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Aug 08

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

FT + Popular70 comments • 7,954 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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Comments

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  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 63
    rabbitfun on 25 Sep 2012 #

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

  4. 64
    rabbitfun on 25 Sep 2012 #

    make that ‘Streisand’.

  5. 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).

  6. 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.

  7. 67
    rabbitfun on 25 Sep 2012 #

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

  8. 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)

  9. 69
    MikeMCSG on 8 Mar 2015 #

    # 50

    Just been writing about Hold My Hand
    http://clarkechroniclerstv.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/109-top-of-pops.html

  10. 70
    Gareth Parker on 7 Jun 2021 #

    Never had any time at all for Boney M I’m afraid. 1/10.

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