Archives » John Cleese

Friday on my Mind 114: Rhubarb Tart Song

The B-side of The Ferret Song (see last week) had a tune based on the middle part of one of John Philip Sousa’s marches, The Washington Post, and had a lyric which became typical of the Monty Python style since the song references a slew of philosophers and artists and also includes nods to popular culture as well as Shakespeare – all wrapped around an idea of the utmost silliness.

I really like the cleverness of the rhymes with the word tart, though.

John Cleese with the 1948 show choir: Rhubarb Tart Song

Friday on my Mind 113: The Ferret Song

Monty Python didn’t come out of nowhere. There was a ferment among English comedic talent following in the wake of Beyond the Fringe in the early to mid-60s, with individuals coming together in various combinations, splitting apart and recoalescing in TV shows like At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set as well as the immortal radio comedy I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Againtwo of whose songs have appeared in this category previously – before the main players settled down into their most famous incarnations as Monty Python’s Flying Circus and The Goodies.

I first remember hearing this classic (I can’t bring myself to categorise it as music however) on I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again but it had been performed earlier in At Last the 1948 Show and it also counts towards those singles from my elder brother’s record collection – see this category numbers 53-56.

John Cleese with the 1948 show choir: The Ferret Song from the 1948 Show

Reelin’ In The Years 62: On Ilkla Moor Baht’at

I first heard this parody on the radio. Along with my elder brother I used to listen regularly (every week without fail) to the comedy programme I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again (1964-1973) which along with Bill Oddie, the purveyor of this ditty, featured John Cleese, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, Jo Kendall and David Hatch. I can still utter quotes from it even today. (Once heard, who could ever forget the strains of the Angus Prune Tune?)

Episodes from the series can be found on the BBC’s Radio 4 Extra pages. Relistening, it is now obvious from where I got my love of outrageous puns.

The track is a reimagining of a traditional Yorkshire song about the dangers of wandering on Ilkley Moor without a hat utilising the style Joe Cocker employed in With a Little Help From My Friends. It was eventually released as a single in 1970 but I’m sure must have been in a late 60s episode of the radio show. As I remember it the radio version carried more bite, though.

Bill Oddie:- On Ilkla Moor Baht’at

The B-side was another parody.

Bill Oddie:- Harry Krishna

free hit counter script