Monday, June 6, 2011

1979: And the turnips don't grow very high

One of my most embarrassing moments involves this song. I was caught singing it at the top of my voice by my brother and his pals.

To set the scene, I was in the garden hunting down the back door key from the greenhouse - we were latchkey children, you see - and with it being such a catchy song and everything I just couldn't help myself. How they laughed! Luckily it never really got round the school. I think everyone secretly loved it.

You don't get songs like this in the charts anymore. Quite apart from the fact that Britain has been kidnapped by RnB, when was the last time a bunch of schoolkids had a hit together?

That's not to say that's a bad thing. In fact, children hate singing children. We used to think Lena Zavaroni was a precocious devil doll, and as for Bonnie Langford! Of course Bonnie's a joy today, but a singing, dancing, showbiz child - neine danke! Eyes and teeth, darling, eyes and teeth.

We used to passionately loathe the Why Don't You? gang, derided Ben the Birds Eye beefburger boy, wanted to take a machine gun to the Junior Showtime crew and wipe out St Winifred's School Choir. Sickly. Yet strangely touching of course.

So who were the Ramblers? You tell me, as I can't find a thing about them anywhere and this appears nowhwere on CD. I have it on a single I found in a charity shop in Malpas, Shropshire, in 1996. Considering the song only ever got to No.11 and there was no charting follow-up, they're probably content to lie low. They must have been a school choir though. Any guesses?


  1. I broke out in a cold sweat after reading the first paragraph.

  2. Oh dearie me. That's a toe-curling reminisce. I bet it still gets brought up at family gatherings.

    Child stars were perfect for uniting any group of kids in unbridled hatred (not that I ever knew any adults who were captivated by them either.). Our favourite targets were creepy Neil Reid, and the entire cast of Junior Showtime. Poor Lena Zavaroni got a good slagging as well, especially when she went to America and got interviewed by Johnny Carson. If you look it up on YouTube, it is actually a quite disturbing piece of film. All was not well, even then.

  3. That's a rather chilling clip, ISBW.

  4. Oh, and yes, Neil Reid. Ghastly. Jimmy Osmond, execrable. Glynn Poole. Lord help us.

    Neil Reid was last spotted when he appeared on Wogan in 1985 doing mother of mine, complete with brocade waistcoat and one of those brooches worn in place of a tie.

  5. It was da kids from Abbey Hey Junior School, in Manchester.

    I can't bear to find out at this hour if this was before or after St Winifred's, but weren't Brian & Michael responsible for starting this schoolchildren singalong schmaltz, with the otherwise quite folksy-nice 'Matchstick Men..'? Or was it that young-old-man Clive Dunn with 'Grandad' (we luv u).

    Thank goodness Pink Floyd parodied the fashion for the school singalong so well.

  6. I think we can go back even pre-Grandad, OP, and put the blame squarely on Keith West's Excerpt From A Teenage Opera. Or even further with the rather eerie Obernkirchen Childrens' Choir doing The Happy Wanderer in German.

  7. I've been trying to post a comment on here for what feels like weeks (your blog does not like my work computer it seems), and finally...

    I've nothing to say.

    Other than NEVER watch Australian 70s and 80s 'ratings hit' Young Talent Time. It's the show that made Danni famous before Kylie you know...

  8. For some reason, I always had this one down as being a Number One, in the Lena Martell mode. I'm quite surprised to find that it only got to 11.

    You're absolutely right of course about kids hating precocious kids on the TV. It was the drama school brats on Emu's World that I didn't like. Not sure now why I ever watched the show. Maybe it was on after Dangermouse.

  9. Hooray, welcome Cocktails!

    And Thumper, do you think we were secretly jealous of those kids?

  10. Yes, I think we probably were, in a kind of "look at them, they're so naff, if only they'd asked me, I'd have done it differently and so much better and cooler" type way.