Wednesday, 15 December 2010

"Was there a LP soundtrack for Three Hats for Lisa?"




 I see from the magic of statcounter that someone who googled the above question today was directed to the Gnome Thoughts ... 25 post on this blog rather than, say, post 3, which is all about the film. Presumably google picks up words from the labels on the right as well as the posts, which is unfortunate, but if that person should chance to revisit this blog then I think I'm fairly safe in saying: no. There wasn't. I've certainly found nothing online and have searched thoroughly.

Ah, you say, but what's that image above?



Why, a rather crudely executed mockup, of course.

So why didn't the film merit a soundtrack release?  It was a supporting feature, for a kickoff, and apart from Robert Ross's Sid James Companion I don't think I've come across anything much in the way of critical appreciation - though I do remember a critic in the Glasgow Herald praising its freshness when it was televised around the late seventies. I saw it on the big screen around 1979 or 1980, at a kids' matinee screening in Paisley, so that probably didn't count as a major revival.

And much as I love it, and captivating as Sid James' chance to shine during Bermondsey may be, I have to admit that overall the music ... well, What a Crazy World it ain't, let's put it that way. Which doesn't matter when you see it, when you take it as a single experience, the fairytale which the music over the closing credits implies, but I suspect that certain songs, heard without the distraction of the picture postcard visuals or the beguiling features of Sid James reacting to Sophie Hardy, or Una Stubbs' dervish act, or whatever, might wear out their welcome a tad more more quickly.

I occasionally work with a friend of Leslie Bricusse and when I mentioned the disparity between Bermondsey and some of the other songs he did suggest that it was not unknown for Bricusse to reuse material from his bottom drawer - and as this was hardly a big budget production, maybe that was the case here. I haven't seen it for a while but I've got a feeling that the song Joe Brown - literally on his bike - sings at the beginning, was by another hand, though why that may have been I don't know. Possibly that was released as a single? Bricusse is otherwise responsible for the music and lyrics and the story itself, although the screenplay is by Carry On and Up Pompei writer Talbot Rothwell. But I won't say more, as everything else I know is in that earlier post.

I did toy with creating my own Three Hats For Lisa soundtrack CD, by the simple act of recording the relevant bits of audio from my ebay-purchased off-air recording, and might indeed have done so had the recentish mammoth Leslie Bricusse songbook contained anything from the film.

But it didn't, although it did contain one song which is a tribute to Lennon and McCartney, entitled The Songs of John and Paul written, the accompanying note says, not long after John Lennon was shot. I can't read music, and I can't find a recording, so all I can say is that lyrically it doesn't add up to much, but, like Three Hats For Lisa, context is all ...

... though I suspect that for rather different reasons neither the shade of John nor the living Paul will be entirely happy about Bricusse's concluding line (my emphasis):

They gave us Yesterday.

Ouch! As Neil Innes (or Phil Pope) might have put it.

4 comments:

  1. If you ever do a soundtrack album, here's a track listing

    I( I have guessed at the song titles)



    "This is a Special Day"
    Written by Leslie Bricusse and Robin Beaumont
    Performed by Joe Brown 


    "The Boy on the Corner of the Street Where I Live"
    Written by Leslie Bricusse
    Performed by Una Stubbs, Sandra Hampton and Beth McDonald 


    "Something Tells Me (I Shouldn’t Do This)"
    Written by Leslie Bricusse
    Performed by Joe Brown, Una Stubbs and Dave Nelson 


    "I’m the King of the Castle"
    Written by Leslie Bricusse
    Performed by Joe Brown, Una Stubbs and Dave Nelson 


    "Bermondsey"
    Written by Leslie Bricusse
    Performed by Joe Brown, Sophie Hardy, Sid James, Una Stubbs and Dave Nelson

    "L O N D O N (London Town)"
    Written by Leslie Bricusse
    Performed by Joe Brown, Sophie Hardy, Sid James, Una Stubbs and Dave Nelson 


    "Three Hats for Lisa"
    Written by Leslie Bricusse
    Performed by Joe Brown, Sophie Hardy, Sid James, Una Stubbs and Dave Nelson 


    "Two Cockney Kids"
    Written by Leslie Bricusse
    Performed by Joe Brown and Una Stubbs 


    "Have You Heard About Johnny Howjego"
    Written by Leslie Bricusse
    Performed by Sid James, Una Stubbs and Dave Nelson and chorus


    "That What Makes A Girl A Girl"
    Written by Leslie Bricusse
    Performed by Joe Brown, Sophie Hardy, Sid James, Una Stubbs and Dave Nelson 


    "I Fell in Love With An Englishman"
    Written by Leslie Bricusse
    Performed by Sophie Hardy

    
"A Man s World"
    Written by Leslie Bricusse
    Performed by Sophie Hardy 


    "Covent Garden"
    Written by Leslie Bricusse
    Performed by Joe Brown, Sophie Hardy, Sid James, Una Stubbs and Dave Nelson and chorus


    "One Day in London"
    Written by Leslie Bricusse
    Performed by chorus

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  2. They sound about right ... and they remind me that the songs are an odd mixture of good and not, er, quite so good. But they are performed with verve, and the whole make believe world is enticing. Gillian Lynne did the choreography.

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  3. My friend Barry Crocker (Barry McKenzie) provided this info --- Dave Nelson's real name is David Clark (he's still around) and he was in a duo with Barry called "Crocker & Clark" in the 1950s/early 1960s --- they supported the Tommy Steele tour in 1958. David went solo in London, and was managed by the notorious Kray Twins --- he left England to escape the attentions of Ronnie Kray. More on David's career in Barry's forthcoming book, "Barry Crocker - Last Of The Entertainers"......

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  4. Dear Ged, you say David Clark is still around aka Dave Nelson. I am is nice and have been trying to locate him. I am compiling a family tree. Is he still alive and if so do you know where? Regards Anne Clark

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