The sixties weren't just about rock and roll, but about musical experimentation in general. Along with folk and Indian influences, jazz was a popular obsession amongst the art school crowd. It enjoyed a special relationship with the surrealist, anarchic humour that would reach its zenith in Monty Python's Flying Circus.
The Temperance Seven are a prime example of this combination of jazz and eccentric wit. Listening to their music, particularly on a rainy day (and preferably in an out-of-season seaside resort) is an ineffably English experience: melancholy, wit, and mischief combine. Listen to the fantastically grumpy tuba on Falling in Love Again, for example, enhanced by a sad quacking sound in the background. Northern brass bands come to mind during the intros of some songs, though this is probably a little far-fetched. There is definitely a klezmer influence, however, especially in the extremely supple and agile saxophone. The Seven's po-faced humour unsurprisingly attracted Peter Sellers, who provides a Goonish guest vocal on Ukelele Lady that trails off on a marvellously nasal vibrato. Despite (or perhaps because of) their quirkiness, they enjoyed considerable chart success, achieving a number 1 with the delightful You're Driving Me Crazy.
Some kind person has put a vintage performance of Everybody Loves My Baby by the Seven on Youtube. Watch it, and see if you can prevent yourself from smiling.
The Seven were not the only ones, of course. The New Vaudeville Band's Winchester Cathedral needs no introduction, though this live clip requires one to first sit through the very tiresome Peek-a-Boo, made no more bearable by some arch business with a lorgnette.
And, of course, there were the Bonzos, who really deserve a whole feature article of their own....