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This is a truly unusual performance in the theatre (I've only seen clips from youtube, yet to see them live) and despite the high quality of the CD, it's not quite the same as seeing the faces and behaviour of the band.
Not everyone knows The Tiger Lillies, so I'll tell you a little about them. They are a three-piece band that have been going for the best part of 20 years and were formed in London, they consist of portly frontman Martyn Jacques, the comical Adrian Huge on drums (occasionally wears a pig mask or drums with toy babies instead of sticks) and the former session musician Adrian Stout on double-bass and/or musical saw who as he wrote in his bio "This once serious musician has since then found himself dancing in leider hosen, making love to inflatable sheep and dressing as a cheap prostitute."
They are generally described as dark, humorous, Brechtian with a hint of gypsy cabaret. Martyn Jacques notoriously spent 8 years living in a brothel in Soho to perfect his falsetto voice (I'd have gone for singing lessons personally, silly me!), if you blend Boy George, Ernst and a wicked character plus Hyacinth Bucket singing and you are some way to creating the monster/genius that is Martyn Jacques. The Tiger Lillies are pretty popular in Russia where they did a split album with legendary Russian ska band Leningrad labeled "Huinya" (direct translation: dickness)
Ok ok, stop waffling..
THE ALBUM - SHOCKHEADED PETER: A JUNK OPERA!
Shockheaded Peter is a collection of tunes from their theater performance The Shockheaded Peter Tour which is based on the stories of Der Struwwelpeter (Shaggy Peter - Heinrich Hoffmann, 1845) which was a Children's book for the ages of 3-6 which is so bloody terrifying, I'm not sure I'd read it now! Kind of makes a mockery of today's film ratings! The album was made in 1998.
1. Struwwelpeter Overture
2. Cruel Frederick
3. Dreadful Story About Harriet And The Matches
4. Bully Boys Listen Listen
5. Story Of The Man That Went Out Shooting
6. Snip Snip
8. Fidgety Philip
9. Johnny Head In Air
10. Flying Robert
11. Shockheaded Peter
Songs to look out for:
The Dreadful Story of Harriet & The Matches
Revolves around the story of a little girl who is told not to play with matches but curiosity gets the better of her and her blonde locks go up in flames and she burns to death whilst an onlooking cat repeatedly meows in frantic madness. The story is told to slow piano playing and starts off very slowly and starts to build up around the 2 minutes walk to what eventually becomes complete madness. You'll see what I mean about Hyacinth Bucket, if you listen to this song. 10/10
A bloated Martyn plays the accordian and the band produce a great Balkan sound here which starts off and remains at a high tempo throughout. Whilst the lyrics aren't as great as on some other songs, they get full marks for power, enthusiasm and it's a song you really would never expect to hear. 9/10
The Story of the Man Who Went out of Shooting - A story of a hunter who falls asleep and has his gun stolen by a hare who then proceeds to chase him and shoots him, then shoots another hare before accidentally shooting herself. Here's an example of the lyrics from part of the hunt scene "At last he stumbles into a well, arse over tit and in he fell, the hare takes aim and hark, Bang! Goes the gun and hits the mark! Bang! Bang! Bang!", this is played to very impressive gypsy music.
Snip Snip - Amazing story telling to what sounds like Bavarian Beerhall music or perhaps fair ground music, the story which is less jolly involves a child who is told not to suck his thumb, continues and is later de-thumbed by an over excitable taylor - snip, snip, snip, snip!
Flying Robert - This song is slow and details the story of a boy who has an umbrella which he clings to even though it goes up in the air, Martyn's voice is shown in a very good light here in comparison to some of the other songs which have him screaming.
The artwork is jolly, the songs different and tell interesting and well articulated (albeit a little sick) stories! Funny that the book was considered for 3-6 years old! I really rate this album, Martyn's voice can be a bit shrilling and you have to be in a fairly good mood to listen to it or it could annoy you! The Shockheaded Peter Tour is back on at the moment (In New York at the moment I believe), I'm planning to try to pick it up in Dresden at the beginning of July.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Struwwelpeter Overture
2 Cruel Frederick
3 Dreadful Story About Harriet And The Matches
4 Bully Boys
5 Story Of The Man That Went Out Shooting
6 Snip Snip
8 Fidgety Philip
9 Johnny Head In Air
10 Flying Robert
11 Shockheaded Pete