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TENPOLE TUDOR (Buy CDs by this artist)
Eddie Old Bob Dick and Gary (UK Stiff) 1981
Let the Four Winds Blow (UK Stiff) 1981
Swords of a Thousand Men (Can. Stiff) 1981

This wonderful, over-the-top crew of rowdies was led by the inimitable Edward Tudor-Pole, a looney Londoner whose wobbly vocals lend the proper air of debauchery to the band's hard-driving arias. Eddie Old Bob Dick and Gary contains such classy trash as "Wunderbar," "3 Bells in a Row" and "Swords of a Thousand Men," replete with bizarre concepts, catchy melodies and loopy singing. The great tracks co-exist with some real dogs, but when Tenpole Tudor are on the mark, their good humor and rock energy are undeniably infectious.

Let the Four Winds Blow takes the band (up or down isn't an issue) to a new plateau, working flippant pseudo-country ("Throwing My Baby Out With the Bathwater"), mock-funk ("Local Animal"), even ersatz ballroom schmaltzola ("Tonight Is the Night"). The Canadian-only Swords of a Thousand Men wraps the best tracks from those two LPs in the artwork of the second. Not for the uptight or supercilious, but John Otway fans will understand.

Sir Edward then abandoned his fulltime singing career for a series of blindingly funny cameos in such films as The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle (in which he sings "Who Killed Bambi?" into a vacuum cleaner handle), Sid & Nancy (a great bit as a hotel clerk), Walker (a rare dramatic role), Absolute Beginners and Straight to Hell. He has also done London theater.

[Ira Robbins]