this Ruby Flipper masterwork.
Also, turns out someone else is also doing this show blogging business.
Dave Lee Travis in an all black outfit, including gloves, that he doesn't wear for the rest of the show. Also, a full head gorilla mask. The reason is unclear, except perhaps to the family conscious what with the possibility of having to be exposed to his features for half an hour at a time. At least he doesn't mention the already falling Laurie Lingo & the Dipsticks at all. Not even subconsciously.
City Boy – The Hap-ki-do Kid
Glossary required here. Hap-ki-do is a Korean martial art that seems to have died out in the west apart from with Wesley Snipes, which at its best looks like this. City Boy were a Birmingham-based pop-rock band in the finest tradition, led by the future leader of the Maisonettes, who'd have a big hit with 5-7-0-5 in 1978 and would be one of Mutt Lange's first successes as a producer. Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas had been eighteen months earlier and record labels weren't quite as quick back then. Neither were City Boy at adapting to television - singer in white suit and neckerchief looking like Bob Mortimer when he did a sketch as Noel Edmonds, guitarist in top hat who clearly wants to be the frontman instead, bassist in leathers, keyboard player resembling the modern day Roger Daltrey a huge head of late 70s footballer/early Princess Di hair. The lyrics, by the way, are entirely about a kid who's good at hap-ki-do, but to an AM radio funk-rock backing that nobody would do faux martial arts moves to on the dancefloor. "An exciting new sound", apparently.
Lee Garrett – You're My Everything
"Alright! Laid back!" Garrett starts, rather too urgently. No, not illfated teen idol Leif, but the co-writer of Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours and Stevie Wonder collaborator (also blind, apparently, though it's not apparent from his stage style) Fairly standard pop-soul by rote, actually, up until out of the second chorus when he takes advantage of live vocals and breaks into a monologue that isn't in the published lyrics: "yeah, for a kid that got thrown up, beat out of radio stations a million times I think I've done pretty good - you have faith in yourself and I'm pretty sure you'll be on Top Of The Pops too, ha ha! All you have to do is have faith in you and you can make it baby, believe it, take it from me!" Nobody cares. Perhaps they lost him at the bit where he was beaten for throwing up in radio studios.
Diana Ross – Love Hangover
DLT has a plastic duck wearing either a sombrero or woolly hat tucked into the top buttoned up button of his shirt. Wacky, see. He then pretends to introduce Groovy Kipper instead of Ruby Flipper. Two weeks in and already the presenters don't have faith in them. It's a fascinating routine with a story, starting with some interpretative arm waving on a bed before the disco section kicks in and everyone else turns up in outfits straight from The Stud. We can't work out whether one of the awkward looking males is Paul Nicholas or a Flipper ringer. He looks similar and has the curly head of hair, and in a white ten gallon hat he's not really dancing much, just... exuding.
Slik – Requiem
Everyone's remembered their baseball gear this week, and Midge's plaintiveness to camera lessons are coming on a treat, before the director goes and misses nearly all of his solo. It gets a bit too jaunty for a true requiem, it has to be said.
Andrea True Connection – More More More
The story of how a hardcore porn actress, stranded in Jamaica by political unrest, chose to spend her downtime making a disco classic is well thumbed. Not unreasonably for someone involved in the most underground of filmic arts she's not a natural performer in this promo clip. Squeezed into tremendously tight hotpants and a fringed pale shirt she may be, but her idea of dancing to the funky rhythm is swinging her arse a bit. She also looks about ten years older than she was, but that's unforgiving yellow lighting for you.
Jimmy James and the Vagabonds – I’ll Go Where Your Music Takes Me
Some jaunty dancing leading with the elbows by a man in a hat down the front momentarily distracts from a set of Vagabonds - supper club chancers, as mentioned when this was first on the show - whose choice of yellow shirts and pale blue suits both makes them blend into backing band background and makes them stand out next to their sharper suited leader. In the instrumental break there seems to be some spoon against bottles percussion in the middle of the mix. Perhaps it's there because someone in the orchestra was under-utilised that week.
Gladys Knight and the Pips – Midnight Train To Georgia
Afro'd effortlessness from Knight, Pips in choreographed swinging to either side in 1930s design style suits. You'd expect nothing less. And then "me hearties, it's time to grunch your groats". No, Dave, that's pirates.
The Wurzels – Combine Harvester
What are we to do with this?
The classic banjo/sousaphone/accordion power trio line-up there. The badges say 'I'VE GOT A BRAND NEW COMBINE HARVESTER' disappointingly. This was the Wurzels' national breakout, local heroes who'd got this to number 33 already, so if you think it looks odd now imagine what sort of culture shock it must have been to people with no prior knowledge of band or record, even if they were more likely then to know what Brand New Key sounded like. We do wonder if the orchestra had a go at recreating this backing, being as it is banjo, some sort of basic percussion, occasional tuba and piano and no accordion at all as far as we can tell. Disappointingly online sources aren't keen to tell us which one's which, so we can't sympathise with the comedy oversized brass wielder by name seeing his obvious less chuffedness c
ABBA – Fernando
Still round that fire. DLT introduces this standing inside a cardboard skyscraper with a full New York-style skyline behind him, which given the Ruby Flipper performance it was required for has been edited out just makes him look like he's calling too many shots in the name of weak comedy set pieces. Then, prior to a playout featuring Melba Moore's all too forceful This Is It, he finishes the show draped in sousaphone and accordion with badge on forehead. Yeah, maybe he's thinking about his own place in entertainment too much for pure linking's good.
EDIT NEWS: The Bellamy Brothers performance from the other week, Ruby Flipper dancing to Archie Bell and the Drells' storming Philly sound Soul City Walk (which is on YouTube but WMG had it muted when they used to do that sort of thing) and... Paul Nicholas! As this was his last diagnosis of reggae pneumonia on the show, we shall discuss this more in a few days.