Tag Archive: 1920s

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 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 38: Whispering Jack Smith to Effie Atherton

All records, apart from one, are from the Booth family collection. That one is Alma Cogan and the jolly but macabre Lizzie Borden. Leslie Holmes sings the cautionary tale of Annie doesn’t live here anymore. What a great title- I like pie, I like cake. A lovely Vocalion label from the Geoffrey Goodhart Orchestra (1926.) Goodhart only recorded for one year, so it’s a bit of a rarity. Next Roger Wolfe Kahn. The son of a wealthy banker family, he was a successful booking agent, musician, arranger, composer, band leader and aviator! The Midnight Minstrels perform Aren’t we all. Two version of Deep Purple. Billy Ward and his Dominoes (1957) and Kay Kyser (1939). Compare and contrast. Red Ingle and his Natural Seven from 1948: Cigareets, Whuskey and Wild Wild Women and Serutan Yob. Both sides are completely mad and sound strangely modern. Its a record with a chunk out of the start and a crack. Bear with it. Serutan was a laxative! Two from Whispering Jack Smith, billed as the Whispering Baritone. Lovely, subtle , soft delivery. He was very popular in the 20s and 30s but his style was probably out of fashion by the 1940s. Shame, two great song. Two comedy numbers next. Monty’s Meanderings from Milton Hayes. He wrote The yellow eye of the green god. Then Fred Gibson with Buying a stamp. Effie Atherton was a relative of the donor of these records and was born in Edinburgh in 1907. She sings- My young man is ever so nice and Dennis the Menace from Venice, mid 1930s. Certainly adopts two different singing styles. Effie was in a couple of films in the 30s and starred on stage and revues. She died in London in 2005. We finish with a Balalaika flourish and Pouree is Ukrainishe Pysen- Ukraine Potpourri. Which was recorded in New Jersey USA in 1925. Variety is spice of life!

published on August 26, 2020, by

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 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 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 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 24: Mildred Bailey to Jay Wilber and Ukelele Ike

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