- Let’s Sing the Song Father used to Sing by The Hottentots (Released by Eclipse (105) in 1931). The Hottentots were a pseudonym of the Jay Wilbur band. As The Hottentots they recorded several records on Eclipse, including “Sweet Jennie Lee”, “In Geneva with Eva”, “Whistling In The Dark” and “When Yuba Plays The Rumba On The Tuba”.
- If a Grey Haired Lady Says How’s Your Father by Jay Wilbur and His Band (Released by Rex Records (8691) in 1936). Jay Wilbur was born (as Wilbur Blinco) in 1898. He learned piano and by 1928 had his own band, which was resident at the Tricity Hotel in London. He made his first recordings for the Dominion label, where he became musical director-his records for Dominion included “Spread a little happiness”, “Button up your overcoat” and “When Niccolo plays the Piccolo”. He moved to the Imperial label in 1931, then onto Rex Records in 1933, where he continued to record for over a decade. His Rex releases include “The wedding of Mr. Mickey Mouse”, “Sweetmeat Joe, the candy man”, “The down and out blues” and “Someone’s rocking my dreamboat”. After a brief period with Decca, he stopped recording in the late ’40s. He was also a popular radio star, appearing on BBC radio from 1936 onwards, with the programmes “Melody from the sky” and “Hi Gang!”. In later years he lived in South Africa, and died there in 1968.
- I’m a Daddy at 63 by Charlie Higgins (Released by Rex Records (8065) in 1933). Charlie Higgins was born circa 1897, and began his entertainment career as part of a duo called “The King’s Jesters” in 1923. In 1925 he went solo, appearing in the Revue “Magnets” at the Hippodrome in Devonport. He began his recording career in 1930 on the Broadcast label, where his records included “With Me Gloves In Me ‘And”, “Down In The Field Where The Buttercups Grow”, “Charlie’s Breach Of Promise Case”, and “Down In The Old Churchyard”. He then moved to Rex Records, where his releases included “Where The Violets Are Blue-oo And The Roses Are Red” and “Charlie Makes Whoopee”. He made a few appearances on BBC Radio and Television in 1936 and 1937, but after that his career was confined to stage work, until his retirement in the mid 50s.He died in 1978.
- Dream Daddy by Oliver Dance Band
- Beat Me Daddy Eight To The Bar by The Andrews Sisters (Released by Brunswick (03082) in 1940). The Andrews Sisters were Laverne (July 6, 1911 – May 8, 1967), Maxene (January 3, 1916 – October 21, 1995), and Patty (February 16, 1918 – January 30, 2013). They began performing together in the mid ’20s but only really came to prominence in 1937, after being signed by Decca. During the ’40s they spent a lot of time entertaining the troops while the Second World War was on, and recorded many records with Bing Crosby. Patty left to start a solo career in 1953, which led to a temporary split, but the trio reformed in 1956 and went on to make many more records before Laverne’s death in 1967. The remaining pair of sisters, Maxene and Patty briefly re-united on Broadway in the ’70s but never really worked together professionally again.
- Put A Bit of Powder On It Father by Billy Williams (Released by Homophon (6752) circa 1913). Billy Williams was born Richard Banks in Australia in 1878, but moved to the UK in 1899, becoming an entertainer and changing his name to Billy Williams. He made his first recordings in 1906 and over the next 9 years became a huge star and prolific recording artiste, making over 500 recordings. He billed himself as “The Man in the Velvet Suit”. He died in March 1915 aged 37. Among his most famous records are “When Father papered the parlour”, “Little Willie’s Woodbines” “Save a little bit for me”, “Come into the garden, John”, and “John go and put your trousers on”.
- When Father tried to kill the Cock-a-doodle-doo by Billy Williams (Released by Zonophone (511) in 1911).
- Tell Your Father, Tell Your Mother (That I’m Good Enough For You) by Leslie Sarony (Released by Imperial (2790) in 1932).If Leslie Sarony is remembered at all today, it is usually for writing “Jollity Farm” (covered by The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band on their 1967 album “Gorilla”) or “Ain’t it grand to be bloomin’ well dead”, still a popular song at funerals (and the first record to be banned by the BBC on the grounds of taste), but from the late ’20s to the end of the ’30s he was one of the UK’s most popular singers, releasing hundreds of songs on a plethora of labels, initially as a solo artist and later as part of The Two Leslies, with Leslie Holmes. Sarony was born (as Leslie Legge Frye, his stage name of Sarony being his Mother’s maiden name) in January 1897. He began appearing on stage as a teenager but his singing career was cut short by World War One. Having survived the war he returned to the stage but it wasn’t until 1926 that he began his recording career. Over the ensuing decade and a half he recorded for Imperial, Eclipse (the Woolworths label), Victory, His Master’s Voice, Regal Zonophone, Edison Bell Radio, Rex and Parlophone among others. Making sense of the Sarony discography is a hard task, as he often recorded for different labels simultaneously, even recording multiple versions of the same song for different labels. He wrote many of his best known songs himself- “Rhymes” (covered by The Goons when they briefly reformed in the ’70s), “Gorgonzola”, “I lift up my finger and I say Tweet Tweet” “Over the garden wall” (the latter two covered by Gracie Fields), “Mucking about the garden” and “Tom thumb’s drum”. Many singers of the time recorded cover versions of Leslie’s songs. As well as writing his own songs he also covered some of the best comic songs of the day-“All by yourself in the moonlight”, “Hunting tigers out in India” (another Bonzos cover), “The old kitchen kettle” and “He played his ukulele as the ship went down” along with the lesser known classics “There’s a song they sing at a sing song in Sing Sing” and “When H’I was H’out in H’India”. What’s great about these rarely heard recordings is that 80 odd years later they’re still funny, if perhaps not always as politically correct as would be acceptable today! In 1933 Sarony teamed up with Leslie Holmes (a fellow singer of novelty songs, known as “the man with the smiling voice”) and for the next 12 years they performed as The Two Leslies recording many records such as “Sweet Fanny Adams”, “I’m a little prarie flower”, “Miss Porkington would like cream puffs” and “Umpa Umpa (stick it up your jumper)” (a phrase used at the end of The Beatles’ “I am the walrus”-wonder if John Lennon had heard the record?)Apart from an album made by Roy Hudd in 1980, Sarony didn’t record commercially after 1940 but was constantly working on stage and TV both as a singer and actor-he had appeared in several films during the ’30s and ’40s and later acted on TV shows such as Nearest and Dearest, The Gaffer, I didn’t know you cared and Minder. He worked into his 80s, appearing in Paul McCartney’s film “Give my regards to Broad Street” in 1984 and the Monty Python short “The Crimson Permanent Assurance” in 1983. Leslie died on Feb 12th 1985, and his final two TV appearances-cameos in an episode of the first series of Victoria Wood As seen on TV, and an episode of “There comes a time” (a short lived comedy starring Andrew Sachs) both aired posthumously.
There are now 4 volumes of “78Man Presents Leslie Sarony” available on most major streaming and download sites as well as on CD, each volume contains 20 tracks, many not commercially available for over 80 years. In addition, the album “Songs that Leslie Sarony taught us” features 20 cover versions of songs written by Sarony. CDs can be ordered HERE
9. Don’t Sell Daddy Any More Whiskey by Matty O’Neill (Released by London (HL. 1037) in 1951). Little is known about Matty O’Neill, other than there was a follow up to this record, called “Whiskey took my Daddy away”, also in 1951.