Songs on the podcast are :
- My brother makes the noises for the talkies by Albert Whelan
This was covered as the “A” Side of the first Bonzo Dog Doo Dah band single released on Parlophone R 5430 in 1966. Albert Whelan’s version was released on Imperial 2490 in 1931. (See Podcast 1 blog for more info on Albert Whelan.)
2. I’m going to bring a watermelon to my gal tonight by The Two Gilberts
This was the “B” side of that first Parlophone single. The Two Gilberts’ version was released in 1925 on Regal G 8292. (See Podcast 1 blog for more info on The Two Gilberts)
3. Button up your overcoat by Nat Lewis and his dance band
The Bonzo’s second Parlophone single was a cover of “Alley Oop”, and the “B” side was a cover of this song, which was written by Ray Henderson, B.G. Desylva and Lew Brown in 1928. It was used in the Broadway musical “Follow thru”, which was then made into a film. The song became popular through recordings by Ruth Etting and Helen Kane. This version was released in 1929 on Broadcast 474. Nat Lewis was one of several pseudonyms used by Harry Bidgood.
4. Jollity Farm by Jack Payne and his BBC dance orchestra
In 1967 the Bonzos signed to Liberty records and released their first album “Gorilla” which included a version of this Leslie Sarony penned song. There were several versions of the song recorded, including Sarony’s own version. This Jack Payne recording was released by Columbia (5729) in 1930.
Jack Payne was born on 22 August 1899 and began his musical career playing piano while serving in the Royal Air Force during World War One. During the ’20s he moved to London and joined a band which became the house band at London’s Hotel Cecil. Appearances on BBC Radio followed and in 1928 Payne became the BBC Director of Dance Music and the leader of the BBC’s first official dance band. They made many records, including “Riding on a camel” (1929), “On her doorstep last night” (1929), “Sittin’ on a five barred gate” (1930) and “Goodnight sweetheart” (1931) and also appeared in the films “Say it with music” (1932) and “Sunshine ahead” (1936). Jack Payne died on 4 December 1969.
5. Mickey’s son and daughter by Jack Jackson and his orchestra
Another song covered on “Gorilla”, this version was released on His Master’s Voice (B.D. 281) in 1935. Jack Jackson was born on February 20th 1906 in Barnsley. He began his dance band career aged 16 in 1922 and over the next few years played in several different bands, including Bert Ralton’s Havana band, Jack Hylton’s band, Ambrose’s band and the Howard Jacobs band, before forming his own band in 1933. After the war he moved into Radio and TV presenting, and spent some time living in Tenerife in the ’60s. He died aged 71 on January 14th 1978.
6. Little Sir Echo by Billy Cotton and his band
This song wasn’t released by the Bonzos during their ’60s heyday, but was often performed live and on TV. This version was released on Rex Records 9540 in 1939. Billy Cotton was born in London on May 6th 1899. He started playing drums during the Great War, and went professional in the early ’20s, starting his own band in 1925. His recording career started shortly after and he made many records over the years, including “The new Tiger rag” (1930), “Skirts” (1933), “Basin Street blues” (1936), and “I wish I could fish” (1941). In the ’50s and ’60s he presented “The Billy Cotton Band show” on radio and TV. He died on March 25th, 1969.
7. Ali Baba’s Camel (part one) by Cicely Courtneidge
For their second album, “The doughnut in Granny’s greenhouse” (1968) the Bonzos dropped the “doo dah” from their name to become The Bonzo Dog Band, and the album was all self penned. For their third album “Tadpoles” (1969) they went back to a mixture of originals and covers, including this 1931 Noel Gay song. Cicely Courtneidge was born on 1st April 1983 and first took to the stage in her producer father Robert’s musical comedies. She married Jack Hulbert in 1916 and they became professional as well as personal partners. During the ’30s she appeared in many films, including “Aunt Sally” (1934), “The Imperfect Lady” (1935), “Things are looking up” (1935), and “Everybody dance” (1936). During this time she also recorded for Columbia and HMV Records, including this recording from 1931 on HMV B 3984. She carried on acting on stage, TV and film into the 1970s, her most notable later appearance on film being “The L-Shaped room” in 1962, in which she sang “Take me back to dear old blighty” (this is the version sampled by The Smiths on their “Queen is dead” album title track). She died on 26 April 1980.
8. Doctor Jazz Stomp by Jelly Roll Morton’s red hot peppers
Also featured on third album “Tadpoles”, this Jelly Roll Morton original is from 1926. Jelly Roll Morton was born Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe on October 20th 1890 in New Orleans and became one of the early jazz pioneers, writing “Jelly Roll blues”, “King Porter stomp” and “New Orleans blues” around 1905 (the former acknowledged as the first published jazz tune in 1915.) He began recording for the US Victor label in the mid ’20s with his group The Red Hot Peppers but his contract was not renewed in 1931 due to financial difficulties stemming from the great depression, and during the ’30s he worked managing and playing piano in bars. In 1938 he was stabbed, sustaining chest and head wounds, and he died 3 years later on July 10th 1941, having never returned to full health.
9. Hunting tigers out in Indiah by Leslie Sarony
Again, this song is from “Tadpoles”. There are many versions of the song, this one being released on Imperial 2361 in 1930. (See Podcast 1 blog for more info on Leslie Sarony)