Tag Archives: Billy Thorrburn

78Man Podcast Number 24a-Same Title, Different Song

Podcast Number 24a is an extra podcast for November 2017, and features songs released on 78 which share their title with later hit songs. It can be heard on itunes Here and on Soundcloud Here . Tracks heard on the podcast are :

  1. Rambling rose by Billy Thorburn’s The Organ, The Dance Band And Me. (Originally Released by Parlophone (F 2308) in 1948). Billy Thorburn was born in 1900, the son of a church verger. As a child he learned to play the organ and became the church organist at the age of 9. After The Great War ended he began playing in bands, including one at the Regent Palace Hotel, and then went on to appear on radio from 1923 onwards as “Uncle Jazz”. A year or so later he joined The Savoy Orpheans, with whom he made his first recordings. After leaving The Savoy Orpheans in 1927, Billy spent the next 6 years with the Jay Wilbur band, recording with them for Dominion, Imperial and Eclipse, as well as playing piano on records from that period by Elsie Carlisle, Charles Penrose, George Formby and Tommy Handley among others. He then joined Jack Payne’s band for a couple of years before forming his own band and began recording for Parlophone as Billy Thorburn and his music in 1936. The following year the band began a regular radio programme, “The Organ, The Dance Band and Me” which became very popular, and led to the band being billed as such on record. The band recorded many records for Parlophone up to the late ’50s, including “There’s Something Wrong With The Weather” (1939), “Meet Mr Callaghan” (1942), “Hey Ho, It’s Love Again” (1943), “Down our way” (1945), “Among My Souvenirs” (1947) and “Saturday Rag” (1952). Billy retired from music in the late ’50s and during the ’60s ran a pub, The Green Dragon in Barnet with his wife Ivy (who he’d been married to since 1923). He died in 1971.
  2. Mona Lisa by Roma’s Accordion Band (Released by Imperial (2653) in 1932). Roma’s Accordion band was another band name used as a pseudonym by Harry Bidgood, alongside Primo Scala and Don Porto. Harry Bidgood was born in London in 1898. 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 releases as Roma’s Accordion band include “Leave me alone with my dreams” and “Same old Moon”.
  3. Yesterday by The Radio Imps (Released by Imperial (1732) in 1927) The Radio Imps were a duo, comprising Gerald Underhill Macy and Ed Smalle. Their recording career lasted for around four years between 1926 and 1930 and other recordings include “Where do you work-a John?” (1926), “Hello! Swanee, Hello! (1927), “Constantinople” (1928), “Big City Blues” (1929), and “Ain’t life a load of happiness” (1930). Ed Smalle (1887-1968) also recorded under his own name and with Radio Aces, The Arkansas Trio, The Merrymakers, The Revellers and The Singing Sophomores. Gerald Underhill Macy (1891-1961) also recorded with Duke Yellman’s Orchestra, and was in Radio Aces with Ed Smalle.
  4. Alone by Gracie Fields (Released by Rex Records (8768) in 1936.) 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. 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. Two years before her death she appeared on the Parkinson TV programme in a lengthy interview which can be seen on You Tube Here .
  5. Goodnight Vienna by Robert Chester (Released by Eclipse (291) in 1932.) Robert Chester recorded two other records for the Eclipse label,  “A King of the road am I”, and “You are my heart’s delight” but otherwise very little is known about him. Some sources say Robert Chester was a pseudonym for the actor Darroll Richards, however this is unconfirmed.
  6. Only You by Oscar Rabin and his Strict Tempo Band (Released by Decca (F. 8240) in 1942.) Oscar Rabin was born in Latvia in 1899, and his family emigrated to the UK when he was a child. He began learning music as a child, becoming a professional musician at the age of 15 and attended the Guildhall School of Music. After serving in the First World War, he formed The Romany Five with Harry Davis in 1922, playing violin. Over the next  few years the band expanded and took Oscar’s name, and he switched to playing bass saxophone. Records released by Oscar Rabin include “Hold me” (1933), “Deep in a dream” (1939), “Dancing in the dark” (1941), “Deep in the heart of Texas” (1943), “Moonlight Serenade” (1946), and “Cherokee” (1949). Oscar Rabin died in 1958.
  7. Sweet Fanny Adams by The Two Leslies (Released by Regal Zonophone (MR 1922) in 1935.) The Two Leslies comprised Leslie Sarony (See Podcast 1 blog) and Leslie Holmes (Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, 1902, died in Hove, 1960.). Holmes, like Sarony, was a singer of novelty songs (and covered many of Sarony’s compositions) although not as prolific or successful. His solo recordings included “I’ve gone and lost my little Yo-Yo”,”The old kitchen kettle”,”Ask me another”(all 1932),”What do you give a nudist on her birthday?”(1934) and “Winter draws on”(1935). The pair joined forces in 1935 and performed as a duo until 1946. The Two Leslies records included “The New Sow”, “The Campbells are coming”, “I’m a little prairie flower” and “So ‘Andsome”.
  8. Dinner at Eight by Jack Payne and His Band (Released by Imperial (2919) in 1933.) Jack Payne was born on 22 August 1899 and began his musical career playing piano while serving in the Royal Air Force during World War One. During the ’20s he moved to London and joined a band which became the house band at London’s Hotel Cecil. Appearances on BBC Radio followed and in 1928 Payne became the BBC Director of Dance Music and the leader of the BBC’s first official dance band. They made many records, including “Riding on a camel” (1929), “On her doorstep last night” (1929), “Sittin’ on a five barred gate” (1930) and “Goodnight sweetheart” (1931) and also appeared in the films “Say it with music” (1932) and “Sunshine ahead” (1936). Jack Payne died on 4 December 1969.
  9. Avalon by The Black Diamonds Band (Released by Zonophone (2115) in 1921.) The Black Diamonds Band were one of the first recorded acts, making records as early as 1904 (initially on one sided Zonophone releases). They had a lengthy career, into the early ’30s although it is unclear if the band remained the same throughout these years or whether the name was used for recordings by different bands. Other releases by The Black Diamonds Band include “El Capitan March” (1904), “Miss Dixie” (1908), “The Policeman’s Holiday” (1912), “We all went marching home” (1915), “Amazon River of Dreams” (1921), “In a Clockmaker’s shop” (1929) and “Washington Post March” (1932).
  10. Mama by Oscar Denes and Lizzi Waldmuller (Released by His Master’s Voice (B 3946) in 1931). Oscar Denes was born in Magyarkeszi, Austria-Hungary in 1891, and died in 1950. As an actor he appeared in “Ben Kolumbusz” (1921), “Victoria and her Hussar” (1931, from which “Mama” is taken) and “Roxy Und Das Wunderteam” (1938). Lizzi Waldmuller was born in Knittelfeld, Styria, Austria in 1904, and died in 1945. She appeared in many films, including “Love at first sight ” (1932), “Peer Gynt” (1934), “Bel Ami” (1939), “Traummusik” (1940) and “The Night in Venice” (1942).