Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band / The Bonzo Dog Band

Gorilla

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Gorilla was the 1967 debut album by the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, who would thereafter drop the "Doo Dah" from their name and establish themselves as the greatest satirical British pop band of all time. Their first effort is far more tentative and tamer than their second and third albums, when they hit their stride by expanding their musical and topical recklessness. The Bonzos, after all, did not begin as a rock band, or even a pop band, but as a somewhat vaudevillian comedy outfit that owed a great deal to British music hall traditions. This album may be low-key, but that's not to say it doesn't retain a good deal of charm. The humor is extremely dry, subtle, and British, leaning more toward their trad jazz roots than the churning London pop/rock scene. It nonetheless includes a few great moments: the deadpan jazz vamp "The Intro and the Outro" (wherein a smarmy MC introduces a bevy of historical figures in a show band, including Adolf Hitler on vibes), the film noir satire "Big Shot," and their vicious send-up of "The Sound of Music." It's not recommended as a starting point, but those who already appreciate these wonderful British eccentrics will find this an enjoyable document of the band's more restrained roots.

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