Saturday, October 03, 2009

Timbo and Essex Radio (1982 ish)

When growing up I was always fascinated by radio. I had a 'wristwatch radio' - a massive massive thing - that I used to play Radio One on whilst riding around on my bike. And at night times, I ccame across Radio Luxembourg and was kinda fascinated and weirded out that I was listening to something so far away that was apparently aimed at me. I lived in Kent at the time, born and bred.

In 1982, at the age of 11, I discovered a little bit more about local radio through a friend at high school. There was very little in the way of radio back then.

I was always aware of Radio Medway's existence but never dreamed of tuning in. But my friend introduced me to Essex Radio which had only been on air a few months, broadcasting from Southend just across the Thames Estuary from where I was on the north Kent coast.

I started tuning in and fell in love with it. It felt weirdly glamorous to have your own local station, at the time Kent's Invicta Sound was a good 2 years away from starting its broadcasts.

The programme I really liked was on at 9pm on weekday evenings - The Timbo Show. Timbo (Tim Lloyd) hosted a show where people could phone in, answer quizzes, have a cosy chat and he also played lots of current music. It was on between 9pm and 11pm before his soon-to-be wife Lindsay King rounded off the day on the station.

Listen to the start of the Timbo show - that jingle, oh that jingle. "T I M B O - well here comes Timbo, he's all set and ready to go ..."

At 10pm, half way through the show, he used to play a jingle which was, I think, originally sent in by a listener called Chris. It was The Timbo Rap. I remember all the words in my head ... it's ridiculous. How can I forget important stuff and yet still remember the Timbo Rap? dare I write out the lyrics in full here and prove just how tragic I am? Yeah, OK then.

To the tune of Good Times, that soul classic from the 70s by Chic.

The Timbo Rap - Essex Radio circa 1982

The Timbo Show is quite all right,
two solid hours of sheer delight.
The latest sounds are on the show,
the highlight of the day for Essex Radio.

Mr Lloyd with his dulcet tones,
singing to the music coming through his 'phones,
competitions and quizzes that will blow your mind,
he gives away fanfares, he's one of a kind.

Do the Timbo Rap give your hands a clap,
Timbo's a hero, there's no doubt about that,
give your feet a tap, to the Timbo Rap,
the man who put Essex, on the map.

Essex Radio star DJ,
get out of his way cos Timbo rules OK.
Good looking and handsome or so he says,
you can't deny Timbo's the best.

Get out of the armchair,
switch off the box,
tune into Timbo,
he's the king of the jocks,
if entertainment is what you seek,
listen to Timbo right through the week.

And one more thing before I go,
convert your friends to the Timbo Show.
Phone him on double 8 double 1,
answer the questions, join in with the fun.

Do the Timbo Rap, give your hands a clap,
Timbo's a hero there's no doubt about that,
give your feet a tap to the Timbo rap,
the man who put Essex, on the map

OK. I did it. it's out there. The thing is, if no one else puts it on the web then it'll never get on the web. See what I'm saying? I wonder how many people are now gonna search for Timbo Rap and find this blog entry? Did I get the words right?

Other things about The Timbo Show that I remember.

• Timbo for president - listeners were invited to write in and get a poster to put up in their window.

• I Love Timbo Badge -- I had one of these. Seriously appalling design even for back then ... but huge and I was so pleased i had one! I wore it to school the next day and a) got accused of being gay and b) was told to take it off my blazer by one of the teachers walking down the corridor.

• TPR - Timbo did a series of shows from the front room's of listeners. The show was controled back in the studio by a robot - TPR - Timbo's Production Robot. It sounded like Roadshow Robbo. Where the hell am I dredging these memroies up from? I'm rapid cycling.

• Timbo did a saturday morning show called The Saturday Whatnot. I think children used to come into the studio, more family oriented.

• When the Saturday Whatnot wasn't on, Tim could be heard doing 'The Timbo Roadshow' on a Saturday lunchtime.

• Quizzes on the show include: Timbo stuck in the middle and The Gogglebox quiz (toot toot).

In late 1983 Timbo was moved to lunchtimes on Essex Radio and everyone I know started listening to The Rod Lucas Show on the newly launched Radio Kent (was Radio Medway). And that's a whole other story.

Essex Radio remembered - a selection of those old jingles on the station that liked to be thought of as 'somewhere special'.


Debbie said...


Mr Soup said...

The Timbo Show brings back a lot of memories. You've nearly got the words right to the Timbo Rap but if that's been done from memory then that's pretty impressive.

The opening lines were actually:

The Timbo show is quite alright
From nine in the evening to the hour midnight

And you're missing the third verse which was:

The Timbo Show should not be missed
Anyone who does will get a slap on the wrist
The man’s a genius, there is no doubt
That Timbo is the best jock about

I'll admit that I've cheated and done this from a recording!

I was actually one of the children in the studio on an edition of the Saturday Whotnot in 1982 although the show wasn't hosted by Timbo the week I was on it. We were told that he had taken a couple of days off and it was hosted instead by Jon Scragg who normally did the weekday breakfast show.

Blue10 said...

Hi Damon,
I read your blog with great pride as I was the writer and performer of the Timbo Rap. Yes indeed the words are correct for the later version anyway. I was honoured to be invited into the studio to record an updated version when the Timbo show's hours changed. It was nervewracking to say the least! As far as I'm aware the Timbo Rap is extinct, I certainly don't have a copy, searching in hope led me to your blog, thanks for reminding me of the words and if you have it recorded, I'd really love to hear it again just to prove to my kids that I had my 15 minutes.
kind regards
Chris Lawrence

Damon said...

I'm not worthy, Chris! How fantastic to have you post on my blog.

I've had a few emails about this post so brillian to have the actual author/singer of the rap itself land up here. One of the people who mailed me DID actually send me a version of the rap, one of the later shorter versions if I recall (yes I remember it was reversioned twice I think). How do I remember that? I've no idea!!

Try this link: The Timbo Rap

It's a link on sendspace so I think you have to grab it quickly.

Merry Christmas ;)

Blue10 said...

Hi Damon,
thanks so much for that, it was great to hear it again.
I fancied myself as a DJ at that time, I had a mobile disco and used to provide my friends with cassettes of the latest songs. The only price was listening to me talk and make jokes in-between the tracks. We drove around town every night scouting for girls and adventure. I loved Rappers Delight by the Sugahill Gang and wrote an amusing rap about myself and friends and the crappy cars most of us owned at that time called the V6 rap. This surprisingly went down a storm and one copy is still in existence, not owned by me sadly. This inspired me to write a rap for Timbo whose show I loved, I never considered it to be a jingle as it was quite long, I sent it in and he played it every night, I was stunned and very proud, I have to admit to tuning in almost every night to see if he still played it! Eventually the Timbo show's hours changed and he phoned me to ask if I could write 2 new shorter versions, I was invited to Essex Radio to record them!
Timbo was a really nice guy, I must admit I was taken aback by how much he swore lol, especially when some leader tape went through the tape recorder on the first occasion I got it right! He gave me an Essex Radio presenter’s jumper, some albums and some other memorabilia and then he took me to the pub, it was a great experience. I spoke to him about getting into radio, he told me there was a vacancy answering the phones and that was how his producer started and said he could probably get me the job. Unfortunately the pay was only equivalent to my petrol expenses getting to Southend so I had to declined, leaving me regretting years later that I had turned down my only small opportunity to maybe get into radio. My only other experience relating to the Timbo rap was when I performed it live on stage at Timbo's birthday party outside broadcast. This wasn't planned, I was just quite near the front and he suddenly spotted me and beckoned me up on stage, he introduced me and then asked me to perform the rap accompanied only by Timbo's stamping foot and maybe a couple of thousand people clapping along, a truly terrifying experience but somehow I got through it.
Sorry for the very long comment, I thought there might be too much information about something so trivial but I’ve enjoyed reminiscing about my youth whilst writing this. It's great to see some other people enjoyed it too, Timbo told me "the kids love it!", I wasn't impressed at the time with that comment but now I'm truly amazed and honoured.
Merry Christmas
Chris Lawrence

Damon said...

OK. As this has turned into a Timbo Rap fan page ...

This is probably where I admit to learning it off by heart because my school pal used to challenge me. I did have a fully rounded life back then trust me, but on the odd occasion we'd sit in the corner of the cold windswept playground and 'rap' the timbo rap. I recall it lasted about a minute and 11 seconds (no I don't have Asperger syndrome either, i'ts just something we did) and I remember finishing exams early and being bored, not knowing what to do while still in the exam hall, so repeated the rap in my head to while time away until the bell went. Um, I also know the Big Mac rhyme because schoolkids in our playground used to have competitions to see how quick they could say it: "two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce cheese pickles and onions, all on a sesame bun ..." (that was a kind of rap when it first came on telly, it later turned into a tune)

In my earlier post I forgot to mention I was on The Timbo Show once. Timbo kept calling me Damien and I kept saying "No, it's Damon!!!" and so he kept calling me Damien some more. I was 11.

Who'd have thought that just 7 years later my dedication to the show was returned when I won £1,050on the self same radio station for guessing three tracks correctly on their breakfast show.

Gosh. My rapid cycling is bringing back memories of the adverts that Timbo used to play. "You get quality with service, peace of mind for sure when you get Mr Wishmore's windows ... and doors" is the one that has surprised me by falling out onto my keyboard this evening. And look, get me, I even remember rapper Chris's name was Chris (above). Nowadays I can't remember the name of my neighbours, even!!!!

Good to read your memries, Chris. I don't recall Timbo's birthday OB but would've been dead impressed had I heard it.

Being as I watched a show about playground games the other day on the very intellectual BBC4 - A Place to Think - where there were grown women repeating skipping rhymes, I'm not too embarrassed about remembering all this stuff which got me obsessed with media and led to a career in said.

And of course, The Timbo Rap was The Sugarhill Gang 'Rappers Delight' was it? In my head Good Times and Rappers Delight are similar sounding tunes.

If there were ever to be a Timbo Show fanbase reunion, this is where it should start. But that'd be taking it too far, no? Where on earth is Timbo these days anyway? I recall him popping up on GLR, BBC Essex, Essex Radio again not so long ago, Southern Sound and Mercury and I even heard him on the minority station Specturm Radio doing the breakfast show once. How did he EVER get that gig? White middle class male that he was?

"He we are again, happy as can be, all good friends and jolly good company"

Blue10 said...

Hi Damon,
just to clear up any confusion, the music was indeed the middle section of the 12" version of Good Times by Chic, though it was inspired by Rappers Delight.

Strangely I feel the need to justify my next statement by promising you it was a total coincidence! In this period of bad weather I have started listening to BBC Essex for travel, and school closure info and have discover today that Timbo is Back! What's more as of this very morning lol.
Here is the link to this morning's show, I'm listening now and so far there's nothing in it to show it isn't still 1982, except perhaps some of the music predates it and he seems a lot funnier than I recall!

I'm still in search of an earlier version of the Timbo rap if anyone can help.

thanks for all your kind words.
PS I also knew the McD's advert but never had the nerve to try it in their "restaurants"

karen said...

oh my i loved this show. this brings back such happy memories. Where is timbo now?

Robsa said...

Someone did a brilliant version of Paul Hardcastles '19' but about Oxfam, that Timbo played - it was awesome. I would love to hear a Timbo show again! Particularly the one with the oxfam song in.

Lex2or said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lex2or said...

The Mr. Wishmores ad was..

"well I never knew a house could be so warm and look so good,
Until I met the man who showed how easily it could,
Now I've got Mr. Wishmores windows,
and Mr. Wishmores doors,
he's a friend I can recommend, he's what a friend is for,
for you get quality with service, and peace of mind for sure,
when you get Mr. Wishmores windows and doors."

Aparently they released the tune on vinyl, and for a pound you could get an autographed copy from Mr. Wishmore himself.

Wil said...

Fantastic. Reading this brings it all back. All seems like a lifetime ago now.

Wil said...

Fantastic. Reading this brings it all back. All seems like a lifetime ago now.

Dave Edwards said...

Just found this blog and have an idea that the Mr Wishmore advert was sung by Essex DJ Terry Davis. Added to the distant memory that he sang the theme song for the station way back then, and actually won the independent radio song contest.

Dave Edwards said...

Just found this blog and have an idea that the Mr Wishmore advert was sung by Essex DJ Terry Davis. Added to the distant memory that he sang the theme song for the station way back then, and actually won the independent radio song contest.

werehere said...

I was searching for the words to The Timbo Rap - I found them here, yay! Now my quest is to hear it again.

werehere said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blue10 said...

Did you have any luck? I might have a copy of one version somewhere.

werehere said...

No luck yet - I hope you find your copy. Would love to hear it. Must be at least 30 years since I last heard The Timbo Rap.

Blue10 said...

Sadly I never had the original of this version as I recorded it in the Essex Radio studio. The original longer version I recorded at home. I notice that Mr Soup said he transcribed the lyrics from a recording, I wonder if he could share that please? Here is a link to the only version I have, enjoy.

werehere said...

Brilliant, Blue10! Thanks so much. A few of us are currently discussing this jingle on a popular Southend memories Facebook group

The jingle was a favourite of mine at the time. Oddly enough, I remember it more than the show it was from, even though I was a regular listener of Timbo's.

dunebasher1971 said...

Another fan of the Timbo Rap here! Somewhere on an ancient cassette I have the full-length "two solid hours" version, recorded not long before Tim switched to using only the shorter edits (which I complained to him about at the time!)

I couldn't believe it when Tim's show was moved to lunchtimes. It really felt like something important was being taken away from me. I wonder if that was what spurred Tim to move to Radio Mercury?