The songs are wry and witty, often wise and always humorous. They combine the sophistication of Noel Coward and the satire of Tom Lehrer with a touch of Charles Trenet's impudence thrown in for good measure. The composer and singer of these delightful ditties is a young Englishman named Jake Thackray.
For nearly three years, Thackray has been performing his wild words and music in a variety of British pubs and clubs. He's appeared on radio, TV and now, records, yet show business is still more of a hobby than a vocation. (He finally abandoned another hobby, Rugby, when he lost his enthusiasm for the sport along with several teeth that were kicked during a "friendly" game. It not only saved his bridgework, but gave him more time to sing and write.) Like America's Tom Lehrer, Thackray is primarily a school teacher who happens to be a popular performer during his off-hours. But it should come as no surprise that in the course of teaching grade school English, he encourages his pupils to perform his songs, even to the taping of whole musicals.
Those gentle and scholastic tunes will probably be the basis for some future album, but not this one!
These eleven are definitely not the type to be performed by school children or children of any age. They have been culled from the fifty or sixty numbers that comprise the "adult" Thackray collection. Their subject matter ranges from the rustic joys of country bus travel to a bleary eye-witness report on the slightly obscene behaviour of two statues in a park.
But whether he's describing a love affair at a department store rummage sale or the strange slices of life to be found in newspaper personal columns, Thackray always hits his mark with fine humor and amazing insight. He is today's version of the traditional strolling player — a modern minstrel, a jet age troubadour who sticks to material of his own making. He couldn't have asked for a more inspired and gifted composer.