Donald Swann & Michael Flanders Follow

Transport of Delight lyrics

Both: Some folks like a Lagonda, and some a smart MG, Or for bonny army lorry, they'd lay them down and dee.
Such means of locomotion seem rather dull to us,
Swann: The driver...
Flanders: ... and conductor of...
Both: ... a London omnibus!

Hold very tight please, ting ting.
Hold very tight please, ting ting.

Flanders: When you are lost in London, and you don't know where you are,
You'll hear my voice a-calling, "Move further down the car!".
Both: And very soon you'll find yourself inside the terminus,
In a London transport, diesel engine, ninety-seven horsepower omnibus.

Swann: Along the Queen's great highway, I drive my merry load,
At twenty miles per hour in the middle of the road.
Both: We like to drive in conveys, we're most gregarious,
The big six-wheeler, scarlet painted, London transport, diesel engine, ninety-seven horsepower omnibus.

Earth has not anything to show more fair,
Flanders: Mind the stairs, please,
Swann: Mind the stairs...
Flanders: Mind the stairs...
Both: Earth has not anything to show more fair,
Swann: Any more fares?
Flanders: Any more fares, any more fares?

Swann: When cabbies try to pass me before they overtakes,
I sticks me flippin' hand out and I jams on all me brakes.
Flanders: Those jackal taxi drivers can only swear and cuss,
Behind that monarch of the road,
Swann: Observer of the highway code,
Flanders: That big six-wheeler,
Swann: Scarlet painted,
Flanders: London transport,
Swann: Diesel engine,
Both: Ninety-seven horsepower omnibus.

Swann: I stops when I'm requested, although it spoils the ride,
So we can shout,
Flanders: "Get out of it! We're full right up inside".

Both: We don't ask much for wages, we only want fair shares,
So cut down all the stages, and stick up all the fares.
If tickets cost a pound apiece, why should you make a fuss?
Flanders: It's worth it just to ride inside,
Swann: That thirty-foot long by ten-foot wide,
Flanders: Inside that monarch of the road,
Swann: Observer of the highway code,
Both: That big six-wheeler,
Scarlet painted,
London transport,
Diesel engine,
Ninety-seven horsepower,
Ninety-seven horsepower omnibus!

Flanders: Hold very tight, please!

Transport of Delight Video

A Transport of Delight: "A Transport of Delight" by Michael Flanders and Donald Swann. Performed by Byron Nilsson and Tom Savoy with pianist Malcolm Kogut at Mohonk Mountain House, ... (video from YouTube)

Thanks to Patrick for submitting the lyrics.
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Comments on Transport of Delight

Top 2 comments

  • James 0 points

    The first line should read:

    "Some talk of a Lagonda, some like a smart MG." This is a direct allusion to the song The British Grenadiers which begins, "Some talk of Alexander and some of Hercules". Swann uses the first few notes of that tune to set the new words.

    "bonny army lorry" is a reference to the Scottish song Annie Laurie, which includes the words, "And for bonnie Annie Laurie / I'd lay me doon and dee". Again, Swann uses that melody to set Flanders's corresponding words. When the revue was first performed in the late 1950s a British audience would have understood and appreciated the literary and musical references. F&S changed those lines to include 'motorbike' and 'tram' when they took the show to New York, assuming, rightly I feel, that American audiences would not know what a Logonda was (a luxury British sports car) or indeed have heard of Anne Laurie, who was a historical character. F&S made changes in other songs to accommodate US audiences.

    The original, in my opinion, is much preferable for its lightly worn erudition and literary and musical wit, hallmarks of F&S's output.

    JF, June 2014

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