Podcast 34: Enrico Caruso from 1908 to Charles Penrose in 1922

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

Podcast 33: British bands and BBC radio stars from the 1920s & 30s

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

Podcast 32: The Bell Sisters to Frances Langford via La Palma

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

Podcast 31: Western swing , early Country and Yodelling!

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

Podcast 30: Manna Dey to Elizabeth Pollock via some yodelling

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

Podcast 29: The Blues, Boogie and Jazz

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

Podcast 28: Harry Parry, Nat Gonella and Joe Daniels on 78rpm

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

Podcast 27: Lita Rosa to Jean Sablon, Jimmy Shand and Harry Roy

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

Podcast 26: Tom Foy to Ruth Etting and Roberto Inglez

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

Podcast 25: Al Dexter to Paula Green and Lulu Ziegler

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