Friday, November 30, 2007

Tribute To Captain Beefheart

This tribute to Captain Beefheart came out on the Imaginary Records label in the 80's. Bands contributing include XTC, The Scientists, Sonic Youth, The Screaming Dizbusters etc.

Wikipedia says-

"Don Van Vliet (born Don Glen Vliet on January 15, 1941, in Glendale, California, U.S.) is an American musician and visual artist, best known by the pseudonym Captain Beefheart. His musical work was mainly conducted with a rotating assembly of musicians called the Magic Band, which was active from the mid-1960s through to the early 1980s. Van Vliet was chiefly a singer and harmonica player, occasionally playing noisy, untrained free jazz-influenced saxophone and keyboards. His compositions are characterized by their odd mixtures of shifting time signatures and by their surreal lyrics, while Van Vliet himself is noted for his dictatorial approach to his musicians and for his enigmatic relationship with the public.
Van Vliet joined the newly formed Magic Band in 1965, quickly taking over as bandleader. Their early output was rooted in blues and rock music, but Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band (as they were called, collectively) gradually adopted a more experimental approach. 1969 saw the release of their best known album, Trout Mask Replica, which was produced by Van Vliet's childhood friend Frank Zappa and is today regarded as a challenging but groundbreaking and influential masterpiece by some. Van Vliet released several further albums throughout the 1970s, but his group was beset by shifting line-ups and a lack of commercial success. Towards the end of that decade he settled with a group of younger musicians, and his three final albums, released between 1978 and 1982, all received critical acclaim. Van Vliet's legacy is one of limited commercial success, despite a devoted following; however, his influence on later punk and new wave and other genres and musicians has been described as "incalculable"."

Discover more about Captain Beefheart HERE.

The Dog Faced Hermanns - Zig Zag Wanderer

The Membranes - Ice Cream For Crow

The King Of Luxembourg - Long Necked Bottles

Good & Gone - Harry Irene

The Mock Turtles - Big Eyed Beans From Venus

These SendSpace files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

Friday, November 16, 2007

John "Snakehips" Johnson

I was lucky enough to find this in the market today for a couple of quid. I was first attracted by the title "Any Old Iron" which is a good old cockney knees-up number from the music hall days - Peter Sellers did a nice version of it amongst others.
Also on the album a mixture of old and new songs which remind me of Chas 'N' Dave and Joe Brown etc. Great versions of Maybe It's Big Horse I'm A Londoner and End Of Me Ol' Cigar. Not much found on the internet but this CD is still available I think and well worth it if you a fan of cockney songs or blues sung in an East London accent! Also playing on the CD are Tony Ashton - piano and hammond organ, Dave 'Wild Leg' Williams - guitars and mandolin and Dan Brown - bass, euphonium and tuba- amongst others.

John "Snakehips" Johnson - Harem Scarem

John "Snakehips" Johnson - The Lambeth Walk

John "Snakehips" Johnson - Any Old Iron

These SendSpace files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rutles Highway Revisited

Found this CD in a street market back in the 90's. Its a tribute to the Rutles who in turn were a tribute to the Beatles. Made in the Netherlands on the Shimmy Disc label and featuring lots of obscure punk and new wave bands . Bands like- Galaxie 500, The Pussywillows, Joey Arias and King Missile etc. All songs written by Neil Innes. Not sure if it's still available.
Great cover art that mimics the Stones and Beatles sleeve art by Sheena Dupius.

Discover more about The Rutles go HERE.

Find out more about Neil Innes HERE.

The Pussywillows - Hold My Hand

Peter Stampfel & The Bottlecaps - Ouch!

The Tinklers - Blue Suede Shubert

Uncle Wiggly - It's Looking Good

These SendSpace files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Sounds Of South Africa

Found at a charity market yesterday for a pound. A great little compilation and taster of South African music by some firmiliar and not-so-firmiliar names. Released in 2001 but still available if you look for it. On ARC music label.

Ivangeli Loxolo.

This eleven peice Zulu church choir from Kwa Zuma, is led and produced by Thomas Maseko, who is the bass player of the band. The choir isd a community affair consisting of Thomas, his wife and daughter and members of his wife's family as well as neighbours and friends.

Izigi Zabezayo.

This group, consistin g of Sente Buthelezi and Mhlonipheni Hadebe, hails from Nkandla in Zululand.
The music is traditional Zulu. The track "Malume" concerns a man who wants to get married and therefore has to pay a "labola" ( the dowry ) for his loved one. He turns to his father as he does not have enough cattle, but his father, unable to help, sends him to his uncle. The song communicates his embarrassment over this predicament.


The word Molahlehi means "the lost one". In 1986 producer Les Goode had a call from an unkown South Sotho singer, wanting to record ten numbers. He arrived with his accordion and a Sotho drummer and put the ten tracks down, explaining to Les that he would return shortly to record the songs into master form. Two years went by and not a word was heard from the artist. The tracks were bought to Reamusic where Clive Risko was impressed by the music and the album was re-mixed with additional instruments and released the album which became a big success and gave the artist the name "Molahlehi".
The radio made many announcements for "the lost one" but to date he has still not been found.

Discover more about South African music HERE.

Ivangeli Loxolo - Isakhalo

Izigi Zabezayo - Malume

Molahlehi - Khaitsedi Manyathela

These SendSpace files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Stanley Holloway

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.

Discover more about Stanley Holloway HERE.

Stanley Holloway - Three Ha'Pence A Foot

Stanley Holloway - Yorkshire Pudding

Stanley Holloway - Song Of The Sea

These SendSpace files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Will Hay

Will Hay still makes me smile despite the ancient jokes and ham acting. I never get tired of watching "Oh , Mr Porter" one of his best films from the 40's.

"Will Hay was born on the 6th December 1888. With his supercilious sniff and overall air of pompous ineptitude, Will Hay was one of the great British character comedians of his time. A former bookkeeper, Hay began his music-hall career in 1909, performing a sketch in which he impersonated a seedy, incompetent schoolmaster.

He was a genius who created a genuinely original persona which worked on a number of variations including the tattered shifty teacher, barrister, prison governor or stationmaster which was perhaps his masterpiece. In whatever circumstances, he was always required to deceive both superiors and inferiors, the latter proving sharper at detecting the radical incompetence beneath his seedy dignity. Accompanied by fat boy Graham Moffitt and toothless old codger Moore Marriott he created a comic oeuvre as endearing and enduring as any in British cinema.

In 1931, Will was elected 'King Rat of the Grand Order of Water Rats', which gave him great pride and a opportunity to acquaint himself better with like-minded fellow artistes within the exclusiveness of the club. The club was a charity organisation who fund raised for the less fortunate. In 1933, Hay applied his astronomical skills and discovered a white spot on Saturn. He published his findings in his 1935 book Through My Telescope. For this achievement, he was made a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He even gets a mention in Patrick Moore's biography.

Running second in popularity only to George Formby at the British box office, in 1940 Hay put his film-making on hold. During the war, his specialist knowledge was so good that he gave up acting to teach astronomy and navigation to the Royal Navy Reserve Special Branch as a Sub lieutenant. One wonders how he could be taken seriously after several years of portraying an exceptionally incompetent teacher.

He worked at Elstree, then Gainsborough, then Ealing; the Gainsborough period was the most consistently successful. Just as Tony Hancock, in some ways a descendant of Hay, would later cut himself off from sidekick Sid James, Hay felt impelled to break up the partnership with Moffatt and Marriott and was, likewise, never quite the same again, although ‘The Goose Steps Out for Ealing’ (1943) was an effective anti-Nazi piece of slapstick. His classic movies include ‘Oh Mr Porter’, ‘Where’s that Fire’ and ‘Ask a Policeman’."

Discover more abou Will Hay HERE.

Will Hay - How Tickled I Am

This SendSpace file is available for seven days or until exhausted.

Ted Ray

Some more comedy profiles now by popular demand. First up Ted Ray who I remember from the steam radio of the 50's in "Ray's A Laugh".

Wikipedia says-

"Ted Ray (November 21, 1905 – November 8, 1977) (real name Charles Olden) was a popular English comedian of the 1950s and 1960s.
Charlie Olden was born in Wigan, Lancashire in 1905. His parents moved to Liverpool within days of his birth, and Liverpudlians therefore tend to regard him as a local of their city. As a major radio personality and comedian of the 1940s and 1950s he regularly demonstrated his extraordinary ad-libbing skills in his weekly radio show Ray's A Laugh, which ran from 1949 until 1961.
A much sought after music hall comedian, Ray usually played the violin (badly) as part of his act. He also played straight roles in several British films - notably as the headmaster in Carry On Teacher. He is, however, best remembered for Ray's a Laugh, which was a domestic comedy in which he was accompanied by Australian Kitty Bluett, who played his wife.
Many actors and actresses who would later become well-known cut their teeth on this radio show, including Peter Sellers, Fred Yule, Patricia Hayes, Kenneth Connor, Pat Coombs and Graham Stark. 1940 and 1950 saw Ray as King Rat of the Grand Order of Water Rats.
He was a very keen and accomplished golfer who frequently appeared playing with professional sportsmen. Later in his career Ted Ray appeared together with Jimmy Edwards, Arthur Askey and Cyril Fletcher in the comedy radio panel game Does the Team Think?.
He never managed to break into television successfully, though his son, Robin Ray, was a well known television personality in the 1960s and 1970s, having initiated Call My Bluff and specialist classical music shows. His younger son, Andrew Ray, became an actor. Ted Ray died in 1977."

Ted Ray - How Tickled I Am

This SendSpace file is available for seven days or until exhausted.