FS54: Hot Lips Page to Charlie Barnet and Maggie Teyte.

Okay he’s a favourite, so its four from Harry Parry, Angry, Lonesome Road, I never knew(vocals: Primrose Hayes, can’t find anything out about this woman) and Pontiac jump. We start though with Hot Lips Page and Randy Halls and the Tin fluters. Not on his hot trumpet but brilliant vocals. Much sadness, this record is cracked! Fantastic combination of Joe Sullivan(pictured) and Big Joe Turner next and the brilliantly titled: Low down, dirty shame blues.  I have a real soft spot for the unjustly neglected Joe Sullivan. He returns with the flip side, I can’t give you anything but my love. Also up Harry Roy and Marjorie Kingsley, Roberto Inglez and Nat King Cole.  Another return to FS is Charlie Barnett. Wonderful, joyous fare, Ebony Rhapsody and I like to Riff. A decent copy of the magnificent Munson Street Breakdown has turned up, Utter brilliance from Lionel Hampton. We end with a 1950s song from the Tanner Sisters and a little bit of Culture from Maggie Teyte. She sees out with with Plassir d’amour.   

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published on January 13, 2021, by

FS 53: Arthur Godfrey to Carroll Gibbons and Anne Lenner

Lets bring the joy to a cold Edinburgh day. Eartha Kitt, Bob Skyles, Harry Roy and the McCravy brothers start us off. James and Frank McCravy are in a particularly joyous mood with Ring them heavenly bells. Brilliant close harmonies, fiddle and banjo. Two from Carroll Gibbons and his Savoy Orpheans. Vocals are provided by Anne Lenner and Lesley Douglas and Edna Kaye.  One from Geraldo- All of me, The Rhythm Kings- The girl in the little green hat, The Rhythm Maniacs- Baby, oh, Where can you be.  Arthur Godfrey was a massive star in the US on TV and radio in 1950s. He was a troubled, complex character whose ‘folksy’ image didn’t really stand up to scrutiny. That said If I were on a desert island with you is a fun song. We have four records from budget labels. I keep referring to them as eight inch but two are nine inch. Confusing. Well of course the idea was to get the same length of recording on to a smaller record and charge less. We have on the Broadcast label, The Midnight Merry makers- Louise, The Radio Melody Boys- There’s happiness ahead(Edison- Bell Radio label. On Woolworths own Crown 9in record, Rossinni’s Accordion Band- How much do I miss you and The Radio Serenaders- Lovely to look at. An awful lots of these records had Harry Bidgood behind them. The penultimate record is Felix Mendlessohn, no not that one, the one who had Hawaiian Serenaders. Stay safe, stay positive.    


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published on January 6, 2021, by

Hogmanay 2020 special. Coorie in and pour yourself a dram.

What a strange year its been. Lets forget about it and party. Here to help us is: Jimmy Shand- Blue Bell Polka, Ian Macpherson- My Ain Folk, Kenneth McKellar- Ae Fond Kiss, The Logan Family- A new year’s sing song, Tom Wright- McGinty’s Meal and Ale(Part 2), and from 1910, P.A Hope with Auld Lang Syne. Here’s tae us..  You’ll be hearing from me again in 2021. A happy and healthy one to you all.

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published on December 31, 2020, by

FS52: Warm music- Perry Como to Hal McIntyre via Eartha Kitt.

Sort of a Christmas special but not really. Just warm, comforting and fun music. We hear from Fats Domino  La, La, Tommy Dorsey- I’m getting sentimental over you, Harry Parry and his Radio Rhythm Club Sextet- Dim Blues, Nat King Cole- My Flaming Heart, Eartha Kitt- African Lullaby, Perry Como- Magic Moments, Flanagan and Allen- Sending out an SOS for you and Hometown, John Kirkby- Only a paper moon, Harry Parry with vocals by Doreen Villiers- Don’t be that way and Bounce me brother me a solid four, Mel Torme- Mountain Greenery and Hal McIntyre and South Bayou Shuffle.  Stay safe and have fun.

P.S Coorie is Scots for cuddle.

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published on December 25, 2020, by

FS51; Big voices, Frankie Laine to Kay Starr via Johnny Ray

Three artists whose voices were precursors to Rock and Roll.  Four from old Leather lungs or steel tonsils himself, Frankie Laine. Jealousy, That’s my desire,  Tarriers song and Blowing wild.  Laine had a career spanning an astonishing 75 years. He successfully sang in so many genres of music and was a man with a keen sense of social justice. His good friend Kay Starr provides two tracks: Wheel of Fortune and I’ll always be in love with you. Born on a reservation in Oklahoma in 1922 her heritage was very much native American.  She was singing on the radio at the age of 10. She’s become a firm favourite of Forgotten Songs. Someone new to FS, Johnny Ray. Another highly distinctive voice. Ray was highly popular throughout the 1950s and although dropped by his US record label in 1960 his career successfully continued in Britain and Australia. He gives us: The only girl I’ll ever loved and In the Candlelight.  Quite restrained performances from this often dramatic performer. Patti Page, another friend of Frankie Laine sings Sentimental music. We move away from the 1950s with two delightful tracks from the 20s Frank Ferera and John Paaluhi, Hawaiian Mother of mine and The London Accordion Band with It was a Tango. Lulu Zeiglar and Vido Musso give us another change of direction. We finish with the magnificent voice of Paul Robeson:  Just a wearin’ for you and Eriskay love lilt. His bass baritone resonates with emotional in these wistful songs.  A lovely but slightly melancholic end to to FS51 



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published on December 18, 2020, by

Three tracks so evocative of their time.

Novelty or comic records of bygone years can be sadly lacking in humour to our modern ears but these are three of my favourites. Phyllis Robins sings ‘ In my little bottom drawer,’ from 1934. It features a wonderful list of items she has collected, such as a bassinet, lino, flannelette pyjamas and a bath to keep the coal in. Tom Wright, a North East of Scotland Bothy Ballad singer, does a magnificent rendition of the tongue twisting ‘ McGinty’s Meal and Ale. A song that celebrates food, drink and feasting. Its in the broadest Scots. We finish with My Yodelling Lancashire Lass from Harry Torrani. Lovely wee love song all about his mill worker girlfriend. It mentions ‘wakes week,’ the annual week many work places and trades took off in the North West of England in the first half of the 20th century.

All three songs are full of wonderful period detail and are great social history documents. They are also great tunes, fun and from unjustly neglected artists. Perfect for Forgotten Songs.

published on November 23, 2020, by

Western Swing at Edinburgh’s seaside.

The word was that a whole bunch of 78s had turned up in a charity shop in Portobello. That’s the Portobello on the outskirts of Edinburgh and not the famous London market. No doubt 78s turn up there all the time. This was in the early days of Forgotten Songs from the Broom Cupboard and back then I was only playing records from the collection we had gathered over the years. My addiction to the shellac discs hadn’t really kicked in.
So I sauntered along and there they were on the bottom shelf, below the LPs and 45s. Well over a 100 of them, I mean well over a 100. The thing is they were all in new, thick card sleeves, the artist and song written in ink pen long hand on the cover. Looking like they had been catalogued and were from a collection. This was a charity where everything was 99 pence. Not quite believing my luck I checked that fact with the assistant and got stuck in. I think on that visit I got about 30 records. An interesting mix. Of course there were some Bing Crosby, Guy Mitchell, Vera Lynn and Jimmy Shand. There is always Jimmy Shand, this is Scotland and the accordion was big news here. There were others I’d never heard of: Jan Savitt, Carson Robinson, Husk O’ Hara. They sound different and fun and at 99p they were worth a shot. There was also Bob Skyles and his Skyrockets, who were probably some sort of dance band, there were two of them, I took both. Actually I think it was the label that interested me the most. Not a standard HMV, Columbia or Parlophone but a Bluebird label.

So that is how way over here, in Scotland I discovered the magnificence of Western Swing. I didn’t know Bob Skyles and his Skyrockets were that particular genre of music then. What I did know was was these four tracks were different. This wasn’t dance band music, it was a crazy blend of country, novelty, blue grass, goodness knows what and these fellas were having fun. I wished I’d been in the studio with them or at a dance bopping away to this infectious sound.

published on November 9, 2020, by

Bob Skyles and the Skyrockets.

A short video about those fine purveyors of Western Swing music that I recorded last year, when our studio really was a broom cupboard. Bob and the boys, in reality the Kendrick brothers, remain firm favourites with me. Their exuberant, fun recordings make me smile every time I listen. Still can’t believe how two of these Bluebird recordings from 1938 turned up in a charity shop in Edinburgh. Oh lucky day!

Another good piece of fortune has been that this video has brought me in contact with the daughter and niece of the band, Bob, Cliff and Sandford Kendrick. So massive thanks to Peg and her mum in the USA for reaching out across ‘the pond’ to Scotland. Your dad and uncles are still entertaining us.

published on November 6, 2020, by

FS 47: Roy Smeck to George Beverley Shea and Alma Cogan.

A right mix of records this time round. 1910 to 1956. Sixteen tons- Tennessee Ernie Ford, A little bit Independent-Dave King, Thirteen Women- Bill Haley, Irish Mambo- Alma Cogan, I can’t tell a Waltz from a Tango- Ray Burns, In the Garden- George Beverley Shea, Jonah and the Whale- Louis Armstrong, Cuban Love Song- London Piano Accordion Band, Zingarella Innamorata- Livi Emilio, Home- Roy Smeck and his Vita Trio, My Girl from Slumber Town- Arizona Jack, The Cord- Alexander Prince, Blues in my Condition- Cootie Williams, Concerto for Clarinet- Artie Shaw and Cant Sans Paroles- JH Squire Celeste Octet. 

published on November 6, 2020, by

Roberto Inglez and Harry Torrani

Music and songs from an unusual source. Roberto Inglez , a band leader who specialised in Latin American music was born Robert(Bertie) Inglis in Elgin, Scotland. Interesting for me, here in Edinburgh, Bertie’s grandparents lived in Portobello. That is about a miles from where I sit writing this and he is known to have based himself there while touring.

Harry Torrani, reckoned to be one of best yodellers of his day, was billed as The yodelling cowboy from Chesterfield. That’s in Derbyshire, England. He certainly looked the part and, to be fair, was a damn fine yodeller.

published on November 3, 2020, by