The music is by Jim Parker. Parker draws a bit from Kurt Weill and a bit from the village-band-at-the-church-fete style that William Walton chose to accompany Edith Sitwell’s Facade.
(If you don’t own this wonderful 20th century audio artifact, Sitwell reciting Facade, with some help from Peter Pears, you should immediately download it or buy the album [CD and MP3 available from the Zeitgeist Company Store] – important, do not opt for Vanessa Redgrave’s version of Facade or anyone else’s.)
Betjeman’s touching “Business Girls” from Banana Blush:
Researching all this in Wikipedia I see that Betjeman and Parker made three more albums after Banana Blush. I downloaded the final one, Varsity Rag, from 1983.
Now irony casts its pall over jokey sentiment, as rapacious Mammon tramples the rainbow tents of Aquarius and smashes the hopeful illusions of Betjeman and Parker and the rest of us who conveniently had forgotten that history is not a progress, but only a series of reactions and reversals.
Betjeman's "Death in Leamington":
I searched around for more in the vein of the Sitwell and Betjeman excursions poetry with music. I may have missed some things, but all I could come up with was Patti Smith, whose rock ‘n’ roll style doesn’t really fit the mold – as I see the mold, anyway. I was reminded, though, of Allen Ginsburg’s renderings of William Blake. These are songs, as opposed to recitals with music, but Ginsburg sings in the same pseudo-guileless spirit evoked by Walton and Parker.
Blake's "Echoing Green" sung by Allen Ginsberg
Blake's "Laughing Song" sung by Allen Ginsberg; Don Cherry on the sleigh bells: