28 September 2009

"Never tell a man the truth about the one that he adores"

I wonder if I'm the only person on this blog old enough to remember the musical comedy team of Flanders and Swann.

This is their performance of "The Armadillo." Those who need help with the lyrics will find them here. For a brief biographical sketch of Michael Flanders, go here.


  1. Nope, you aren't the only one. I think at 67 I've got a few years on you. I do remember Flanders and Swann; they were very popular during my college days. Sadly, the only song I can bring to mind now, though, is "Madeira M'Dear."

  2. Something wrong with the video, BTW. I tried to watch it on YouTube, but I got an error message.

  3. There is at least one brief audio glitch where a few words are lost and the volume decreases.

    My embedded version is different from the YouTube original in that I trimmed it to start at the 7:00 mark to highlight just the one song from the performance.

  4. I've got their "At the Drop of a Hat" CD right here--as an old student (also 67 until next month) of pre-Shakespearean drama, I love their "Greensleeves."

  5. I grew up with Flanders & Swan - thanks to English parents (Dad is 80 now).
    The Gasman Cometh, Transport of Delight, A Gnu, mud, Cannibal, Lost Horn, the months, etc
    I doubt I've got the names right but I can remember some of the lyrics to what I've listed as well as the tunes.
    The albums we had were "at the drop of a hat" and "at the drop of another hat"

  6. Of course I remember. In addition to At the Drop of a Hat and At the Drop of Another Hat, there was a third album, The Bestiary of Flanders and Swann with a series of wonderful animal songs. Donald Swann, a marvelous light pianist, wrote the music while Michael Flanders wrote the lyrics. I have enjoyed light musical comedy such as Tom Lehrer and Stan Freberg - but began for me with Flanders and Swann. Flanders died in 75, Swann in 1994, I believe.

  7. The armadillo song is funny, but many of the other songs are much funnier. I adored the Gasman song when I was a child, and I think their song about a french horn is pure mad British genius: 'I once had a whim and I had to obey it, to buy a French horn in a second-hand-shop, I polished it up and I started to play it, in spite of the owner, who begged me to stop...' etc. At their least funny, Swan & Flanders were somehow creepy and worrying to a child, but the lyrics were wonderful, the pastiche-settings clever, funny and wonderfully zany. I'm very glad to have seen Flanders and Swan's performances go out live on the BBC, - though I was still under 10 when they disappeared. How many of our modern performers are such competent (skilled) entertainers?

    1. Welp i just found out that the version I know of "armadillo" by Frank Turner is a cover. Thanks, everyone. Now I feel like a clueless little turd, which i am

  8. I sing a Flanders & Swan song every year at a charity concert in UK. The Armadillo is a very fine example of Flanders' mastery of the satyrical embedded lyric and Swan's beautiful inspired music. In this field they created works of genius never to be repeated.

  9. I just love Flanders & Swann. http://caroleschatter.blogspot.co.nz/2012/03/flanders-swann.html


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