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
A third of the show is dedicated to Skiffle. Chas McDevitt and Nancy Whisky begin proceedings. Chas does some whistling during the song and Nancy wasn’t too happy about it apparently. Both artists were Glasgow born. Followed by The Vipers and then four from the ‘master’ of skiffle and so much more, Lonnie Donegan. In amongst that Morris and Mitch explain Skiffle in ‘What is a Skiffler?’ Also Hal McIntyre, Les Brown Orch (featuring Doris Day,) Favorites the McCravey Bros and Fats Waller. Bet they never thought they’d share the bill! Rosemary Clooney teams up with Marlene Dietrich for the wonderful ‘Too old to cut the mustard anymore.’ I like Rosemary alot but she is upstaged in this one. Red McKenzie and Tiny Bradshaw sees us out. Marvellous.
published on April 22, 2020, by Miles
Mel Torme starts us off with Mountain Greenery. Love the rhyme busting lyrics. Lonnie Donegan with Ham and Eggs. Early Country from Leake County Revelers, from 1928. They were Mississippi local. From 1930 Joe and Bud Billings, they were in fact Carson Robinson and Frank Luther and their fame was a little more wide spread. Luther toured Britain in 1927. We also have a B side from Eddie Calvert, Rock and Roll from Jack Scott. The Clevelanders, lead by Harry Reser, first cousin to the Wright Brothers. The 1949 Esquire All American award winners play Indiana Winter. Old favourite Hal McIntyre. Kitty Kallen and Helen Forest sing with Harry James. Anita O’Day stands alone with her band. Della Murphy sings the Irish ballad Three Lovely Lasses. She collected of old Irish songs and had her fascinating story. There’s more of course.
published on April 15, 2020, by Miles
Yes I start with Eartha again. I’ve no shame! Couple of Western Swing tracks, Light Crust Dough Boys, billed as a hot string band and Bob Skyles and his Skyrockets from 1937. Dinah Shore, Les Paul and Mary Ford, Harry Parry, Hal McIntyre, Leslie (Hutch) Hutchinson and Fats Waller. Early Jazz from Friar Society Orchestra from around 1922. Mead Lux Lewis and a 1935 recording of ‘Honky Tonk Train Blues’. Red Nelson on the Brunswick Sepia Series label and more trains with ‘Stream Line Train.’ Nelson is looked upon as one of the pioneers of R&B. Two brilliant tracks from The Hot Lips Page Trio. The rather bitter lament, ‘Just Another Woman.’ Then as an antidote ‘My Fightin’ Gal.’ What a woman she is. There’s more of course.
published on April 8, 2020, by Miles
Its not all 78s this time round. Two vinyl pieces of magic from Eatha Kitt from the splendid 1956 LP, ‘That bad Eartha.’ Freddy Randall, part of the post war trad jazz revival in Britain. Illinois Jacquet and his honking and screeching sax. Light classics from Bill Snyder, actually its rather good and laid back ‘Chicago Blue.’ Roy Fox and his band from 1934. Very brief vocals for Al Bowlly. A cheesey three, notable for the Walter Huston’s September Song. Raymond Dance, Hal McIntyre and the banjo of Len Fillis from 1928. Record of the episode the rather naughty and suggestive Tiny Bradshaw. There’s more of course.
published on April 1, 2020, by Miles
A bonus episode as we begin this strange time in semi lock down in Edinburgh and around the world. Recorded last year. I bill it as an episode with jolly music back then – perfect for these extarordinary times. Stay safe. We have Tennessee Ernie and Sixteen Ton- yes I need a better copy of this much played 78. Paul Small Orch on a Diva label, produced for WT Grant store in the US from 1925 to 32. Layton and Johnson, Leslie (Hutch) Hutchinson, Dinah Shore, Hal Kemp- sadly died young in a car crash. Claude Hopkins, Lucky Millinder. Frank Ferrara with some spaced out Hawaiian music. They say between 1915 to 1930 Ferrara produced a quarter of all Hawaiian records. More up to date from the late 1950s Australian singer Jimmy Parkinson. We finish with a couple from Harry Parry.
published on March 27, 2020, by Miles