Aug 08

BONEY M – “Mary’s Boy Child/Oh My Lord”

FT + Popular69 comments • 6,355 views

#430, 9th December 1978

Christmas is a time for the kiddies, but I can’t say Boney M made much impression on this five-year-old: “Mary’s Boy Child” was never quite a first-division carol for me, and as for Frank Farian’s unique contribution to the mythology of Christmas, “Oh My Lord” just didn’t register.

Much though I’d love to be writing a hearty defence of Boney M here, this second No.1 shows them at their worst: self-editing doesn’t seem to be a Farian skill and at almost six minutes this is cripplingly long. It’s a frothy bubblebath at first – the girls’ creamy vocals and the rippling steel drums ushering you into a grotto festooned with Christmas tack – but by the end the water’s getting cold and your toes are looking horribly crinkly. The problem is that the group do the entire of “Mary’s Boy Child” – not in itself a short song – and then go into the “oh my lord” routine. Everyone seems to be on autopilot, and the vim which makes their good songs good is mostly absent (Poor old Bobby Farrell looks unimaginably bored in the video). Go back and listen to “Rasputin” instead.



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  1. 51
    Tim on 18 Aug 2008 #

    Mike (#42) – the whole-side-of-an-LP version of “Knights In White Satin” by Giorgio splits down into three tracks (though the listener wouldn’t know it):
    1. Knights In White Satin
    2. In The Middle Of The Night
    3. Knights In White Satin

    A certain Mr Moroder is credited with writing track 2. I assume that was a royalties grab, and that was 1976, I think.

  2. 52
    Mark G on 18 Aug 2008 #

    I have to say though, the “Oh My Lord” bit at least livens up the track a tad. Imagine how dull it would have been without it.

  3. 53
    DJ Punctum on 18 Aug 2008 #

    No, it just makes me wish more fervently that they’d hitched a ride on Jim Jones’ wagon.

  4. 54
    Malice Cooper on 18 Aug 2008 #

    I’ve never forgiven them for the LP sleeve of “Love for sale”


    I should mention that my mother loved Boney M and made a rare excursion into “Kelly’s Radio” (our local record shop) and asked for LPs by “those nice black people”

  5. 55
    Chris Brown on 24 Aug 2008 #

    Well, I hate ‘Bankrobber’ and ‘C30…’ but I also hate whatever that awful ELO track they played was.
    Today’s Bottom To The Top managed to pick a (mostly) decent chart from 1980, although for some reason the only Top 20 hit they missed was Cliff.

    As for this – it’s another in the long long list of tracks that were endlessly repeated through the medium of cassette at various school events. Or at least I assume it is, as I haven’t the energy to revisit it. Oh my Lord indeed.

  6. 56
    intothefireuk on 6 Sep 2008 #

    Oh my Lord indeed. The fact that it’s a Christmas song does mean it’s almost forgiven for being very dull. Almost but not quite. The only things I can find in its favour are that it is suitably festive and it did feature a mad man in a Santa suit.

  7. 57
    Mark G on 8 Sep 2008 #

    Wasn’t Roky Erikson, was it though?

  8. 58
    DJ Punctum on 8 Sep 2008 #

    #55: They didn’t miss Cliff; “Carrie” was at #19 and was played.

  9. 59
    Brendan on 25 Sep 2012 #

    As with ‘Rivers/Brown Girl’ inexplicably popular seasonal tune (90% of which are utter dross anyway). I have to say though, I did like Liz Mitchell’s vocals which could make even the worst of their songs palatable. But still just a 3 – dull, dull, dull.

  10. 60
    Mark G on 25 Sep 2012 #

    Yes, check the recent TOTP repeat of “Belfast”, Liz does make the ‘can actually sing’ claim there.

  11. 61

    Since everyone is talking silly smack about the ‘M, I direct your attentions to

    (a) their version of In a Gadda Da Vida, which is terrific (and silly, but it is not exactly a song with unsilly versions)
    (b) Boonoonoonoos, which is a chirpy confection of a concept alb about slavery, cultural genocide, pollution, armageddon and other world destructions — and it’s great, even more psychotically serene than michael jackson in similar mode

  12. 62
    Lazarus on 25 Sep 2012 #

    ‘Gotta Go Home’ is probably my favourite of theirs. Can’t remember the last time I heard it on the radio, though – it could well have been 1979.

  13. 63
    rabbitfun on 25 Sep 2012 #

    Lazarus – …but you must have heard Duck Sauce’s ‘Barbra Steisand’ not all that long ago.

  14. 64
    rabbitfun on 25 Sep 2012 #

    make that ‘Streisand’.

  15. 65
    wichita lineman on 25 Sep 2012 #

    Re 60: Wha…? How’d I miss Belfast? Was it on TOTP2?

    And of course the ‘M covered UK art-psych-freakbeaters the Creation (Painter Man) and the Smoke (My Friend Jack).

  16. 66
    Lazarus on 25 Sep 2012 #

    #63 I probably have, without knowing what it was. I saw the comments on YT and thought that Babs had recorded a song called ‘Duck Sauce!’ Perhaps she should.

    Actually, having just heard it, I don’t think it’s the sort of thing that would have been played on Radio 2, even by Steve Wright.

  17. 67
    rabbitfun on 25 Sep 2012 #

    She most definitely should! But you did recognize your favorite Boney M song in there, right?

  18. 68
    Mark G on 26 Sep 2012 #

    #65, I guess it must have been TOTP2 unless my memory of Oct 1977 is just being very clear (so, will soon be on)

  19. 69
    MikeMCSG on 8 Mar 2015 #

    # 50

    Just been writing about Hold My Hand

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