My Name is Jack - Manfred Mann

Fontana single, 1968

The Mann’s blame the failure of this song to achieve U.S. chart placement on the controversy surrounding the lyric “ comes superspade who really puts it on” (changed to “ comes superman” for the American market) but if we’re being honest about it there is no way this nursery rhyme of a song could have been taken in by the American buying public. Though its true that the lyrics are, in themselves, a fabulous nursery rhyme, it’s the recorders (played by Klaus Voorman) that catapult this song to the top 20 of our list.



William Chalker's Time Machine - The Lemon Tree

Parlophone single, 1968

Ace Kefford left one of the coolest bands in the world and created one of the coolest records on our list. What we think makes it so cool is the fusion of a soul backing track with fantasy lyrics. The whole thing is topped off with great singing. It’s a shame that Ace couldn’t hold it together and make this band a success but we’re glad for this one record.



(Here We Go Round) the Lemon Tree - The Move

Regal Zonophone single B-side, 1967

Perhaps we’re getting a little rude by listing a song about a peeping Tom hoping to turn his crazy neighbor’s lemons into cider but we believe that any rewrite of Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush should be included here.











Baked Jam Roll in Your Eye – Timebox

Deram single, 1969

Talented soul outfit Timebox takes a stab at a nonsense song about Martians and yet the action all somehow centers on the bizarre title. Buried in the lyrics seems to be a strange sort of anti-war message but the song is such a fun mess that we see no reason to take in seriously... except of course as a great addition to our Toytown list.



Gilbert Green - Gerry Marsden

CBS single, 1967

If ever a song and a singer were a perfect match it has got to be Gilbert Green and Gerry Marsden. What’s so neat about this record is that the production is big without being pretentious or heavy-handed – it’s just perfectly suited to the song. The one disappointment is that we never get to hear Gilbert Green’s song about “laughing men and yellow beans.”





Glass House Green, Splinter Red - Kinsmen

Decca single, 1968

Flutes, a snare drum, a piccolo trumpet and a dead gardener – how perfect can one song be for our Toytown list? Don’t let the violent death get you down because John Pantry created an amazingly clever pop song both lyrically and melodically and the Kinsmen do it justice with a great arrangement. Check out Pantry’s excellent demo on The Upside Down World of John Pantry (Tenth Planet). We consider that LP to be the best reissue of British Pop music… of all time. Put that in your greenhouse and grow it!













John Pantry---Writer/ Singer/ Musician/ Engineer/ Vicar


Our Fairy Tale - The Herd

Fontana single, 1968

Back in my high school days the girls swooned to Frampton Comes Alive but little did they know that Peter was in a really cool band before he became a mega star. In fact before he came alive he also wrote some pretty good songs like this one with Andy Bown. Yes it’s more of a love song than it is toytown but the metaphoric “fairy tale” seems to fit (hey, it’s our list!). Besides how can we resist a line like: show us the way to our next entry...



Mr. Small the Watch Repair Man – Kaleidoscope

LP track from Tangerine Dream, 1967

What we like about this song is that it’s quaint without being trite and that’s no mean feat with the topic of a small-town tradesman who dies alone. True the theme is similar to Grocer Jack but this song doesn’t have a happy ending. In fact we’re left to wonder who is going to fix the watches and clocks in the town. More than likely someone will move in and charge the townspeople too much. So it’s very sad but there must be sadness in Toytown from time to time. What better band could there be to deliver the news?


Ye Olde Toffee Shoppe - The Hollies

LP track from Evolution, 1967

The Hollies come through with our first truly happy song of the top 20 and one of the cutest songs on the list. No metaphors and no deep message here; just a great melodic song about a candy shop and the old lady who runs it. The song is highlighted by harpsichord, flute and some amazing harmonies by Graham Nash and Alan Clarke. A real treat. Favorite toytown lyric: Gobstoppers in my pockets, brown sugar in my hand, lollies you suck that last all day and sugar that looks like sand



Leave Me Here - The 23rd Turnoff

Deram single B-side, 1967

This wonderful track is sometimes overshadowed by its A-side (Michaelangelo) but in many ways it’s the better of the two songs. Just a guitar, some voices and someone pounding on cardboard box (or the like) makes for a magical mixture of Wind in the Willows meets Lennon and McCartney. Perpetrated by the talented Jimmy Campbell this is quite simply one of his best songs and one of our favorites. Favorite toytown lyric: Boys in yellow and green, all going to see the Queen.



  BACK TO 30-21   FORWARD TO 10-6