Before starting Forgotten songs from the broom cupboard I was not particularly a Country and Western fan- certainly not of the Nashville sound. Listen to the genre on 78rpm and the back to basics sound of country from the 1920s and 30s has been a different matter though and has been an education. Here are 10 songs that bring a smile to my face or get my feet tapping. Bob Skyles and his Sky Rockets – I’m gonna die with a broken heart and Lets play love. Al Dexter- Wine women and song. Johnny Denis and his Ranchers- Ragtime time cowboy joe. Harry Torrani- Mississippi yodel. McCravy Bros- Sister Lucy. Bud Billings and Carson Robinson- Sleepy Rio Grande. Hoosiers Hot Shots- Take me to the ball game. Light Crust Dough Boys- Beer drinking mama. The wonderous Jimmie Rodgers with Frankie Johnny.
published on July 8, 2020, by Miles
We open with the yodelling cowboy from Chesterfield, Harry Torrani, and My Lancashire yodelling lass. What a tag line, great song too. For the first time of Forgotten Songs we have some Indian music. Manna Dey in Hindi on a 78 pressed in 1963. Next, Dajos Bela goes A round the Volga, Russian music from the late 1920s. Also up are Len Fillis, Len Brennan and the Winter Gardens Dance band, Leroy Anderson, George Guetary, Henri Rene, Earl Grant and the Band waggoners. Lovely track from Smith Ballew from 1930. Smith was an actor, singer and orchestra leader. He was one of the first singing cowboys in the talkies. Elizabeth Pollock was the first impressionist to appear on the BBC in 1933. Unfortunately her impressions here are largely of people who have faded into obscurity. Much better, as there are still some funny lines, is Albert before the means test Albert Burden and Co apply for unemployment benefit. A real time piece. French singer Lucienne Boyer brings definite Gallic charm to the proceedings with In the Smoke. The whole of human life is here, in one form or another!
published on June 24, 2020, by Miles
Another more music, less chat episode. Ten 78rpm records from 1927 to 1951. Two from Tiny Rowland- Bradshaw Boogie and Walkin’ the chalk line. Cootie Williams – Blues in my condtion, Hot Lips Page – My fightin’ gal, Red Nelson – Streamline train, Mead Lux Lewis – Honky tonk train, Bessie Smith – Muddy waters, Fletcher Henderson – PDQ Blues, Jimmy Yancy – East St Louis blues and Mildred Bailey – So help me.
published on June 20, 2020, by Miles
This episode is all about the music. Some British jazz from the 1930s and 40s. Three lesser known bands that deserve more ‘air time.’ Harry Parry and his Radio Rhythm Club Sextet play: ‘I’ve found a new baby’, ‘It don’t count,’ ‘Parry Opus’, ‘Softly as in a morning sunrise’ and ‘Don’t be that way.’ Nat Gonella and ‘Blues upstairs and downstairs.’ Joe Daniels and his Hot Shots in Drumnastics play: ‘Blues in Boogie,’ ‘Dancing for a dime,’ Cuban Pete,’ ‘Drumnastics part two.’
published on June 19, 2020, by Miles
Three dance records to start us off. Two different takes on the accordian – Jimmy Shand with Scottish dance in strict tempo and the far from strict tempo Bob Skyles and his Sky Rockets with ‘Swinging with the accordian man.’ Then its authentic Canadian Square Dance with the Red River Boys on the Melotone label. Also up: Anne Shelton, Savoy Havana Band, Harry Roy and his Ragamuffins and Sid Philipps and his band and Lita Rosa (pictured). Phylis Robbins, Sheffield’s blonde bombshell, we’ve played her before doing a comedy song but this is a straight rendition of a love song- rather good too. Randolph Sutton from 1930 and ‘Put your troubles through the mangle.’ To our ears its more social history than comedy. A change of genre and country, two from France: Jean Sablon and Charles Trenet. Trenet sings the lovely ‘La Mer.’ To take us out we have both sides of a Mugsy Spanier record, ‘Someday sweetheart and That Da Da Strain. In between its the pared down simplicity of Jess Stacy, Gene Krupa and Israel Crosby and Barrel House. Top tunes, one and all, in their very own way.
published on June 17, 2020, by Miles
We open with the greatest love song ever written! Two oldies, Tom Foy, born 1879 and Stanley Kirkby, born 1878. Both men were from the north of England and performed in Music Hall. Sadly Foy died in 1917. His, ‘If we live to be ninety nine’ is the oldest record I have played so far, 1911. I still find it hard to comprehend we can listen to a record that is 109 years old! Kirkby was the most prolific recording artist of his time and around 1918 he is estimated to have been earning over £26000 a week, in modern terms. Also playing, close harmony group The Merry Macs, Vicky Young, the magnificent Hoagy Carmichael, Ray Martin Orchestra, Josh White, Ruth Etting, from 1929 and child star, the boogie woogie piano playing, Sugar Chile Robinson. Johnny Dennis and his Ranchers, English cowboy music and whistling. Love it. Its the nearest thing we have to Western Swing. Couple of blues numbers- pared back, Gin MIll blues from Joe Sullivan and his piano and a little more modern with Vido Musso. My record of the day is Roberto Inglez with Los Celos Y El Viento. Latin American from the man born Robert Maxtone Ingles in Elgin in the North East of Scotland. His is an intriguing story to say the least.
published on May 25, 2020, by Miles
You can’t go wrong with starting with Tex Beneke. We calm things down with a couple from Hutch – that rich, smooth voice – from 1938 and 1941. First time I’ve played Wurlitzer organ music and its from the 1937 BBC Radio’s top star, Reginald Foort. The foremost organist of his day. He developed and designed his own mobile organ, well mobile is questionable, it weighed 30 tons! Early Hammond organ from the Milt Herth Trio (1942) and Bob Hamiton Trio (1938). Bob is playing the marvellous ‘Dinner music for a pack of hungry cannibals.’ Sheer madness. We also have Don Bestor Orchestra, Paula Green and her Orchestra, Red River Dave and Bud Freeman and his Suma Cum Laude Orch. A cracker from Al Dexter, ‘When we go Honky Tonkin.’ Hot string, early country music. Two more firsts: A 1955 Japanese track on the Teichiku record label and in Danish, Lulu Zeigler. Great performance of a dark sounding, ‘At the docks.’ We finish, appropriately, with ‘On the Waterfront.’ An excellent vocal version by Lorrae Desmond. Love her voice and the lush orchestration of Bob Sharples. Back in the day Bob provided the music for Opportunity Knocks, a British TV talent show. I mean that most sincerely folks!
published on May 18, 2020, by Miles
Music and song from the years between the two World Wars. As always we steer away from the big names. Claude Hopkins starts us off with Washington Shuffle. He was born in Virginia and was a talented stride piano player and arranger. In 1925 he went to Europe as the musical director of The Revue Negre. Josephine Baker was a performer in that Revue. Next Cliff Edwards, Ukelele Ike, the voice of Jiminy Cricket and friend to Buster Keaton. Then we have Hawaiiian music from Frank Ferrara followed by three on the Zonophone label- International Novelty Quarette, Bud Billings and Carson Robinson and Esther Coleman. Next we have the extrememly pukka Uncle Mac, BBC Radio children’s presenter with some nursery rhymes. Early jazz follows from Jasper Taylor’s State Street Boys, 1926 and from the same year The Vernons sing the very understanding ‘I don’t care what you used to be.’ Two from the prolific Jay Wilber, one under his name, the other under The Connecticut Collegians. Harry Reser, another prolific band leader, under the name The Clevelanders. From the north east of Scotland the tongue twisting ‘McGinty’s Meal and Ale’. Sing along if you can!! We finish with Mildred Bailey, The Queen of Swing from 1938 with ‘As long as you live you’ll be dead when you die.’ If you want to put faces to some of the artists I play, check out the Forgotten Songs playlist here.
published on May 11, 2020, by Miles
The first of many bespoke podcast recordings to come. Its the usual eclectic mix of tunes. The mysterious Nino Rico orchestra play Rico Vacilon. Who were these fellas? Jane Forrest is another artist with no online biography. Glasgow born Tommy Watt had a long career as a band leader and arranger and is father to Ben Watt from Everything but the Girl. Joe Daniels and his Hot Shots, Winifred Atwell and The Light Crust Doughboys make another appearance. Short tributes to listeners in Virginia with Spring time in the Blue Ridge Mountains and California with The Californian Ramblers. Sadly both records are a little scratchy. Boogie Woogie Stomp from Albert Ammons, 1936. Great friend of Mead Lux Lewis, they were both taxi drivers in the 1920s. Imagine being picked up by them! Baritone Gilbert Austin sings a plaintive ‘Why can’t we be sweethearts.’ He sang under at least 12 other names. Suzette Tarr was a cockney stage and radio star from 1930s and 40s. She sings ‘Alf.’ Hildegarde was born Loretta Snell in Wisconsin in 1906. She was an international cabaret star and inspired other artists such as Miss Piggy and Liberace! We end going out in to the dark beyond with the theme from the 1950s BBC radio series ‘Journey into Space.’ Now that is spacey.
published on May 4, 2020, by Miles
Can’t resist starting off ‘Mountain Greenery,’ its those lyric, that delivery. Tennessee Ernie with the faintly rude sounding ‘Kiss me big.’ Patti Page, a massive selling artist in the 1950s, on a Trutone South African label record. George Hall and his Orch, vocals by Dolly Dawn. Ella Fitzgerald, no less, credits Dolly as an influence. Dolly eventually took over the orchestra and it become Dolly and her Dawn patrol. Also George Morgan, David Whitfield, Turner Layton, Owen Fallon and his Californians, McKenzie and Condon’s Chicagoans. Early music from Carl Dolmetch. Original Dixieland Jazz Band, 1918, and Scotlands first internation super star Harry Lauder from 1913. My personal favorite and new discovery, Australian Lorrae Desmond. A cracking, Stanley Black orchestrated, track. Delighted to say she’s still with us. There’s more of course.
published on April 27, 2020, by Miles