Thursday, December 15, 2005

Wally Whyton


"Born in London, Whyton studied piano and trombone as a youngster. Inspired by the music of American folk musicians, including Pete Seeger, Josh White, and Woody Guthrie, he switched to guitar. Equally versed in blues and jazz, Whyton was a perfect choice to replace Lohn John Baldry in the early skiffle group the Thameside Four. Although he only played with the group for a few months, the experience proved invaluable when he met guitarist, vocalist, and the manager of London's Gyre and Gimbal Coffee Bar, Johnny Booker. Agreeing to work together, they formed the Vipers Skiffle Band with guitarist/vocalist Jean Van Der Bosch, bassist Tony Tolhurst, and washboard player John Pilgrim. Three months later, the group became the house band at London's Two I's Coffee Bar. Auditioned by George Martin, the Vipers signed with Parlophone in September 1956. Although their second single, "Don't You Rock Me Daddy-O" (which reached the British Top Ten), was followed by half a dozen other charting tunes, the Vipers recorded only one album, The Original Soho Skiffle Band, distributed in the United States. Whyton and the Vipers enjoyed a close relationship with skiffle singer Lonnie Donegan, who recorded "Don't You Rock Me Daddy-O." Whyton subsequently composed a spoof of Donegan's interpretation, "Putting on the Smile," that Peter Sellers recorded for his album, Songs for Swinging Sellers. Although they dropped skiffle from their name in May 1958 and had begun veering toward pop, the Vipers continued to influence British rock into the mid-'60s. Their constantly changing personnel included three musicians -- Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch, and Jet Harris -- who went on to form the Shadows."

Wally went on to join Children's Television in the 60's and I remember him with puppets Pussy Cat Willum, Ollie Beak and Fred Barker. He also did a long running radio show called "Country Meets Folk". I guess this old scratchy record ( sorry!) was made about that time he was on Childrens TV.

Wally Whyton - Clap Hands

Wally Whyton - Christmas Is Coming

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3 comments:

spice-the-cat said...

Didn't Ollie Beak end up in some kind of partnership with Ayesha Brough - the lucky bugger.

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Cocaine Jesus said...

wonderful, wonderful post. shit, i must be getting old. the nostalgia is unmistakeable. lovely, lovely post.

michael said...

I don't know who Ayesha Brough is ? Archie Andrews Dad's sister?