Funboy Five ‎– Ramptonesque

Cool-Cat-Daddy-O ‎– Phun 2103
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1 Ramptonesque 3:17

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For several decades a familiar figure in and around Hemel Hempstead, Ken Bouttell, better – and often only – known as Rampton, died after a short illness in June 2011.

In the late 1970s, he was a fan (to such an extent that he was actually mentioned in one of their songs) of the Hemel band, the Anal Surgeons, in which I was playing guitar. Rampton lived around the corner from me and one day asked if he could come by to play some of the songs he'd written. He started coming around every night with more and more songs.

He knew that only three chords were needed to write a song. What he didn't appear to know was that those three chords should, in theory at least, have a particular musical relationship to each other. Rampton simply played the three chords that he could and each song was, chord-wise and rhythm-wise, identical.

In truly Ramptonesque style however, what seemed like ineptitude turned out to be genius. When, in about 1978, Rampton assembled his own band, Pie Shop, the fact that every song used the same chords in the same way made them quick and simple to learn for for the barely- and non-musicians he had brought together.

The result was something that sounded completely unique and in its spontaneity and defiance of tradition, in its obliquely imposing name, and in providing Rampton with an otherwise unattainable means of self-expression, might have been the very epitome of punk.

Pie Shop continued into the 1980s, Rampton's enthusiasm for audience participation at one gig bringing to the stage a pub regular who was determined that he (the regular) could sing better than Rampton. He could, of course, and proved it by crooning through House Of The Rising Sun and Walk On The Wild Side. But see the bigger picture and the Ramptonesque juxtaposition: a Hemel Hempstead pub regular taking to the stage to sing about a 19th century brothel in New Orleans and transsexuals in 1970s New York City.

After his death the Funboy Five, that is myself and John McRae, a schoolfriend of Rampton's, composed this piece of music with him in mind. Dawn From Next Door provided the voice. We think of it as an instrumental with vocal – Ramptonesque indeed!

Mick Sinclair 2015.