Lionel Fanthorpe

The Weird World of Lionel Fanthorpe and Jon Downes and the Amphibians From Outer Space

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"Weird" barely scratches the surface. Lionel Fanthorpe is a beloved British crackpot, erm, that is, Fortean researcher. Active since the '50s, he spent the '90s hosting a British television show on Fortean and paranormal phenomena, at the end of which he would sing a traditional folk tune with new revised lyrics about the topic of the day, such as "The Loch Ness Monster" or "Hunting for the Yeti." The Weird World of Lionel Fanthorpe and Jon Downes and the Amphibians From Outer Space collects 15 of these songs, with Fanthorpe backed by guitarist Jon Downes and a semielectric folk-rock combo along the lines of the Oysterband or Cordelia's Dad. Fanthorpe's inimitable voice, a cross between Noel Coward and the actor Edward Everett Horton, and his genially odd lyrics are at the center of these charmingly ramshackle tunes, with the band providing a loose, casual backdrop. The Weird World of Lionel Fanthorpe and Jon Downes and the Amphibians From Outer Space, lengthy title and all, will be a delight for fans of both the paranormal and the just plain freaky.

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