Saturday, February 21, 2009
"Born David Daniel Kaminsky to Jewish Ukrainian immigrants in Brooklyn, Kaye became one of the world's best-known comedians. He spent his early youth attending Public School 149 in East New York, Brooklyn, before moving to Thomas Jefferson High School, but he never graduated. He learned his trade in his teen years in the Catskills as a tummler in the Borscht Belt.
Danny Kaye made his film debut in a 1935 comedy short entitled Moon Over Manhattan. In 1937 he signed with New York-based Educational Pictures for a series of two-reel comedies. Kaye usually played a manic, dark-haired, fast-talking Russian in these low-budget shorts, opposite young hopefuls June Allyson or Imogene Coca. The Kaye series ended abruptly when the studio shut down permanently in 1938.
Kaye scored a personal triumph in 1941, in the hit Broadway comedy Lady in the Dark. His show-stopping number was "Tchaikovsky", by Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin, in which he sang the names of a whole string of Russian composers at breakneck speed, seemingly without taking a breath.
His feature film debut was in producer Samuel Goldwyn's Technicolor 1944 comedy Up in Arms, a remake of Goldwyn's Eddie Cantor comedy Whoopee! (1930). Goldwyn agonized over Kaye's ethnic, Borscht-belt looks and ordered him to undergo a nose job. Kaye refused, and Goldwyn found another way to brighten Kaye's dark features by lightening his hair, giving him his trademark redheaded locks. Kaye's rubber face and fast patter were an instant hit, and rival producer Robert M. Savini cashed in almost immediately by compiling three of Kaye's old Educational Pictures shorts into a makeshift feature, The Birth of a Star (1945)."
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Brief history of Billy Bennett (1887 - 1942)
"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.
Billy Bennett - Mottoes
Billy Bennett - The Green Tie Of The Little Yellow Dog
Someone sent me this recording of Joan Turner on cassette tape many years ago and I've just found it again. Not really my cup of tea but remember her from the radio and TV in the 50's and 60's when she was still a big star in the U.K. Sadly she fell on hard times and now lives in sheltered accomodation in Surrey I believe and planning on writing her autobiography which includes her affairs with Terry Thomas, Tony Hancock and other show biz stars of the time.
"Joan Turner (born Belfast, Northern Ireland, November 24, 1922) is a comedienne and singer who, in the 1960s and 1970s was a major star in the UK. She had her own television show, topped the bill at the London Palladium, appeared in the 1963 Royal Variety Show and topped the bill over The Beatles She appeared in the London stage musical Oliver! for two years, was romantically linked to Peter Sellers and was one of the highest-paid women in British showbiz.
In later years, it was reported that, after two divorces, she "drank and gambled away her fortune"and she was declared bankrupt in 1977.
In 1991, she was a guest of honour at the Queen Mother's 90th birthday celebrations. and, in the early 1990s, attempting to revive her career, she had a role as Auntie Lou in the Channel 4 series Brookside and a cameo role in the BBC TV series EastEnders.In 1996, she went to California to attempt to give it "one more try".
In March 2001, the Sunday Mirror newspaper reported that she was living "among the winos, drug addicts and down-and-outs in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles... dressed in charity shop clothes and surrounded by her worldly possessions - with barely a penny to her name." She was interviewed in situ as a "bag lady" on Sunset Boulevard in the August 2001 Channel 4 documentary Celebrity: The Rise and Fall and it was reported elsewhere that she had spent five years as a "down-and-out" in LA. Later that year, she returned to the UK."
Joan Turner - Live
Saturday, February 07, 2009
More ska on the Blue beat label from Basil Gabbidon in 1964.
Here's a segment from the Basil Gabbidon story -
"In addition to playing the trombone in the school's brass band, Basil had become interested in the guitar at the same time. His desire to play music was all consuming. His father had an old guitar with broken strings and Basil took up the challenge. He repaired the strings, bought himself a book of guitar chords and learnt to play the guitar from scratch. "Its not like today, we made things happen ourselves," as he recalls teaching himself to play. Initially, Basil wasn't interested in reggae. It was still a relatively new form of music coming over from Jamaica and instead, the music mad youngster preferred heavier tunes from the Rolling Stones, Jimmy Hendrix, Mandrill and the Isley Brothers. "We turned on the radio and listened to pop music and the Stones, I liked the way they performed their songs. I didn't like the Beatles 'cause everyone else liked them." One of the first reggae tunes to catch his ear was a reggae version of Blue Moon, the old Rogers & Hart classic. Another tune that had a bigger impact on him was Blood & Fire. Released in 1970 by Niney The Observer (aka Winston Holness, but called Niney when he lost a thumb in a workshop accident), it was amongst the avalanche of sound system pre-releases that found their way to Britain and were eagerly snapped up by the flourishing Carribean communities. However, it wasn't until Bob Marley's classic 1973 album, Catch A Fire was released that Basil was finally hooked after he heard it played in a local park during a festival, and his desire to play reggae music became a serious aim."
B. Gabbidon - Independence Blues
B. Gabbidon - For My Love
Yet another from the Basildon box of goodies I found way back. No info found about the Bluebeats but there is a modern ska band by the same name but assume they are not connected in any way. Released 1964.
Heres an interesting segemnt from The Blue beat Story site - well worth checkingmout for history of the label.
"In 1952 Jamaican entrepreneur Stanley Motta started making his own recordings in Kingston, inspired by Bertie King, an ex Alpha School Musician who had been resident in the UK since 1938 and was well known on the British Jazz circuit. King had released a few British recorded Mento records in the UK on his Limbo label, and when he returned to Jamaica in the early 1950s he suggested to Motta the idea of setting up his own recording facility and producing his own records for sale to the local JA market as well as exporting to the UK - in direct competition with neighbouring Trinidad, which was achieving much international acclaim for Calypso.
Shallit found himself in the position of being the agent to whom Stanley Motta would ship his tapes for mastering and pressing by Decca on his MRS (Mottas Recording Studio) label on 78 r.p.m. discs, which were then shipped back to Jamaica. This trans-Atlantic connection opened up the channels for Shallit to licence music directly from Jamaica, and he would soon establish links with all of the islands emerging producers and artists. As 78s gave way to the advent of the 7 45, Shallit set up the Kalypso subsidiary label which would include the first known recordings from Laurel Aitken and Lord Tanamo in its catalogue of some fifty Mento and R&B titles.
Other Melodisc subsidiary labels during the 1950s were such names as; Top, Son, Check, Dees, Hornet, Wasp, and D -an early Duke Ried outlet. The surge of popularity in Jamaican R&B in the late fifties was to see the foundation of three new subsidiary labels, each of which would specialise in releasing Jamaican and UK recorded R&B marketed primarily at the UKs growing West Indian population; Dice, Rainbow, and most influentially; the Blue Beat label."
The Bluebeats - Blue Beats Over
The Bluebeats - Kiss The Baby
Friday, February 06, 2009
As about as obscure a record as you can get. On an equally obscure record label from the 60's I imagine. No mention of Rolly "Yo Yo" Daniels on the internet. Any information regarding this artist or his backing band " The Daybreakers" and Don Rendell most welcome.
Could it be this Don Rendell playing the saxaphone on this record I wonder?
Rolly "Yo Yo" Daniels - Yo Yo Boy
Rolly "Yo Yo" Daniels - The Teacher
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
A curio that turned up in the post today from Ken Gen in New York who runs the Sound Of Lamination website and produces performances and rituals based on the act of lamination. The 45 rpm single is literally the sound of the laminating machine on one side and discussion backstage at some art event on the other. Ken tells me that this is the very last copy of 200 he had made from a grant from John Cage.
On the sleeve notes it says -
" Lamination Ritual celebrates the transformation of the mundane into the realms of OFFICIALDOM, of ordinairy into extraordinairy. Laminationis completely participatory and accesssible to everyone. Lamination is versatile. It can be an object of utilty or whimsical extravagance. It can warm the body and open the mind. Lamination preserves, brightens and protects indsicriminately. Lamination counters our increasingly fast paced world by virtually slowing down the entropy process."
egnekn - The Sound Of Lamination
egnekn - Repairing The Machine During The Excavated Jewels Of Ertsatz Exoticism
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
A nother 45 on the British Blue Beat label that that was part of Melodisc. Released in 1961. Roy was Roy Panton an Monty was Monty Morris, Roy Panton takes up the story-
"I am Roy Panton. I was born in the parish of Kingston, Jamaica W. I. on March 28, 1941. I started singing at an early age, while I was in school. Singing was special to me as I enjoyed having an audience. After school, I decided that that was the root of my dreams and so I took it steps further.
I teamed up with Stranger Cole to form a group called The Rovers and, in the later years of the 50s, we auditioned for the famous Duke Reid. Our first song was called "Freedom Land" and the b side was "Adam and Eve". After our first recording, the group dissolved.
Later on, I teamed up with Monty Morris and we were called Monty & Roy. We recorded for Leslie Kong of the Beverlys label. The recording consisted of two songs: "Shes Mine", and the other side of the single was "Girl Of My Dream". We then went on to record for Duke Reid on the Trojan Label and for him we recorded approximately four songs. After a short stint with Duke Reid, we moved to the Sir Coxsone Downbeat label and one of the songs we did for him was entitled “Jenny”. "
Monty & Roy - Tra La La Boogie
Monty & Roy - In And Out The Window
More jamaican R&B from Bobby Kingdom on the Blue Beat label released in 1962. Much influenced by the New Orleans and southern states artists like Fats Domino, Little Richard, etc. The Twist was a big dance craze at the time and they had their own take on it. Not much info. about Bobby Kingdom on the internet. Any further info. greatly appreciated.
Bobby Kingdom - Brand New Automobile
Bobby Kingdom - Spanish Town Twist
Monday, February 02, 2009
Another Blue Beat single from 1965 at the height of the Ska boom in Jamaica. Prince Buster is one of the most well known and prolific exponants. This song is based around the Bonanza TV theme - a popular western series through the 50's and 60's.
Wikipedia says of Prince Buster-
Campbell was born into a family in Kingston as a son of a helicopter pilot. He grew up in one of the city's toughest neighborhoods. At a young age, he developed a taste for turkish delight and yearned to be a cook. In 1956, he started singing at Kingston nightclubs for small pay. He formed a succession of bands with several of his friends, none of which were really successful.
What turned Campbell's music career around was the growing sound system craze. Across Jamaica, music promoters drove vans filled with stereo equipment to stage mobile parties. The operators of the sound system would play the most popular R&B dance records of the day, and often they would have a vocalist called a toaster call out the dancers' names, chant in rhythm, and make light-hearted boasts; the toaster form was the primary influence on early rap MCs.
Eventually, Campbell was introduced to Clement Dodd, a musically-inclined businessman who operated one of Kingston's most popular sound systems. Interestingly, Campbell was not hired as a musician but as security; because of rivalries between fans devoted to a particular sound system, the parties sometimes could become quite rough, and Campbell had been a skillful amateur boxer as a teenager. It was in this line of work that he earned the nickname "The Prince", which along with his boyhood moniker "Buster" (from his middle name Bustamente), formed the name under which he would later become famous.
He joined the Nation of Islam after meeting Muhammad Ali whilst on a tour of England in 1964."
Discover more about Prince Buster HERE
Prince Buster - Bonanza
Prince Buster - Wonderful Life
A curiosity from the swinging 60's. The Ovaltiners is a club for children who drink a particular hot malted drink made with milk. This was given away free it says. Just send two and sixpence or half-a-crown to 99 Park Lane in London. There was even an Ovaltine Crunch Bar but I dont remember them. The Ovaltiners first appeared on Radio Luxembourg in the 30's. The original theme was composed by Carroll Gibbons. Some beat group type versions here along with dixieland, tijuana and swing. Played by Eric Delaney and his Music and The Ovaltiners Beat Group led by Eric Delaney.
The Ovaltiners Beat Group - London Bridge Is Falling Down
Eric Delaney - Ovaltine Theme (Swing)
Eric Delaney - Ovaltine Theme (Tijuana)
The Ovaltiners Beat Group - Oranges & Lemons
Eric Delaney - Ovaltine Theme (Dixieland)
The Ovaltiners Beat Group - Ovaltine Theme
Sunday, February 01, 2009
A Blue Beat single I found many years ago at a jumble sale in Basildon of all places along with dozens of others. I have no idea who Girl Satchmo is or about her partner who sounds more like Satchmo than she does. Its rather confusing really?
If anyone can shed any light it will be most welcome.
Girl Satchmo - Brother Joe
Girl Satchmo - Don't Be Sad