The Cooks of Cake and Kindness - Californians

Fontana single, 1967

Producer Irving Martin sure had a knack for big productions and it’s a wonder that collectors don’t toss his name around more. Anyway, Martin took this John Carter/Russ Alquist track, gave it to harmony poppers the Californians and the result, with its Magical Mystery Tour-like horns, is magical. John Carter recorded his own version as The Flower Pot Men but that version remained unreleased until it appeared on CD in the 90s.



  Phoebe's Flower Shoppe - The Cortinas

Polydor single, 1968

It’s not surprising that the man behind this catchy little single was songwriter, producer and musician Graham Dee. Dee is responsible for other catchy songs including co-writing credits on John Bromley’s “Weatherman” (#64) and novelty songs like “My Daddie is a Baddie.” The Cortinas, according to the recent reissue of Restless Night, morphed into Penny Farthing’s own Octopus.







Town of Tuxley Toymaker - Billy J Kramer

Reaction single, 1967

NEMS handed out Bee Gees songs as fast as the brothers could write them. So it’s no surprise that Kramer ended up with one. With an effective arrangement and Kramer’s serious vocal delivery the song works and it should have been the song to put him back in the charts. Interesting that the theme of this song seems similar to the Kinks’ Tin Soldier Man.



The Muffin Man - World of Oz

Deram single, 1968

Is it me or do these muffins taste a little funny? Anyway, this impossibly catchy song has got to be one the most “out of touch with 1968” songs released that year... yet we love it so much we’re getting hungry just thinking about it.



The Sound of the Candy Man’s Trumpet – Tony Hazzard

CBS single, 1968

Tony Hazzard isn’t someone most of us associate with toytown pop but the fact is that he’s given us two great examples – both on this list. This time Hazzard takes the vocal duties on this fairytale song. It’s true that Hazzard generally sticks to real people in real circumstances but we like the results when he strays into fantasy land.







Craise Finton Kirk Royal Academy Of Arts - Bee Gees

LP track from 1st, 1967

When I was a young lad in school the teachers made us sing “Frere Jacques” every day before class started. While I’m not exactly sure why it was important to tell you that story of my tortured youth I do think this song was at least partially inspired by that French ditty. Of course if I had my own school I’d force the kids to sing Craise Finton Kirk every day. By the way, if you own mono and stereo versions of this song compare the vocals as they are quite different with the stereo version sounding like it was sung in a box.








Phenomenal Cat - The Kinks

LP track from Village Green Preservation Society, 1967

Although we like this song immensely (obviously, since we put it at number 39) there is something very scary about the little cat’s voice. By the way, if we were giving out awards for the best use of mellotron in a toytown song this one would be number 1.



Jumbo - Bee Gees

Polydor single, 1968

Barry Gibb says this song is about a kid’s imaginary elephant friend and we have to believe him because otherwise there is no explanation for the insane lyrics. But it’s the nonsense nature of the Bee Gees lyrics that puts five of their songs in our list so credit where credit is due.



See the Little People - Mike d'Abo

LP track from Gulliver’s Travels, 1969

Unless you have been living under a rock you know that d’Abo was Manfred Mann’s second lead vocalist and is also a very talented writer. However, this song was a solo effort from an LP he did for Immediate Records as the Manfreds were coming to an end. And a cute track it is, told from Gulliver’s perspective.







(He's Our Dear Old) Weatherman - Mark Wirtz

Parolophone single, 1968

This is the third and last single from the fabled Teenage Opera and in many ways it’s the best. At this point Wirtz appears to have been so confident in his “all in” production style that he even employed a kazoo as a lead instrument. What makes this record so fun is that you can almost picture the EMI executives pounding their heads against their desks when Wirtz presented the song for release. All of the key opera elements are here including the kids, the orchestra and the abundant percussion. The only thing missing is Keith West who, much as we love him, could never have delivered this song the way Wirtz delivers it.













Equestrian Statue – The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band

Liberty single, 1967

It seems likely that the Bonzos were making fun of current pop music trends when they recorded this song but the parody is so good that we had to include it here.







Little Girl Lost and Found - Peter & the Wolves

MGM single, 1968

This song so fits the style of Peter and the Wolves you may be surprised to learn that it’s actually a cover of an American song. It was originally recorded by the Garden Club and was written by Tandyn Almer who wrote Along Comes Mary and by Dan Walsh author of several hits by the Grass Roots. The clear toytown winner however is the British version with John Pantry’s fairground organ featured prominently.










Alice - Jon Plum

SNB single, 1969

As can be seen in our photo Jon Plum was really two guys. Jonathan Edward Kennett and David Roy Plummer were writer/singers with a seeming determination to recreate the Righteous Brother’s sound. Only in this case the song turned out to have a bit of a psych twist with its Alice in Wonderland theme (though it’s clearly not about that Alice). If Kennett and Plummer wanted a Wall of Sound behind them they found the right producer in Ray Singer. Seems Mr. Singer released some tracks produced by Mark Wirtz who was, at the time, developing his “everything but the kitchen sink” styled recording techniques. Jon Plum released one more excellent single on SNB again produced by Singer.




Laughing Man – John Carter & Russ Alquist

Spark single, 1968

Recorded in the basement of Southern Music, this track has the distinction of being the one of only two times John Carter used his own name on a record. Co-writer/co-artist Russ Alquist, an American, made a name for himself with a couple hits in the mid-60s and even collaborated with Bobby Darin later in his career. But in early 1968 the songwriting world was still reeling from Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour. Oh and it didn’t hurt that Alquist was, by his own admission, smoking large amounts of pot. All of these influences resulted in a strange track with one of the most infectious choruses in our list






Colonel Brown – Tomorrow

LP track from Tomorrow featuring Keith West, 1968

Toytown loves retired military people especially those with dead spouses so it should be no surprise that this Keith West song ranks so high on our list. As cute as the song may be check out the great Steve Howe guitar work and you’ll understand why he became such a big star.













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