The Strain
3.15 (Stanshall) Suggestress of Suicides, Mother of Lunacies: Save me from shadows &........... The firm dimension of created things. Push, push. The 1st. Movement from the Abbott of Unreason.
2.10 (Innes) Music to cross London Bridge by. In documentaries: They disappear down their own Oxford Circus.
King of Scurf
4.40 (Innes) My scalp is squamous and...... I sport a beard to hide my spots, I s'pose. Although, Sometimes when the sounds grab me: I jump right up & ... Pose & mine before a glass gold-edged & flecked with age. But for these trifling imperfections...hey...I look...pretty good.
Uh huh......
Waiting for the Wardrobe
3.10 (Spear) From stone, to mounds of steel, they howl. From fathomless infinities. Wardrobe. Stuff'd spawn of Celebes private ears. Arise. Monolith Wardrobe, rise! We wait & Soon, soon: We'll see.
(Vocals/sax/xylophone: Roger Ruskin-Spear, drums: Legs Larry Smith.)
Straight from my Heart
3.00 (Stanshall/Innes) Cardio-paranoid-paroxysm. "Oh, you can get pills for that". Pills? I've swallowed that many, I walk round like a blinkin' maracca. Black'n' Whites/red,n.greens/blacks/blues/booze.You name it. T'other day the quick lays a new one one me: Red, green & yeller. "What's this gonna do?" I arsks... "Oooh, nothing much" he quips quick as a cobra... "It just directs the traffic". A love song.
Rusty (Champion Thrust)
7.50 (Smith/Kaye) Two Chaps of like persuasion, outlawed by society, in my pompous swelling opinion, carry out their clandestine correspondences, in public before an audience of dissenting adults. 
"I don't care what they do, so long as it doesn't frighten the horses". True romance. A Weepie.
(vocals/drums: "Legs" Larry Smiff/Co Piano & Organ: Tony Kaye)

Rawlinson End
9.31 (Stanshall/Innes) Part 14. A thoroughly engrossing yarn written from the womans point of view. Serialised that he would never be close enough to O to take command, Ian though he was tall enough & the men obviously respected him. Due for leave, he decides to return immediately to Rawlinson End, little suspecting that Paula is pregnant.
Now read on....
Don't Get Me Wrong
4.51 (Stanshall/Innes) How could you? Sometimes I think you're so shallow. You don't care about my baby, you just care for me. Parasmia
Fresh Wound
4.25 (Innes) Up Memory Lane. "Yeah, that's right. Records are mortal, too, y'know. Together: I don't know how to put this but;...(Effect: Thunder) All: I've decided to leave the group. You can't do that...what about the tax-man. All on account, dear boy, no matter. No grey matter. I'm not sticking around to hear all this filth... we'll continue this in public, you sod. Oh yeah, & world peace off the lot of yer".
Tasteless guitar solo: Neil Innes

Bad Blood
5.10 (Stanshall) Rick O'shea the popular young criminal sings before a corrected audience. Recorded 'dead' at the Bordstiff Training center for Boys & Terrestial Scum. They spat at Oscar Wilde (C.ll) on the way to Reading Jail. A little tent of blues. (O'shea served 7 years for agent-bashing).
2.20 Film: 1948. Surgical appliance officer played by Jaques Tati encounters vivacious but suicidal young actress Charleen, who is hopelessly in love with cheerful truncated Tom Straightenough played by Audie Murphy. What follows is everyone's guess. Horror comedy. Repeat Zzzz. Fin. That means 'the End' but; not for us, eh, darling? Here let me help you with your mantle of your madness. Whatsay a large last one, then on to my place for the full-strength stuff ....... or, or, yours if it's nearer. Oh, this time I'm really going to...... but sweet thing...... why do you weep? Fin.

Vivian Stanshall (vocals/ukelele)
Neil Innes (piano/organ/heavenly sqwarking)
Bubs White (electric "Brainbiter" gtr./Spanish gtr.)
Andy Roberts (fiddles/mandolin/rhythm gtr./acc. gtr./heavenly sqwarking)
Dave Richards (Bass/empyreal screeching)
Dick Parry (saxophone/flute)
Hughie Flint (drums/perc.)
Rodney Slater (in spirit)
Mixing/Arrangements: Neil Innes
Engineers: Tom Newman & Phil Newell
Recorded at The Manor, November 1971
Sleeve note etc. V. Stanshall
Record-conception (R. Bight/Mark Fry)
Produced by Neil Innes & Vivian Stanshall
except 'Rusty' produced by "Legs" Larry Smith & Tony Kaye
Tony Kaye appears by courtesy of Atlantic Records
Andy Roberts courtesy of September Productions
Hughie Flint courtesy of Capitol Records


By Prof. Harvey J. Satan

WELCOME TO "THE BRAIN OPERA" !........what?.....oh.......sorry.

If Vivian Stanshall had things his way, this would've been "The Brain Opera", unfortunately the idea was rejected.

Welcome to "The Bonzo Dog Band Contractual Obligation Album!"....er.....ooops.

Next, the Bonzos tried another approach. United Artists were getting tired of 18 months worth of bargaining with The Bonzos, and finally gave in, declaring if The Bonzos would regroup and release one final album for them, they would consider their contract completed. The Bonzos agreed, but were so unhappy about this "contractual obligation", they literally went into the studio, set a timer for 45 minutes, recorded whatever noises they wanted to, and declared it their new album. According to Vivian Stanshall, the following day, they came to their senses, and not wanting to rip-off their fans, they gathered as many musicians as they could and began work on "Let's Make Up And Be Friendly".

Now Read On...

Side One opens with the ultimate in toilet humour, as Vivian Stanshall invites us to do "THE STRAIN", part dance craze, part bowel movement. An obnoxiously comical tune, about all the wrong things that can take place, while one is relaxing in the privacy of the water closet. This is followed by the Neil instrumental "TURKEYS", which makes one wonder what Neil knows about Turkeys that the rest of us don't. Slightly comical, slightly majestic, and slightly terrifying, it would make an interesting soundtrack for a film on Turkeys. ( If it were made by David Lynch! ). "KING OF SCURF" is a parody of Beach Boys style sand/surf/love songs, in which a young man with a certain scalp condition becomes the new popular man about seaside! Perhaps the first surf song to include a fiddle! "WAITING FOR THE WARDROBE" is Roger Ruskin-Spear's golden moment to shine, with "Legs" Larry assisting. Roger has the ability to make the simplest things in life, seem menacing and alien, in this case a wardrobe. It starts off slow and lumbering and breaks out into a straight forward rock-n-roll number. A small taste of what would later be Roger's style on his own solo releases. Next up is "STRAIGHT FROM MY HEART", in which Vivian takes on soppy love songs, and "call and response" vocals. Heartfelt and silly are words that would best describe it. "Legs" Larry Smith, with the aid of Tony Kaye, close out this side, with the brilliantly hilarious "RUSTY ( CHAMPION THRUST ) ". A witty song covering, among other things, cheese, sexual fetishes, a homosexual couple breaking up, awkward cocktail parties, and much much more. With a great reprise ending. It makes you wonder what other gems Smith & Kaye would've produced at this time.

Side Two begins with the saga of "RAWLINSON END". Vivian finally tacks down the narrative on one of his favourite subjects, Sir Henry Rawlinson and family. ( This would later lead to two albums and a film. ). A wonderfully bizarre tale of strangeness, honor, family, and British eccentricities. Vivian would later claim this was inspired by the introductions to radio serials he listened to, he never wanted to hear the whole story, just the exciting highlights all run together. "DON'T GET ME WRONG", is a fine example of Neil & Vivian trading off vocals, half rock ballad, half exasperated plea for understanding, this shows how two different ideas, can be molded into one stream of musical consciousness. "FRESH WOUND", is Neil doing a power ballad, somewhere between Meatloaf and Bruce Springsteen. It starts off as a pop ballad, segues into a bit of show biz smarminess, and then launches into the grand finale! A song to make your throat hurt. "BAD BLOOD" is Vivian's salute to westerns. Making use of nearly every style of country music, from spanish guitar, banjo and honky tonk piano, to the sounds of country-rock, Vivian uses every cowboy cliché to tickle the funny bone. And finally, the album closes with, "SLUSH"....one might almost call it "A Clown's Requiem". Neil sends the Bonzos off to Valhalla with this beautifully haunting instrumental. ( That's him laughing, by the way.). This song also adds a sort of closure to the Bonzo circle, the first song on their first album, "Cool Britannia", ends with a woman laughing repeatedly, and here, the last song on their last album, ends in laughter. Quite fitting.



;"Let's Make Up And Be Friendly" by The Bonzo Dog Band

March,1972 - United Artists (UK - UAS-29288 / US - UAS-5584) - Gray sleeve with Bonzo postcard
glued on to front. Both UK & US releases are identical. ( A first! )


 "Let's Make Up And Be Friendly" by The Bonzo Dog Band

1974 - Sunset Records - (UK - SLS 50418 ) -  Black sleeve with Bonzo postcard printed on the sleeve.


"Slush"/ "Music From Rawlinson End" - 1972 United Artists ( UK ),UP35358

The A-Side is taken directly from the album, while the B-Side is quite rare, "Music From Rawlinson End", is just Neil's music, minus Vivian's narrative. This single is considered very rare, as it was pressed, and then cancelled for distribution.
( Presumably part of United Artists disenchantment with the band.)

CREDITED BAND MEMBERS: Vivian Stanshall ( vocals/ukulele ), Neil Innes ( piano/organ/heavenly squawking ),
Dennis Cowan ( bass/slide guitar/voices ), Roger Ruskin-Spear ( vocals/sax/xylophone ), "Legs" Larry Smith ( vocals/drums )

ADDITIONAL BAND MEMBERS: Tony Kaye ( piano, organ), Hughie Flint (drums, percussion),
Anthony `Bubs' White ( electric "brainbiter" guitar/spanish guitar), Dave Richards (bass, empyreal screeching ),
Dick Parry ( saxophone, flutes.), Andy Roberts ( fiddle, mandolin, rhythm and acoustic guitar, heavenly squawking ).

BAND MEMBERS THAT DIDN'T MAKE IT ON THE ALBUM: Rodney Slater. ( listed here as "In Spirit" ).

THE BEATLES: There are two Beatle references on this album. Both on "Fresh Wound", first, Neil is heard to say, "Come on George, snap out of it.". This was brought about, after Neil had read a newspaper story about George Harrison being down. Second, if you read the song description on the back of the sleeve, it's a mock drama about the Beatles breaking up. ( Including two song references: "You Can't Do That", and "Taxman" )

MONTY PYTHON: Yes, there is even a reference to them here as well! On "Bad Blood", Vivian throws in references to the "Lumberjack Song" sketch. Besides mentioning the Lumberjack being thrown out of the Seborrhea saloon, ( Seborrhea being a scalp condition, thus the Barber Shop connection. ), and then the narrator declares, "I could've been a doctor, or an architect", a direct quote from the sketch.

WAIT A MINUTE, WHAT ABOUT "THE BRAIN OPERA"?: Apparently, it was completely written by Vivian Stanshall & Arthur Brown, and basic tracks and ideas were discussed, but it was never fully realised. The premise was the story of  German surgeons vying for cash prizes to work in America. It was supposed to be recorded first, then to tour as a live stage production. There was even an "Excerpts From The Brain Opera", recorded for the John Peel radio show, but that didn't go over well either. All that survived were several lyrics that Vivian would later put into other songs, and two songs which would later turn up on the Arthur Brown album "Kingdom Come".

WHAT'S IN A NAME?: Although titled "Let's Make Up And Be Friendly", not all the Bonzos were exactly on "friendly" terms at this point, Legs Larry's "Rusty" was recorded independently, as was Roger's "Waiting For The Wardrobe". For the most part, for this album, The Bonzo were Viv, Neil & Dennis. ( A little bit like The Beatles "White Album" recording sessions. )

FOLLOW ME: Musicians Dave Richards and Andy Roberts would later appear in many of Neil's solo projects, as well as being members of "Grimms". ( They would also turn up in 1991 for Vivian's "Dog Ends" stage shows.)

MORE ABOUT "TURKEYS": Many years later, Neil Innes would take the bridge from "Turkeys", and insert it into the song "Time To Kill" ( found on the "Off The Record" album ). The newer homage is played by a string quartet, and sounds quite dignified....even for turkeys.


NEIL INNES: after this release, Neil went on to....hang on, why am I telling you this? Just explore the rest of this website, for the rest of Neil's career.

VIVIAN STANSHALL: from here, Vivian would go on to do all sorts of projects! Vivian appears on numerous albums, including ones by Mike Oldfield, John Entwhistle, Steve Winwood ( co-writing most of the "Arc of a Diver" album.), and The Damned, to name a few. He did numerous television commercials, and radio show appearances, wrote and performed in his own stage production "Stinkfoot", appeared on the "Innes Book of Records" television show, released numerous singles, and appeared in two films, "That'll Be The Day" ( with Ringo Starr, as a teddy boy ), and his own film "Sir Henry At Rawlinson End". ( appearing briefly as "Hubert Rawlinson" and the Narrator, with Vernon Dudley as "Nigel Nice" ). He also released four albums, "Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead" ( featuring Neil. ), "Sir Henry At Rawlinson End"," Teddy Boys Don't Knit" ( featuring Neil, Roger, and Sam Spoons ), and "Sir Henry At N'didi's Kraal". Vivian came closest to ever having a live Bonzo re-union show, in 1991, with his "Dog Ends" shows, featuring Himself, Roger and Rodney. ( with appearances by Ollie Halsall & John Halsey as well. ). Sadly Vivian Stanshall passed away in March 1995, in a house fire. He was the epitome of true British eccentricity.

ROGER RUSKIN-SPEAR: from here, Roger went on to do many projects. As "Roger Ruskin-Spear & His Giant Kinetic Wardrobe", he released two albums "Unusual" & "Electric Shocks". He was in several bands, "Tatty Ollity" ( with Sam Spoons ),"The Slightly Dangerous Brothers", "Bill Posters Will Be Band" ( with Sam Spoons, and Rodney Slater. ), and appeared on the song "God Is Mad" by "Albertos & Los Trios Paranoias". He appeared on Vivian Stanshall's "Teddy Boys Don't Knit" album, and in the "Dog Ends" shows in 1991. He also taught at Chelsea College of Art, now retired.

LEGS LARRY SMITH: from here, Legs sort of ran off to appear on everyone elses records and stage shows! Among them, Elton John, Eric Clapton, John Cale, and George Harrison. He released a single, "Springtime For Hitler"/"I've Got A Braun New Girl". He sang the title track, as well as performed in the film "Bullshot". Besides appearing on George Harrison's "Extra Texture" album, on the song "His Name Is Legs, Ladies & Gentlemen", he also did all of the graphic design work for the album "Gone Troppo", and it's ad campaigns. He remained a close friend of George for ages. His most recent project, with back up band The Berlin Bratz, was a revised and updated version of "Springtime For Hitler", a four track cd., proported to be part of his larger stage show project, "Call Me, Adolph".

DENNIS COWAN: from here, Dennis joined the short lived band, "Abednego", which featured John Etheridge, Lynton Naiff, and future Innes collaborator John Altman.  Dennis then became the original bass player for the stage show, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", and can be heard on the original London stage show soundtrack album. Next up, he was part of another short lived band, "Darien Spirit". In October 1973, they released a single, "Rock Your Soul", and an album, "Elegy To Marilyn".( Famous for it's album sleeve art of Marilyn Monroe with 3D changing lips.). Sadly, this was as far as Dennis ever went, he died in 1973 of peritonitis. Neil and Vivian were hit hardest by this event. Neil dedicated his "Recycled Vinyl Blues" album to him. Vivian wrote the song "Vacant Chair" ( recorded by Steve Winwood ), in his memory. ( "Vacant Chairs" are floral chairs sold by funeral parlours. )

THE END? : Not exactly.... in 1987, Neil, Vivian, Roger, Rodney & Legs regrouped for one final song, as "The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band", and recorded, "No Matter Who You Vote For, The Government Always Gets In ( Heigh Ho! )". A pointed political statement, which they originally planned to re-release each election year in Britain!