"The Olympics were one of the great L.A.-based acts who managed to score regional hits on the West Coast by balancing upbeat and often humorous novelty R&B tunes with those about popular dances of the day (some of the other West Coast groups who fit this description were the Jay Hawks, the Cadets/Jacks, the Marathons, and the DooTones). They are perhaps best remembered for their Coasters-derived "Western Movies," but their other L.A.-area hits include the popular dance number "Baby Hully Gully," "Big Boy Pete" (which stalled out at number 50 pop, but went to number ten R&B), and "Mine Exclusively."
The Olympics' original lineup -- raspy baritone Walter Ward (who sang lead), Eddie Lewis (tenor), Charles Fizer (baritone), and Walter Hammond (baritone) -- started out as Walter Ward & the Challengers, waxing "I Can Tell" in 1958. All three baritone leads rarely exploited their low range, preferring to sing in shrill high tones. They changed their name to the Olympics shortly thereafter, hooking up with the songwriting team of Fred Smith and Cliff Goldsmith, who wrote and produced the act's first hit in 1958 for Si Aronson's Hollywood-based Demon Records. "Western Movies," a Coasters-type novelty number, caught on quickly, right around the same time that all of America was preoccupied with Western-themed movies and TV shows. The single climbed to number eight pop and number seven R&B in 1958."
Not sure how this copy on a Brazilian label "Arvec" got to Brick Lane flea market but I'm glad it did. Some great songs on here but not quite in the same league as the Coasters who had Leiber and Stoller writing for them.
"Grandpa Jones (October 20, 1913 - February 19, 1998) . Born Louis Marshall Jones in Niagra, Kentucky, he spent his teenage years in Akron, Ohio where he began singing old time country music tunes on a local radio show. By 1935 his pursuit of a musical career took him to WBZ (AM) radio in Boston, Massachusetts where he met musician/songwriter, Bradley Kincaid who gave him the nickname "Grandpa" due to his off-stage grumpiness at early-morning radio shows. Jones liked the name and decided to create a stage persona based around it. Performing as "Granpa Jones," he played the banjo, yodeled, and sang mostly old-time ballads. Some of his more famous songs include, "T is for Texas" and "Mountain Dew." Moving to Nashville, Tennessee, he became part of the Grand Ole Opry and was a regular cast member on the popular TV show, Hee Haw."
You can find out more about Granpa Jones by going HERE.
Not a great deal found on the web regarding (William) Fat "Daddy" Holmes. This rockabilly and surf instrumental compilation was released in 1974 and contains songs by a variety of obscure artistes including The Chancellors, Scottie Stuart, Carl Bonafede and Jesse Lee Turner. The stand out tracks though are by Holmes with quirky chicken sound effects on "Chicken Rock" ( 1954 ) and dopey hep-cat jive talk on "Where Yo Is" from around the same time.
by Jason Ankeny "Dubbed the "court jester of the underground rock scene in the 1960s" by influential DJ John Peel, Vivian Stanshall earned his greatest notoriety as the original tenor in the absurdist Bonzo Dog Band, although he was also a noted artist and comedian. Stanshall was born on March 21, 1943 in East London, England before World War II forced him and his mother to evacuate to Oxfordshire. While attending art school under the well-known pop artist Peter Blake (the designer of the Beatles' famed Sgt. Pepper album cover), Stanshall formed the Bonzo Dog Dada Band with flatmate Rodney Slater and fellow student Larry Smith in 1962.
Later shortened to simply the Bonzo Dog Band, the satirical group became highly successful before creative differences triggered their break-up in 1970. Stanshall quickly resurfaced with a series of short-lived and diverse projects: the first, the Sean Head Showband, issued the single "Labio Dental Fricative," while his second solo release, under the guise of Vivian Stanshall and His Gargantuan Chums, was a parody cover of Terry Stafford's "Suspicion." "Blind Date" was recorded as biG Grunt, a group also comprised of Bonzo Dog Band auxilliary members Roger Ruskin Spear, Dennis Cowan and "Borneo" Fred Munt; while the group did play a handful of live gigs, they met their premature demise when Stanshall, a heavy drinker and drug user, suffered a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized.
In 1974, Stanshall emerged with his debut solo LP Men Opening Umbrellas, recorded with Steve Winwood; Stanshall later returned the favor, collaborating with Winwood on his own self-titled debut and contributing significant lyrical ideas to 1980's Arc of a Diver. After narrating Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, Stanshall was tapped to guest host the BBC Radio 4 program Start the Week, where he developed his monologue Rawlinson End, which later inspired his own 1978 release Sir Henry at Rawlinson End as well as a film of the same title which starred Trevor Howard.
In 1981, Stanshall issued the autobiographical Teddy Boys Don't Knit, followed three years later by the spoken word project Henry at Ndidis Kraal. The Rawlinson saga continued with Rawlinson Dogends, a 1991 play staged at London's Bloomsbury Theatre complete with musical backing from Rodney Slater and Roger Ruskin Spear. Another autobiographical radio play, Essex Teenager to Renaissance Man, followed in 1994, along with film and voiceover work. Vivian Stanshall died in a house fire on the morning of March 5, 1995."
"Born Alfred Hawthorn Hill (January 21, 1924/1925 - April 20, 1992), in Southampton, Benny Hill was a prolific comic British actor. In fact, he was one of the most universally recognized British comedians. He worked compulsively and had only a few friends, although colleagues who knew him closely insist that he was never lonely, but was content with his own company. He never married, although he did propose to two women, one the daughter of a British writer, and was rejected by both. He never owned his own home, nor even a car, instead preferring to rent a small flat in Teddington, a convenient walking distance to the Teddington Studios where he taped the one-off one-hour episodes of his television programme, The Benny Hill Show."
Found at a boot sale last year this budget "Music For Pleasure" 1971 release contains Hill's big U.K. hit "Ernie" and other comic songs as featured on his TV show. Words and music by Benny Hill. Arranged and conducted by Harry Robinson.
"In 1936, Michael Flanders and Donald Swann met at school in Westminster. Little did they know at that point the partnership they were going to make in later years, to become famous and release several recordings of their highly successful revues, and remembered for many years after their deaths.
At the Westminster school, they worked together for the first time in 1939, when Donald, born in 1923 in Llanelli to Russian parents, provided piano music for a revue called 'Go for it' that Michael, born in 1922 in London, was performing in. After school, both men went to Christ Church, Oxford, but they had little to do with each other. The war then came into the frame, Michael serving on a destroyer, and Donald in the Ambulance service in Greece and Palestine. It was during this time that Michael contracted Polio after his ship was torpedoed, and was made wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life. Following the war, the two got back together, and set about writing songs; Donald providing the music, while Michael, who originally wanted to be an actor, writing the words.
The first revue they contributed to, Oranges and Lemons, featured the song In The D'Oyly Cart, a send-up of Gilbert and Sullivan. The show started in 1948, and ran for a couple of years. Following the first revue were Penny Plain, Airs on a Shoestring and Pay the Piper, all of which, like the first, directed by Laurier Lister, and starring other performers such as Joyce Grenfell and Ian Wallace. After these, in 1950, the pair made their first step towards independence, performing songs in the Whistler Ballroom in 1950. The pair, renown for their revue-writing talents, were invited to give a lecture on this topic at the Dartington School of Music in 1956. It was here Michael started to introduce each song with a short narrative. This, he found, went down as well with the audience as the songs themselves, and so this was integrated into the performance, and in 1959 the duo performed their first fully-fledged revue of their own, At the Drop of a Hat, at the New Lindsay theatre in Notting Hill gate.
After three weeks, the show was moved to the Fortune theatre in the West end, where it ran for over 750 performances. It was during this run the performance was recorded by George Martin (of Beatles fame). 1959 also saw the first US tour, and one to Switzerland, and the recording of their first studio album, The Bestiary of Flanders and Swann. The pair toured England after this, and then, in 1963, their second revue opened at the Haymarket theatre. At the Drop of Another Hat ran for almost a year, and was recorded, like the first show. The pair toured Australia at this time also. After Another Hat, the F&S found the format of revues rather restricting, and branched out into other areas. Michael Flanders Narrated many radio shows, stories and documentaries, and presented radio quiz shows. Donald wrote more music, including for the Hoffnung concerts. They did have a final tour, and very successful it was too, and then they decided to stop 'while they were ahead'. "
This album "The Bestiary" released in 1961 in the U.K. and later in the U.S. but without "The Wompom" which is a shame as it's by far the best track and funniest as Flanders and Swann add an array of vocal gymnastics not heard on any of their other records.
"Lindley Armstrong "Spike" Jones (December 14, 1911 - May 1, 1965) was a popular musician and comedian. He was born in Long Beach, California. His father was a Southern Pacific railroad agent. He got his nickname by being so thin that he was compared to a railroad spike. At the age of eleven he got his first set of drums. As a teenager he played in bands that he formed himself. A chef in a railroad restaurant taught him how to use adapted pots and pans, forks, knives and spoons as musical instruments. He frequently played in theater pit orchestras. In the 1930's he joined the Victor Young Band and thereby got many offers to appear to radio shows including the Al Jolson Lifebuoy Show, Burns and Allen (with George Burns) and Bing Crosby's Kraft Music Hall. In 1940, he had an uncredited part in the film Give Us Wings, and in 1942 as a hillbilly in Pass the Biscuits, Mirandy. He joined up with vocalist Del Porter and performed in Los Angeles, gaining a cult following. By 1941 the band included violinist Carl Grayson. Other band members were George Rock (voice and trumpet), Doodles Weaver (voice) and Red Ingle (voice). They became his backing band The City Slickers.Jones's wife was the singer Helen Grayco, who performed on some of his radio shows. They recorded five records for Victor's label "Bluebird" before receiving their big break."
This EP was on the tape sent today with the Johnny Standley and it seems churlish not to include it all as its very funny despite the bad quality of some of the surface noise. Sorry! I have quite a few Spike Jones albums, records and tapes but never heard this one before with Spike introducing each track.
I'm afraid I know very little about Johnny Standley. All I could glean from the internet is that he travelled with his father's "tent shows" in the Mid West and this single, "It's In The Book", was his one "hit" in 1952. The second part of the song is taken from an advert for Granma's Lye Soap. No other recordings seem to be available. This EP was found by a friend of mine who had been looking for it for a while. He sent me a copy on a tape today along with this very pale photo-copy of the sleeve. I had to darken it a bit on photoshop, hence the rather strange tones. Johnny reminds me of a few other American comedy acts of the 50's like Jonathan Winters and Milton Berle etc. and his preaching style like that of the english eccentric Gerrard Hoffnung.
"Sophie Tucker was born in Russia while her mother was emigrating to America to join her husband, also a Russian Jew. Her birth name was Sophia Kalish, but the family soon took the last name Abuza and moved to Connecticut, where Sophie grew up working in her family's restaurant.
Playing piano to accompany her sister at amateur shows, Sophie quickly became an audience favorite; they called for "the fat girl." At age 13, she already weighed 145 pounds.
She married Louis Tuck in 1903, and they had a son, Bert, but she divorced Tuck fairly quickly. Leaving Bert with her parents in 1906, she went to New York, changed her name to Tucker, and began singing at amateur shows to support herself.
She was required to wear blackface by managers who felt that she would not otherwise be accepted, since she was "so big and ugly" as one manager put it. She joined a burlesque show in 1908, and, when she found herself without her makeup or any of her luggage one night, she went on without her blackface, was a hit with the audience, and never wore the blackface again.
She briefly appeared with the Ziegfield Follies, but her popularity with audiences made her unpopular with the female stars, who refused to go on stage with her.
Tucker's stage image emphasized her "fat girl" image but also a humorous suggestiveness. She sang songs like "I Don't Want to Be Thin," "Nobody Loves a Fat Girl, But Oh How a Fat Girl Can Love." She introduced in 1911 the song which would become her trademark: "Some of These Days."
She added jazz and sentimental ballads to her ragtime repertoire, and, in the 1930s, when American vaudeville was dying, she took to playing England. She made eight movies and appeared on radio and, as it became popular, television."
Stanley Holloway (born Stanley Augustus Holloway) was born on the 1st October 1890 in London, England, UK and died on the 30th January 1982 in Littlehampton, England, UK.
"He tried to make a go of his first job as a clerk in a Billingsgate fish market, but the call of the theatre was loud and strong. Originally planning an operatic career, Holloway studied singing in Milan, but this came to an end when World War One began. Finishing up his service with the infantry, Holloway headed for the stage again, making his London premiere in 1919's Kissing Time. His first film was The Rotters (1921), and the first time the public outside the theatres heard his robust voice was on radio in 1923. Holloway toured the music hall-revue circuit with his comic monologues, usually centered around his self-invented characters "Sam Small" and "The Ramsbottoms."
Holloway's entree into talking pictures was with a 1930 film version of his stage success, The Co-Optimist. The British film industry of the '30s was more concerned in turning out "quota quickies" so that Hollywood would send over an equal number of American films, but Holloway was able to survive in these cheap pictures, occasionally rising to the heights of such productions as Squibs (1935) and The Vicar of Bray (1937). In 1941, Holloway was cast in one of the prestige films of the season, George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara; this led to top-drawer film appearances throughout the war years, notably This Happy Breed (1944), The Way to the Stars (1945) and Brief Encounter (1947). Though he'd had minimal Shakespearian experience, Holloway was selected by Laurence Olivier to play the Gravedigger in Olivier's filmization of Hamlet (1947), a role he'd forever be associated with and one he'd gently parody in 1969's Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.
Gaining an American audience through repeated showings of his films on early-'50s TV, Holloway took New York by storm as Alfred P. Doolittle in the stage smash My Fair Lady - a role he'd repeat in the 1964 film version (after James Cagney had turned it down), and win an Oscar in the bargain.
Continuing his activities in all aspects of British show business -- including a 1960 one-man show, Laughs and Other Events -- Holloway decided he'd take a whack at American TV as the butler protagonist of the 1962 sitcom Our Man Higgins. It's difficult to ascertain the quality of this series, since it had the miserable luck of being scheduled opposite the ratings-grabbing Beverly Hillbillies.
Stanley Holloway perservered with stage, movie, and TV appearances into the '70s; in honor of one of his two My Fair Lady songs, he titled his 1981 autobiography Wiv a Little Bit of Luck."
Something slightly different this time. I suppose the ingenius cover art caught my eye first and finding a 7" record inside that plays at 33 also made me curious. It also has a clever plastic book mark type gadget that has a selection of tiny tranparent slides on a slit down the middle - this fits into the TV/record player combi you see on the cover. Really the elephants you see there are a cheat as the image you would get would be very blurred and more like a Give-A- Show projector that my sister used to have, which beamed feeble cartoons on the bedroom wall with the aid of a 6 volt battery. Nevertheless, the idea is great and the tinkling piano on the soundtrack is very engaging. I imagine Bill Bailey would see this in a different light though! Made by the General Electric Co. 1964.
A 7" single on the Antillana label from 1970 found down Brick lane market many years ago. I have a ton of these old ska, blue beat, rock steady, calypso singles that I used to collect back in the 70's and 80's. Sorting through them the other day I realised that I hadn't really listened to many of them or if I did it was just one side. Some are so scratched and warped they don't bear a second playing. I tried to find out about Lord Funny and the internet doesn't help much this time. I found a discography of "Funny" and it seems he still records under the this name and dropped the "Lord" title. Maybe he thought it sounded more up to date or snappier? I prefer Lord Funny. The B side is great too all about the dangers of not brushing your teeth!
"Les Dawson (2 February 1931 - 10 June 1993) was a popular Lancashire comedian, known for his deadpan style. Dawson was a curmudgeon, famous for jokes about his mother-in-law and his wife. Dawson began his entertainment career as a club pianist ("I finally heard some applause from a bald man and said 'thank you for clapping me' and he said 'I'm not clapping - I'm slapping me head to keep awake.'"), but found that he got more laughs by playing wrong notes and complaining to the audience. He made his television debut in the talent show, Opportunity Knocks, and was seldom absent from British television screens in the years that followed. His best known routines featured Roy Barraclough and Dawson as two elderly women, Cissie Braithwaite and Ada Sidebottom who, having worked in a mill in their youth, spoke some words aloud and mouthed others--particularly those pertaining to bodily functions and sex; they also repeatedly pushed up their bosoms, in pantomime dame style, an act copied faithfully from his hero, Norman Evans. Dawson's humour, though earthy, was seldom coarse, and he was as popular with female as with male audiences."
A very funny man and in reality he could play the piano really well. Most of this record is comedy routines but I have extracted two "musical" interludes for your enjoyment, or not as the case may be! A bargain at 49p!
"Arthur Bowden Askey was born in Liverpool in 1900. He was very small at 5' 2" (1.6m) and wore distinctive horn rimmed glasses, with a breezy, smiling personality. He served in the forces in World War I and performed in army entertainments. His career began in the music halls, but he rose to stardom in 1938 through his role in the first radio sitcom, Bandwagon on BBC, prior to which radio comedy had consisted of broadcast standup routines. It had begun as a variety show, but had been unsuccessful until Askey and his partner, Richard Murdoch, took on a larger role in the writing. Askey's humour owed much to the playfulness of the characters he portrayed, his improvising and his use of catchphrases, as parodied by the Arthur Atkinson character in The Fast Show. His catchphrases included "Hello playmates!" "I thank you" (pronounced "Ay-Thang-Yew") and "Move along the bus please." During World War II, Askey starred in several Gainsborough Pictures comedy films, notably The Ghost Train (1941), "Charlie's Aunt," "I Thank You," "Back Room Boy," "King Arthur Was A Gentleman," "Miss London Ltd.," and "Bees in Paradise." When television arrived, he made the transition well, his first TV series was "Before Your Very Eyes!" (1952) named after another of his catchphrases. In 1957 writers Sid Colin and Talbot Rothwell revived the Bandwagon format for Living It Up, a series that reunited Askey and Murdoch after an absence of 18 years. He also made many stage appearances as a pantomime dame."
This LP on the budget Music For Pleasure label came out in the 60's I think though there is no date on it anywhere. It's mostly songs about animals and birds and one about a pixie.
I found this in a charity shop last year. It comprises mostly of traditional folk songs but also two "novelty" songs included from the days of music hall. Redd Sullivan and Martin Winsor started the Troubadour folk club in London in the 50's and many of the great names of folk played there. People like Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Shirley Collins, Martin Carthy etc. Martin Winsor was born in Liverpool but moved to London where he became an authority on London folk-lore and dialect. He sang all kinds of songs from vaudeville , Irish folk songs, Scottish folk songs, sea shanties, pop songs and monologues. In fact anything that took his fancy became part of his extensive repertoire. Redd Sullivan started singing in folk clubs in 1953 and well known on radio and television in the 60's when he appeared on Easy Beat, Roundabout, Country Meets Folk and Folk On Friday. Also accompanying on this record are jeannie Steel, Alastair McDonald and Ian Campbell.
My record collecting chum and devout Chas & Dave fan Jim Benson told me about this record a few years back. He says it's an early session by Chas & Dave during a spell of financial insecurity when they desperately needed the money.Chas Hodges plays guitar as well as piano on this session and Mick Burt is on Drums.Coincidentally I found a copy at a bootsale a couple of months later! Its on the cheap and cheerful Avenue label and released in 1971.
"Pianist Chas Hodges and guitarist Dave Peacock were widely experienced around the British rock scene of the 1960s and early 70s before teaming up with drummer Mick Burt (another much-travelled musician who had gone back to his original trade as a plumber) to form the group. Chas had worked with the legendary producer Joe Meek, backed Jerry Lee Lewis, played with Mike Berry and the Outlaws, along with Ritchie Blackmore, and also the highly respected Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers, which had Burt on drums. He then joined Albert Lee’s cult band Heads Hands and Feet before playing with Dave and Albert in Black Claw. Dave had been equally active, Starting out in The Rolling Stones (no, not them!) in 1960. Spells with The Tumbleweeds, Mick Greenwood, Jerry Donaghue, and the above mentioned Black Claw followed prior to the pair coming together to go out on their own as Chas & Dave."
Another boot sale find from the Summer. Recorded live at the Pied Bull pub in Streatham in London in 1973.
"He was a portly, moustachioed figure who excelled in portraying minor authority figures such as Pa Glum on the hit BBC radio series Take It From Here and the headmaster of a down-at-heel boarding school in Whack-O! He was virtually born to play Shakespeare's burly knight, Sir John Falstaff but, sadly, never did. Now largely forgotten, despite being bigger in his heyday than Sid James, Frankie Howerd and Kenneth Williams combined, there are still a few who remember his talent to amuse.
Throughout his life he had nursed a passion for music, from his early days as a choirboy at St Paul's Cathedral to conducting the Royal Artillery band at the Albert Hall. His love was so intense he even incorporated this musicality into his act, first at Cambridge in the famous Footlights then, after a spell in the RAF, at London's infamous Windmill Theatre.
Whereas contemporaries such as Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers had a fine singing voice or could play the drums, Edwards created a whole act around the trombone. An instrument he had played in the Arimatheans Dance Band when a freshman at King's College, Cambridge, just before the outbreak of hostilities in 1939. This, and other brass instruments, would later be incorporated into a routine that would establish him as a seasoned performer on stage, screen and television, although lasting success on the big screen eluded him."
Not much to be found on the internet about this chap from the Bahamas whose LP I found some time ago at Brick Lane flea market so will quote the sleeve notes written in 1962. " Many calypsos are so universally popular, and so widely sung, they lose their identity as to their origin, Delamore uniquely styles his songs in the manner of their original home. The orchestra accompanying Richie is composed of musicians from every part of the Caribbean. Their able handling of Goombay music, native of the Bahamas, and most popular with the dancers, is subtly aided by it's Trinidadian members whose steel drum softness stresses the Goombay beat. CARIB (the record label) is happy to record this twenty three year old artist who made his first album for RCA Victor at seventeen, and continues to grow in popularity."
I found this LP at a boot sale last year. Sadly the gate-fold sleeve has been stuck together after being left in the rain so trying to read the sleeve notes is made quite difficult. No information about them could be gleaned from the internet so as far as can make out they were formed in 1978 by Mr. Anthony Godwin, bass clarinettist with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. He had inherited a complete library of theatre music dating from 1880 to 1930 and it's from this that their repetoire is mainly drawn. They try and re-create the sound and atmostphere of those early days by using instruments of that era. For instance on the song "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" the soprano Linda Murray is accompanied by David Norton on the musical saw. Linda Murray also sings the other song featured here "Two Little Sausages" that I remember an old uncle of mine singing back in the 60's. This record was released in 1980 on the Chandos label.
"And here the fourth TAMOURE which leaves enunmoisa sorrow... While waiting cinquieme and the continuation... I think that it will be the maeillor: Because, more rapid that a Caravel, TAHITI invaded Paris in one night... Because for this insane night of the Holy Club Hilaire the TAMOURE has had gane its letters of nobility and the friendship of French the Paris Whole... of the islands it became Parisian! And I am on malgre the cold and the gray of the winter the sun and the chaleureaux sky of the islands will regneront On bets this season..."
From the Babelfish translation of the french on the back of the cover of this 45 EP I found many years ago at Brick Lane flea market.
Tahitian folk music sounds not unlike Hawaiian folk music but played at the wrong speed!
"Jona Lewie (born John Lewis, March 14, 1947) is a British singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. After being a member of the amateur group Dramatis Personae while still at school, Lewis started in the music business as a session pianist, before forming the cult pub-rock band Brett Marvin and the Thunderbolts in the late 1960s. The group were a popular live act for several years, but their only mainstream hit single was Seaside Shuffle (1972), released under the one-off nom de disque Terry Dactyl and the Dinosaurs. Borrowing heavily from Mungo Jerry's 1970 chart-topper In The Summertime, Seaside Shuffle was an unashamedly commercial disc quite at odds with the Thunderbolts' usual style, and reached number 2 in the British singles chart.
However, Lewis looked likely to remain a one-hit wonder until he was signed up by Stiff Records in 1977. Following appearances on the Stiff package tours, he finally scored a solo hit with the humorous synthpop number, You'll Always Find Me in the Kitchen at Parties (1980) - (right) which made the British top 20. Although his next single Big Shot - Momentarily failed to make any impact, by the end of the year he was back in the charts with what became his biggest (and, to date, last) hit, Stop The Cavalry."
I found this 1974 single on the Sonet label back in the 80's and it's one of my favourites from that pre-punk era when "pub rock" and roots music was being touted as the next big thing.
"Max Miller, Britain's top comedian in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, was born in Brighton, on the south coast of England in 1894. He excelled as a stand-up comic playing to large audiences in variety theatres, where his skill was such that he could hold an audience in the palm of his hand. He was master of the double entendre. He was mischievous, brash and quick-witted; he dressed over the top and he certainly lived up to the name the Cheeky Chappie. Even the poorest jokes got a laugh; his timing and delivery were legendary.
Max Miller left school at 12 and, after drifting from job to job, was called up by the army to serve in the First World War. During the war he acquired a taste of entertaining whilst performing to his fellow soldiers and, after the war, he pursued his show-business ambition starting with the occasional gig in pubs and halls. His first break came about when he joined a concert party on the Brighton sea front as a song and dance man. It was good training for the future and, from time to time, he would get the chance to tell a gag or two. The occasional booking in a London theatre followed this. His talent developed and soon he excelled as a solo performer writing his own material and composing his own songs. He rose to fame and, in the 1930s, reached the top of the bill playing all the major variety theatres including the most famous of them all, the London Palladium."
Find out more about Max Miller at this website dedicated to him HERE.
"Jerry was born Gerardo Colonna in Boston on September 17, 1904, of Italian immigrant parents. As a little boy he admired his grandfather's enormous moustache ("You could see it from the back!") so much that he often painted one on his upper lip with axle grease. As soon as he could manage it, he grew a "baffi" of his own. Jerry was extremely gifted musically, and he loved jazz, beginning as a drummer then finding his metier in the trombone. Moving to New York, he became a fixture in orchestras on major radio shows and in the top big bands. At one point he was named one of the five best trombonists in the country. In 1930 he married Florence Purcell, a pretty flapper he met on a blind date in New York who turned out to be a Boston girl. They would stay in love for the next 56 years, adopting a baby son, Robert, in 1941.
In the late 30's Jerry's career took an unexpected turn. Comedian Minerva Pious, who played Mrs. Nussbaum on the Fred Allen show, loved Jerry's off-stage antics (he had received so many warnings from CBS for his pranks that he was finally put on perpetual notice. But they never actually fired him -- he was too good a trombonist). Pious decided that Fred Allen, a workaholic, needed a laugh, so she convinced him that Jerry was a brilliant operatic tenor and that Fred should give him an audition. When Jerry gave out with an ear-splitting "You're My Everything," Fred literally fell to the floor laughing and gave him a few guest spots on the show. These led to movie roles, and to the Kraft Music Hall, hosted by Bing Crosby. Bing took Minerva Pious' in-house joke to new lengths by announcing publicly that Giovanni Colonna, one of the greatest living baritones (!) would make his American radio debut on the show. After that broadcast, a number of classical music critics stopped talking to Bing altogether. The following summer, following an appearance at the Del Mar racetrack clubhouse, Jerry was approached by Bob Hope, and radio history was begun. Jerry's recordings ("I have destroyed many beautiful songs.") are collected today by connoisseurs of madcap comedy. He is probably best known for his hysterical versions of "On The Road To Mandalay" and "Ebb Tide" (where most recordings of the latter began with the sounds of surf and seagulls, Colonna's also includes chickens)."
I found this double cassette yesterday at a rummage sale held by the Salvation Army in town. I think it was 50p. A lot of comic songs that I'd not heard before including the two uploaded here. They were very much a part of my television viewing as a child and teenager- something the whole family could laugh along with. The songs only hint at what they were like to see on TV. Eric's looks to camera alone were worth a thousand catch phrases.
"The theatrical/TV impresario Bernard Delfont gave Morecambe and Wise their own ITV show after the pair appeared frequently on the small-screen in 1960, notching up 12 spots on Val Parnell's Sunday Night At The London Palladium. Now the same network pitched them into a show of their own, teaming the comedians with another double-act, the writers Sid Green and Dick Hills. Sid and Dick, as they soon became known to the nation, also ventured out from behind-the-scenes to feature in front of the cameras with the comics.
The first ATV series - broadcast live each week from the Wood Green Empire in north London - was so successful that a second run was commissioned and given a Saturday primetime slot; from here on, after seven years of irregular TV appearances, Morecambe and Wise were firmly established as stars of the medium and Britain's best comedy double-act. Catchphrases soon developed, with Eric as the wag and Ernie the butt of all jokes: Morecambe would grab Wise by the throat and remark 'Get out of that!'; Morecambe would claim that Wise possessed 'short fat hairy legs'; the two comics, with their scriptwriters, sang a catchy comedy song that attained national fame, 'Boom Oo Yatta Ta Ta'; and every programme ended with the first line - but never more - of the age-old dirty joke 'There were these two old men sitting in deckchairs...'.
As a result of these marvellous ITV shows, Morecambe and Wise branched out into the cinema with three starring feature films, The Intelligence Men, That Riviera Touch and The Magnificent Two, released in 1964, 1966 and 1967 respectively."
"Jack Hulbert was born on 24th April, 1892 at Ely in Cambridgeshire. As an undergraduate at Cambridge he appeared in a number of shows and revues, both professional and amateur, until his last production, Cheer-oh! Cambridge (1913) was such a success that it moved to the Queen's Theatre in London. There he met Cicely Courtneidge, the daughter of theatrical producer Robert Courtneidge, and they worked together for the first time in The Pearl Girl. Cicely Courtneidge was born in Sydney on 1st April, 1893, while her father was on tour with his company. After spending some years of her childhood in Australia she moved permanently to Britain in 1907. Her first stage appearance was in one of her father's productions at Manchester in 1901, although her acting career didn't begin in earnest until The Arcadians (Shaftesbury Theatre, 1909) which ran for 809 performancesJack and Cicely were married in 1916, and enjoyed huge success as a cohesive unit in revues and musicals in London.
Their film careers began from the early 'thirties with comic and musical vehicles such as The Ghost Train, Falling For You and Jack's the Boy. Throughout that decade they were among the top two or three acts both on stage and screen, rivalled only in the latter by Tom Walls' farces and Jessie Matthews' musical-comedies."
This World Record Club LP is from 1968. "Flies Crawl Up The Window" is from the film "Jack's The Boy" (1932) and "If I Had Napoleon's Hat" is from the film "Aunt Sally" ( 1933 ).
Another of those mysterious records from Brick Lane flea market I think that caught my eye. Though the sleeve art is pretty subdued - no palm trees and exotic looking dusky maidens just the words "Patois Jazz" is enough to make me wonder what this might sound like. I must admit the general ambience of the tunes here fall into the cocktail lounge variety. Here is the whole of side two for your listening pleasure..
The sleeve notes by Red Camp say- "Who else but Rupert would keep the same off-beat two measures going for three and a half minutes under his own vocal? What's more, almost everyone so far likes it; and that's what's so disturbing. Neither of the two vocals is sung. The one with the syncopated perpetual motion is a rather involved story called "Clem's Confusion" relating various adventures with a kind of international harem which descend on innocent him whilst walking down Park Street. Strictly speaking, this is more of a recitation than a song - but not to be confused with the school room type. What Rupert does with his voice on "Chop Suey Mambo"(sic), the other one, must remain completely unclassified."
"The diminutive Charlie Drake, who had a fine line in slapstick and pathos and a catch-cry of "Hello my darlings", featured in this BBC comedy series (which followed his successful 1959 - 1960 Charlie Drake program).
The Charlie Drake Show was scripted by Drake and Richard Waring, and produced by Ronald Marsh. It featured slapstick-style sketches and situations which brought out the pathos and genius of this much underrated comedian.
Meanwhile on ITV, Charlie featured in a comedy-music series (also called The Charlie Drake Show) in 1963 under producer Colin Clews with scripts by Drake and Lewis Schwarz. A very young Olivia Hussey also appeared in some of the routines.
Drake also starred in The Worker from 1965 - 1970 and then in the early 70's had a show called Slapstick and Old Lace in which he involved viewers in singalongs and madcap sketches in a Vaudeville style (7 x 30 minute episodes).
Charlie Drake was no stranger to accidents, but his narrowest escape was in the first of a new series entitled Bingo Madness. The plot called for Drake to be hurled through a bookcase by two villains, feign unconsciousness, fall to the floor and then be picked up and thrown out of a window.
The stunt nearly ended in tragedy as Drake really was knocked unconscious when he came through the bookcase. It was a live show and the actors, not realize anything was amiss, carried on, picking him up and bundling him through the window. Drake's head crashed against a stage weight.
After the initial applause, there was a hush as everyone realized something was wrong. The director blacked out the screen as millions of people witnessed what could have been the death of Charlie Drake. He lay in a coma for days, and the rest of the series was cancelled."
Charlie also had a successful recording career throughout the 50's and 60's- two of his biggest hits being "My Boomerang Won't Come Back" and "Please Mr Custer".