78Man Podcast No. 8

The Eighth 78Man presents podcast focuses on the two George Formbys. It is available on iTunes Here or Souncloud Here .

George Formby senior was born James Lawler Booth on 4 October 1875 in Ashton-Under Lyne, Lancashire. His childhood was harsh, his Mother was an alcoholic who sometimes worked as a prostitute. His Father was a coal miner and his parents married when he was six months old, but had a turbulent, violent marriage, leading to neglect of George. He began earning money for himself by singing on street corners for pennies. His health was affected by his poor upbringing, as he regularly ended up sleeping outdoors when his Mother didn’t come home at night. He stopped attending school before he was ten years old, and his Father died when he was just 15, by which time he had started developing his act and singing in pubs, performing with another boy as The Glen Ray Brothers for a while. Until 1897 he was billed as J. H. Booth, then he changed his stage name to George Formby. In the same year he married for the first time, to Martha Salter. This marriage was unsuccessful but the couple never divorced, meaning that Formby’s marriage to Eliza Hoy two years later was bigamous. Formby continued polishing his act, inventing characters such as John Willie who became one of his staples, and in 1902 appeared for the first time in London where he soon became a success in the music halls. In 1904 the couple had their first son, George Hoy Booth. Two years later Formby senior made his first recordings on wax cylinder for the Louis Sterling Cylinder Company. A year later he signed a contract with the Zonophone label, who he stayed with until his death. His fame continued to grow and in 1913 performed before King George V and Queen Mary in a Royal Command Performance in Liverpool. When war broke out in 1914 he was unable to enlist because of his health problems but instead appeared at recruiting rallies. In the same year he also appeared in his only (silent) film, “No fool like an old fool”, which, like many films of the time, has been lost and is presumed not to exist.

Formby’s stage act, and many of his recordings, referenced his ill health; he would often cough on stage and used the phrase “Coughing well tonight”. In 1916 his health was affected again by an on-stage accident during rehearsals at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane when a stage collapsed onto him. This caused further lung damage which was then exacerbated by the onset of tuberculosis. In 1918 he also caught influenza during that year’s pandemic. All these worsening health problems meant that he cancelled more and more performances, although he continued recording. Things got so bad an oxygen tent would be erected off stage during his performances, and he would suck ice to prevent internal bleeding. Formby collapsed early in 1921 after a performance of the pantomime Jack and Jill in Newcastle. He died on 8 February of pulmonary tuberculosis, aged just 45.

Formby senior recordings on this Podcast are :

  1. John Willie, Come on (Jumbo, 1909, recorded 1906 for release on Wax Cylinder)
  2. Commercial Traveller (Zonophone, 1914)
  3. Looking for mugs in the strand (Zonophone, 1919)
  4. Weeping Jinnie (Zonophone, recorded 1919, released 1920)

As noted above, George Formby junior was born in 1904,in Wigan. Due to his Father’s burgeoning fame and fortune he had an easier childhood than his Father and he originally wanted to be a jockey, working as a stable boy from an early age. This suited his Father, who didn’t want him to have a stage career. He did, however, appear in a 1915 silent film, “By the shortest of heads”, which, like his Father’s film of the previous year, no longer exists. The younger George continued his career as a jockey but was largely unsuccessful, never winning a race. When his Father died in 1921, he decided to carry on his act, initially appearing under the name George Hoy (using his Mother’s maiden name). Initially he was unsuccessful, but by 1923 he felt he was sufficiently popular enough to take his Father’s name. Around this time he met Beryl Ingham, who he married in 1924. She became his manager and revamped his stage act and it was from this point that he started to become popular enough to warrant a recording contract. Thus, in 1926, he recorded 3 records (6 songs) for the Edison Bell Winner label (of his Father’s old songs). No other recordings were made until 1929, when he recorded a one off 78 for the Dominion label (“In the congo”/”All going back”). Another 3 years passed until, in 1932, he signed a record deal with Decca and his career really took off. Several of Formby’s best known songs were recorded for Decca, including “Chinese Laundry blues”, “Why don’t women like me ?”, “Swimmin’ with the wimmin” and “Fanlight Fanny”. During his time with Decca, Formby began his film career, appearing in two low budget independent films, “Boots Boots” (1934) and “Off the dole” (1935). Towards the end of 1935 Formby signed an 11 film, 7 year deal with ATP (Associated Talking Pictures) and the first of these, “No limit” was released in December 1935. Shortly after this, with his Decca contract expired, he signed to the Regal Zonophone label and with films and records being produced simultaneously he began his period of greatest success. Over the next few years records such as “The Window cleaner” (aka “When I’m cleaning windows”), “Leaning on a lamp post”, “Our Sergeant Major”, “Grandad’s Flanelette nightshirt” “With my little stick of Blackpool rock”, and “Oh! Don’t the wind blow cold”, alongside films such as “Turned out nice again”, “Trouble brewing”, “It’s in the air” and “Keep your seats please” made George the biggest UK star of the time. During the war George spent much time entertaining the troops and raising moiney for charity. In 1941 he signed to Columbia for his film work, the first under the contract being “South American George.” He made several more films for Columbia, but in 1946 made his final film, “George in Civvy Street”. This coincided with the expiry of his Regal Zonophone contract, and the songs from this film were released on 2 78s on Columbia.

Although George made no more films, he carried on with stage appearances, including pantomimes, and foreign tours, then in 1950 re-signed to Decca Records where he re-recorded a few of his former hits. The following year he recorded a couple of 78s for His Master’s voice, featuring songs from his stage shows. He made many TV appearances during the ’50s (few of which survive) then in 1960 made his final record for the PYE label, a 7″ Single (78s having just about died out by then) coupling “Banjo boy” and “Happy go lucky me”. His final TV appearance was in December 1960 on “The Friday Show” (which survives in the archives). He died a matter of weeks later, on March 6 1961, aged 56.

Formby junior recordings featured on this podcast are :

  1. John Willie, Come on (Edison Bell Winner, 1926)
  2. Why don’t women like me ? (Decca, 1933)
  3. Keep your seats please (Regal Zonophone, 1936)
  4. The left hand side of Egypt (Regal Zonophone, 1941)
  5. We’ve been a long time gone (Columbia, 1946)

A Complete list of George Formby junior’s Recordings, Films and TV appearances can be found HERE

 

 

 

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78Man Favourites Vol. 2

78Man Favourites Vol. 2 is the second in an ongoing series of albums featuring restored transfers of 78s, available to download or stream at iTunes HERE or to stream on Spotify HERE

Tracks on this release are :

  1. The Music goes ‘Round and Around-The BBC Dance Orchestra
  2. Shut the door, they’re coming through the window-Roy Fox and his Band
  3. The Girl in the upstairs flat-Joe Loss and his Band
  4. Ali Baba’s Camel Pt. 1 & 2-Cicely Courtneidge
  5. Riding down from Bangor-Frank Crumit
  6. Banana Oil-Vaughn De Leath
  7. Betty Driver Medley Pt. 1 & 2-Betty Driver
  8. The Wibbly wobbly walk-Fred Eliot
  9. Mrs Rush and her scrubbing brush-Randolph Sutton
  10. Bye bye blues-Bert Lown & his Orchestra
  11. The Bum Song-Bud and Joe Billings
  12. Coo! Lovaduck! Crikey! Coo! Blimey!-The Two Leslies
  13. Singin’ in the bathtub-Alfredo & his Band
  14. Knitting-Arthur Askey
  15. Nero-Roy Leslie
  16. On a local train journey-The Commodore Grand Orchestra
  17. The Rain came pitter patter down-Mr Lovejoy, Enoch and Ramsbottom
  18. Potato Pete-Harry Roy and his Band
  19. Whoops! We’re broke again-Syd Roy and his R K Olians
  20. Tip toe through the tulips-Russ Hamilton

78Man Presents Charles Penrose

Charles Penrose is remembered today as the singer of “The Laughing Policeman” but he made many other recordings under a variety of names over a long period. “78Man Presents Charles Penrose” is an album featuring 20 of his recordings and can be streamed on Spotify Here or on iTunes Here

Charles Penrose was born in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire in 1873. He began performing laughing songs locally as a teenager and by 18 was asked to join a theatrical tour, from where his music hall career took off. He began recording around 1915 and for the next 2 decades released many records on different labels, often using Pseudonyms. In 1923 he recorded the first version of “The Laughing Policeman” for the Regal label, a song which became so successful he re-recorded it for Columbia in 1926 and Dominion in 1929! He also appeared in several films during the ’30s. He died in 1952.

Tracks on the album are :

  1. My Giggling Typist (as Charles Jolly and Kaye Connor, Regal MR 331, 1931)
  2. The Laughing Bachelor (as Charles Penrose, Columbia 4236, 1927)
  3. A Merry Little Laugh (as Charles Jolly, Regal G 7896, 1923)
  4. Laughing Stuttering Sam (as Charles Penrose, Columbia DB 856, 1931)
  5. Army Laughs (as Charles Penrose, Colmbia 4691, 1927)
  6. Dismal Desmond the Despondent Dalmatian (as Charles Penrose, Columbia 4236, 1927)
  7. Felix Keeps on Laughing (as Charles Penrose, Winner 4277, 1924)
  8. Happy Herbert (as Charles Jolly, Regal G 7922, 1923)
  9. Laughs and Frills (as Charles Jolly and Kaye Connor, Regal MR 723, 1932)
  10. Seeing Each Other Home (as Charles Penrose, Winner 3910, 1923)
  11. Happy Hikers (as Charles Penrose and Company, Columbia DB 856, 1931)
  12. The Laughing Bassoon (as Charles Jolly and Kaye Connor, Regal MR 723, 1932)
  13. The Laughing Nippy (as The Spoofums, Eclipse SC 26, 1933)
  14. The Laughing Speed Cop (as Joy Day and Merry Andrew, Broadcast 765, 1931)
  15. Young Ideas (as Charles Jolly, Regal G 7922, 1923)
  16. The Laughing Widow (as The Spoofums, Eclipse SC 26, 1933)
  17. The Perpetual Laugh (as Charles Jolly, Regal 7135, 1915)
  18. When I got home (as Charles Penrose, Winner 3910, 1923)
  19. Two Old Sports No. 1-Gouty but Gay (as Penrose and Whitlock, Regal G 7566, 1920)
  20. Two Old Sports No. 2-Merry and Bright (as Penrose and Whitlock, Regal G 7566, 1920)

(For copyright reasons this album is not available in the US)

78Man Presents Vintage Comedy

78Man Presents Vintage Comedy is a compilation of Comedy Sketches originally released on 78 between 1913 and 1945. It is available to download or stream at  SpotifyItunes and all other digital online stores. (Not available in the USA for copyright resons).

Tracks are :

1.Mrs ‘Iggins and the plumber Part 1&2 – Fred Beck and Frank Buck and Company (1931)

2.Sandy joins the nudists Part 1&2 – Sandy Powell (1935)

3.Motoring Without Tears Part 1 : In the Garage – Angela Baddeley and L. Du Garde Peach (1928)

4.Motoring Without Tears Part 2 : On the Road – Angela Baddeley and L. Du Garde Peach (1928)

5.Joe Murgatroyd’s Letter Part 1&2 – John Henry and “Blossom” (1928)

6.Scenes of Domestic Bliss Part 1 : Breakfast Time – Billy Caryll and Hilda Mundy (1934)

7.Scenes of Domestic Bliss Part 2 : Midnight -Billy Caryll and Hilda Mundy (1934)

8.Mr & Mrs Brown at Wembley Part 1&2 – Buena Bent, Harry Bluff and Company (1924)

9.Cohen on Telephone Deportment – Joe Hayman (1913)

10.Getting my temper up – Tom Foy (1917)

11.John Henry’s Wireless Elephant – John Henry Himself (1923)

12.Sandy the Dentist Part 1&2 – Sandy Powell (1935)

13.Trust Scene – Joe Weber and Lew Fields (1915)

14.Sid Field Plays Golf Part 1&2 – Sid Field and Company (1915)

15.Mrs ‘Iggins at a Nightclub Part 1&2 – Fred Beck and Frank Buck and Company (1930)

16.My Girl Maggie – Jack Lane “The Yorkshire Rustic” (1916)

17.The Hulbert Brothers in Chicago – Jack and Claude Hulbert (1933)

18.A Surrealist Alphabet – Clapham and Dwyer (1934)

19. Trains Part 1&2 – Reginald Gardiner (1934)

78Man Podcast No. 7

 

The seventh 78Man presents podcast features comic monologues and sketches recorded between 1915 and 1945. It can be found on Soundcloud HERE and on iTunes HERE Tracks heard are

  1. John Henry’s Wireless Elephant by John Henry Himself                                                                              (Released by Regal (G 8059) in 1923.) Now largely forgotten, John Henry recorded several records from the early ’20s to the early ’30s, often with his side-kick “Blossom”.
  2. Mrs ‘Iggins and the plumber (Parts 1&2) by Fred Beck and Frank Buck and Company (Released by Regal (MR 259) in 1931). Fred Beck and Frank Buck and their Mrs ‘Iggins character were popular on the stage and radio in the late ’20s and throughout the ’30s and released a series of “Mrs ‘Iggins ..” (at the picture palace, at a night club, goes shopping etc.)
  3. Casey at the dentists by Michael Casey                                                                        (Released by Regal (G 7115) in 1915). Michael Casey appeared on record as an Irish comedian but was in fact the alter-ego of American Russell Hunting, who started releasing recordings on wax cylinder in the mid 1890s. He made many recordings  including Casey “As a doctor”, “At the wake”, “At Home”, “As a Judge” “As the dude in a street car” and “Joins the masons”. Born in 1864, Hunting went on to be come a businessman in the record industry, working in both the UK and US, and died in 1943.
  4. Getting my temper up by Tom Foy                                                                                 (Released by Zonophone (1751) in 1917). Tom Foy was born in Manchester in 1879 and went on to become  a huge music hall star, being referred to as “The Lancashire lad”. He recorded many records for Zonophone from around 1910 onwards until his death in 1917 aged just 38. Other recordings include “My girl’s promised to marry me”, “I’ve been to America”, “All through T’Black Horse” and “In trouble again”.
  5. Sid Field plays golf (parts 1&2) by Sid Field and Company                                    (Released by Columbia (DB 2163) in 1945). Sid Field was born in 1904 in Birmingham (UK). He made his stage debut aged 12 but it was another 20+ years before he found national fame, becoming one of the most successful comedians of the ’40s mainly through stage and radio appearances but also in 3 (not very successful) films – “That’s the ticket” (1940), “London Town” (1946) and “Cardboard Cavalier” (1949). Although he is largely forgotten today, many comedians have cited him as an influence, including Tommy Cooper, Larry Grayson, Frankie Howerd, Eric Morecambe, Eric Sykes and Tony Hancock. He died aged 45 in 1950 after suffering a heart attack.
  6. Motoring without tears (parts 1&2) by Angela Baddeley and L. Du Garde Peach    (Released by His Master’s Voice (B.D. 2813) in 1928). Born in 1904 in West Ham, Baddeley was a child actor, making her stage debut at 8 and appearing in Richard III at the Old Vic by the time she was 11. At 18 she took a brief break from acting and married for the first time, before returning to the stage in the late 1920s. She appeared in two films in 1931, “The Speckled Band” and “The Ghost Train” and later appeared in such films as “The Citadel” (1938), “No time for tears” (1957) and “Tom Jones” as well as many TV appearances. She is now best remembered for her portrayal as Mrs Bridges in the classic TV Series “Upstairs Downstairs” from 1971-1975. She died shortly after the series ended, in February 1976. L. Du Garde Peach was born in 1890 and was an author and playwright, mainly remembered now for his children’s books. He wrote this sketch, as well as appearing as the male character. He died in 1974.
  7. My Maggie by Jack Lane, The Yorkshire rustic                                                            (Released by Regal (G 7324) in 1922). Popular on record during the ’20s (although he started his stage career in the 1900s), Jack Lane is another largely forgotten comedian. His other records for Regal included “Where does the Rhinososorus get its Rhino”/”Down in the dell, where the Cross-eyed Claras grow”
    and “When Callachan cooked the cock-a-doodle-do”/”Kruschen feeling”.
  8. Canoodling part 2 by Hal Jones.                                                                                      (Released by Regal (G 7948) in 1923). Another forgotten comedian of the ’20s and ’30s, Hal Jones appeared in a short film of “Canoodling” in 1928, and the following year appeared in the film “Splinters in the navy”.

 

 

 

78Man Presents Leslie Sarony

78Man Presents Leslie Sarony is a new compilation album featuring the under-rated singer from the ’20s and ’30s, and is available on Itunes here , Amazon or to stream on Spotify . Tracks on the album are :

1. And the great big saw came nearer and nearer

2. Let me carry your bag to Bagdad, Dad

3. Don’t be surprised

4. Constantinople

5. The Pedestrian’s dilemma

6. Make yourself a happiness pie

7. Shovel up your troubles

8. Gosh! I must be falling in love

9. When H’I was H’Out in H’India

10. Hunting tigers out in “Indiah”

11. There’s a song they sing at a sing song in Sing Sing

12. Waiting at the gate for Katy

13. Laughing Waltz (Ha! Ha! Ha!)

14. Mamma don’t want no rice ‘an peas ‘an coconut oil

15. Old White’s whiskers

16. Cheer up and smile

17. We all went round and round

18. Meet me by the dustbin

19. I took my harp to a party

20. The Errand Boy’s Parade

More info on Leslie Sarony can be found in the blog for the first podcast or there’s a more in depth article on the Voices of Variety website HERE

78Man Favourites Volume 1

78Man Favourites Vol. 1 is an album of 20 remastered and restored 78s. It can be heard on Spotify HERE or can be downloaded at various download sites, including Itunes .

Tracks are :

  1. The Music goes ’round and around by Jay Wilbur and his band (1936)
  2. Barnacle Bill the sailor No. 2 by Bud and Joe Billings (1930)
  3. On her doorstep last night by The Rhythmic Troubadours (with vocal chorus by Tom Barratt) (1929)
  4. Captain Ginjah by Harry Fay (1925)
  5. My very good friend the milkman by Jack Jackson and his orchestra (1935)
  6. Painting the clouds with sunshine by Al Benny’s Broadway Boys (1929)
  7. Roger the lodger by Leslie Jerome (1929)
  8. By a waterfall by The Eight Piano Orchestra (1934)
  9. Song of the Emmenthaler valley by The Alpine Yodelling Choir (1929)
  10. The sunshine of your smile by Lilian Davies (1930)
  11. Get away, old man, get away by Frank Crumit (1927)
  12. The bushes at the bottom of the garden by Norman Long (1931)
  13. Put your worries through the mangle by Albert Whelan (1930)
  14. When moaning Minnie moans no more by Mr. Lovejoy, Enoch and Ramsbottom (1941)
  15. I’ve never seen a straight banana by Fred Douglas (1927)
  16. Mucking about the garden by The Two Gilberts (1929)
  17. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander by Ed Lloyd and his band (1934)
  18. The More we are together (The Froth blowers anthem) by Alfredo’s band (Vocal chorus by Peter Bernard) (1927)
  19. What do you give a nudist on her birthday? by Leslie Holmes (1934)
  20. Tiptoe thro the tulips by Honolulu Serenaders (1929)

(Note : Unfortunately due to copyright reasons, this compilation is not available in the USA)