Penguin Café Orchestra/Penguin Café

Do you remember The Sex Pistols, and Sid Vicious in particular? His version of My Way… orchestrated by Simon Jeffes.

Jeffes was the founder of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra (PCO). This was a group of assorted people with flexible numbers who recorded a small number of albums between 1976 and 1993.

At the core was Jeffes (guitars, piano, harmonium, percussion, all sorts), Helen Liebmann (cello), Geoffrey Richardson (guitars, viola etc) and many others, including trombone, ukulele and anything else you can imagine, making an acoustic group up to maybe a dozen members.

You will for sure know some of their tunes, especially Telephone And Rubber Band and Music For A Found Harmonium:

PCO worked best in smaller, intimate venues. We saw them once at the Royal Festival Hall and friends at the back had not enjoyed the concert, being too far away and rather remote.

Of their albums, Broadcasting From Home (1984) and Union Cafe (1993) are the pick, though, if you are new to PCO, there are some live albums, especially When In Rome… (1988) that might form a better introduction. There are also some compilations.

Simon Jeffes died in 1997 at the age of 48 and The Penguin Cafe Orchestra came to an end, except for occasional reforming by some of the core members.


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One Response to Penguin Café Orchestra/Penguin Café

  1. pws says:

    They are doing several dates from September 2023:

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