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Winchester Cathedral

The New Vaudeville Band

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Album Review

Collectables has compiled an adequate collection of songs by this novelty vaudeville jazz outfit that surfaced for a short chart run in the mid-'60s. Although limited in range and at times far too obvious, at their best the New Vaudeville Band delivered a whimsical, sometimes clever take on original and imitation tunes of the 1920s and 1930s. Their hits are here (including the title track, its witty clone "Finchley Central," and the catchy "Peek-a-Boo," along with some of the better album tracks) — as well as some real clunkers. The hits are the best songs here, and the uptempo ukulele-led "Sadie Moonshine" and playfully risqué "That's All for Now Sugar Baby" add some depth to the collection. Fans would have been better served if more tuneful and humorous album tracks had been selected rather than the unfortunate "14 Lovely Women" or the tepid likes of "Holiday Inn" and "Green Street Green" (both performed better on Herman's Hermits albums, incidentally). Another flaw is the lack of recording information and even songwriting credits in the liner notes. Still, this is more than enough New Vaudeville Band for most people, while devoted fans and the curious will be rewarded by supplementing these compact disc versions with the albums in order to get a more flavorful taste of this often entertaining group.

Biography

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s

One of the oddest one-hit wonders of the '60s, the New Vaudeville Band — true to their name — drew from the swinging vaudeville, trad jazz, and British music hall styles of the '20s and '30s to create a distinctively anachronistic brand of novelty pop. The group was masterminded by producer/songwriter Geoff Stephens, who in 1966 convened a group of mostly anonymous studio musicians (including drummer Henry Harrison) to record a jaunty, old-timey British number he'd written called "Winchester...
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Winchester Cathedral, The New Vaudeville Band
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