Bob Skyles and his Skyrockets and Tex Beneke start us off with a flourish. Sadly its the ‘last chance saloon’ for three of the records in this episode. Condition is a little far gone. Theses copies of Frank and James McCravy (Swinging on the golden gate), Leo Reisman (For my sweetheart) and Lucky Millinder (The spider and the fly) will not be joining us again. Mezzrow-Lardiner Quintet play: I ain’t gonna give you none of this jelly roll (1938). Brilliant title. Mezz Mezzrow was an American clarinettist and saxophonist. He was a bit of a character, well known for his cannabis habit and his love of black American culture. Lovely piece of 1930s music from the Henry King Orchestra and Breeze. Next up two artists born in the Bengal region of India – Juthika Roy and Satya Chowdhury. Both had long successful careers on record and film. Juthika Roy’s admirers included Gandhi and Nehru. We go out with the Bessie Smith: Muddy Water, a Mississippi Moan. Recorded in 1927 by The Empress of the Blues. Then the Murphys. Delia Murphy, collector of Irish traditional songs with Three lovely lassies and two from the extraordinary voice of Rose Murphy- The Chee Girl. Gee I wonder what the trouble can be and Busy line. Marvellous one and all.
published on September 23, 2020, by Miles
It’s a right old mix this time round. We start with the familiar and Bob Crosby and his Bob Cats from 1937. Then four from the 1920s. Hal Kemp, the purveyor of ‘soothing, sweet dance music,’ 1928. He sadly died at the age of 36. The Sunshine Boys from 1929. They were brothers Joe and Dan Mooney and they only recorded between 1929 and 1931. The Savoy (Hotel) Havana Band, led by Bert Ralton from 1923 and from1929 Ray Starita and his Ambassador Orchestra. Vocals by Betty Bolton. Bolton was an all round entertainer, actor, singer and a childhood star in World War One. She died at the age of 99 in 2005. Forgotten Songs is all about variety. So up next is Danish Folk Dance and Gujarati film music from 1950. The Barmy Brothers sing ‘Puss, Puss, Puss,’ 1933. Could find nothing out about them. Neither could I about Kirk Stevens and his very 1950s rendition of Forevermore. Emile Vacher was certainly well known. Deemed the creator of ‘Bas Musette.’ Very French accordion music. We go out with two Mugsy Spanier tracks- ‘At the jazz band ball’ and Lonesome Road. Both from 1939. Great and a great trumpet player.
published on September 9, 2020, by Miles
Some old favourites and an episode not without a few double entendres. That cheeky fellow George Formby starts us off in his little Wigan garden. I don’t think it’s all about plants and insects though. Fats Waller extolls the virtues of rump steak. Tennessee Ernie Ford sings ‘kiss me big!’ We get all cynical with Marlene Dietrich and Rosemary and ‘Too old to cut the mustard’ and two magnificent tracks from Eartha Kitt. Lonnie Donegan gives a fine vocal performance in ‘Love is strange.’ The Kendrick brothers and pals, aka Bob Skyles and his Skyrockets sing ‘Lets play love’ and Teresa Brewer ‘Wang , Wang blues’. Marvellous. The antidote to soppy love songs completes the show ‘ Love song in 32 bars.’ A short but sweet one.. or is it bitter in parts?
published on September 2, 2020, by Miles
All records, apart from one, are from the Booth family collection. That one is Alma Cogan and the jolly but macabre Lizzie Borden. Leslie Holmes sings the cautionary tale of Annie doesn’t live here anymore. What a great title- I like pie, I like cake. A lovely Vocalion label from the Geoffrey Goodhart Orchestra (1926.) Goodhart only recorded for one year, so it’s a bit of a rarity. Next Roger Wolfe Kahn. The son of a wealthy banker family, he was a successful booking agent, musician, arranger, composer, band leader and aviator! The Midnight Minstrels perform Aren’t we all. Two version of Deep Purple. Billy Ward and his Dominoes (1957) and Kay Kyser (1939). Compare and contrast. Red Ingle and his Natural Seven from 1948: Cigareets, Whuskey and Wild Wild Women and Serutan Yob. Both sides are completely mad and sound strangely modern. Its a record with a chunk out of the start and a crack. Bear with it. Serutan was a laxative! Two from Whispering Jack Smith, billed as the Whispering Baritone. Lovely, subtle , soft delivery. He was very popular in the 20s and 30s but his style was probably out of fashion by the 1940s. Shame, two great song. Two comedy numbers next. Monty’s Meanderings from Milton Hayes. He wrote The yellow eye of the green god. Then Fred Gibson with Buying a stamp. Effie Atherton was a relative of the donor of these records and was born in Edinburgh in 1907. She sings- My young man is ever so nice and Dennis the Menace from Venice, mid 1930s. Certainly adopts two different singing styles. Effie was in a couple of films in the 30s and starred on stage and revues. She died in London in 2005. We finish with a Balalaika flourish and Pouree is Ukrainishe Pysen- Ukraine Potpourri. Which was recorded in New Jersey USA in 1925. Variety is spice of life!
published on August 26, 2020, by Miles
Its an imaginary train journey on my part. West to east across the USA, from San Francisco to Hagerstown in Washington County and this is some music to accompany the journey. Two Choo, choo songs to start: The Merry Macs with Choo Choo Polka and a crazy track from Winifred Atwell, Choo Choo Samba. A double sided train record from Michael Holliday, 10 Thousand Miles and The Run Away Train. Remember the latter from Junior Choice, a BBC radio children’s show in the 1960s. Hutch sings Over the hill. Okay its not about trains but you’ll understand the reason and it is Hutch! Trains in the title or train type music: Honky Tonk Train- Meade Lux Lewis (1935 recording), Munson Street Breakdown- Lionel Hampton, PDQ Blues- Fletcher Henderson and Red Nelson- Streamline Train. We take a break from the dusty travel to clean up. So its The Rhythm Maniacs and Singing in the bath tub. Back on the train and Sleepy Town Train from the Milt Herth Trio, some early Hammond Organ from 1942. George Chisholm next and another non train song but the title says it all- Lets go! Freight Train, Chas McDevitt and Nancy, excellent track and big hit from 1962. Wrongly credited and copyrighted to Williams and James for many years. It was in fact written by Elizabeth Cotton, around 1908. My favourite of the day, When the sun goes down. Lonnie Donegan at his best. Billed as Skiffle, it’s blues though. We finish with Ted Heath and his music and Grand Central Station. It’s not even about the station or trains!
published on August 19, 2020, by Miles
A short one this time round. Some snippets of some old favourites: Roberto Inglez, Leslie (Hutch) Hutchinson, Bob Crosby, Lorrae Desmond, Bob Skyles, Jimmie Rodgers, Billy Williams, Harry Torrani and Teresa Brewer. Its mainly a wee chat about what the programme is all about and why I select the records I play. If you’d like to get in touch I can be emailed at email@example.com
published on August 12, 2020, by Miles
Bob is back, three from him. Lovely 30s music and vocals ‘On a steamer coming over,’ 1933, from Billy Cotton. Eleven times married Charlie Barnet with another mode of transport ‘Sky liner.’ Think we need a new copy of that record! Also up The Dixie Marimba Players, The Casa Loma Orchestra, The Deep River Boys, Eddie Condon and Joe ‘Fingers’ Carr, who was in fact Lou Busch. The intriguing singer Billy Banks. Primarily known as a female impersonator on record- sounding male here with the jazz standard ‘Margie.’ Our oldest record is by GH Ghirgwin, ‘Asleep in the Deep,’ from 1912. Chirgwin act was ‘black face.’ An oddly popular style of entertainment until the 1970s. Remember the BBC series The Black and White Minstrel show? I don’t usually play the genre but Chirgwin’s vocal performance is a straight one and his story is interesting. As is George Price. Performing at the age of six he impressed the mighty Caruso. His stardom was brought to an abrupt halt when he fell out with Jacob Schubert, the theatre magnet. He did return to entertainment though and he shows a strong, unusual voice. Patti Page sings about Johnny Guitar, ‘My restless lover. Its another naughty ending with Ozzie Nelson and ‘The man who come around’.
published on August 5, 2020, by Miles
In the studio my guest is a Decca XL Portable wind up record player. So many of these lovely machines were taken to the front in world War One that they were known as the ‘Trench gramophone.’ ‘Mic’d’ up it plays us three records. It needs a bit of TLC. You will hear me mention its running a little fast. I’ve made adjustments in editing, hopefully sounds better. Via the Decca we have Enrico Caruso singing Lolita, from 1908. He was one of the first big recording stars of the 20th century. Mr Evan Williams, born in the US of Welsh parents, he had a successful career both sides of the Atlantic. Sadly we don’t get a lot of his version of My Ain Folk(1914). Lastly, Scottish Superstar Harry Lauder with ‘Ta ta my bonnie Maggie Darling(1914). The interloper is a 1934 Eclipse record from Master Wilfred Eaton but it is called ‘Songs from long ago.’ Master Wilfred also sang under the name Master Joe Petersen. Such a vogue for boy sopranos in the 1930s. When a record company (Rex?) decided they wanted some of the action they employed Mary O’Rourke to masquerade as their boy soprano. Mary was still performing as Joe when she was 50. Otherwise we have Charles Penrose singing one of ‘laughing’ song (1922), Miss Elsie Southgate and her sister Dorothy (1915), perform ‘Ave Maria.’ George Robey sings the very cheeky ‘And that’s that’ in 1915. In the comic monologue towards the end of the record he mentions the humiliation of having go into the studio to shout into a pipe to record the song! Lastly from 1913 Billy Williams. Another big music hall star, born in Australia, he gives us the rather saucy ‘The worst of it is I like it.’
published on July 29, 2020, by Miles
Some records from the back of the forgotten Songs shelves! The Happy Wanderer and my mash up pronouncing Oberkirkchen starts us off. Hopefully the tune doesn’t remain in your head for the rest of the day! Five bands/ big band records in a row. Ambrose, Frankie Carle, two from Lew Stone (vocals by Nat Gonella and an uncredited Al Bowlly,) from the Tower Blackpool Bertini and his band and Percival Mackay. What a back story he has. George Cates plays ‘Nightfall and Mayer Gordon some San Saene. Three singers who were on various BBC Scottish radio stations in the 1920s and 30s: Neil Mclean, Ian Ferguson and Alex MacGregor. Irving Gillette sings the Sankey hymn, ‘There were ninety and nine.’ Its a 1909 recording. Gillette’s real name was Harry Haley McClasky , he sang under numerous different names. Also up Teddy Johnson, Phil Cardrew and his Corn huskers and Jimmy Lurchford. Lester Ferguson sings us out with the lullaby ‘Sleepy Eyes.’ So all that remains for me to say is ‘goodnight.’
published on July 22, 2020, by Miles
We like Lorrae Desmond on Forgotten songs so we have a couple from her from the mid 50’s. Brilliant voice, unjustly neglected. Paula Green and her Orchestra from the late 40’s. Known primarily as a big band singer she recorded a few songs with her own orchestra at this time. Josephine Bradley plays ‘What do you think those Ruby red lips were made for’ in strict tempo. One of only a few British female band leaders she was a rival to Victor Sylvester. We are upping the tempo next with a crazy track from Winifred Atwill, ‘ Choo choo Samba. The Trinidadian born pianist was a prolific artist throughout the 50s. Jane Forrest sings her biggest hit ‘Malaguena.’ Great voice and song but who was Jane? Jill Day, singer and actress sings her biggest hit from 1957, ‘I dreamed.’ Frances Langford with the Jimmy Dorsey orchestra, ‘Rap, tap on wood. She originally trained as a opera singer but began as a big band singer at the age 17. Long career. The Bell Sisters sing ‘Bermuda, composed by one of the sisters Cynthia. As ever excellent orchestration from Henri Rene. Cabaret songs and singers, Lula Ziegler, from Denmark and from France, Lucienne Boyer and La Palma. Recorded between 1930 and 1933 in L’Empire theatre La Palma sings a Boyer composed song with an unusual brass accompaniment. ‘Wang, Wang Blues.’ I’m saying nothing! Its fun and sang with gusto by Terresa Brewer. Multi tracked Mary Ford sings ‘In a lonesome Town’ and Les Paul works his echoey guitar magic. What a finale!
published on July 15, 2020, by Miles