DVD review: BARRY WOM – Plenty-Mental Journey

BARRY WOM – Plenty-Mental Journey

Guilty Dog Productions

The main feature of this DVD is “John Halsey – A Life In Pitchers”, which is an entertaining interview with the man best known for his role as Barry Wom in The Rutles. With a running time of over two hours, ‘The Admiral’ has no end of stories to tell about his career, and the relaxed studio set up (which finds him in conversation with Michael Livesley) makes for an enjoyable viewing experience.

Halsey starts off by running through his family history, including a link with the Krays. His first success came with Timebox and their hit single ‘Beggin’’, and they evolved into Patto. Both groups included guitarist Ollie Halsall, who would continue to work regularly with Halsey over the years.

Session work saw Halsey play on several tracks on Lou Reed’s “Transformer”, notably ‘Perfect Day’, ‘Vicious’ and ‘Satellite of Love’. He also worked with Roy Harper, Viv Stanshall, and played on the theme tune to the TV show “Tiswas”.

Having been with Neil Innes in the band GRIMMS, Halsey was later recruited to work with Innes on the TV series Rutland Weekend Television. This, in turn, subsequently led to the Rutles film and album. This period is discussed in some detail and is sure to be an interesting watch for any Rutles fan.

When the session work started to dry up in the 1980s, Halsey ran a fish business for a while and later became a publican. The Rutles reformed on the back of The Beatles “Anthology” project and, until the sudden death of Neil Innes in late 2019, they had been playing live shows on a regular basis.

In addition to the interview, the DVD also includes four new Barry Wom songs – each of which has its own video. ‘Enough’ is a particular highlight, and all four tracks capture Barry’s inimitable and unique style! A bonus feature comes in the form of ‘Christmas In Bavaria’, performed by John Halsey, Michael Livesley and Rodney Slater (from The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band).

The DVD cover art is, of course, a spoof of Ringo Starr’s “Sentimental Journey” album cover. Originally for sale at Rutles concerts, Halsey himself is now selling copies via eBay UK. ****

Review by Jim Henderson

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