Archives for Episode

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

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

FS46: Love songs: Connie Boswell to Hutch and Hildegarde

Its lurve all the way in episode 46. Frankie Laine start us off with a tale of passion amongst the oil fields, Blowing wild. Its a song full of sweep and crescendo, that certainly suits old ‘leather lungs.’ His good pal Kay Starr follows him. Both are acknowledged as having vocal styles that influenced later rock and roll singer. Connie or Connee Boswell with- This time its love, from 1933. An influence on Ella Fitzgerald, she was reckoned to be one of the finest Jazz vocalists of her time.  A first time play on Forgotten songs, Peggy Lee, with her biggest hit Mr Wonderful. Also Alma Cogan, Lonnie Donegan and Eartha Kitt. Two from her, Eartha being playful and wistful. I’ve put Hildegarde and Hutch together. I’m sure they would have approved. Noel Coward would have done. Check out his live version of Lets do it on YouTube. Hot Lips Page sings of his love, or fear maybe, of a very dominant women in My Fightin Gal. Roberto Murolo sings a Corsican love song, Tu Duorme Amorre. Geeta Dutt, a prolific Indian playback singer, with a track from the 1950 Gujarati film Gadano Bel. Sadly she died in her early 40s but still managed to record around 2000 songs in her career. Jimmie Rodgers also sadly died young at 35. Two from him, Frankie and Johnny, the best version, and Jimmie being very risque with Everyone does it in Hawaii. Yes of course a love song special has to finish with this one- Frankie Froba and the boys with Jimmy Atkins vocals, all together now: Love song in 32 bars. Stay safe out there.

published on October 30, 2020, by

Podcast 45: From Layton and Johnstone to Marvin and Smalle

Sugar Chile Robinson with Numbers Boogie and Bouncing Ball Boogie. We’re a big fan of Robinson here, that most grounded of child stars. Separating his two tracks is Harry Parry and his Radio Rhythm Club Sextet, vocals by Doreen Villiers. Why has Harry been forgotten? Beats me. Also up: Twelfth street rag- Count Basie, The Moose- Charlie Barnet, The Drummer’s band- Gene Krupa, The Caravan- Duke Ellington, I’m crazy about my baby- Fats Waller, Wouldn’t it be nice- Josephine Bradley and Bless you- Archie Lewis. Lovely 1920s track from Jefferies and his Rialto Orchestra. They played the famed Marine Gardens in Edinburgh in 1926. The Midnight Minstrels do a great version of If I had a talking picture of you. Two black artists who were hugely popular in Britain in the 1920s and 30s were US born Layton and Johnstone. I’ve come across so many of their records in my travels. Yet their contribution to entertainment here seems largely forgotten. We have two from them. A new pairing to Forgotten Songs are Johnny Marvin and Ed Smalle. They give us a lovely, low key rendition of Blue Skies.  We make a dreamy exit with Lorrae Desmond and Far way and In a lonesome town with Les Paul and Mary Ford. Keep well and stay safe.  

published on October 21, 2020, by

Podcast 44: From Mel Torme to Archie Lewis and Bebe Daniels

We start with two versions  of the same song. Ted Heath and his music gives us an instrumental version of Mountain Greenery and then Mel Torme sings the definitive version of the song. Not forgotten Mel but is not celebrated enough. He was bizarrely known as The Velvet Frog.  Fantastic lyrics from Lorenz Hart- ‘How-how-how-how-how we love sequestering..’ What’s not to love there? Classics from Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, The Andrew Sisters and our old friend Leslie Hutchinson, Hutch. We have both sides of a Charlie Barnet record- Pumpton Turnpike and Swinging on Nothing. Charlie was one of the first band leaders to integrated his band. Massive fan of Basie and Ellington. Oscar Rabin plays a great version of Cherokee. He was a Latvian born English band leader. Sentimental Journey from Paul Fenoulhet, vocals Doreen Lundy Slightly mad track from Bill Snyder, Drifting Sands, vocals by Ralph Stirling. Our oldest track is Driftwood from Leo F Reisman from 1924. Bebe Daniels sings Imagination. She was an all round entertainer but is best remembered in Britain as being in the long running radio series Life with the Lyons, with husband Ben Lyon. Archie Lewis is a new discovery for me. Known as the Crosby of the Caribbean. He was one of the first black singers to front a big band in Britain, Geraldo’s band. A pioneer and very popular in the 1940s and yet forgotten now it would seem. We get romantic with our last two. Roy Fox with vocals by Denny Dennis On the beach at Bali Bali and Carroll Gibbons, vocals by Leslie Douglas gives us I don’t want to set the world on fire. Lovely version of a classic song. Stay safe out there.  

Thanks to Jessica Parkman for many of the records in this episode.

published on October 14, 2020, by

Podcast 43: Josh White to Tino Rossi via Eve Boswell & Peggy Dell

The whole episode is from a charity/ thrift shop haul. Some familiar artists amongst them- Georgia Gibbs, Mugsy Spanier, Eve Boswell, Billy Banks and Teresa Brewer. Otherwise some great discoveries. Shirley Abicair sings the title song from the 1956 film, ‘Smiley.’ She was Australian, played the zither and came to Britain in 1952. Still with us at the age of 92. Harry James is hardly forgotten but this is a pared back sound from the trumpeter and band leader, Feet dragging blues. Josh White, folk singer and political activist sings I’m gonna move to the outskirts of town. Another of the recordings in did in London in 1950. Tino Rossi, despite his Italian sounding name was a hugely successful French singer of the 1940s and 50s and sold 30 million records world wide. Roberto Murolo, champion high diver, sings La Mogliera. He specialised in Neopolitan songs. Love this one. The Four bright sparks sing about dreaming in 1930. Orchestras and bands next. John Kirkby with Fifi’s Rhapsody from 1941. He was a double bass player and champion of the chamber jazz style. Early 1950s R&B big band sound from Earl Bostick, Lou Preager Orchestra, from the Hammersmith Palais. with The night the floor fell in. Vocals by Paul Rich. My record of the day is the Roy Fox band from The Kit Kat Restaurant, London in 1933. The Denver born bandleader directs Sid Buckman singing My Wild Oats and the vocals of Peggy Dell on We’re all riding riding on a rainbow. Peggy Dell was born in Ireland as Margaret Tisdall. Its an unusual voice for a British big band of the time. Happy listening. Stay safe.

published on October 7, 2020, by

Podcast 42: From Mugsy and Fats to Kitty, Kay and Jean Farrar

Tennessee Ernie with Smokey Mountain Boogie start us off. Thrillingly it’s a shout out to the daughter and niece of the Kendrick Brothers- Bob Skyles and his Skyrockets- when I play their track, I’m gonna die with a broken heart. Jean Goldkette Orchestra with My pretty girl stomp and Harry Roy with You and I. Vocals on that are by Jean Farrar. Over the top piano from Carmen Cavallaro, Enlloro. Female vocalists next up. Kitty Kallen, who made a very successful transition from big band singer to a solo career. Kay Starr, who successfully sang Pop, Country and Jazz. Both women had long careers and lives, dying at 94. Les Paul with Mary Ford on multi track vocals and Eartha Kitt singing in Turkish. Jazzy blues from Bob Crosby and his Bob Cats (Tin Roof Blues) Mugsy Spanier (Hestitating Blues) Fats Waller (Shortin’ Bread) and Jelly Roll Morton (Oh didn’t he ramble). We end with Lonnie Donegan, I’m just a rolling stone. Another great travelling song. Hal McIntyre, who sadly died young, brings episode 42 to a close with the trippy South Bayou Shuffle.

published on September 30, 2020, by

Podcast 41: From Delia and Rose Murphy to Juthika Roy

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

Podcast 40: Danish folk music to a Gujarati film song

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

Podcast 39: Some naughtiness and the cynical side of love

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