Today’s April Fool’s Day bonus Pop Rescue from an uncertain fate, is 1981’s It’s Fan-Dabi-Dozi! – the second album by Scottish comedy couple The Krankies. Will this album have you Krankin’ up the volume, or is it a full on Dozi listen?
The album opens with the sound of elephants, monkeys, and various jungle animals in the intro to Hubba Dubba Dooby. Then it’s straight into the chugging of the song – laden with brass, guitar, bass, and catchy beat, set against lots of sound effects, Tarzan calls, and animal roars. Ian and Wee Jimmy (Jeanette) put in a cheerful and fun performance. I could easily imagine this being on a children’s TV show as it’s pretty damn catchy. We’re off to a good start! The track did get released as a single, but it failed to chart.
That leads on to Tony Macaroni, a ‘wee Italian man‘ that little Jimmy claims to have met. Here we have a load of plodding bass and accordion that once again gives us a catchy melody and foot-tapping tempo. Ian puts on a Scottish-Italian accent (as best I can describe it) as this silly narrative flows along with Wee Jimmy’s main vocals as Tony Macaroni and Wee Jimmy chat.
Press The Boogie Button is next, and this bursts in sounding like a late 1950’s song that would get Shakin’ Stevens frothing at the mouth. The vocals are fast here, and Wee Jimmy delivers them with seemingly great easy. It is reminiscent of The Hokey Cokey and If You’re Happy And You Know It at times, but this likeness weaves in and out, leaving the rest of the track loaded with saxophone and piano that sound fantastic.
Then we’re on to We’re Going To Spain, which as expected, has many Spanish and Latin music motifs scattered through it, but then takes the classiness of a comedic attempt at Y Viva España. The main focus of this song is about going on a plane to Spain ‘today’, which given the rhyming potential of any other country, the other option must have been a caravan to Iran. It’s a playful song, but it just feels a little weaker.
That’s followed by Wee Jimmy Krankie, and it’s time to get the kazoo out as Jimmy sings about his school day. I could easily imagine this as having been a single, as it’s quite fun and catchy, and would have been a good focus on Jeanette’s school boy character.
Next it’s Jimmy’s Gang, which thankfully doesn’t step towards the Leader Of The Gang from contemporary artist-come-convicted-paedophile Gary Glitter. They dodge this perfectly, even the intent is the same. ‘Come and join Jimmy’s gang‘ they sing as the beat gallops along, flanked by saxophones and bass. The song was released as a single, but it didn’t chart.
Side Two opens with a dramatic piano roll and we’re straight into the titular track Fan-Dabi-Dozi, which was also the album’s sole single. This is another chugging guitar and foot-tapping track, and is pretty catchy too. The track takes lots of musical lines from popular nursery rhymes, but it just about manages to hang together as a full song. The couple chat regularly between verses, but it’s not too off-putting, even the key change works well. The track stalled at #46, and The Krankies never bothered the UK charts again.
Then it’s The Krankie Rock, in which you’re invited to ‘rock it to me, Jimmy‘ as some more funky saxophones lead us through another 1950’s musical reminiscent song. The repetition in the song works quite well, but otherwise it sounds fairly dated now.
Where’s Me Mum? follows that, and this was originally released in 1975 (although didn’t chart). Here we have Jimmy singing about his ever-absent mother, and asks the question we’re all thinking of. At moments, I can imagine Janey Godley singing this with ease, but instead Jeanette delivers this nice little mid-tempo sad song with seeming great ease.
The tempo is up, alongside more growling guitars for The Haggis Song. Instantly I recognised the melody as being a copy of the Glory Glory Hallelujah (or Battle Hymn of The Republic) but here it’s a song about going to the butchers to buy a haggis, as if you hadn’t spotted the Krankies’ Scottish origins. It’s a simple song, and it’s familiar melody lends it some degree of tolerance.
Then it’s time for But You Love Me, Daddy, which gives us a surprise cover version of Jim Reeves’ 1959 song. Here, it’s delivered equally by Ian and Jeanette in a serious way, although it plays to the comedic reality of the characters. Both Ian and Jeanette put in a great performance here, and perhaps this should have been the single instead.
The album closes with The Magic Piper, which takes us back to a more playful and childish sound in a fantasy land. It bounces along with great ease, with Jeanette on lead vocals. Soon though, the magic piper, presumably with all the children entranced by his playing, leads them off across a windy landscape and the record fades out. Who knows what became of them in their fantasy land….
Over all, this album is surprisingly coherent and more musical than it is filled with comedic chatter.
I was curious of this album. This comedy duo, Ian and Jeanette Tough, were across 1980’s television a lot, with their Scottish accents, and strange ‘father and son’ characters. However, they became more ridiculed as they headed into the 1990s, and so I wasn’t sure what I was about to hear.
The album was not as I had suspected it to be – with far more emphasis put on actually singing, and the musicians clearly are capable too. Yes, the duo do have some comedic spoken moments, but these are played as asides to the songs themselves. Producer Pete Kerr has the songwriting duties on nine of the 12 songs here, and that seemingly helps to keep the album consistent. Ian and Jeanette both have good singing voices, with Ian seemingly more at home in the ballads and rockier songs, whilst Jeanette, thanks to the high range of her voice, can cope with the comedic as she can the childish.
Opener Hubba Dubba Dooby, Press The Boogie Button, and (the should’ve-been-single) But You Love Me, Daddy are the highlights here, but even at its weakest, it’s a middle-of-the-road album. We’re Going To Spain feels a bit cheap, simply because it’s a bit lazy with it’s lyrics, but then that was pretty much how the British attitude was towards Spanish holidays in the 1980s.
This album was definitely not as ‘bad’ as I expected it to be, and at times it’s actually quite fun and catchy.
- POP RESCUE 2023 REVIEW RATING: 3 / 5
- 1981 UK ALBUM CHART PEAK: Didn’t chart in the UK.
- POP RESCUE COST: £2.99 from a Discogs.com seller.