- Let’s Sing the Song Father used to Sing by The Hottentots (Released by Eclipse (105) in 1931). The Hottentots were a pseudonym of the Jay Wilbur band. As The Hottentots they recorded several records on Eclipse, including “Sweet Jennie Lee”, “In Geneva with Eva”, “Whistling In The Dark” and “When Yuba Plays The Rumba On The Tuba”.
- If a Grey Haired Lady Says How’s Your Father by Jay Wilbur and His Band (Released by Rex Records (8691) in 1936). Jay Wilbur was born (as Wilbur Blinco) in 1898. He learned piano and by 1928 had his own band, which was resident at the Tricity Hotel in London. He made his first recordings for the Dominion label, where he became musical director-his records for Dominion included “Spread a little happiness”, “Button up your overcoat” and “When Niccolo plays the Piccolo”. He moved to the Imperial label in 1931, then onto Rex Records in 1933, where he continued to record for over a decade. His Rex releases include “The wedding of Mr. Mickey Mouse”, “Sweetmeat Joe, the candy man”, “The down and out blues” and “Someone’s rocking my dreamboat”. After a brief period with Decca, he stopped recording in the late ’40s. He was also a popular radio star, appearing on BBC radio from 1936 onwards, with the programmes “Melody from the sky” and “Hi Gang!”. In later years he lived in South Africa, and died there in 1968.
- I’m a Daddy at 63 by Charlie Higgins (Released by Rex Records (8065) in 1933). Charlie Higgins was born circa 1897, and began his entertainment career as part of a duo called “The King’s Jesters” in 1923. In 1925 he went solo, appearing in the Revue “Magnets” at the Hippodrome in Devonport. He began his recording career in 1930 on the Broadcast label, where his records included “With Me Gloves In Me ‘And”, “Down In The Field Where The Buttercups Grow”, “Charlie’s Breach Of Promise Case”, and “Down In The Old Churchyard”. He then moved to Rex Records, where his releases included “Where The Violets Are Blue-oo And The Roses Are Red” and “Charlie Makes Whoopee”. He made a few appearances on BBC Radio and Television in 1936 and 1937, but after that his career was confined to stage work, until his retirement in the mid 50s.He died in 1978.
- Dream Daddy by Oliver Dance Band
- Beat Me Daddy Eight To The Bar by The Andrews Sisters (Released by Brunswick (03082) in 1940). The Andrews Sisters were Laverne (July 6, 1911 – May 8, 1967), Maxene (January 3, 1916 – October 21, 1995), and Patty (February 16, 1918 – January 30, 2013). They began performing together in the mid ’20s but only really came to prominence in 1937, after being signed by Decca. During the ’40s they spent a lot of time entertaining the troops while the Second World War was on, and recorded many records with Bing Crosby. Patty left to start a solo career in 1953, which led to a temporary split, but the trio reformed in 1956 and went on to make many more records before Laverne’s death in 1967. The remaining pair of sisters, Maxene and Patty briefly re-united on Broadway in the ’70s but never really worked together professionally again.
- Put A Bit of Powder On It Father by Billy Williams (Released by Homophon (6752) circa 1913). Billy Williams was born Richard Banks in Australia in 1878, but moved to the UK in 1899, becoming an entertainer and changing his name to Billy Williams. He made his first recordings in 1906 and over the next 9 years became a huge star and prolific recording artiste, making over 500 recordings. He billed himself as “The Man in the Velvet Suit”. He died in March 1915 aged 37. Among his most famous records are “When Father papered the parlour”, “Little Willie’s Woodbines” “Save a little bit for me”, “Come into the garden, John”, and “John go and put your trousers on”.
- When Father tried to kill the Cock-a-doodle-doo by Billy Williams (Released by Zonophone (511) in 1911).
- Tell Your Father, Tell Your Mother (That I’m Good Enough For You) by Leslie Sarony (Released by Imperial (2790) in 1932).If Leslie Sarony is remembered at all today, it is usually for writing “Jollity Farm” (covered by The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band on their 1967 album “Gorilla”) or “Ain’t it grand to be bloomin’ well dead”, still a popular song at funerals (and the first record to be banned by the BBC on the grounds of taste), but from the late ’20s to the end of the ’30s he was one of the UK’s most popular singers, releasing hundreds of songs on a plethora of labels, initially as a solo artist and later as part of The Two Leslies, with Leslie Holmes. Sarony was born (as Leslie Legge Frye, his stage name of Sarony being his Mother’s maiden name) in January 1897. He began appearing on stage as a teenager but his singing career was cut short by World War One. Having survived the war he returned to the stage but it wasn’t until 1926 that he began his recording career. Over the ensuing decade and a half he recorded for Imperial, Eclipse (the Woolworths label), Victory, His Master’s Voice, Regal Zonophone, Edison Bell Radio, Rex and Parlophone among others. Making sense of the Sarony discography is a hard task, as he often recorded for different labels simultaneously, even recording multiple versions of the same song for different labels. He wrote many of his best known songs himself- “Rhymes” (covered by The Goons when they briefly reformed in the ’70s), “Gorgonzola”, “I lift up my finger and I say Tweet Tweet” “Over the garden wall” (the latter two covered by Gracie Fields), “Mucking about the garden” and “Tom thumb’s drum”. Many singers of the time recorded cover versions of Leslie’s songs. As well as writing his own songs he also covered some of the best comic songs of the day-“All by yourself in the moonlight”, “Hunting tigers out in India” (another Bonzos cover), “The old kitchen kettle” and “He played his ukulele as the ship went down” along with the lesser known classics “There’s a song they sing at a sing song in Sing Sing” and “When H’I was H’out in H’India”. What’s great about these rarely heard recordings is that 80 odd years later they’re still funny, if perhaps not always as politically correct as would be acceptable today! In 1933 Sarony teamed up with Leslie Holmes (a fellow singer of novelty songs, known as “the man with the smiling voice”) and for the next 12 years they performed as The Two Leslies recording many records such as “Sweet Fanny Adams”, “I’m a little prarie flower”, “Miss Porkington would like cream puffs” and “Umpa Umpa (stick it up your jumper)” (a phrase used at the end of The Beatles’ “I am the walrus”-wonder if John Lennon had heard the record?)Apart from an album made by Roy Hudd in 1980, Sarony didn’t record commercially after 1940 but was constantly working on stage and TV both as a singer and actor-he had appeared in several films during the ’30s and ’40s and later acted on TV shows such as Nearest and Dearest, The Gaffer, I didn’t know you cared and Minder. He worked into his 80s, appearing in Paul McCartney’s film “Give my regards to Broad Street” in 1984 and the Monty Python short “The Crimson Permanent Assurance” in 1983. Leslie died on Feb 12th 1985, and his final two TV appearances-cameos in an episode of the first series of Victoria Wood As seen on TV, and an episode of “There comes a time” (a short lived comedy starring Andrew Sachs) both aired posthumously.
There are now 4 volumes of “78Man Presents Leslie Sarony” available on most major streaming and download sites as well as on CD, each volume contains 20 tracks, many not commercially available for over 80 years. In addition, the album “Songs that Leslie Sarony taught us” features 20 cover versions of songs written by Sarony. CDs can be ordered HERE
9. Don’t Sell Daddy Any More Whiskey by Matty O’Neill (Released by London (HL. 1037) in 1951). Little is known about Matty O’Neill, other than there was a follow up to this record, called “Whiskey took my Daddy away”, also in 1951.
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).
Tracks on the album are :
1. The Music Goes ‘Round and Around-Nat Gonella and his Georgians (Parlophone F 386, 1936)
2. A Fly’s Day Out-Leonard Henry (Sterno 993, 1932)
3. Gertie, The Girl With The Gong-Anona Winn (Rex 8466, 1935)
4. Smile, darn ya, Smile-The Hottentots (Eclipse 105, 1931)
5. The Left Hand Side of Egypt-George Formby (Regal Zonophone MR 3521, 1941)
6. The Fleet’s in Port Again-Billy Cotton (Regal Zonophone MR 2190, 1936)
7. Steamboat Bill-Paul Tremaine (Columbia CB 138, 1930)
8. Henry’s Made A Lady Out Of Lizzie-Jack Hylton and his Orchestra (His Master’s Voice B 5485, 1928)
9. Lost-George Elliott’s Hawaiian Novelty Quartette (Regal Zonophone MR 2108, 1936)
10. You And The Night And The Music-Debroy Somers Band (Columbia FB 1027, 1934)
11. How to make love-Bud Billings (Zonophone 5399, 1929)
12. What can you give a nudist on his birthday-Gracie Fields (His Master’s Voice B 8232, 1934)
13. Oh! Henry What A Lad You Must Have Been!-Randolph Sutton (Decca F 3779, 1933)
14. I’m a Daddy at 63-Charlie Higgins (Rex 8065, 1933)
15. If A Grey Haired Lady Says “How’s Yer Father ?” (That’s Mademoiselle from Armentieres)-Jay Wilbur And His Band (Rex 9691, 1936)
16. John, Give Over Teasing Me-The Spoofums (Eclipse 269, 1932)
17. Rose O’Day-Flanagan and Allen (Decca F 8067, 1942)
18. There’s Another Trumpet Playing In The Sky-Bobbie Comber (Broadcast 896, 1932)
19. Sleepy Rio Grande-Bud and Joe Billings (Zonophone 5465, 1930)
20. Tiptoe Through The Tulips With Me-Sid Garry (Imperial 2218, 1929)
Tracks are :
- The Music goes ’round and around by Jay Wilbur and his band (1936)
- Barnacle Bill the sailor No. 2 by Bud and Joe Billings (1930)
- On her doorstep last night by The Rhythmic Troubadours (with vocal chorus by Tom Barratt) (1929)
- Captain Ginjah by Harry Fay (1925)
- My very good friend the milkman by Jack Jackson and his orchestra (1935)
- Painting the clouds with sunshine by Al Benny’s Broadway Boys (1929)
- Roger the lodger by Leslie Jerome (1929)
- By a waterfall by The Eight Piano Orchestra (1934)
- Song of the Emmenthaler valley by The Alpine Yodelling Choir (1929)
- The sunshine of your smile by Lilian Davies (1930)
- Get away, old man, get away by Frank Crumit (1927)
- The bushes at the bottom of the garden by Norman Long (1931)
- Put your worries through the mangle by Albert Whelan (1930)
- When moaning Minnie moans no more by Mr. Lovejoy, Enoch and Ramsbottom (1941)
- I’ve never seen a straight banana by Fred Douglas (1927)
- Mucking about the garden by The Two Gilberts (1929)
- What’s good for the goose is good for the gander by Ed Lloyd and his band (1934)
- The More we are together (The Froth blowers anthem) by Alfredo’s band (Vocal chorus by Peter Bernard) (1927)
- What do you give a nudist on her birthday? by Leslie Holmes (1934)
- Tiptoe thro the tulips by Honolulu Serenaders (1929)
(Note : Unfortunately due to copyright reasons, this compilation is not available in the USA)