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78Man Podcast Number 34 : Older than you think 2

Podcast Number 34 is the second to look at songs which were hits in the ’60s-’80s but were originally released in the 78 era. It can be found on itunes or Podbean Here

Tracks Heard are :

  1. I Only Have Eyes For You by Al Jolson (Released by Brunswick (04379) in 1949) Al Jolson was born Asa Yoelson on May 26 1886 in Lithuania. His family moved to the USA in 1894 and he began his musical career in 1897 when he and his brother Hirsch (aka Harry) started singing for money on street corners. In 1911 he starred in his first musical revue and over the following years became one of America’s most popular and highest paid performers. It was during this period that Jolson started performing in blackface. He had huge hits in the ’20s with songs such as “Swanee”, “My Mammy” and “Rock-a-bye your baby with a Dixie melody”. In 1927 he starred in “The Jazz singer”, considered to be the first full length talkie. He went on to appear in other films such as “The singing fool” (1928), “Hallelujah, I’m a bum” (1933), “The singing kid” (1936), and “Rose of Washington square” (1939). In 1942 Jolson’s career was revived by the film “The Jolson Story” and he started recording again for Brunswick. A sequel, “Jolson sings again” was released in 1949 but Jolson’s renewed success was cut short by his death on October 23 1950, after appearing for the troops in Korea.
  2. Pretend by Nat “King” Cole (Released by Capitol (CL 13878) in 1953) Nat “King” Cole was born (Nathaniel Adams Coles) in March 1919 in Montgomery, Alabama. At the age of 4 his family moved to Chicago, where his father became a Baptist Minister. His Mother was the church organist, and taught him to play at an early age. He began formal piano lessons aged 12. He left school at 15 to pursue a career in music. He formed a band with his brother Eddie and in 1936 released a couple of records as Eddie Cole’s Swingsters. Nat then formed the King Cole Swingsters and in 1940 had his first hit with “Sweet Lorraine”, recorded for the US Decca label (released on Brunswick in the UK). In 1943 he signed with Capitol, the label he is most associated with. In the ensuing years he released many hit records, such as “It’s only a paper moon” (1944), “I’m in the mood for love” (1946), “Nature Boy” (1948), “Mona Lisa” (1950), “Too Young” (1951), “Smile” (1954), “Unforgettable” (1954) and “When I fall in love” (1957). During the Capitol years Nat became one of the biggest singing stars worldwide and his success continued in the post 78 era, with hits such as “Let there be love” (1961), “Rambling Rose” (1962), and “Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer” (1963). In late 1964 Nat began to lose weight and suffered from back pain, and was diagnosed with lung cancer. He initially carried on working, recording and playing live, but his condition worsened and he died on February 15th, 1965.
  3. September Song by Walter Huston (Released by Brunswick (04658) in 1945) Walter Huston was born in April 1883 in Toronto. As a young man he worked in construction, while also attending acting classes. He made his stage debut in 1902, and for two years toured in stage plays before giving up acting temporarily upon his first marriage in 1904. After his first marriage foundered he returned to the stage in a double act in vaudeville, with Bayonne Whipple, whom he married in 1915. Although silent films were now big business, it wasn’t until talkies came along that Walter Huston started making films. These include “The Virginian” (1929), “Abraham Lincoln” (1930), “The Woman from Monte Carlo” (1932), “Storm at Daybreak” (1933), “Rhodes of Africa” (1936), “The Light that failed” (1939), “Yankee Doodle Dandy” (1942), “And then there were none” (1945), and “The Great Sinner” (1949). He died in April 1950. His Son John Huston became a successful director and actor, and several of his descendants have become famous actors-Anjelica Huston, Danny Huston and Jack Huston.
  4. The Great Pretender by Anne Shelton (Released by Philips (PB 567) in 1956) Anne Shelton was born in South London in November 1923, and began singing on the radio show “Monday night at eight” aged 12, gaining a recording contract 3 years later. During the war she appeared many times on the BBC’s forces radio service, often alongside Vera Lynn. After the war she had a regular BBC radio show with band leader Ambrose and then her popularity spread to America, and she toured the US in 1951. Her records include “Down Ev’ry Street” (1941), “Why Can’t it happen to me” (1943), “Down at the old bull and bush” (1947), “The Wedding of Lilli Marlene” (1949), “The loveliest night of the year” (1951), and “Arrivederci Darling” (1955). In 1956 she had a UK number one single with “Lay down your arms”. She made regular appearances on radio and TV all through the ’50s and ’60s; in 1961 she hosted her own TV show, “Ask Anne”. In 1978 she appeared on the Royal Variety Performance, and in 1984 presented a TV tribute to Glen Miller. She continued performing until her death in July 1994.
  5. This Ole House by Rosemary Clooney (Released by Philips (PB 336) in 1954) Rosemary Clooney was born in May 1928 in Kentucky, USA. Her recording career began in 1946, with Tony Pastor’s big band. In 1949 she left the band and went solo. going on to release many records during the ’50s including “Beautiful Brown Eyes” (1951), “Too old to cut the mustard” (with Marlene Dietrich, 1952), “Little Red Monkey” (1953), “Where will the dimple be?” (1955), and “I’ve grown accustomed to your face” (1956). She also appeared in several films in the ’50s including “White Christmas” (1954), although after this her screen appearances were limited to TV work only. During the ’60s she recorded for RCA Victor, Reprise and Dot Records but failed to regain the huge success of the ’50s. After a short stint on United Artists in the ’70s she signed with Concord Jazz Records, and released an album for them every year until her death in June 2002.
  6. You Need Hands by Max Bygraves (Released by Decca (F 11004) in 1958) Max Bygraves was born in London in October 1922, one of six children. The whole family lived in a two roomed flat, and Max left school at 14, taking a series of jobs before serving in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. After the war he worked on building sites during the day and developed his act in pubs at night. This led to a variety tour with Frankie Howerd, who introduced him to Eric Sykes, who he started writing with. He made his first record in 1949, but it wasn’t until the early ’50s that he became successful with records on His Master’s Voice and later Decca, including “Cowpuncher’s Cantata” (1952), “Bygraves Boogie (1953), “Gilly Gilly Ossenfeffer Katzenellenbogen By The Sea” (1954), “Meet me on the corner” (1955), “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” (1956), “We’re having a ball” (1957), “(I love to play) My Ukelele” (1958), “Last night I dreamed” (1959), and “Fings ain’t Wot they used to be” (1960, making it one of the last UK 78s). His singing career faltered in the ’60s but his TV and stage career thrived. Then in 1972 he suddenly revived his musical career with a series of medley albums called “Sing Along with Max”, which sold millions of copies in the UK. The hit albums dried up again after a few years and he reverted to his TV and stage career, hosting the popular TV quiz show “Family Fortunes for 2 years during the ’80s. In 2008 he moved to Australia, where he died in August 2012.
  7. Java Jive by The Ink Spots (Released by Brunswick  (03197) in 1941) The Ink Spots formed in 1934 (initially as The 4 Ink Spots), with the line up of Hoppy Jones (1905-1944), Deek Watson (1909-1969), Jerry Daniels (1915-1995), and Charlie Fuqua (1910-1971). They made their first recordings for the Victor label in 1935, although they didn’t have a major hit until 1939, with “If I didn’t care”, by which time Jerry Daniels had left the band to be replaced by Bill Kenny (1914-1978). The 1940s saw them score many hits, including “My Prayer” (1940), “Whispering Grass” (1940), “I Don’t want to set the world on fire” (1941), “Cow Cow Boogie” (1944), “It’s a sin to tell a lie” (1946), and “Home is where the heart is” (1948). The early 1950s saw line up changes and disagreements between members, leading to two outfits calling themselves The Ink Spots, one led by Bill Kenny and the other by Charlie Fuqua, but by 1954 they had both disbanded. After that several groups performed as The Ink Spots, some featuring ex members but none were official. By 1967 so many acts had called themselves The Ink Spots that a judge deemed the name to be in the public domain.
  8. Tweedle Dee by Bonnie Lou and her gang (Released by Parlophone (R 3989) in  1954) Bonnie Lou was born (as Mary Joan Kath) in October 1924 in Illinois, USA. She began listening to music at an early age, and began learning the violin aged 5. At 11 she got her first guitar, and by the age of 16 she was singing live on local radio. A Year later she was given a five year contract to sing on national radio. During the 1940s she became a popular radio personality but she didn’t start releasing records until 1953 when she signed to King Records. Her first records were Country Music songs, such as “Seven Lonely Days” and “Tennessee Wig Walk” but later changed her style to Rockabilly, with records such as “Daddy-O”, “The Barnyard Hop” and “La Dee Dah”. She also became a TV presenter, co-hosting The Paul Dixon Show for 2 decades, beginning in 1955.When the Paul Dixon show ended early in 1975, she went into semi-retirement, and died in December 2015.
  9. Yes Tonight, Josephine by Johnnie Ray (Released by Philips (PB 686) in 1957) Johnnie Ray was born in January 1927 in Dallas, USA. He was musically gifted from an early age, beginning to play piano at the age of 3 and joining the local church choir at 12. At 13 he had an accident which left him deaf in one ear, which he claimed lead to his unique singing style. At 15 he turned professional, singing on a radio station in Portland, Oregon. He made his first record, “Whiskey and Gin” in 1951, and had a major US hit the following year with “Cry” and “The little white cloud that cried”. He developed a very theatrical stage persona, earning himself the nicknames “The Nabob of Sob” and “The Prince of Wails”. Other hits in the ’50s included “Walkin’ my baby back home” (1952), “Glad Rag Doll” (1953), “Such a night” (1954), “Flip, flop and fly” (1955), “Just walking in the rain” (1956), “Pink Sweater Angel” (1957), “Strollin’ Girl” (1958) and “You’re all that I live for” (1959). The ’60s were a less successful time for Johnnie Ray, although he still played live, touring Europe with Judy Garland in 1969. He had a brief career revival in the US in the early ’70s, appearing on various TV shows, but his popularity soon waned again and during the ’80s he toured more in Australia and Europe where he remained a popular live attraction. He continued performing until 1989, despite ill health (partly due to heavy drinking), and died in February 1990.

78Man Podcast Number 33 : Nina Simone

The 33rd 78Man Podcast features versions on 78 of songs later recorded by Nina Simone. It’s available on Itunes and Podbean (Here)

Tracks are :

1. Mood Indigo by The Delta Rhythm Boys (1955) (Released by Brunswick (05353) in 1953) The Delta Rhythm Boys formed in 1934, and originally comprised Lee Gaines, Elmaurice Miller, Traverse Crawford and Essie Joseph Adkins. They were formed at Langston University in Oklahoma, and remained active under various line ups until 1987. They found success in the US in the ’40s through appearances on radio, TV and in films, and during the ’50s they gained more success in Europe, leading them to relocate. They made many records, including “Georgia on my mind” (with Mildred Bailey, 1941), “It’s only a paper moon” (with Ella Fitzgerald, 1945), “Dry Bones” (1946), “Sweetheart of mine” (1949), “Sentimental Journey” (with Ruth Brown, 1950), “Oo wee baby” (1952) and “Trop Trop Trop” (1953).

2. He needs me by Les Brown and his Band of Renown (1955) (Released by Capitol (CL 14350) in 1955) Les Brown was born in Pennsylvania in 1912. He studied music at the Conway Military Band School and the New York Military Academy, before attending Duke University in North Carolina, where he formed his first band, Les Brown and his Blue Devils, who undertook their first extensive tour in 1936. Two years later the band became Les Brown and his band of Renown, and carried on until 2000. In 1945 they released “Sentimental journey” with vocals by Doris Day, which was her first major success. The association with Doris Day continued and Les Brown became the orchestra leader on her radio programme during the early ’50s. The band also performed extensively with Bob Hope for many years, and also performed with Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald. The band’s records include “Turkey Hop” (1950), “Let it be” (1952), “Ramona” (1953), “The Gal from Joe’s” (1954), and “The Man that got away” (1955). Les Brown died in January 2001, but since then his son, Les Brown Jnr, has led his version of the Band of Renown.

3. Love me or leave me by Doris Day (Released by Philips (PB 479 in 1955) Doris Day (born Doris Kappelhoff) was born in April 1922 in Cincinatti, Ohio. She began her entertainment career as a dancer while still a child, but a car accident at 15 injured her leg and curtailed her dancing career. While recuperating, Doris listened to the radio and sang along, which spurred her mother to pay for singing lessons. She began singing live locally and appeared on local radio which led to her singing with Barney Rapp, Bob Crosby, Jimmy James and Les Brown. It was with Les Brown that she scored her first hit record in 1945 with “Sentimental journey.” She went on to make dozens of records, including “Pretty Baby” (1948), “I Don’t Wanna Be Kissed By Anyone But You” (1950), “I Love The Way You Say Goodnight” (1951), “I’ll see you in my dreams” (1952), “Mister Tap Toe” (1953), “Love me or leave me” (1955), “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)” (1956) and “The Tunnel of love” (1959). During this period Doris also began appearing in films, including “Romance on the high seas” (1948), “Tea for two” (1950), “April in Paris” (1952), “Young at heart” (1954), “The Man who knew too much” (1956) and “Pillow Talk” (1959). Her film career flourished in the early ’60s but by the end of the decade her popularity was in decline, although she did host her own TV show between 1968 and 1973. Consequently Doris  largely retired from the entertainment industry, with only occasional appearances and recordings. She became more involved with animal welfare charities, running the Doris Day Animal Foundation and the Doris Day Animal League. She died in May 2019, aged 97.

4. My Baby just cares for me by Somethin’ Smith and the Redheads (Released by Philips (PB 446) in 1955) A Three piece US group, Somethin’ Smith and The Redheads comprised Robert Robertson on vocals, banjo and guitar, Saul Striks on piano, and Major C Short on double bass. They had several US hits, including “It’s A Sin to tell a lie” (1955), “Red Head” (1955), “In a Shanty in old Shanty town” (1956) and “Heartaches” (1956). The band split in 1966.

5. You’ll never walk alone by Jane Froman (Released by Capitol (CL 14658) in 1956) Jane Froman was born in November 1907, in Missouri. She sang from an early age, playing at her college as a teenager, before studying at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. In 1929 she began appearing on local radio in Cincinnati, and made her national radio debut in 1931. Her radio career flourished and in 1934 she was voted the number one female singer on the radio. She appeared in three films during the 1930s but later screen appearances would be on Television, including her own TV show in the ’50s. In 1952, the film “With a song in my heart” was based on Froman’s life. She retired in the early ’60s and died in April 1980.

6. He’s Got the whole world in his hands by Laurie London (Released by Parlophone (R 4359) in 1959) Laurie London was born in East London in January 1944. He recorded “He’s Got the whole world in His Hands” as a 13 year old schoolboy for the UK Parlophone label (produced by George Martin). The record was picked up Capitol Records in the US and was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic, but was his only big success. He retired from the music business at the age of 19, and went on to become a hotelier and restauranter.

7. Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday (Released by Commodore (7513) in 1944)

8. Fine and Mellow by Billie Holiday (Released by Commodore (7513) in 1944) Billie Holiday was born in April 1915 as Eleanora Fagan, in Philadelphia. Her parents were not married, and her Father, Clarence Holiday abandoned the family shortly after the birth. Eleanora was largely brought up by her Mother’s Half sister’s Mother in law, Martha Miller, in Baltimore. She had a difficult childhood, often playing truant and dropping out of school altogether by the age of 11. Shortly after leaving school she began work running errands in a brothel. Around this time she began taking an interest in music, having heard records by Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith. In early 1929, she moved to Harlem, joining her mother working in a brothel, which led to them both being imprisoned when the brothel was raided. After her release, she started singing in night clubs in Harlem, changing her name to Billie Holiday. In late 1932 she began singing at Covan’s night club and it was here she was spotted in early 1933 by record producer John Hammond, which led to her first recording session in November 1933, with Benny Goodman. In 1935 she signed to Brunswick where she recorded with pianist Teddy Wilson. Her recordings for Brunswick include “What a little moonlight can do”, “I Cried for you” and “Miss Brown to you”. In late 1937 she toured with Count Basie and was then taken on by Artie Shaw, with whom she toured and made radio broadcasts. In the late ’30s she began recording for Columbia and was attracting strong sales of her records. However, when she began singing “Strange Fruit” live in 1939, and wanted to record it, Columbia baulked at the song’s subject matter (the lynching of black men in the Southern states of the US) and she recorded it for the small Commodore label as a one off record. It became one of her biggest sellers. Her success continued in the 1940s, when she had hits with “God bless the child” (1941), “Lover Man” (1944) and “That ole devil called love” (1944). By this time she was addicted to heroin and the 1940s saw both huge success-in 1948 she broke box office records with a concert at Carnegie Hall-and several arrests for posession of narcotics. By the 1950s her drug use and drinking habits were affecting her health but she continued performing live and recording, as well as publishing her autobiography (ghost written by William Duffy) “Lady Sings the blues” in 1956. In early 1959 she was diagnosed as having cirrhosis of the liver, and died on July 17th of that year.

9. Nobody Knows you when you’re down and out by Graeme Bell and his Australian Jazz Band (Released by Esquire (10-016) in 1948) Graeme Bell was born in 1914, in Victoria, Australia, into a musical family-his Father was a music hall entertainer and his Mother a contralto recitalist in Dame Nelly Melba’s company. He learnt to play piano as a child, and in 1935 formed a band with his younger brother Roger, playing jazz locally. In 1941 he formed the Graeme Bell Jazz Gang, and made his first recordings in 1943. The band changed their name to Graeme Bell and his Dixieland Jazz Band (recording “Ugly Child” and “Tessa’s Blues” for Regal Zonophone in 1947 before becoming the Australian Jazz Band, under which name they made further records, including “Big Chief Battle Axe” (1948), “Chabby Gal Rag” (1949), “Irish Black Bottom” (1950), and “Muskat Ramble” (1951). Bell continued recording and touring throughout the 1960s and beyond (particularly in the UK during the trad jazz boom of the early ’60s) and was made an Ofiicer of the Order of Australia in 1990 for services to music. He died, aged 97, in 2012.

10. Falling in love again by Jack Payne and his BBC Dance Orchestra (Released by Columbia (CB 106) 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 for Columbia, including “Riding on a camel” (1929), “On her doorstep last night” (1929), “Sittin’ on a five barred gate” (1930) and “Goodnight sweetheart” (1931). After leaving the BBC, the band carried on as Jack Payne and his band, and moved to Imperial Records, where their releases included “Was that the Human thing to do?” (1932), “All over Italy” (1933), and “Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?” (1933) before moving to Rex Records where their releases included “Tiger Rag” (1934), “An earful of music” (1935) and “When the poppies bloom again” (1936). In 1939 they moved to Decca records and then in the mid ’40s to His Master’s Voice. The band also appeared in the films “Say it with music” (1932) and “Sunshine ahead” (1936). Jack Payne died on 4 December 1969.

78Man Podcast Number 30-Leslie Sarony

The 30th 78Man Podcast looks at Leslie Sarony and can be heard on itunes Here or on Soundcloud Here

Tracks heard on the podcast are :

  1. Let me carry your bag to Bagdad Dad by Leslie Sarony (Released by Regal Zonphone (MR 1967) in 1936).
  2. Don’t be cruel to a vegetebuel by Leslie Sarony (Released by His Master’s Voice (B. 2714) in 1928).
  3. I Lift up my finger and I say “Tweet Tweet” by Gracie Fields (Released by His Master’s Voice (B. 2999) in 1929).
  4. Rhymes by Albert Whelan (Released by Imperial (2605) in 1932).
  5. The Chicken or the egg by Leslie Sarony (Released by Victory (141) in 1929).
  6. Mucking about the garden by Jack Hylton and his Orchestra (Released by His Master’s Voice (B 5696) in 1929).
  7. The Prosperity Song by Bert Layton (Released by Eclipse (69) in 1931).
  8. Coo! Lovaduck! Crikey!Coo!Blimey! by The Two Leslies (Released by Regal Zonophone (MR 2034) in 1936).
  9. Ain’t it grand to be bloomin’ well dead Parts 1 & 2 by Leslie Sarony (Released by Imperial (2688) 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

78Man Podcast Number 29-Ireland

The 29th 78Man Podcast has Ireland as its theme. It can be heard on Itunes Here or on Soundcloud Here. Tracks heard are :

  1. Did your mother come from Ireland? by Joe Petersen (Released by Rex Records (8949) in 1936). Although promoted as a boy singer, Master Joe Petersen was in fact female, his/her real identity being Mary O’Rourke, born in Helensburgh, Scotland, in 1913. In 1915 the family moved to Glasgow, and as a child Mary and her brother Joe entertained family and friends with their singing. Mary left school at 14 and began work, as well as singing locally in music halls. In 1930 she moved to London, intent on a career in music. In London she stayed with her Uncle, Ted Stebbings, who was an entertainer and impressario himself. Boy singers were popular at the time and Ted had several boy singers on his books but had the problem that their voices broke, ending their careers. It was Ted who had the idea of Mary impersonating a boy to solve this problem. Although initially reticent, she agreed and Joe Petersen was born. She initially recorded with Harry Bidgood’s dance band, before signing to Rex Records in 1934, releasing dozens of records for them over the next eight years, including “Just a little grey haired lady” (1934), “Old Mammy mine” (1935), “It’s a sin to tell a lie” (1936), “I’m sending a letter to Santa Claus” (1939), and “When they sound the last all clear” (1941). She also recorded under the names Wilfred Eaton and Michael Dawnay. By the late 1930s Joe was one of the biggest stars in the UK, but behind the scenes things were not so good, Mary being trapped in an unhappy marriage, a situation which led her to turn to drink for solace. The second world war hit the record industry badly, and she made no further records after 1942. After the war her appearances were mainly limited to Scotland. Mary battled alcoholism for the rest of her life, but was still performing as Joe as late as 1963. She died on December 24th, 1964.
  2. My girl’s an Irish girl by Bing Crosby (Released by Brunswick (03882) in 1948). Bing Crosby was born in May 1903, in Tacoma, Washington, US (originally named Harry, he was nicknamed Bing as a child and the name stuck). As a teenager he saw singers while working at his local auditorium, but it wasn’t until he was 20 that he started singing in a band himself, called The Musicaladers. Two years later this band split and he started singing with a vocal trio, The Three Harmony Aces. He then formed a duo with Al Rinker, with whom he made his first record, “I’ve got the girl” in 1926. The act then expanded to a trio again, with the addition of Harry Barris, and were rechristened The Rhythm Boys. Several successful records followed before Bing was offered a solo recording contract in 1931 with Brunswick records. Over the next decade he became one of the most successful American singers worldwide, with hits such as “Stardust” (1931), “Please” (1932), “Let me call you sweetheart” (1935), “Basin Street Blues” (1937) and “My melancholy baby” (1939). It was during the ’30s that Bing also started appearing in films, such as “College Humor” (1933), “She loves me not” (1934), “Anything goes” (1936), “Sing, you sinners” (1938) and “East side of heaven” (1939). As well as appearing in films and releasing records, Bing also had his own US radio series. In 1942 Bing released what would become his most famous recording, “White Christmas”, which was also used in the film “Holiday Inn”. He re-recorded the song in 1947 after the original master became damaged and the record still sells every Christmas. Bing continued recording, appearing in films, radio and TV into the 1970s, right until his death in October 1977 (he gave his last live performance 4 days before his death, and recorded his last radio session and interview the following day.)
  3. Laughing Irish Eyes by Billy Cotton and his Band (Released by Regal Zonophone (MR 2189) in 1936). 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 “I’m Smiling through my tears” (1928), “The new Tiger rag” (1930), “Rhymes” (1931), “Skirts” (1933), “I’m on a see saw” (1934), “Basin Street blues” (1936), and “I wish I could fish” (1941). During the Second World War he spent time entertaining the troops, and in the ’50s and ’60s he presented “The Billy Cotton Band show” on radio and TV. He died on March 25th, 1969.
  4. Smiling Irish Eyes by Gerald Adams (Released by Regal (G 9428) in 1929). Gerald Adams was active in the recording world in the 1920s and early ’30s, His other records include “Only a broken heart” (1920), “Omaha” (1921), “Sanctuary” (1922), “Maggie McGhee” (1925), “Oh, how I miss you tonight” (1926), “The song is ended” (1928), “Daisy Bell (A bicycle made for two)” (1930) and “You will remember Vienna” (1931).
  5. Danny Boy (Londonderry Air) by Dennis O’Neil (Released by Edison Bell Radio (1399) in 1930). Dennis O’Neil was an Irish actor and singer, born in 1886, who came to prominence in the 1910s. His other records include “Sometimes you’ll remember” (1916), and “Terence’s Farewell” (1931). He appeared in the films “No Lady” (1931), “Danny Boy” (1934), “Barnacle Bill” (1935) and “Father O’Flynn” (1935). He died in 1952.
  6. Killarney is Calling to me by The Hottentots (Released by Eclipse (218) in 1932). 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”.
  7. When It’s Moonlight by Killarney by The Biltmore Players (Released by Eclipse (30) in 1931). Like The Hottentots, The Biltmore Players were a pseudonym for the Jay Wilbur band. Their other releases for Eclipse included “Good Friends”, “When it’s night time in Nevada”, “Prosperity Song”, “Elizabeth” and “The Waltz you saved for me”.
  8. Jigs by Leo Rowsome (Released by HMV (B.D. 1312) in 1950. Leo Rowsome was born in Dublin in 1903. Both his Father and Grandfather played the Uilleann pipes (Irish bagpipes), and Leo learned to play as a child, becoming a teacher at the Dublin school of music at the age of 16. His Father made and mended pipes, and Leo took over the business when his Father died. In the early ’20s he became the first piper to perform on Irish National Radio, and in 1933 became the first Irish artist to appear on BBC TV. He recorded for Imperial, Columbia, Decca and His Master’s Voice, and was active musically up to his death in 1970.
  9. There’s a little bit of Irish by Joe Lynch (Released by Beltona (BE 2668) in 1956). Joe Lynch was born in 1925 in County Cork, Ireland. Mainly known as an actor, in the 1950s he also had a radio show and a brief singing career, his other records including “Pretty little Galway girl”, “By the banks of the calm winding Feale”, “The pride of Tipperary”, and “Homes of Donegal”. As an actor, he came to prominence during the ’60s and ’70s, appearing in films such as “Girl with green eyes” (1964), “Ulysses” (1967), “Loot” (1970), and “The Outsider” (1979), and in TV Series such as “Compact” (1964), “Never mind the quality, feel the width” (1967-1971), “The Frighteners” (1973), “Rule Britannia!” (1975) and “Coronation Street” (1978-1980). He was a regular in the 1990s on the Irish TV series “Glenroe”, making his last appearance in 2000. He died in 2001.

78Man Podcast Number 28-Mothers Day

The 28th 78Man podcast commemorates UK Mothers day which fell on March 11th this year. It can be heard on itunes Here and on Soundcloud Here. Tracks heard are :

  1. Old Mother Hubbard by The Blue Mountaineers (released by Broadcast Four-Tune (502) in 1933.) The Blue Mountaineers recorded quite a few records for the Broadcast labels from 1932-1934, and consisted mainly of musicians from Ambrose’s band, often with Nat Gonella or Sam Browne on vocals. Other Blue Mountaineers recordings include “Bahama Mama”, “Say to yourself I will be happy”, “Sweet Sixteen and never been kissed”, and “Is I in love? I Is!”.
  2. Dear Little Irish Mother by Harry Bidgood and his Broadcasters (released by Broadcast (138) in 1927). Harry Bidgood was born in London in 1898. He studied at The Royal College of Music, and began a lengthy recording career in the mid ’20s. Bidgood released records under his own name, as well as Primo Scala’s Accordion band, Nat Lewis, Rossini, Don Porto, Manhattan Melodymakers and Al Benny’s Broadway Boys. Records released under his own name include “Por Ti (Gor thee)” (1926), “Moonbeam I kiss her for thee” (1927), “Our bungalow of dreams” (1928), “Misery Farm” (1929), and “Sunnyside up” (1930). He was also musical director on several George Formby films. His most successful pseudonym was Primo Scala, and he was still broadcasting regularly as Primo Scala up to his death in November 1957. His Primo Scala releases include “The man on the flying trapeze”(1935), “Why did she fall for the leader of the band?”(1936), “Meet me down in Sun valley” (1938), “Waltzing Matilda” (1940), “Tica-Ti, Tica-Ta” (1942), “The echo told me a lie”(1949), “Rudolph the red nosed reindeer” (1950), and “Mockin’ Bird Hill”(1951).
  3. Hello Mom by Bing Crosby (released by Brunswick (03510) in 1944). Bing Crosby was born in May 1903, in Tacoma, Washington, US (originally named Harry, he was nicknamed Bing as a child and the name stuck). As a teenager he saw singers while working at his local auditorium, but it wasn’t until he was 20 that he started singing in a band himself, called The Musicaladers. Two years later this band split and he started singing with a vocal trio, The Three Harmony Aces. He then formed a duo with Al Rinker, with whom he made his first record, “I’ve got the girl” in 1926. The act then expanded to a trio again, with the addition of Harry Barris, and were rechristened The Rhythm Boys. Several successful records followed before Bing was offered a solo recording contract in 1931 with Brunswick records. Over the next decade he became one of the most successful American singers worldwide, with hits such as “Stardust” (1931), “Please” (1932), “Let me call you sweetheart” (1935), “Basin Street Blues” (1937) and “My melancholy baby” (1939). It was during the ’30s that Bing also started appearing in films, such as “College Humor” (1933), “She loves me not” (1934), “Anything goes” (1936), “Sing, you sinners” (1938) and “East side of heaven” (1939). As well as appearing in films and releasing records, Bing also had his own US radio series. In 1942 Bing released what would become his most famous recording, “White Christmas”, which was also used in the film “Holiday Inn”. He re-recorded the song in 1947 after the original master became damaged and the record still sells every Christmas. Bing continued recording, appearing in films, radio and TV into the 1970s, right until his death in October 1977 (he gave his last live performance 4 days before his death, and recorded his last radio session and interview the following day.)
  4. My Mother’s Eyes by Maurice Elwin (released by Zonophone (5397) in 1929). Maurice Elwin was born in 1898 in Glasgow, his real name being Norman MacPhaill Blair. He moved to London and regularly appeared with the Savoy Orpheans in the ’20s and ’30s. He recorded for Zonophone, Decca, Imperial and Rex during the late ’20s and first half of the ’30s, his records including “You’re in my heart” (1929), “It happened in Monterey” (1930), “I surrender, dear” (1931), “Lullaby of the leaves” (1932), “The Gold digger’s song (We’re in the money)” (1933), “Everything I have is yours” (1934) and “Gloomy Sunday (The Famous Hungarian Suicide Song)” (1936). He later became a music teacher in Hampstead, and died in 1975.
  5. Mother from the Train by The Beverley Sisters (released by Decca (10832) in 1956). The Beverley Sisters were a UK trio comprising sisters Joy (1924-2015) and twins Teddie and Babs (born 1927) Chinery. They came to prominence after successfully auditioning to sing in an advert for Ovaltine, and then for BBC Radio in 1944. They made many appearances on BBC Radio during the late ’40s an early ’50s, and signed to Columbia Records in 1951, then to Philips in 1953 and finally Decca in 1955. They scored their first UK hit with “I Saw mommy kissing Santa Claus” in 1953 and had several other hits over the following years including “Willie Can” (1956), “I Dreamed” (1957), “Little drummer boy” (1959) and “Green Fields” (1960). The group’s hits dried up in the early ’60s and they rarely recorded after then, although they continued to sing live and appear on TV. As late as 2009 they were still making occasional live appearances, before retiring.
  6. Grandmother’s Wedding Dress by Ronnie Ronalde (released by Columbia (DB 2852) in 1951). Ronnie Ronalde was born (as Ronald Waldron) in 1923 in London, growing up in Islington. His family was poor and as a child he earned money by entertaining people with his singing, mimicry, whistling and bird song.As a teenager he joined Arturo Steffani’s Silver Songsters, and Steffani later became his manager, steering his career to success from the late ’40s onwards. He signed to Columbia Records, his 78 releases including “In a monastery garden” (1949), “Let me sing in echo valley” (1950), “Down by the old zuyder zee” (1951), “The Skye Boat Song ” (1953), and “The Yodellin’ Rag” (1956). After his initial success in the ’50s he continued making live, radio and TV appearances but slowly withdrew from the limelight. He moved to Guernsey in the ’60s where he bought a hotel, then to the Isle of Man in the late ’80s and finally to New Zealand and Australia in the ’90s. He moved back to the UK a few years before his death in 2015.
  7. Grandma’s Ball by Johnny Dodds’ Chicago Footwarmers (released by Columbia (Swing series 144) in 1953, recorded 1927). Johnny Dodds was born in 1892 in Waveland, Mississippi, but moved to New Orleans in his teens and started learning to play the clarinet. After a move to Chicago he joined Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, with whom he made his first recordings in 1923. In the next couple of years he also recorded with Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five and Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers. In the late ’20s he recorded with his own bands, his records including “Oh Daddy”, “New St. Louis Blues”, “Clarinet wobble”, “Joe Turner blues”, “After you’ve gone” and “Wildman blues”. Ill health meant he only recorded twice during the 1930s, and he died in August 1940, aged 48.
  8. Your mother and mine by Doris Day and The Four Lads (released by Columbia (DB 3256) in 1953). Doris Day (born Doris Kappelhoff) was born in April 1922 in Cincinatti, Ohio. She began her entertainment career as a dancer while still a child, but a car accident at 15 injured her leg and curtailed her dancing career. While recuperating, Doris listened to the radio and sang along, which spurred her mother to pay for singing lessons. She began singing live locally and appeared on local radio which led to her singing with Barney Rapp, Bob Crosby, Jimmy James and Les Brown. It was with Les Brown that she scored her first hit record in 1945 with “Sentimental journey.” She went on to make dozens of records, including “Pretty Baby” (1948), “I Don’t Wanna Be Kissed By Anyone But You” (1950), “I Love The Way You Say Goodnight” (1951), “I’ll see you in my dreams” (1952), “Mister Tap Toe” (1953), “Love me or leave me” (1955), “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)” (1956) and “The Tunnel of love” (1959). During this period Doris also began appearing in films, including “Romance on the high seas” (1948), “Tea for two” (1950), “April in Paris” (1952), “Young at heart” (1954), “The Man who knew too much” (1956) and “Pillow Talk” (1959). Her film career flourished in the early ’60s but by the end of the decade her popularity was in decline, although she did host her own TV show between 1968 and 1973. Since then Doris has largely retired from the entertainment industry, with only occasional appearances and recordings. She is more involved with animal welfare charities, running the Doris Day Animal Foundation and the Doris Day Animal League. At the time of writing, Doris Day has recently celebrated her 96th birthday.
  9. Mama by David Whitfield (released by Decca (F 10515) in 1955). David Whitfield was born in Hull, UK, in 1925. As a child he sang in his church choir, then, while in the navy during World War 2, entertained his colleagues with his singing. After the war he entered Radio Luxembourg’s talent show “Opportunity knocks” which led to a recording contract with Decca Records. His records included “I Believe” (1953), “Answer Me” (1953), “Cara Mia” (1954), “Lady of Madrid” (1955), “My Son John” (1956), “The Adoration waltz” (1957), and “Love is a stranger” (1958). As well as having great success in the UK, he became the most successful British singer of the ’50s in the US, and his 1954 hit “Cara Mia” became the first record by a UK singer to top both the UK and US charts.Despite his huge popularity the hits had dried up by the end of the ’50s, although he carried on performing up to his death in 1980.

78Man Podcast Number 27-The Beatles 2

The 27th 78Man Podcast has Beatles related 78s as its subject again (podcast number 10 was the first Beatles podcast). It can be heard on itunes Here or on Soundcloud Here . Tracks heard on the podcast are :

  1. Maggie May by The Vipers Skiffle Group (released by Parlophone (R 4289) in 1957).The Vipers Skiffle Group formed in the spring of 1956, initially comprising Wally Whyton, Johnny Martyn, and Jean Van Den Bosch (later replaced by Freddy Lloyd). A few months later Tony Tolhurst and John Pilgrim joined and they gained a residency at the legendary 2i’s coffee bar. Within a matter of months they were signed to Parlophone by George Martin and their first single “Ain’t you glad” was released before the end of 1956 but didn’t chart. Their second single, “Don’t you rock me, Daddy-O” was a hit, however, reaching number 10 in the UK charts in February 1957. Two further hits followed the same year, “Cumberland Gap” and “Steamline Train” but the skiffle boom petered out and later records such as “Pay me money down” and “Summertime blues” (released as “The Vipers”) failed to chart. The group split in 1960 when their contract with Parlophone expired.
  2. Moonlight Bay by Bing and Gary Crosby (released by Brunswick (04781) in 1951). Bing Crosby is featured in the blog about Podcast 25 Here . His son Gary was born in June 1933, one of four sons Bing had with Dixie Lee. He sang with his brothers (Philip, Lindsay, and Dennis) in The Crosby Boys from the ’40s through to the ’60s, as well as releasing a few solo records and duets (with Louis Armstrong and Sammy Davis Jr.). As well as “Moonlight bay” he also recorded several other songs with his father, including “Sam’s song”, “Play a simple melody” and “Down by the riverside”. He also had a moderately successful acting career, appearing in films such as “Mardi Gras” (1958), “Holiday for lovers” (1959), “The right approach” (1961) and “Girl Happy” (1965). He died in August 1995.
  3. Raunchy by Winifred Atwell (released by Decca F. 10987) in 1958). See the previous blog for info on Winifred Atwell Here . “Raunchy” plays an important part in The Beatles story as it was the tune which George Harrison played to John Lennon when he was introduced to him by Paul McCartney. Despite George being more than 2 years younger than John he was invited to join the band because of how well he played this song. “Raunchy” was originally released by Bill Justus, who co-wrote the song with Sidney Manker. Cover versions have been recorded by many artists, including Ernie Freeman, Ken Mackintosh, The Ventures, Bill Black, Tom and Jerry, Ace Cannon, Billy Strange and The Incredible Bongo Band.
  4. Young Blood by The Coasters (released by London (H-E. 8450) in 1957). The Coasters formed in late 1955 and were signed to Atlantic Records in the US immediately, working with the songwriters Leiber and Stoller. Their first single, “Down in Mexico” was a hit on the R&B chart in 1956 but it was their second single “Young Blood”/”Searchin'” which brought them major success on the pop chart in the US, also reaching number 30 in the UK. A string of hits followed-“Yakkety Yak”, “Charlie Brown”, “Poison Ivy” and “Along Came Jones”, but by the early ’60s the hits ran dry. The band carried on with an ever changing line up, and continues to this day although there are now no original members.
  5. The Saints by Jack Parnell and his Orchestra (released by Parlophone (R 4083) in 1955). Jack Parnell was born in London in 1923 into a theatrical family-his uncle was theatre impresario Val Parnell. He took up playing drums and during the ’40s and ’50s was voted best drummer in the Melody Maker readers poll for several years. His band made their first records in the mid ’40s and their releases include “Soft Noodles” (1945), “On the sunny side of the street” (1947), “The White Suit Samba” (1951), “Catherine Wheel” (1953), and “Shake, Rattle and Roll” (1955). In 1956 he was appointed musical director for ATV, a role he kept until 1981, working on TV shows as diverse as “The Benny Hill Show”, “The strange world of Gurney Slade”, “The Golden Shot”, “This is Tom Jones”, “The Muppet Show” and “Family Fortunes”. He died in 2010.
  6. You Gotta Go Oww! by Count Jim Moriarty with Graveley Stephens (pharmacological pianist) and the Massed Alberts (released by Parlophone (R 4251) in 1956). Count Jim Moriarty was a pseudonym for Spike Milligan, and was originally a character voiced by Milligan in the Goon Show. Spike Milligan was born in 1918 in India, to an Irish father who was serving in the British army, and a British mother. His first 12 years were spent in India and Burma, before the family moved to London in 1931. His entertainment career began when he performed in jazz bands as a trumpeter and vocalist, before being called up to serve in World War Two. At this time he began writing surreal stories and sketches. After serving in North Africa and Italy, he was injured and spent most of the rest of his time in the army entertaining the troops. After being demobbed, Milligan returned to the UK and initially continued playing jazz music for a living, but wanted to break into radio as a writer/performer. After writing for the Derek Roy radio show, he teamed up with Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine to form The Goons, and secured a weekly show on BBC Radio, although their first shows went out under the name Crazy People. The Goon Show became a radio institution during the ’50s although the pressure of writing a weekly script took its toll on Milligan’s mental health. At the height of The Goons popularity Milligan also co-wrote and co-starred (with Sellers) in three TV series-The Idiot Weekly, price 2d, A Show called Fred, and Son of Fred. In 1963 the Three main Goons (Bentine only appeared in the first couple of radio series) voiced the puppet TV show The Telegoons and Milligan went on to make several TV shows-The World of Beachcomber (1968), Curry and chips (1969), Q5 (1969), Q6 (1975), Q7 (1977), Q8 (1978), Q9 (1980) and There’s a lot of it about (1982). As well as radio and TV appearances, Milligan also published several books of prose and poetry, and appeared in theatre and film. He died in February 2002.
  7. Bad Penny Blues by Humphrey Lyttelton and his band (released by Parlophone (R 4184) in 1956). Humphrey Lyttleton was born in May 1921 at Eton College in Berkshire, UK, where his father was a house master. As a result, he himself was educated at Eton. It was at Eton that he developed his love for jazz music, and taught himself to play the trumpet. After serving in the second world war, Lyttleton earned a living as both a musician and cartoonist for the Daily Mail. He made his first recordings in the late ’40s for small labels such as Tempo, London Jazz and Melodisc (the latter with Sidney Bechet). In 1950 he signed to Parlophone, where he remained for most of the next decade. His recordings for the label include “Snake Rag” (1950), “Trog’s blues” (1951), “East Coast Trot” (1954), “Fish seller” (1955) and “Love, love, love” (1956). In later years Lyttleton became a radio personality, presenting “The Best of Jazz” on BBC Radio 2 from 1967 to 2007, and the comedy panel show “I’m sorry I haven’t a clue” on BBC Radio 4 from 1972 until his death in April 2008.
  8. Gamblin’ Man by Lonnie Donegan (released by PYE Nixa (N. 15093) in 1957). Lonnie Donegan was born Anthony James Donegan in April 1931 in Glasgow, although his family moved to London two years later. As a child he was interested in music and bought his first guitar at 14. While still a teenager he joined Chris Barber’s band. In 1952 he formed the Tony Donegan jazz band but changed his name to Lonnie after supporting blues singer Lonnie Johnson at the Royal Festival Hall, although he was also still playing with Chris Barber’s band (which had been renamed Ken Colyer’s Jazzmen). In 1954 Lonnie recorded a couple of records for the Decca label (one of which, “Rock Island Line” was a hit two years later) but it wasn’t until he signed to the PYE Nixa label in 1956 that he began to chart regularly with hits such as “Lost John”, “Bring a little water Sylvie”, “Don’t you rock me Daddy-O”, “Cumberland Gap”, “Jack O’Diamonds”, “Tom Dooley”, “Does your chewing gum lose it’s flavour”, “My old man’s a dustman”, and “Have a drink on me”. Between 1956 and 1962 he scored 31 top 40 UK hits, while also having success in the US. Donegan was a victim of Beatlemania and the other ’60s beat groups and had no further hits, although he continued playing live, in both the UK and the US. It was while touring the US in 1976 that he had his first heart attack, and he was plagued by ill health thereafter, finally dying of a heart attack in 2002.
  9. I’ll see you in my dreams by The Beverley Sisters (released by Decca (F 10853) in 1957). The Beverley Sisters were a UK trio comprising sisters Joy (1924-2015) and twins Teddie and Babs (born 1927) Chinery. They came to prominence after successfully auditioning to sing in an advert for Ovaltine, and then for BBC Radio in 1944. They made many appearances on BBC Radio during the late ’40s an early ’50s, and signed to Columbia Records in 1951, then to Philips in 1953 and finally Decca in 1955. They scored their first UK hit with “I Saw mommy kissing Santa Claus” in 1953 and had several other hits over the following years including “Willie Can” (1956), “I Dreamed” (1957), “Little drummer boy” (1959) and “Green Fields” (1960). The group’s hits dried up in the early ’60s and they rarely recorded after then, although they continued to sing live and appear on TV. As late as 2009 they were still making occasional live appearances, before retiring.

78Man Presents Podcast Number 26-Medleys

 

The 26th 78Man Presents podcast features Medleys, and can be found on Itunes Here and on Soundcloud Here .

 

1. Let’s Have a Party Parts 1 & 2 by Winifred Atwell (Released by Philips (PB 213) in 1953). 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). Other notable hits included “Britannia Rag”, “Flirtation Waltz” and “Port au Prince”. 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.

2. Tunes With Pep No. 1 by The Bugle Call Raggers (Released by Decca (F 5483) in 1935). The Bugle Call Raggers took their name from the 1922 composition “Bugle Call Rag”, first recorded by The New Orleans Rhythm Kings, and later covered by Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and Muggsy Spanier, among many others. They were actually a pseudonym used by Harry Roy and his band, and also released “Temptation Rag” (1936), and “Alexander’s got a swing band now” in 1938. Harry Roy was born Harry Lipman on 12th January 1900 in Stamford Hill, London. In his teens he started performing with his brother Sidney, Harry playing clarinet and saxophone. They paid their dues in the ’20s playing venues like the Cafe de Paris and London Coliseum, also touring Germany, Australia and South Africa under a variety of band names. By the early ’30s Harry was fronting his own band and in 1931 co-wrote the notorious and much covered song “My girl’s pussy”. He made many records for Parlophone during the ’30s, including “Twelfth Street rag”(1933), “Alexander’s Ragtime Band”(1934),”Make funny faces at your neighbours”(1935) and “Beer barrel polka”(1939) before moving on to Regal Zonophone in the ’40s where his recordings included “He’s my uncle”(1940),”Mister Brown of London town”(1941),”Der Fuehrer’s Face”(1942), and “When you wore a tulip”(1943). His recording career ended in the early 50’s and he retired from music until 1969 when he was involved with the musical “Oh Clarence” at the Lyric Theatre in London. He died on 1st February 1971.

3. The Harry Lauder Medley Part 2 by The Victory Band (Released by Decca (F 8298) in 1943). 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. 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.

4. Gracie’s Hit Medley No. 2 Part 1 by Gracie Fields (Released by Regal Zonophone (MR 3054) in 1938). Gracie Fields was born 9 January 1898 in Rochdale and christened Grace Stansfield. She made her first stage appearance at the age of 7 and made her first recordings for His Master’s Voice in 1928, recording one of her biggest hits, “Sally” for them in 1931. Other recordings for His Master’s Voice include “Like the big pots do” (1929), “Painting the clouds with sunshine” (1930), “Just One More Chance” (1931) and “Rochdale Hounds” (1932). In 1935 she moved to Rex Records, her first release for the label being “When I grow too old to dream”/”Turn ‘Erbert’s face to the wall, Mother”. Further Rex releases included “Red Sails in the sunset” (1935), “Did your Mother come from Ireland ?” (1936) and “Lambeth Walk” (1938). She recorded for both Rex and Regal Zonophone until moving to Decca in 1941. In the late ’50s she moved to Columbia Records. During this time, of course, she also appeared in several films, including “Sally in our alley” (1931), “Sing as we go!” (1934), “Look up and laugh” (1935), “Queen of hearts” (1936), and “Shipyard Sally” (1939). Gracie spent most of her later life living on the Isle of Capri where she died on 27th September 1979.

5. Say it with music selection by Jack Simpson and the Freedom boys (Released by Decca (MW 227) in 1945). Jack Simpson was born in September 1905 in Croydon, Surrey, UK. He began playing music as a child, making his first stage appearance at the age of 11, and became known as a xylophone and marimba player. He began recording in the early ’40s with his band The Jack Simpson Sextet, his records including “Oasis” (1941), “Dish me a dish” (1942),  “Stage Coach” (1942), “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition” (1943), “Jack’s the boy for work” (1949) and “Stick it on the wall Mrs Riley” (1950). He also appeared in the films “Musical Contrasts” (1946) and “Nothing Venture” (1948). He died in 1977.

6. The Naughty Nineties Part 4 by The Old Timers Sketch Company with Fred Hartley’s Quintet (Released by Columbia (DB 1259) in 1935). Fred Hartley was born in Scotland in 1905, and became a pianist after studying at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He made his first broadcast in 1925, and formed his Quintet in 1931. The Quintet made many BBC radio broadcasts, and in 1946 Fred was made Head of BBC Light Music. He also composed piano pieces, sometimes publishing his compositions under the pseudonym Iris Taylor. He died in 1980.

7. A Selection of popular hits Part 2 by Primo Scala’s Accordion Band (Released by Rex Records (8044) in 1933). Many records were released by Primo Scala and his banjo and accordion band, but Primo Scala didn’t exist-it was a pseudonym used by Harry Bidgood, who was born in London in 1898. Bidgood released records under his own name, as well as Nat Lewis, Rossini and Don Porto. He was also musical director on several George Formby films. He was still broadcasting regularly as Primo Scala up to his death in November 1957. Other Primo Scala releases include “The man on the flying trapeze”(1935), “Why did she fall for the leader of the band?”(1936), “The echo told me a lie”(1949) and “Mockin’ Bird Hill”(1951).

8. Swing it George Parts 1 & 2 by George Formby (Released by Regal Zonophone (MR 3103) in 1939). George Formby (and his father George Formby senior) are covered in the blog for the 8th podcast, which featured both men. Read it Here . If you want a more visual telling of George’s story, there’s a documentary on his life Here.