Tap Turns On The Water _________________________________________________________________________________
Performed byC.C.S.and reaching number 5 in the UK charts _________________________________________________________________________________
Original broadcast date16/09/1971Duration of dance - 3.18 mins _________________________________________________________________________________
Dancers: Andrea, Babs, Dee Dee, Flick, Louise, Ruth _________________________________________________________________________________
A link to the dance:
The Collective Consciousness Society were formed in 1970 by John Cameron and Mickie Most and consisted largely of session musicians. One of their more prominent members was blues guitarist Alexis Korner. Justifiably they never used their full name for record releases, instead the abbreviation C.C.S. was employed - and even though the three letters were reminiscent of another popular group around at that time (C.C.R.), their musical styles were so different that it was impossible to mistake their identity.
Their first single was a more or less instrumental cover of a classic Led Zeppelin track, "Whole Lotta Love", which already made the UK Top 20 - benefitting from the fact that the original was never issued on a 45 in Britain. Moreover, on 05/11/1970, just one week after its chart entrance, "Whole Lotta Love" became the new theme music for "Top of the Pops" in a re-recorded version by the TOTP orchestra. If you're wondering about the similarities of the two versions, the orchestra was conducted by John Cameron on that occasion and many of the musicians were C.C.S. regulars. To celebrate the new theme tune, Pan's People danced to the record after the chart countdown. Alas, the recording was wiped and is since labelled as missing.
C.C.S.'s second single "Walking" (written by Donovan) was released in January 1971 and went as high as No. 7 in the UK charts, propelled by a Pan's People routine on 01/04/1971 which is fortunately still held in the BBC archive (though currently not in public circulation).
Their third 45 release followed in August 1971 and proved to be an even bigger hit. This time Cameron and Korner took over songwriting duties and they were rewarded with a No. 5 position for "Tap Turns On The Water". Like their previous two offerings, the record was presented by Pan's People but this time the routine was not filmed in the TOTP studios but at Walton on Thames Pumping Station, the 2 engines featured were No 4 Thames Ironworks Triple expansion engine built in 1911 (still there) and No 6 Hathorn Davey & Co Ltd Triple expansion engine built in 1926 - an apt choice with regard to the song title. The resulting video features the girls in various sections of the station, humorous asides included. The clip had not been publicly accessible for many years but has recently been posted on the blog in a slightly modified version: the first 20 seconds and the last 9 seconds, both consisting of stills, are not part of the original footage.
While it's always nice to see our troupe out on location, there is also the danger of the location overshadowing the actual performance. Fortunately I don't think that is the case here. Yet I have two complaints about this routine. The first is just a niggle really: the flow of the dance tends to get a little disrupted by the large amount of cuts. The second is a bit more serious: I don't think that the dresses have been chosen favourably. But then I suppose it might have been quite chilly in the station. Otherwise the performance makes a welcome change. I especially like the tongue-in-cheek approach, particularly during the first half. It's also great to have a routine for the full song (except for the 20 secs intro).
All in all, I find this performance not an easy one to rate. It's certainly not their best but it's one that I watch quite regularly. After a bit of mulling over, I decided to go for
9 / 10
Choosing a DotD is extremely difficult as all the girls are prominently featured. I will pick Ruth but I wouldn't be surprised if all the other girls got a nomination as well.
Thanks for all the interesting background info on CCS Vin, I had no idea that the TOTP Theme was adopted during its chart run and wouldn't it have been great to have seen PP dancing to that! (Especially now that we have Legs in Cabaret) Anyway back on task, it's once again fun to see PP venturing out on location and I do like the historic pump station choice. The multilevel shot is particularly good and the length of the Dance is impressive. I do have a few gripes like our host and for me it's the rather mediocre tune and the outfits (especially the lichenoid excrescences, presumably related to the humidity and long duration of stay at the location). There's also a major missed opportunity for one of the greatest literal Dance moves in PP history but I'll leave this to your imagination (it involves a close relative ). Moving swiftly on I do like all the different poses of the ladies in interesting places and there are beautiful close ups and good combo moves. I am choosing Louise for my DotD but it could have been any of 3 or 4 others honestly. Overall I like this but it's not a classic in my book despite the impressive venue so I'm a 7.5/10
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
Had the location shoot not been at a pumping station, but instead, on The Two Ronnies a couple of years later, maybe a more comedic dance routine could've been made, with everybody dousing each other with water, using fire hoses. Anyways, back to what actually came to pass, this one of the more left field non-TOTPs studio performances by a dance troupe, the strange hand movement make Pan's People look like they're interreting the track lyrics in sign language, & for all I'd know, that's what they were most probably doing, now that really would've been something different.
That must've been a heavily pressured safety valve there, that needed four people to turn it.
Now your talking......... gorgeous girls and.... a triple-expansion steam engine!
The interesting and apposite location, combined with Flick's inventive choreography, works a treat and makes for a most entertaining if unusual dance routine. On the whole I don't mind the girls dress, and dresses in such an environment might have looked a little out of place, while the humorous literal take also works nicely, even if nobody could be persuaded to divest and take an impromptu shower! (No Flick, not at these temperatures, and certainly not at these prices ! ........ No, not even if you paid me in Nutcrackers !!)
Its another close call for Dotd but for coming up with such a novel routine I'm choosing Flick while this is a 9.25 for me.
PS. Can recommend a visit to the museum but do go when the engine is in steam.
Tap + Water = Pumping Station! Not sure who came up with the location for this filmed routine but Kempton it was and it certainly provided a different kind of backdrop for the dance. Flick is certainly in full lyrical interpretation mode with the whole lines of "Tap Turns on the water..." to "watch the forest grow" given their own movements and there's some fun with other lines such as "...sister in the raw" !
There is a good variety of shots and angles used throughout, one of the advantages of shooting on film, plus a single out-take shot used at the end of the drum+vocal break. Some of the dance moves are quite frenetic in places although the brakes are put on to a degree when posing on and around the machinery. The overall result is let down by some drab costumes of beige high waisted trousers and matching jackets with added green fux fur over white tops. 7/10 DotD DeeDee
I do like CCS, and I find the promo's alot of fun, albeit there are always out of sync to the music, bad dubbing by the BBC department I guess.
Glad this still survives, but not one I watch often. it is fun.
The BBC budget must of been enormous for alot of Pans shot promo's (and I assume their were a few)
On a side note, the TOTP 're-record' was to get around not paying CCS's record company any royalties, albeit it sounds exactly the same recording (as mentioned by Vin) it was a virtual copy done by a CCS heavy TOTP orch.
Pan's People go proto steampunk! Interesting. But the no man's land between psychedelia and glam rock isn't a favourite place on the musical map and P4PM's mediocre best describes my thoughts on the song. Musically it's like the theme to a little-remembered sports show on ITV, vocally it has that gravelly style I don't like which was so esteemed at the time. The costumes blend in dourly with the environment and do appear to be sprouting verdigris or in this case the beginnings of a forest. I think they really are meant to suggest limescale-coated taps. Better they had borrowed a colourful range of jockey silks from the racecourse down the road - totally incongruous but it would have been part of the fun! The film is basically a big jigsaw and it holds the attention well, though unlike our host I'm uncertain if I am not more wowed by the marvellous machinery. I do like the variety and more or less even allocation of good shots. Fave bits include Louise's nod and smile and the spinning advance toward the retreating camera. The literal moves become childish late on and the girls remind me of young teachers leading an infant class in song - in fact the lyrics and actions recall the Maypole song and scene from the then-unmade The Wicker Man!
I’m so glad this one has been made available recently as it’s wonderful. As a location filmed heavily edited piece it’s one of the best, and what a location!
Nice to see they found use for some discarded bath mats sewing them onto the outfits to inject bit of colour otherwise they are a bit bland looking.
The choreography whilst literal in places is still very clever, presumably Flick must have visited beforehand to know which equipment could be utilised, and in all manner of ways. The dancing sequences make good use of the space particularly the multi-level shot at the start. I realise not everyone likes the song, but I’m ok with it although the vocal isn’t the best I enjoy the big band sound of it and whilst unusual still works in this context.
This probably isn't really ideal dance music and their outfits must be amongst the blandest that Pans ever wore. I appreciate that it might not be an ideal environment for dresses, but a more vibrant colour than beige might nave looked better.
It is still an enjoyable performance though, and we are fortunate to have access to it but I wouldn't rank it amongst my favourites, so my score is 7 out of 10 with Ruth just getting my vote for DOTD.
this was a nice surprise, not seen this routine before today. It has a cutesy cheesy charm which I like. Loved the freeze frame shots at the start. Lots of stuff going on too. Just didnt like the outfits! DOTD is tough but gonna give it to Louise. Routine 9.
I would just like to set the record straight (excuse the pun), Tap turns on the water and Wonderwall were both filmed at Walton on Thames Pumping Station, the 2 engines featured were No 4 Thames Ironworks Triple expansion engine built in 1911 (still there) and No 6 Hathorn Davey & Co Ltd Triple expansion engine built in 1926 ( Cut up for scrap in late 70's).
The Kempton Park engines were built by Worthington Simpson and completed in 1929.