Cherrywood Green – Just William    

Spark single B-side, 1968

Hey, it’s Herbie’s People again, this time under the name Just William. One of many great Spark singles uncovered on Tenth Planet’s Electric Lemonade Acid Test Vols 3 & 4.



Weatherman - John Bromley     

LP track from Sing, 1968

According to Bromley he wrote this song for kids even though its theme is unrequited love. Apparently this perfect little McCartneyesque tune was performed on the Children’s show ‘Rainbow.’ South African singer Quentin E Klopjaeger also did an effective version on his album ‘Sad Simon Lives Again.’



Dogs In Baskets - Geranium Pond     

Previously unreleased. Issued on Syde Tryps 5

Dogs in baskets, pigs in blankets.... it’s all good. Anyway, so many of John Edward’s productions seem to have remained unreleased but Syde Tryps 5 presents some of the best pop psych you’ll hear. If only you could find the LP.








Three Jolly Little Dwarfs - Tomorrow     

LP track from Tomorrow featuring Keith West, 1968

You’ve got to credit Keith and Tomorrow for releasing this track. It ends up working but in the wrong hands it could have come out like Spinal Tap. Our favorite version of this is from Top Gear where Brian Matthews introduces it as a song for “baby hippies.”



When I'm Five - Beatstalkers     

CBS single B-side, 1969

The first song in our list that proves the early inventiveness of Mr. David Bowie. The arrangement on this version really shines although apparently the Beatstalkers weren’t fond of the Bowie’s songs – being an R&B outfit at heart.




Goodbye Thimble Mill Lane - Peter Lee Stirling     Decca Single, 1967

Yes, there are two songs with this title and both were written by Peter Lee Stirling (aka Daniel Boone). The other version of the song was recorded by Schadel and is a big production Tom Jonesish affair. The version that concerns us here is far more characteristic of Stirling’s bouncy pop styling. Given that Stirling was working as a vocalist with Mark Wirtz during this period it's not surprising that there is an air of Teenage Opera about this story of the destruction of a “working class” neighborhood. There is a thematic connection between the two versions. The Stirling version is told from a young boy’s perspective during the destruction and Schadel’s is told from a mature perspective, later.







I Lied to Auntie May - The Neat Change     

Decca single, 1968

The definitive version of this song written by Andy Bown of the Herd. Of the two versions this one get the Toytown vote








Ice Cream Man – Kidrock      

Youngblood Single, 1973

First heard by many of us on a volume of Circus Days, this track is credited to Clover. However, a couple of years ago the online fanzine Sweet Floral Albion uncovered the truth that it’s really a single by songwriter Tony Taylor under the name Kidrock. Apparently it was Taylor’s intention to release an album of children’s orient pop music and the result, as heard on the various singles, is an inventive array of tunes. Circus Days has done us the favor of compiling several more of them under the name Stars (Dream, Dream, Dream and Auntie Annie’s Place.). One additional Kidrock single exists, the charming pairing Rock-a-Bye Blues/Bang Bang.



Broken Toys - Broken Toys     

Polydor single, 1971

Top toytown detectives worked around the clock to discover that this mysterious track on Circus Days 4 is by Chris Arnold, David Martin and Geoff Morrow who wrote songs for Cilla Black, Joe Brown and even Elvis Presley. They also recorded themselves as Butterscotch who released similar singles in the early 70s. But facts aside, no song exemplifies toytown pop like this one. The bouncy beat, flutes and chamber orchestration belie the sad lyrics about a boy who only owns hand-me-down, defective toys.















Broken Toys is featured on the Circus Days Vol 4 compilation



Looking Glass - The Bunch    

CBS single, 1967

Clearly there were two or three different groups who were known as the Bunch. Originally a light R&B act the name was ultimately taken over by John Pantry and Peter and the Wolves. This one seems to fall somewhere in between the two. Still its an effective portrayal of a topsy turvy world using the Alice in Wonderland theme.


John Pantry at the controls in IBC Studios


Fairyland - Pop Workshop     

 Page One Single, 1968

What would you do if someone said to you “meet me Saturday night in fairyland?” Please don’t answer that question. Anyway, that’s the premise of this song that is neatly set on top of a Motown beat. But the lyrics and arrangement transform its otherwise derivative musical backing into something special. The song was written by harmony pop master Ben Findon and the arrangement is by Mike Batt.



Harry the Earwig - Pete Dello & Friends

LP track from In to Your Ears, 1971

Can anyone besides Pete Dello devise a song about sword play between two insects?










Love and the Brass Band – Dave Christie      

Mercury Single, 1968, A-Side of Penelope Breedlove

The mysterious Mr. Christie produced this fantastic single who’s A-side, Penelope Breedlove falls just shy of making our list. However, the B-side gives Toytown its third brass band








Easy Street – Eddy Howell      

Parlophone Single 1969

A market street on Saturday, a Salvation Army band playing, a bunch of strange characters and presto, an instant classic that made an appearance on the great soft pop compilation Fading Yellow.





Spare a Shilling – The Bunch

CBS single B-side, 1967

Under the auspices of Eddie Tre-Vett the Bunch were handed this John Pantry song. Pantry was especially adept at love-gone-bad songs and this one appears to be about a man turned beggar when his girl leaves him.







Uncle Arthur - David Bowie

LP track from David Bowie, 1967

Oh boy, if someone wrote this song today there’d be all kinds of weird interpretations. But in Bowie’s hands the tale of man who can’t seem to escape his mother’s tight grip it told with such charm that you can’t help but feel sorry for them both. Besides, anyone who follows Batman can’t be half bad.





Jenny Artichoke – Kaleidoscope

Fontana single, 1968

A favorite Kaleidoscope track here because it's so uncharacteristic of their previous material. This child-like rhyming number seems to fall somewhere between the Move and the Hollies but the playing is all classic K. Tons of fun!





Skeleton and the Roundabout - The Idle Race

Liberty single, 1968

Way back in the 60s the man who would be Tom Petty’s producer wrote wonderfully inventive songs like this one about a skinny fairground worker whose job is in jeopardy when he turns chubby.




  Man in a Shop – Marmalade

CBS single, 1967

There must something inherently lonely about men who dress shop window mannequins, at least the way Marmalade tell it. Fans know that this track was done by the first incarnation of the band. Eventually songwriter/guitarist Junior Campbell would leave his spot to Hugh Nicholson. Nicholson moved on to create the band Blue making room for the third and last version of the Marmalade.












Victor Henry's Cool Book -The Smoke

Metronome (Germany) single, 1968

The Smoke pays tribute to self-help books on this Lovin’ Spoonful-ish number. Geoff Gill, the band’s drummer, eventually moved on to writing and producing. He eventually found success with his partner Cliff Wade when Pat Benetar covered their song “Heartbreaker.”



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