The Russians Are Coming. Take Five.

Val Bennett. I haven’t found much information on Val Bennett. I know he played the saxophone. First name was “Lovall.” And he died in 1991. And there are records, b-sides. We don’t really have b-sides anymore.

The first time I heard “Take Five,” it wasn’t “Take Five.” Wasn’t the slick Dave Brubeck original that sends fingers thrumming on tables. What I heard first was Val Bennett’s version.

It’s messy, and the timing is a bit more ragged. It doesn’t make me think of coasting in a car through a dusky blue city, like Brubeck’s. Instead, it’s like sitting in a hot, empty restaurant on a neglected Caribbean island, where drops of water run down the sides of Coke bottles. A place that might look like this:


Image of bar in Grenada by Alex Webb.

Bar in Grenada by Alex Webb, 1979.

(Apologies to Alex Webb)


Funny to remember that I first heard this because it was the theme to a show about how dishwashers and toasters work. A terrific show. The song is called, “The Russians Are Coming.”

Postscript, 31 Dec 09: The show that this was the intro theme for was The Secret Life of Machines, which will get its own post here in future. It was created by Tim Hunkin, seen below in a picture from Hunkin’s website.

[Post updated 14 March 2013: embedded new working Youtube video]