Tag Archives: John Henry

78Man Podcast Number 13-Christmas Day

This is the second Christmas Podcast, made available on Christmas Day as an extra present for the listeners! It can be heard on itunes Here or on Soundcloud Here .

Tracks featured on the podcast are :

  1. 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?”
  2. 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).
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!
  8. 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)
  9. 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).
  10. 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).