Friday, 19 July 2013

Engelbert the Elephant by Tom Paxton

Do you ever hear a song which manages to take you right back to your childhood?

When I was little I had a tape which my dad had copied from one at the local library, he'd even designed a cover for the case for me with a little black and white clipart image of a teddy bear. Honestly, I didn't quite understand the process when I was very small and believed that it was him singing on it, but in reality it was Tom Paxton.

There were a whole selection of songs on it. One was called 'Katy' written by Tom for his daughter; I went by 'Caiti' when I was little so I was convinced that the song was for me. Another favourite song was called 'The Marvellous Toy' which I'll have to find online and share in the future.

But my favourite little earworm at the moment is a charming song called 'Engelbert the Elephant'. For quite a while now I've been wanting to knit an elephant in some lovely dark blue wool I got a few years ago and name him Engelbert, and this song is the reason why. By the way, I have no idea why my Engelbert should be knit in dark blue fleecy wool, just in my mind that's always been the way he'd looked.

In the song, Engelbert lives in the wild but one day he is accidentally invited to a Royal Ball. Not being one to turn down an invitation he learns to dance, gets himself an outfit and toddles off to join the royal party. A good time is had by all and Engelbert is a huge hit. I've mentioned my love of songs with stories and this one truly has a story to it, as you can hear (my favourite bit is just under two minutes into the song when Engelbert has to sit on the floor):

The image shown above is from the same CD that my family managed to track down for me a few Christmasses back. It costs a small fortune to get over here now, but my uncle in America found it for me and sent it over. I'd actually forgotten Engelbert's song until I opened the CD case and then I fell in love with it all over again.
And while I was in the process of searching for this song on YouTube I stumbled across a version of the same song performed by Val Doonican the year before I was born. I remember my Nan talking about his show and Mr Click and his parents remember watching it too, so it's quite cool that I found this version:

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