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Whaddya Mean You’ve Never Heard of Biff Rose?

Rob Chapman, MOJO, November 1997

IF YOU KNOW THE NAME at all it's probably for ‘Fill Your Heart’, the jaunty item that kicks off side two of David Bowie's Hunky Dory and which also turned up on the B-side of Tiny Tim's ‘Tip-Toe Thru' The Tulips’. Between 1968 and 1978 its New Orleans-born composer released eight splendidly idiosyncratic LPs, all delivered in a quavery high register and interspersed with surreal comedy routines. Rose's unique piano playing lurches wildly between showtune schmaltz and free jazz, with tangential lyrics to match. At his best he sounds like Lord Buckley and Van Dyke Parks sharing the same brain. At his worst? Think Richard Stilgoe on acid.

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