[6 April 2008]
Ivor the Engine was a poorly animated British television show about a little train which rolled through Northern Wales in the early ‘60s. The program’s sappy story lines and so-simple-it’s-funny sound effects were the basis for a memorable and quirky childhood experience. The soundtracks to this and the BBC show Pogles’ Wood were both created by the Vernon Elliott Ensemble and have become available in re-mastered format to amuse sentimental Brits and oddball record collectors everywhere. Most of this dual effort consists of the bassoon and piano arrangements which provided background music for the programs. These short songs are fairly innocuous and bear the unmistakably mark of youth and innocence. But the record-collector-friendly tracks come with the whimsical sound effects such as “Donkey Departing” (17 seconds) and “Ivor Chuffing” (20 seconds). These tracks are destined to become endless loops for some electronica wizard, but for now are left unblemished in their almost comical entirety. The Ivor the Engine and Pogles’ Wood soundtracks aren’t likely to recruit any new fans to the show, and fans of the show might not wholly appreciate the effort’s real offbeat selections (a track entitled “Various Magical Noises”), but there is definitely something unique about this anachronistic set of recordings.