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Scrumpy & Western

The definitive guide to the West Country music

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Len 'Uke' Thomas

"Wass fink of 'ee den, wass fink of dis?"

biography | gallery | links | acknowledgments

Who Is Len 'Uke' Thomas?

The first most of us will have heard of Len 'Uke' Thomas is a mention from Adge Cutler on his Cutler Of The West album. In Adge's recorded introduction to his song Thee's Got'n Where Thee Cassn't Back'n, Hassn't, he pays tribute to Len, who was in the audience at the Webbington Country Club on that occasion. In Adge's words:

"...Before I start it, I'd like to pay tribute - we got a bloke yur tonight 'oo's very well known fer one or two of 'is Bristol ballads - you might 'ave 'eard of Wass Think Of 'Ee Den; Thee Bissn't Gonna Get'n Out Of I; and Thee's Better Keep Thee Eye On 'Ee. 'E's yur somewhere in the audience - Len 'Uke' Thomas, where is 'e?... Yayyyy!" [applause]

Len 'Uke' Thomas was a Bristol-based entertainer in the 1950s and 1960s and used to perform his own comic songs written in the Bristol dialect, accompanying himself on his 'uke' or ukulele. Although he lived up on Bedminster Down in Bristol - Len was in fact from Irish gypsy stock; his dad was known as Tom the Finian. Nevertheless, his knowledge of Bristolian dialect is evident in his lyrics. Apparently he was full of fun, and always practising - his singing being easily heard and appreciated in the road outside his house. Sadly, Len is no longer with us, although his wife Babs is alive and well and living in Portishead, and re-married in 2006 at the ripe old age of 90!

Although Len performed locally many times, and appeared on the radio, he never made any commercial recordings. It is also sad that his songs were never recorded by anyone else - apparently Adge Cutler was keen to record some of Len's songs but this didn't happen due to copyright issues.

The best-known of Len's songs is probably The Bristol Song (not to be confused with the Bob Barratt song of the same name, which was recorded by Adge Cutler). The song was also known as Wass Fink Of 'Ee Den, and many Bristolians can still quote the chorus:

	Wass fink of 'ee den
	Wass fink of dis
	Wass fink of 'ee den
	Likewise ow bist
	If dee castn't speak as well as thee coust
	Then try this song with me
	Wass fink of 'ee den
	Wass fink of 'ee!

© copyright Len 'Uke' Thomas

We at Scrumpy & Western have created this webpage as a tribute to Len, in the hope that his work will not be forgotten. In his lifetime Len was a major contributor to Scrumpy & Western culture and his work deserves to be more widely known. Let's hope this will somehow be possible one day.

Len 'Uke' Thomas

Yur's the only photo of Len we've found © photo copyright The Bristol Times

Len 'Uke' Thomas Links

  • none we could find!


Thanks to:

  • Ray Thomas, Eric Brain and Stewart Pope for their help.

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