- Ukulele Lady by Vaughn De Leath (Released by Columbia (3720) in 1925). Vaughn De Leath was born in 1894 in Illinois,USA, as Leonore Vonderlieth, moving to Los Angeles aged 12. She started singing during the 1910s and made her first radio broadcast in 1920 for New York’s 2XG station. The following year she began her recording career and over the next decade made records for Columbia, Brunswick, Okeh, Edison, Victor and others, both under her own name and using pseudonyms such as Sadie Green, Betty Brown and Gertrude Dwyer. She continued making radio appearances throughout the ’20s and ’30s but her career waned and she died in 1943, having suffered financial problems and alcohol addiction in later years.
- Over the garden wall by Gracie Fields (Released by His Master’s Voice (B 3600) in 1930) (For more info on Gracie Fields see blog for podcast number 1) Over the garden wall was written by Leslie Sarony and Cecil Harrington. Sarony recorded his own version and it was also recorded by Albert Whelan, Randolph Sutton and Jack Payne and his BBC Dance Orchestra among others.
- My Canary has circles under his eyes by Elsie Carlisle (Released by Imperial (2489) in 1931. Elsie Carlisle was born in Manchester,UK, in 1896 and gained popularity as a singer in the 1920s through radio broadcasts, appearing regularly on BBC radio from 1926 onwards, becoming known as “Britain’s Radio Sweetheart Number 1”. She continued appearing on radio throughout the ’40s but retired from showbusiness around 1950. In later years she ran several different businesses and died in 1977 aged 81. She can be seen singing HERE
- How about me by Norah Blaney (Released by Columbia (5381) in 1929) (For more info on Norah Blaney see Podcast one blog). How about me was written by Irving Berlin in 1928.
- Betty Driver Medley Part 2 by Betty Driver (Released by Regal Zonophone (MR 3657) in 1942.) Betty Driver was born in Leicester,UK in 1920. She began singing professionally at the age of 8 and in 1934 appeared in the George Formby film “Boots! Boots!” During her teenage years she appeared on stage regularly in revues and musicals, also appearing in the 1938 film “Penny Paradise”, “Facing the music” (1941) and several others. In the ’40s she concentrated more on singing, releasing records for Regal Zonophone and His Master’s Voice. During the war she spent much time entertaining the troops, then in 1949 she began her own radio series, “A Date with Betty”. In 1952 she landed her own TV show, “The Betty Driver Show”. She continued appearing regularly on radio and TV throughout the ’50s, then in 1964 auditioned unsuccessfully for a role in the TV Soap “Coronation Street.” Five years later, after a spell running a pub, she was offered the part of Betty Turpin in the show, which she went on to play for over 40 years, until her death in 2011.
- Gertie the girl with the gong by Anona Winn (Released by Rex Records (8466) in 1935). Anona Winn was born in Sydney, Australia in 1904. She began her musical career by studying piano and opera, but after moving to the UK around 1926 she took a more mainstream singing path, appearing in the 1927 musical “Hit the deck”. She then began a successful radio and recording career, making hundreds of appearances on radio, lasting through the ’40s-after the war she became a regular on the panel show “Twenty Questions”, a role which lasted through to 1976, and from 1968 she also hosted the radio show “Petticoat Line” which highlighted reader’s letters and views. She died in 1994.
- What the curate saw by Miss Florrie Forde (Released by Zonophone (X-43113) in 1906.) For more info on Florrie Forde see Podcast one blog.
- Let me go lover by Penny Nicholls and the Four in a Chord (Released by Embassy (WB 123) in 1955). Penny Nicholls was born in 1927 and began her singing career while still a child with the Billy Merrin band, and later sang with the Ivor Kirchin band and Teddy Foster’s band, with whom she made her first radio appearance in November 1945. Further radio (and occasionally TV) appearances followed in the late ’40s and early ’50s. After a few unsuccessful records for HMV and Planet, she started recording for Woolworth’s label Embassy in 1954, where she released around a dozen records over the next three years, including “This ole House”, “The Crazy Otto Rag”, “The Rock and Roll Waltz” and “Hot Diggity”. During these years Penny also toured, and appeared in revues and pantomimes. She continued singing live until her retirement in the ’70s.
- Spaceship boogie by Winifred Atwell (Released by Decca (F 10886) in 1957). Winifred Atwell was born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1914. She studied pharmacy as her parents were pharmacists, but also played piano, gaining popularity locally. In 1946 she moved to London to study at the Royal Academy of Music. She soon started playing live dates, and made her first BBC Radio appearances in late 1946, although it wasn’t until 1951 that she was signed to Decca and started making records. Her first major hit came in late 1951 with her fourth release “The Black and White Rag”/”Cross hands boogie”, released before the UK singles chart started in 1952. During the rest of the ’50s she had 15 UK chart hits including two number ones-“Let’s have another party” (1954) and “The poor people of Paris” (1956). As well as her UK success, she was also hugely popular in Australia, and moved there in the 1970s, by which time her career in the UK had waned (although “The Black and White Rag” was heard regularly as the theme to TV show “Pot black”.) She also had a property in Trinidad where she often stayed . She died in 1983.
- Gosh! I must be falling in love by Leslie Sarony (originally released by Rex Records (8115) in 1934. Leslie Sarony has been on several previous podcasts and you can read more about him in the blog for the first podcast. This song and 39 others are available to stream/download on the 78Man albums “78Man Presents Leslie Sarony” Vols 1 and 2 on itunes, Spotify, etc. You can see the great man himself singing “Peggotty Leg” Here
- Under the sweetheart tree by Randolph Sutton (Released by Edison Bell Radio (1426) in 1931.) Randolph Sutton was born in 1888 in Bristol, and made his stage debut in 1913 and became a popular singer but only began recording in earnest in the late 1920s. His other recordings include “All by yourself in the moonlight”, “Oh! Arthur! (What have you done to Martha?)”, “Is Izzy Azzy Woz?”, “Drivin’ the geese to market” and “The sun has got his hat on (He’s coming out today)”. Sutton was a successful stage performer, appearing in many pantomimes and revues, as well as radio and TV appearances (he appeared on BBC TV’s “The Good old days” in 1954.) He continued working until his death, making his final stage appearance on 26th February 1969 in St. Albans, two days before he died. A month later, Radio 2 produced a tribute programme, introduced by George Martin. His influence was such that further tribute programmes were made by Radio 2 in 1980 and 1982. You can see him singing “On Mother Kelly’s doorstep” HERE
- Love is just like that by Malcolm Desmond (released by Eclipse (155) in 1932). Malcolm Desmond was a pseudonym used by Billy Scott-Coomber when he recorded for the Eclipse label. Other releases include “We’re all going in for hiking”, “Bathing in the sunshine” and “Wagon wheels”. Billy Scott-Coomber was Irish, and first found fame as the singer in Jack Payne’s band. He made a few records under his own name, such as “June in January” in 1935 and “There’ll always be an England” in 1939. In the 1950’s he was a regular on BBC Radio’s “Children’s Hour”, and was known for his “nursery sing-songs”. In the late ’50s he became a radio producer, (where he was an early champion of Les Dawson), then in the ’60s became the presenter of the radio show “A night at the music hall”. You can see him performing with his singing grenadiers HERE
- I’m in love with Susan by Frank Crumit (released by His Master’s Voice (B. 4331) in 1929.) Frank Crumit was born in 1889 in Jackson, Ohio, USA and made his first stage appearance at the age of 5 in a minstrel show. Although he attained a degree in electrical engineering at university, music was his first love and he concentrated on his stage career, first in a group then solo, singing and playing ukulele, appearing on Broadway in 1918 in “Betty be good”. The following year he began recording, some of his earliest recordings being “I’ve Got The Profiteering Blues”, “Good-Bye Dixie Good-Bye”, and “My Little Bimbo Down On The Bamboo Isle” (all released by Columbia in the US in 1920). In 1925 Crumit signed to the Victor label and it was here he recorded some of his best known songs, such as “I’m Sitting On Top Of The World” (1926), “Abdul Abulbul Amir” (1927), “A Gay Caballero” (1928) and “A High Silk Hat And A Walking Cane” (1929). In 1928 Crumit married Julia Sanderson, also a singer, and they started presenting radio shows, including from 1930 onwards, “The battle of the sexes”, which ran until 1943 when Crumit died of a heart attack.
- How to make love by Bud Billings (released by Zonophone (5399) in 1929) Bud Billings was the pseudonym of Frank Luther, see Blog for Podcast 9 (Sept 2016) for more info.
- You Always Hurt The One You Love by Spike Jones and his City Slickers (released by His Master’s Voice (B.D. 1139) in 1946) More info on Spike Jones can be found in the blog for Podcast 4 (April 2016). Here’s a clip of Spike Jones and his city slickers in action.
- Bubbling Over With Love by The Hottentots (released by Eclipse (59) in 1931. The Hottentots were a pseudonym of the Jay Wilbur band (see Podcast 13 blog-January 2017 for more info on Jay Wilbur.) 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”. Eclipse Records was run by Woolworths, and provided cheap releases in competition with the major labels. The Woolworths museum site has more information on the label HERE
- Do You Love Me by Dick Haymes (released by Brunswick (3726) in 1946) Dick Haymes was born in Argentina in 1918 of British parents, and the family moved to the USA when Dick was a child. After briefly working as a teenage stunt double in films, Haymes began a singing career, becoming the singer for the Harry James Orchestra and in 1942 he replaced Frank Sinatra as the singer in the Tommy Dorsey band. In 1943 he began recording for Decca in the USA (these recordings being released on Brunswick in the UK), releasing songs such as “You’ll never know”, “Put Your Arms Around Me Honey”, and “In Love In Vain”
- Falling In Love Again by Al Vocale and his Orchestra (Released by Edison Bell Radio (1389) in 1930.) It would appear that Al Vocale may be a pseudonym for Al Bowlly; this record is mentioned in a couple of Bowlly discographies but details are sketchy. There was at least one other Al Vocale record on Edison Bell Radio, “Say A Little Prayer For Me”/”Waiting For That Thing Called Happiness”.
- Goodnight, Sweetheart by Henry Hall and his Gleneagles Hotel Bar Band (Released by Decca (F. 2330) in 1931). Henry Hall was born in London in 1898. He was interested in music from an early age, winning a scholarship to Trinity College of Music, where he studied trumpet, piano, harmony and counterpoint. He formed his own band and began a residency at the Gleneagles Hotel. During the early ’30s Hall’s band became a regular fixture on BBC Radio, broadcasting from Manchester, and in 1932 he took over from Jack Payne as leader of the BBC Dance Orchestra. As well as his radio appearances he made records for Columbia, including “Goodnight Everyone”, “The Man On The Flying Trapeze” and “Red Sails In The Sunset”. During World War 2 Hall entertained the troops both in radio broadcasts and concerts. During the ’50s he carried on broadcasting and playing live, as well as working as an agent and producer. He retired in 1964 and died in 1989.
Tracks on the podcast are :
1.We parted on the shore by Mr Harry Lauder (Released by Zonophone (X-42582) c.1908). Harry Lauder was born in 1870 in Edinburgh. His Father died when he was 11, and by the age of 14 he was working in a colliery, where he used to sing to his fellow workers. This led to engagements in local music halls, and in 1894 he turned professional. In 1900 he moved down to London where he became immediately successful. Over the next few years his fame grew and he toured America for the first time in 1907. He made his first recordings in 1905 and he recorded prolifically up until the early 1930s.
2.Daft Willy by Sandy Rowan(Released by Broadcast (484) in 1929.) Sandy Rowan was a Scottish comedian active during the late ’20s. His other recordings for Broadcast include “Just A Wee Deoch-an-Doris”, “I love a lassie”, “The cosy corner”, “Wanderin’ Willie”, and “All Scotch”. He first appeared on BBC radio in 1927 and was featured regularly for the next 5 years. After this he only appeared sporadically, for the last time in 1949. Apart from these few records for Broadcast, he doesn’t seem to have made any other recordings.
3. I‘ve got a lover up in Scotland by Mr Billy Williams (Released by Homophon (6851) c. 1913)
4. Jean from Aberdeen by Mr Billy Williams (Released by Cinch (5041) c. 1913 but probably a re-issue of the Zonophone recording from 1908) (For more information on Billy Williams see Podcast 11 Blog, from November 2016)
5. Grandfather’s bagpipes by Gracie Fields (Released by Rex Records (8617) in 1915.) (For more info on Gracie Fields see Podcast 1 blog). “Grandfather’s Bagpipes” was written by Jimmy Harper and Will Haines, who wrote or co-wrote some of Gracie Fields’ biggest hits such as “The Biggest Aspidistra in the world”, “Sally” and “Walter, Walter (lead me to the altar)” as well as the George Formby hit “In my little snapshot album.”
6. The Campbells are coming by The Two Leslies (Released by Regal Zonophone (MR 2225) in 1936.) (For more info on The Two Leslies, see Podcast 3 blog.)
7. When I get back tae Bonnie Scotland by Sandy Macgregor (Released by Regal (G 6481) in 1914.) This was a song written by Harry Lauder. Little is known about Sandy Macgregor, this seems to be his only record.
8. I’m the monster of Loch Ness by Leslie Holmes (Released by Rex Records (8094) in 1934.) Leslie Holmes was born in December 1901 in Newcastle upon Tyne, and died in December 1960. He was often billed as “Leslie Holmes (and his smiling voice)” and as well as a successful comedy singing career in the ’30s and ’40s (solo under his own name and as Roy Leslie and as part of The Two Leslies), he appeared in a couple of films-“Aunt Sally” in 1934 and “When you come home” in 1948.
9. Hoots Mon by Gordon Franks and his Orchestra (Released by Embassy (WB 312) in 1958.) “Hoots Mon” was a number 1 hit for Lord Rockingham’s XI in late 1958. This version was a cover version on Woolworth’s budget label, Embassy. Franks recorded regularly for the Embassy label, releasing tribute albums to Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Tommy Dorsey. He went on to record for Parlophone in the early ’60s, releasing singles of the theme tunes to TV series “The Rag Trade” and “Outbreak of Murder”. Composing music for TV shows became Franks’ main activity in the ’60s and ’70s, his credits including “Sykes”, “Father dear Father” and “Citizen James”.
10. The end of the road by Sir Harry Lauder. (Released by Zonophone (G.O. 64) in 1925.) Following his first flush of success (in 1911 he became the highest paid entertainer in the world), Lauder spent much of the Great War raising money for the war effort, for which he was knighted in 1919. The war held personal tragedy for Lauder; his son John was killed in December 1916 at Pozieres. John’s death inspired Lauder to write “The end of the road” which became one of his best known songs. Despite retiring in 1935, Lauder also entertained the troops during World War 2. He died in February 1950.
Tracks featured on the podcast are :
- Bells on Christmas day by David Clews (Released on HMV (POP 127) in 1955). David Clews was a child singer who appears to have had a very short career-this seems to be the only record he made! Released at the end of 1955, when vinyl 45s had started to be pressed for the better selling artists, this was only released on 78, so it seems HMV didn’t have much faith in its chances, and they were right as it wasn’t a hit. The flip side was another Christmas song, “Did Santa have a daddy?”
- Christmas Day at the Bugginses Part 1 by Mabel Constanduros assisted by Michael Hogan (Released on Broadcast (471) in 1929.) (See blog on Podcast 12 for more info).
- Davy Crockett is helping Santa Claus by Joe Lynch (Released on Beltona (BE 2668) in 1956.) Joe Lynch was an Irish actor, singer and songwriter, born in July 1925. He first found fame in Ireland in the ’50s with his radio show “Living with Lynch”. He began recording for the Beltona label in 1956, and over the next two decades he ran dual careers as singer, radio presenter and actor. He went on to appear in the TV comedy “Never mind the quality, feel the width” and as Elsie Tanner’s boyfriend in the soap opera “Coronation Street.” His film roles include “Loot” (1970), “The Outsider” (1980) and “Eat the peach” (1986). He died in August 2001. Davy Crockett was a 19th Century American folk hero and politician. In the 1950s Disney made a TV series based on him, and “The ballad of Davy Crockett” was a hit in 1955 for Bill Hayes, Tennessee Ernie Ford and Fess Parker. This song was an attempt to gain another hit from the Davy Crockett legend but sadly failed!
- Christmas questions by Joe Ward (Released by Parlophone (R 4110) in 1955.) This was the B side of “Nuttin’ for Christmas”, featured in the Christmas Eve Podcast-see Podcast 12 blog for more info.
- John Henry’s Christmas Eve parts 1 and 2 by John Henry and Company (Released by HMV (B 3665) in 1930.) Now largely forgotten, John Henry recorded several records from the early ’20s to the early ’30s, often with his side-kick “Blossom”. He began his recording career around 1924 for His Master’s Voice and his records included “John Henry Calling” (1924), “My wireless set” (1925) and “Going the pace that kills” (1928). His real name was Norman Clapham and he became one of the first radio stars, appearing on BBC radio for the first time in October 1923. He was a radio regular for a few years but by 1930 radio appearances had dried up, although he carried on making records into the early ’30s (having moved to Regal Records). Sadly, depressed by the death of his partner, he took his own life in May 1934.
- The Santa Claus Express by Jay Wilbur and his band (Released by Rex (8642) in 1935. Jay Wilbur was born (as Wilbur Blinco) in 1898. He learned piano and by 1928 he 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.
- White Christmas by Ambrose (Released by Decca (F. 8193) in 1942.) Ambrose was born in Russia in 1896, but his family moved to the UK when he was a child. As a teenager he moved to New York and it was there he played in his first band, before returning to the UK in 1922, where he formed a new band and began playing in London. He made his first record in 1930 and in the next few years recorded for His Master’s Voice, Regal Zonophone and Brunswick before signing to Decca where he made the bulk of his recordings. He spent the ’30s and ’40s playing residencies at various venues-The Mayfair Hotel, The Embassy Club and Ciro’s Club, which he co-owned with American bandleader Jack Harris, as well as pursuing a prolific recording career (he carried on recording at Decca until 1949). He also discovered Vera Lynn, who sang with his band from 1937-1940. His career waned during the ’50s but he discovered another female singer, Kathy Kirby, who he managed for the rest of his life. He died in 1971. “White Christmas” is one of the best known festive songs, the version by Bing Crosby being one of the biggest selling singles of all time (with an estimated 50 million sales).Total sales of all versions are estimated at over 100 million. It was written in 1942 by Irving Berlin and was used in the film “Holiday Inn”. The song has also been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, The Drifters, Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, Ella Fitzgerald, Andy Williams, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, The Beach Boys, The Supremes, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Otis Redding, Barbara Streisand, Neil Diamond, Destiny’s Child, Neil Sedaka, Erasure and many, many others!
- Christmas Melodies by the fireside Part 2 by Radio Melody Boys (Released by Edison Bell Radio (1267) in 1929) (See Christmas Eve podcast blog for more info)
- Christmas Day at the Bugginses Part 2 by Mabel Constanduros assisted by Michael Hogan (Released on Broadcast (471) in 1929.) (See blog on Podcast 12 for more info).
- Jolly Old Christmas Part 2 by Leslie Sarony (Originally released by Imperial (2779) in 1932.) (For more info on Leslie Sarony see blog for Podcast 1) If you like Leslie Sarony check out the 78Man albums “78Man Presents Leslie Sarony” and “78Man presents Leslie Sarony Vol. 2” on download and streaming services (not available in the US).
- At the old pig and whistle (Originally released on Imperial 2887, 1933)
- I’m Courtin’ Sairey Green (Rex 8309, 1934)
- Gorgonzola (Imperial 2379, 1930)
- Wheezy Anna’s wedding day (Rex 8069, 1933)
- Bashful Tom (Rex 8309, 1934)
- Skiddley Dumpty Di Do (Regal Zonophone MR 1922, 1935)
- Everybody loves the races (Eclipse 735, 1934)
- The Monkey on a string (Rex 8069, 1933)
- Funny Stories (Imperial 2686, 1932)
- Rhymes Part 1 (Eclipse 140, 1932)
- Rhymes Part 2 (Eclipse 140, 1932)
- How long has this been going on? (Imperial 1918, 1928)
- You can feel it doing you good (Imperial 1995, 1928)
- The Alpine Milkman (Imperial 2332, 1930)
- Why is the bacon so tough ? (Imperial 1995, 1928)
- I caught two cods cuddling (Imperial 1918, 1928)
- I like to jump upon a bike (Eclipse 735, 1934)
- Stories (Stop me if you’ve heard this one) (Imperial 2686, 1932)
- Leslie Sarony Memories Part 1 (Rex 8236, 1934)
- Leslie Sarony Memories Part 2 (Rex 8236, 1934)
(For copyright reasons this album is not available in the US)
Tracks featured on the podcast are :
- Jolly Old Christmas Part 1 by Leslie Sarony (Originally released by Imperial (2779) in 1932.) (For more info on Leslie Sarony see blog for Podcast 1)
- Mrs. Buggins makes the Christmas pudding by Mabel Constanduros and Michael Hogan (Originally released by Eclipse (X 6) in 1927.) Mabel Constanduros was born Mabel Tilling in 1880, in London (She became Mabel Constanduros after her marriage to Athanasius Constanduros). She achieved fame by writing and performing comic radio sketches featuring the Buggins family (she initially played all the characters but by the time of this record had been joined by Michael Hogan). She appeared on hundreds of radio programmes from the mid ’20s up to the 1950s, often writing her own material. She also wrote plays and novels. In the ’50s she also adapted novels for radio broadcast, including a version of Dickens’ “Our Mutual Friend” starring Richard Attenborough in 1950. She also appeared in several films including “Where’s George?” (1935), “Rose of Tralee” (1942) and “The White Unicorn” (1947). She died in 1957. Michael Hogan was born in 1893 and began his career as a film actor, appearing in “Bolibar” (1928), “The Lyons Mail” (1931) and “My old Dutch” (1934). He went on to become a screenwriter, writing scripts for films such as “Secret Journey” (1939), “Trouble brewing” (starring George Formby, 1939), and “Appointment in Berlin” (1943). He died in 1977.
- Christmas melodies by the fireside Part 1 by Radio Melody boys (Released by Edison Bell Radio (1267) in 1929). Radio Melody Boys was one of many pseudonyms used by Harry Hudson (1898-1969) and his band. Hudson had a varied career, and was musical director, and appeared in, George Formby’s first film “Boots! Boots!” in 1934. Other recordings as Radio Melody Boys included “Singin’ in the rain”, “Button up your overcoat”, “Jollity farm”, and “My baby just cares for me” (all released in 1930.) Hudson continued performing with his band up until the 1950s.
- Sandy’s Christmas Eve Parts 1&2 by Sandy Powell (Released by Broadcast (761) in 1931). Sandy Powell was born on 30 January 1900 in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. His Mother was an entertainer, and he made his stage debut aged 9. His recording career began in 1929 and he went on to make almost a hundred records, the last being in 1942. Most of these records were comedy sketches with him in an occupation-Sandy the Sailor, Mountaineer, Goalkeeper, Doctor, Dentist, Fireman, Solicitor, Dirt Track Rider, even MP! During the ’30s he became a popular radio and theatre act, with his catchphrase “Can you hear me mother?”, and he continued regular radio appearances up to the 1950s. He also appeared in films such as “The third string” (1932), “I’ve got a horse” (1938) and “Cup-tie honeymoon” (1948). He was awarded the MBE in 1975 and died on 26 June 1982.
- Keeping up an English Christmas day by Flora Cramer (released by Zonophone (686) in 1911). Flora Cromer was an actress and music hall singer/comedienne mainly active from around 1908 to the 1920s. Her other recordings include “Walter”,”Take me back to babyland” (both of which she co-wrote with Herbert Rule), “Holding Sandy’s Handle” (which she co-wrote with George Collins) and “Idaho”. She toured Australia successfully in 1921 but never became a huge star, and is now largely forgotten.
- Nuttin’ For Christmas by Joe Ward (Released by Parlophone (R 4110) in 1955). Little is known about this Joe Ward (there have been several singers of that name), but the record was originally released on the US King label and licensed to the Parlophone label in the UK. The record was a minor US hit, but was a bigger hit for Art Mooney, and was also recorded by Ricky Zahnd, the Fontane Sisters , and in a parody version by Stan Freberg.
- Silent Night, Holy Night-Zither Solo by Anton Karas (Released by Columbia (DB 2635) in 1950). Anton Karas was born in Vienna in 1906 and learned to play the zither as a child. Although he wanted to be a professional musician from an early age, he combined his musical career with study, work, and army life during the second world war and it wasn’t until 1948 he achieved fame, after being asked to provide the theme music for the film “The Third Man” by director Carol Reed. Reed had heard Karas playing in a wine tavern. The film-and its music-was a huge success, and Karas went from playing in small bars and taverns to touring the world. Although he toured for more than a decade after his initial success, he never enjoyed fame and retired in 1966. He died in 1985.
- A Rootin’ Tootin’ Santa Claus by Tennessee Ernie (released by Capitol (CL 13633) in 1951.) Tennessee Ernie Ford was born in February 1919 and began his career as a radio announcer, before leaving to study classical singing. He served during World War 2, and went back to radio announcing when the war ended, where he became known as Tennessee Ernie. While presenting a show on KLXA Radio in Pasadena, he also started singing professionally and signed a contract with Capitol Records, where his initial recordings were credited to Tennessee Ernie, before later adding his surname Ford to the name. He had several US hits in the early ’50s and gave up radio presenting, although in 1954 he moved briefly to Television when he hosted a music quiz show and appeared in three episodes of “I love Lucy”. In 1955 he scored his biggest hit to date with “Sixteen Tons” which led to him landing his own NBC TV show, “The Ford Show” which ran for five years beginning in 1956. When this finished he hosted a chat show from 1962-65. His career declined during the ’70s, partly due to his excessive alcohol intake, although he carried on recording, making his final album in 1984. He died in October 1991.
- The Mistletoe Kiss by Promo Scala and his banjo and accordion band with The Keynotes (Released by Decca (8983) in 1948. For more info on Primo Scala see blog for Podcast 4.
The Podcasts are now being uploaded as videos to You Tube, with extra information about the records played. At the time of writing, the first three have been uploaded, and we aim to add them at the rate of one per week. The channel can be found HERE.