Wombles at Glastonbury; creator Mike Batt releases “Snark”

By on May 6, 2011

One of the U.K.’s top songwriters and producers, Mike Batt, is
reprising some of his more beloved backpages. He’s re-assembling The
Wombles to play the presitigious Glastonbury Festival this July
appearing alongside Coldplay, U2 and Beyonce; the British press are
making a suitably big deal of this as you can see from the quotes
included. The Wombles were an eco-conscious version of the Bananna
Splits with the music being provided by the likes of Chris Spedding,
Batt and other notable British musicians. If you’ve never had the
pleasure, have a look:

In addition to mark the 25th year of its existence (without ever
having had a U.S. nor a proper U.K. release) singer, songwriter,
composer and musician, Mike Batt is finally to give a long overdue
full launch to his album The Hunting of The Snark, previously only
available as part of his Archive Series box set via the Dramatico
label this July.
Batt’s love affair with Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem “The Hunting of
The Snark” began in the early 80s. Keeping Carroll’s original verse
as a narrative framework, Batt added lyrics and music and, when the
time came to record the album, he put together a starry cast of
performers to play each of the parts – “the Barrister,” “the
Butcher,” “the Baker,” “the Bellman,” “the Billiard Maker,” “the
Beaver” and the two narrators. Art Garfunkel, Roger Daltrey, George
Harrison, Captain Sensible, Stephane Grappelli, Deniece Williams,
Julian Lennon and Sir Cliff Richard all appear on The Hunting of The
Snark with narration from Sir John Gielgud and John Hurt. Notably,
the album features ‘The Snooker Song’, which was sung by Captain
Sensible and went on to become the theme tune of popular British TV
show ‘Big Break’. Here’s a video sampler:

Mike Batt has been one of England’s best-known songwriter/composers
for four decades. His consistent track record of success includes
production, composition and conducting on projects as diverse as the
Watership Down soundtrack (music and lyrics to Art Garfunkel’s
international number one single, “Bright Eyes”), Phantom of The Opera
(producing, orchestrating and contributing lyrics to the first hit)
and a great deal of symphonic work, including many television and
film scores. Batt has won five Ivor Novello Awards including “Best
Film Song or Music” two years in succession, once with Watership Down
and once with Caravans the epic adaptation of Michener’s novel,
starring Anthony Quinn.
They were a phenomenon of the 1970s, loveable children’s TV
characters who became pop stars.
And 36 years after they left their burrows on Wimbledon Common and
took over the music charts, the Wombles are to re-form.
The band will be reunited for a live performance at Glastonbury,
joining the likes of Coldplay, U2 and Beyonce.
Their appearance at one of the most respected music festivals on June
26 will coincide with the re-release of their five albums.
The band was put together for the TV series by songwriter Mike Batt,
who is also behind the reunion. They had eight Top 30 UK hits,
including The Wombling Song, Remember You’re A Womble and Wombling
The band also regularly appeared on Top Of The Pops wearing costumes
made by Batt’s mother Elaine.
At one point, they were Britain’s biggest pop stars, winning Music
Week magazine’s award for the best-selling singles group in 1975.
Last night, Batt said: ‘The Wombles have never played a full-on
public gig and previously confined their musical activities mainly to
television shows, such as Top Of The Pops, and radio.
‘Last year, Glastonbury’s “people” contacted The Wombles’ “people”
and discussions have been under way ever since.’
While the original line-up including Orinoco, Wellington, Madame
Cholet, Bungo and Great Uncle Bulgaria will be back together, it is
unlikely to be the same men and women inside the costumes.
– Ben Todd London Daily Mail 4/22

Great Uncle Bulgaria and his gang of musical litter-pickers will
appear alongside acts such as Coldplay, U2 and Beyonce this summer.
The original five-piece, which featured producer Mike Batt and
several session musicians, had a string of Top 10 hits such as
Remember You’re A Womble before they finally split in 1976
-Damien Fletcher, Daily Mirror 22/04/2011

ONE of the biggest news stories surrounding Glastonbury this year is
not that pop superstar Beyonce will headline on the Sunday night,
hoping to emulate the performance of her husband Jay-Z in 2008.
No, the really big news is that The Wombles have just announced they
will be reforming especially for the festival. Wimbledon Common’s
finest and one of the biggest musical stars of the 1970s will be
wombling free to celebrate the re-release of their five albums.
The original Wombles band was put together by Mike Batt, a songwriter
who has two other major claims to fame: one, writing Bright Eyes for
the animated version of Watership Down; and two, discovering Katie
-ThisIsBristol 4/25

The original furry eco-warriors from Wimbledon Common are back with
an abundance of album releases and their debut appearance at
All four of their gold-achieving albums plus the soundtrack to the
1977 film ‘Wombling Free’ will be released by Dramatico Records on
June 20th prior to their performance on the Avalon Stage at
Glastonbury on June 26th.
Music-News.com 4/25

Glastonbury Festival organisers have been making good use of bad
rubbish this year – and have revived The Wombles for this year’s
Orinoco, Wellington, Tomsk, Bungo and the rest of the Womble crew
will all be performing live on the Avalon stage, on July 26th.
It will be the pointy-nosed animal’s first venture since their 1976
‘break-up’ following a dispute over the rights to the live
performances, which caused creator Mike Batt to have Wellington
Womble pursue a solo career.
Batt did an excellent job as the composer and song-writer for the
furry ensemble, seeing all four Womble albums reached gold
classification and four singles breaking the Top 10 UK Singles Chart,
such as ‘The Wombling Song’, ‘Remember You’re a Womble’, and of
course the 1974 Christmas hit ‘Wombling Merry Christmas’.
The musical animals suit the style of Glastonbury, as a notably
‘green’ band which reflects the 1970’s movement of ecology – and as
the hippie nature of Glastonbury goes, the green-fingered band will
fit right in. Glastonbury hosts a lot of eco-themed stages and areas,
including a Greenpeace field, and also have a plan in which sees
Network Recycling managing the refuse of the festival – which in 2004
saw 300 tonnes of waste recycled and 110 tonnes turned into compost.
There’s no doubt that this year’s Glastonbury will be a hit for
hippies and Wombles fans alike!
Stereoboard.com 4/25



Author: DaveHHM

Dave Luttrull: Owner/Editor in Chief of Hellhound Music. Star Wars nerd, Gamer, Destiny homer, blogger, writer and lover of all things music.