If you watched television during the 60s and 70s (69 -74 to be more precise) in the UK then you will recognise, if not immediately, Peter Wyngarde’s Jason King character from ITC’s Department S program.
For those not familiar then take Austin Powers and inject it directly in the gentleman’s region with a gallon or so of testosterone and you’re beginning to get there. Peter Wyngarde’s character was a TV sleuth masquerading as a crime writing “shag-monster” who would seduce and “liberate” his on-screen conquests from their daily lives of drudgery and transport then to a world they’d only previously read about in seedy pulp fiction novels.
He was a serious actor and was nominated twice for “Actor of the Year” and by the end of the swinging 60s had starred in over 120 plays and so when this record came out the first time on RCA in 1970 (when Mr Wyngarde was at the height of his popularity) it must have been more than a little shocking – even in a time of relative permissiveness when compared to only a few years prior.
This new release on Cherry Red (out 17th March) can only be described as being absolutely and utterly stark raving nuts! If you were expecting a little tongue in cheek Austin Powers naughtiness and tongue in cheek slap and tickle then think again!
This record kicks off with the 60’s theme-music-esque “Come In” where Wyngarde’s upper class lovey spoken word vocals set the scene by way of welcome to this evenings “victim” before moving into track 2’s “You Wonder Where These Things Begin” which is more seedy spoken word over Greensleeves type music. And then in comes track three. Now there are some pretty direct and forthright titles for tunes out there but this one is particularly straight to the point and is called “Rape”. Yep, you read it right …Rape! Utterly, utterly nuts and certain to raise an eyebrow or two. To say it is politically incorrect is akin to suggesting that Hitler was a bit misunderstood. In these politically correct charged times (or any other time for that matter) this song can only be described as dodgy on so many levels it’s untrue. It wouldn’t be too far off the mark to tick the racist and misogynistic boxes before you’ve got 15 seconds into the tune.
This record really wasn’t what I was expecting at all and I’m pretty certain it got (and will get) pretty much zero airplay. It will appeal to some folk as a social document of the times as being quite interesting. The supporting bumph says “This record’s outrageousness often overwhelms what would still be one of the more bizarre episodes in popular music” and I think that pretty much sums this record up.
Like I say…NUTS!…but then quite a compelling listen in a strange voyeuristic kind of way. File under dodgy-under-the-counter-brown-paper-bag-man-in-mac-porn section of your collection…if you have one!