Song of the Day Revisited: Tim Hart and Maddy Prior - Dancing at Whitsun
Bert Jansch remembered: a concert to honour a maestro

Song of the Day Revisited: Tony Capstick... Capstick Comes Home

Nov 2023: reposted because the grim state of the world leaves us in dire need of humour ...
January 2022 update: this magical piece of northern humour made a remarkable ascent of the British pop charts in 1981, reaching the heady heights of number three.
It is a riotously funny send-up of a famous old TV advert for Hovis bread set, like thre ad, to Dvorak's New World Symphony. Anyone familiar with or able to penetrate the dialect should laugh out loud while listening. Eighteen years after Tony Capstick's premature death, the enduring brilliance of Capstick Comes Home is reason enough for another posting here . If it doesn't make you laugh, our senses of humour - or ability to understand accented English - are miles apart ...

Tony Capstick - 1

From the wonderful archives of Roger Liptrop's folkimages website and reproduced with his consent


And this, slightly edited, is how I introduced the clip back when Song of the Day was young (the summer of 2011) ...


Tony Capstick was a man with a magical sense of humour, a heart of gold, a great fund of songs and wonderful stagecraft.

He was much sought-after in the folk clubs but also made an impact as a local radio broadcaster.

There was a darker side that could surface when Tony was in drink. But on the one occasion I recall meeting him, when he performed at my folk club in Bishop Auckland, Co Durham with Christy Moore, he drank heartily without being other than great company or giving other than tremendous entertainment.

Sadly, Tony died at his cottage in South Yorkshire in 2003, aged only 59. I wrote an obituary for The Daily Telegraph which, I felt then, covered the successes as well as failures of his career; I remember how easy it was to obtain anecdotes from people who had been close to him. Without exception, they were fond of him, but also without exception they told of his alcohol-fuelled excesses.

Tony's daughter, Vicky, thought this most unfair and said so in a comment at Salut! Live some time later.

While my intention had never been to "focus on the negative and not to celebrate what was glorious", as she put it, I understood her feelings. I have written with admiration and affection about Tony at other times, but regret that the newspaper obituary, intended to be honest but certainly not hostile, caused upset.

The clip you see here recaptures what I called, in that obit, a minor comic masterpiece. Many readers will remember it as a priceless highlight from Tony's life and times: the hilarious Capstick Comes Home, a satire on the nostalgia of the old Hovis break advertisement and set - as was the ad - to New World Symphony by Dvorak. The music is beautifully played by the Carlton Main/Frickley Colliery Band.

It should need no further introduction. Click on the clip, turn up the volume and enjoy what you hear.

Nowt so funny as folk
Capstick Comes Home appears on a compilation album, Nowt So Funny As Folk, and can be purchased at the Salut! Live Amazon link: Tony Capstick's own album, Punch & Judy Man, shows his versatility and can be found at Tonycapstick * Buy just about anything featured in the Song of the Day series at this Salut! Live Amazon link.


Ian Evans

Brilliant Colin!

I laughed out loud.

It reminded me of the famous Monty Python sketch when they out did each other about privation; the ultimate privation was living in a box on the M1.

Stan Wilson

Fortunately the youtube video has closed captions which range from barely to mostly accurate .

Colin Randall

Stan: I did notice as I trawled through the comments at YouTube that someone had posted the full text.

Bill Taylor

That was an amazing night at the Aclet. Never to be forgotten.

Colin Randall

It was, Bill, and the unexpected nature of it - booking mix-up between Christy and I meaning they shared billing - made it more magical still.

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