Friday, August 14, 2020
FRIDAY MUSIC: The Traveling Wilburys, by JD
"The etymological origins of The Traveling Wilburys have aroused something of a controversy amongst academic circles. Did they, as Professor “Bobby” Sinfield believes, originate from the various Wilbury Fairs which traveled Europe in Medieval times, titillating the populace with contemporary ballads, or were they rather derived from, “YE TRAVELING WILBURYS”, who were popular locksmiths during the Crusades and used to pick or unlock the jammed chastity belts (rather like today’s emergency plumbers.)
Dr. Arthur Noseputty of Cambridge believes they were closely related to the Strangling Dingleberries, which is not a group but a disease. I think this can be discounted, not only because of his silly name but also from his habit of impersonating Ethel Merman during lectures. Some have even gone on to suggest tenuous links with The Pillsburys, the group who invented Flour Power.
Dim Sun, a Chinese academic, argues that they may be related to “THE STROLLING TILBURYS”, Queen Elizabeth the first’s favourite minstrels, and backs this suspicion with the observation that The Traveling Wilburys is an obvious anagram of “V. BURYING WILL’S THEATRE”, clearly a reference to the closing of Shakespeare’s Globe theatre by Villiers during an outbreak of the plague. This would account for the constant traveling. Indeed, many victims of the plague and St.Vitus’ dance literally danced themselves to death, and it is this dancing theme that resurfaces with The Wilbury Twist. Not a cocktail but a dance craze, reminiscent of The Wilbury Quadrille made famous at Bath in 1790 by Beau Diddley, and the Wilbury Waltz, which swept Vienna in the 1890’s.
One thing, however, remains certain. The circumambulatory peregrinations of these itinerant mundivagant peripatetic nomads has already disgorged one collection of popular lyrical cantata, which happily encapsulated their dithyrambic antiphonic contrapuntal threnodies as a satisfactory auricular experience for the hedonistic gratification of the hoi-polloi on a popular epigraphically inscribed gramophonic recording. Now here’s another one.
Professor “TINY” Hampton is currently leading the search for Intelligent Life amongst Rock Journalism at the University of Please Yourself, California."
“Sometimes you think you’re crazy,
But you know you’re only mad,
Sometimes you’re better off not knowing,
How much you’ve been had.”
-The Devil’s Been Busy, The Traveling Wilburys
Bonus track: the original version of Wilbury Twist. As you can see the Wilbury family is bigger than we thought it was. Charlie T Wilbury Sr had an energetic and busy time. No wonder he died so young!