"Sir Harry Lauder (1870 - 1950), the popular singer and entertainer, who won international renown, was born at Number 4 Bridge Street, Portobello.
As a boy Lauder worked in a flax-spinning mill in Arbroath, where he attended school, and for a time he was a miner. It was in Arbroath that he first appeared on stage. He had a natural singing voice and a talent for composing simple and tuneful songs.
His stage persona depended heavily on the kilt, a curly walking-stick, and much talk of bawbees and allusions to tight-fistedness, and Lauder's critics complained that he caricatured the Scot. Be that as it may, Lauder was just as popular in his own country as he was in England and innumerable countries overseas.
Songs like Roaming in the Gloaming and Keep Right On to the End of the Road retain their magic and have become part of Scotland's folk music. He was knighted in 1919, and in 1927 received the Freedom of Edinburgh."
Something very irritating about a professional scotman like Lauder who played the part to the hilt, but nevertheless I find the mixture of music hall song and stirring highland sentiment and wimsy very attractive in an odd kind of way. Maybe I have some scottish blood in my veins somewhere?
Found this LP of Private Eye'sGolden Years of Sound at a boot sale a couple of years ago. It's a compliation of all the Christmas flexi discs they used to give away with the satirical magazine between 1964 and 1970. It has contributions by John Bird, Eleanor Bron, Barry Fantoni, Wiilliam Rushton and many others. On the two snippets here you can hear Peter Cook and Barry Humphries (doing his Barry Mackensie voice) and Dudley Moore singing a song as Whispering Jim Narg.This Lyn label copy was published by Private Eye in 1973. Most of it sounds pretty dated now , being mainly about the politics and personalities of the time who have long since passed from public conciousness (even in the U.K.).
The boot sale was a wash out today so delving in the archive found this compilation LP of some novelty songs by various people including Yogi Yorgesson and Harry Kari and the Saki Sippers, both the creation of Harry Stewart. He was born to Norwegian parentage in Washington state in 1908. His excellent website informs us -
"Harry was raised in the Proctor District, attended Washington Grade School then Stadium High School in Tacoma. When Harry was age 15 or 16, he acquired tuberculosis, which resulted in one lung removal. He was a bellhop at the Carlton Hotel also worked graveyard shift from midnight to seven A.M. at the St. Paul & Tacoma Lumber Co. Harry just "hung around" the then new radio station "KVI" and was eventually given a job as an announcer, weather reporter, news man and banjo player in 1927. In 1931 he moved to Los Angeles, California, with the hope of getting an announcing and banjo playing job with one of the larger stations. In those days, both announcers and banjo players were too plentiful. If he wanted to continue in the radio field, he had to think up a new act or forget about eating. He had not written or acted any comedy, but the character named Yogi Yorgesson, Swede-Hindu mystic, born of the need for survival, CAME TO HIM after starving in the area for a while. "Yogi" was a cross between Ivar Haglund, (locally famous as owner of Ivar's Acres of Clams, Seattle) and Mahatma Gandhi, a Hindu Spiritualist. He tried out his routine on the nationally broadcast show "Merrymakers". It was six months before he got a job with Al Pearce and his gang, whom he was with for about three and one half years (1934-1937). His character for the show was "Yogi Yorgesson," (the Hindu mystic from Stockholm, Sweden) with a Swedish comedy touch. Yogi: "mystical" and Yorgesson: "comedic Swedish name." He gazed into a small fish bowl turned upside down as his "crystal ball" and would make statements such as, "I can see my face on da udder side." That was his line, but his skit also answered questions that were posed to him by listeners. Actually, the listeners’ questions were simply part of the script that he wrote. He used an exaggerated Swedish dialect to add to the humor. One routine done on that show is remembered by his son Steve which went like this: A lady called in and asked, "My baby just swallowed some bullets, what should I do?" Yogi answered, "Give him some caster oil and don't point him at anybody!" His costume consisted of Swede boots, Hindu loincloth, lumberjack shirt and a Hindu turban."
Harry went on to create other characters including Harry Kari,Claude Hopper, and Klaus Hammershmidt. He died in 1956 in a car wreck whilst driving back from a fishing trip.
I found this book by Anna Russell at a flea market in the car park of Southend United football club some years ago. At the time I was drawn to the grimacing face on the cover and was delighted to find a pocket in the back of the book contained a 45 r.p.m. disc featuring two songs and a skit about learning to play the french horn. Anna Russell was born in London in 1911 and attended the Royal College of Music. She pursued the concert career as a lyric soprano and when the war broke out in 1939 she and her family moved to Canada. She appeared on local radio stations and entertained the troups and was soon writing and arranging her own songs. She moved to New York to further her career but wasn't getting very far so took the bold step in 1948 of hiring the New York Town Hall with a capacity of 1,500. Only 250 of her friends turned up but the critics gave her some good reviews. In 1951 she tried again and this time the venue was almost full and the critics acclaimed her as one of the funniest women of her generation. She has sung with many great orchestras and in many operas and her own Broadway show. She has since retired and moved to Australia.
"Josephine Baker grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, but left home at an early age and began performing on stage. She appeared in the chorus lines of all-black revues on vaudeville, and travelled to Paris in 1925 as part of La Revue Negre. Her lithe body and clowning around on stage caused a sensation, and by the 1930s she was so successful she had her own nightclub. Baker was famous for her exotic outfits and uninhibited sexuality, her trademarks being a leopard on a leash, a skirt made of feathers and a dance in which she wore bananas on her head and not much else. In 1937 she became a citizen of France, and during World War II she worked with the Resistance against the Nazis. After the war she fought for civil rights in the United States, returned to France and retired in 1956 to look after her 12 adopted children. In the late '60s Baker was rescued from destitution by Princess Grace, who helped Baker put on another stage show, Josephine. She died in 1975 and was given a state funeral in Paris."
My bargain of the day, yesterday, a CD of Josephine Baker's for 75p from the Booksale shop in town.
Having lived in the east end of London for some years I was always dazzled by the exotic looking Bollywood record sleeves I used to see down Brick Lane- in the Indian and Pakistani shops and the flea market. After a while I began buying them just to see what lie beneath the gaudy sleeve art and was delighted with some of the finds. The film soundtrack "Dhongee" was one such find and the name Asha Bhosle soon became very firmiliar to me as she seemed to be on most Indian film soundtracks I came across! She has the most amazing voice as you can hear on this first track from "Dhongee" which was released in 1975. The music direction was by Rahul Dev Burman. The second track is from another Bollywood film I found more recently at Crewe flea market called "Purab Aur Pachhim" and released in 1971. Asha Bhosle again with Mehendra Kapoor and Chorus singing a wonderful selection of nursery rhymes.
"My father was a very clever comedian. At present he's in hospital. He broke two of his fingers cracking jokes to a deaf and dumb man."
"His father was John 'Jock' Bennett of 'Bennett and Martel', a knockabout double act on the English music halls at the turn of the century. The son followed the father into show business after a brief spell working in insurance. He trained as an acrobat, then ran away and joined the army, serving in World War One and being decorated. During the war, he became a canteen comic and, on his return to the halls in 1919, he performed a soldier act, complete with martial airs and songs like It's a Long Way to Tipperary. This was not appreciated at the Theatre Royal Dublin by the audience or the manager and Bennett felt obliged to resort to disguise for his own safety. Thus, the false moustache and the plastered quiff of hair. Soon, the army clothes went in favour of ill-fitting evening dress. The army boots remained.
Apparently, he had written parodies when a schoolboy for his father's music hall friends, so naturally he continued, producing monologues which were, in the main, skits on well-known Victorian monologues and poems, such as Robert Service and Cuthbert Clarke's The Shooting of Dan McGrew, Kipling's Road to Mandalay, George R Sims' Christmas Day in the Workhouse and Amy Woodforde Finden's Kashmiri Love Song from 'Indian Love Lyrics', which became, in Bennett's hands, the impenetrable and insane parody Ogul Mogul - A Kanakanese Love Lyric. No matter that many of the originals have faded into obscurity ("Years have rolled on since that happened"), the surrealist imagery of the Bennett rewrites live on - literate, audacious and screamingly funny."
So says Dan Quinn on the re-release of the Topic LP "Almost A Gentleman". A friend sent me several Bennett tracks not on that CD that he dubbed from his 78 collection , hence the rather scratchy sound quality. Despite this the humour and wonderful surreal wordplay shines through.
"A famous face in showbiz for thirty five years, Roy Hudd is natural comedy entertainer, a talented actor, playwright, sketch-writer, and performer.
He broke into TV appearing on Not So Much A Programme, More A Way of Life, but found wider fame with 1969’s The Roy Hudd Show.
Since 1975 The News Huddlines has had an amazing run on Radio 2, and is something of an institution. Although it's currently off-air, it will be back next year.
Roy's work as a dramatic actor in television has also won him praise. Dennis Potter's Lipstick on your Collar proved a huge success. This led to his most endearing dramatic role, again written for him by Potter, that of Spoonerism-afflicted Ben Baglin in Karaoke. " So says the BBC website of profiles of the stars.
Roy was also in Coronation Street ofcourse and this postcard shows him in character as Archie Shuttleworth. Hazel is an avid fan of "Corrie" so can tell you more about it than me!
Roy has written many books about the music hall and variety days and also has issued recorded versions of old songs from that era. "Those Music Hall Days" was one such Lp and the first song comes from there. It came out in the mid 70's I believe. The other song is even earlier from an LP called "Hudd Dunnit!" on the World Record label c.1965. His Singing Postman skit is uncannily like the real thing!
Actually I'm cheating here a bit as these two tracks were from a tape that someone sent to me a few years back, but he probably found the record on a boot sale so there is a link. The record was called "The Crazy World of Marty Feldman" and came out in 1969. I don't think it's ever been issued on CD. Tell me if I'm wrong. It certainly should be as its a great album and full of very funny songs like the two samples here. Written not by Marty but by Dennis King, John Junkin and Bill Solly who all later went on to write songs for the Two Ronnies and Morecambe and Wise etc. Marty is mainly remembered for his work with Mel Brookes and such films as Young Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes Younger Brother and the ill-fated Yellowbeard but it was in radio he got his start writing for such shows as Round The Horne. Later he worked in television with the Frost Report and At Last the 1948 Show etc. He also wrote for the Army Game and Bootsie and Snudge. He had his own TV series in the late 60's early 70's and another record was issued using the soundtrack to some of these sketches. Although a vegetarian, he was a heavy smoker and died of a massive heart attack at the age of 49 in Mexico whilst filming Yellowbeard.
.....and very few boot sales left, so why am I starting this blog about boot sales that will all fizzle out soon? Well, I've had this yahoo group called Boot Sale Sounds for a while now and it was a place mainly to upload the strange records I'd find on my travels around boot sales,charity shops and flea markets etc. It suddenly dawned on me that a blog would be a much better idea and then I could have photos of the records and some information about them (if I can find any!). Also hoping for more feedback than the yahoo group got, which was hardly any! So here we are. During the Autumn and Winter months the sounds will be mostly those from charity shops and culled from my collection of scratchy records and wobbly tapes. Hopefully any copyright issues will be nil as the records for the most part are very old, very obscure and out of circulation. But if you know of any infringement, please let me know and I will delete the offending file. All files will be courtesy of You Send It and available for seven days or until exhausted. If you happen to like a particular track and you missed it, let me know and I'll see if I can upload it again.