"Reg Varney Plays And Sings" on the EMI One-Up label from 1973. A bit off the usual meandering track now with a very MOR offering. I promise there won't be many of these. Sometimes I buy a record on the strength of it's sleeve and hope that it delivers more than it promises. Sadly this is a very dull record. Reg's party is with the Mike Sammes Singers and not the crew of "On The Buses"!
"Reg Varney's father worked in a rubber factory in Silvertown and he was one of five children who grew up in Addington Road, Canning Town. He was educated at nearby Star Lane Primary School in West Ham and after leaving school at 14, he worked as a messenger boy and a page boy at the Regent Palace Hotel. He took piano lessons as a child and was sufficiently proficient to get work as a part-time piano player. His first paid engagement was at Plumstead Radical Club in Woolwich, for which he was paid eight shillings and sixpence. He also played in working men's clubs, pubs and ABC cinemas, and later sang with Big Bands of the time. He and his mother decided that showbiz was the career for him, and he gave up his day jobs. During World War II, he joined the Royal Engineers, but continued performing as an army entertainer which included a tour of the Far East. After being demobbed, he starred on stage in the late 1940s in a comic revue entitled "Gaytime". His stooge in the act was Benny Hill. He then went on to become an all round entertainer, working his way around the music halls. In 1961, he got the role as a foreman in a TV series called The Rag Trade. Also around this time he did a show for BBC TV called The Seven Faces of Reg Varney where he performed seven different characters in front of an audience at the Shepherd's Bush theatre in London."