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
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
Melvin Jerome Blanc, the man of a thousands voices- Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Barney Rubble and Bugs. So many Looney Tunes favourites. Three from Bob Crosby, including a Shakespearian sonnet. Les Compagnons De La Chanson and The Three Bells. Lovely Gallic harmony. A ‘B’ side, In the Light of the Silvery Moon but what is the big hit on the other side? Nat King Cole and The Four Knights, more Winifred Atwell, Georgia Gibbs, Jean Goldkette and Gary Miller, the singing voice of Troy Tempest in Stingray. A pioneering Rock and Roll star, who last year was touring Britain at the age of 82, Charlie Gracie. Early country and Western Swing from The Hill Billies and Hoosiers Hot Shots. Two songs in Scots. The pre 1st World War, ‘We’ll hae just Anither.’ Its from Hector Gordon, he’s a bit of a mystery. More up to date and no mystery Joe Gordon and The Folk Four, A regular in The White Heather Club on TV in the 60s. In amongst all this the magnificent Harry Parry (pictured) and his Radio Rhyhm Sextet, vocals by Doreen Villiers. What a title ‘ Bounch me, brother, with a solid four.’
published on March 25, 2020, by Miles
Rock Island Line the song that originated in the USA and came over to UK to be sung by Lonnie Donegan. We have a 45rpm sneaking in. A local song, not even Edinburgh, it’s Leith and from the 1980s, it’s certainly forgotten and it’s a mystery artist- J Sutcliffe. Wingy Manone and Mugsy Spanier. Great names, great tracks. Two from Eartha and one from Patti Page. On a bit of a toe curling note, Matty O’Neil sings ‘Don’t sell daddy anymore whiskey.’ A baby cries all the way through it! ‘Just wee deoch an’ doris,’ in Scots and celebrating the more cheery side of a wee dram. That’s from 1912. Sugar Chile Robinson. A child star that sang to two US presidents, 70 years apart. There’s more of course.
published on March 7, 2020, by Miles
Fats Waller bewailing those big feet. The Tanner Sisters sell their toffee apples. They were a support act for Buddy Holly when he toured Britain. Stella went on to a successful career as an actor. The special effects dept have a ball with Ernest Butcher’s ‘Peaceful Street.’ The poor man can get no sleep for the sound of street vendors, road works, horses, factory sirens. All the sounds of a 1930s street. Hal McIntyre with KiIlle Killie, vocals by the Four Lyttle Sisters- their real family name was Gourley! We also have Burl Ives, Blue Baron, Les Paul and Bob Crosby does Shakespeare. Jazz to shakespearean sonnets. It works too. Way back in time we have Tom Foy from 1913, singing about a mill girl.
published on March 2, 2020, by Miles
What a mix of Forgotten and little played songs and artists and all on 78s. We go back to the early years of the 20th century in this hour. Harry Cove, who sang under at least another 20 names, pops up twice. Under his own names and as Ted Yorke, singing ‘Its a long long way to Tipperary,’ 1914. We have Sandy McGregor from 1912 and his rendition of ‘Maggie frae Dundee.’ Very early country from the 1920s- Bud and Joe Billings and Carson Robinson. Cliff Edwards, Ukele Ike, on a lovely Artuelie lable record. Edwards was the voice of Walt Disney’s Jiminy Cricket. Woolworth’s own Victory record label and the very appropriate song ‘The girl from Woolworth’s.’ Also playing The International Novelty Quartet, Pee Wee Hunt, Layton and Johnston and Society Cafe Orch.
published on February 23, 2020, by Miles