Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Charlie Higgins

Not much gleaned on the internet about Charlie Higgins who was popular during the 30's. Windyridge Records has a CD of his novelty songs available still but the ones here are from the 12 CD set called "Vintage British Comedy" on the Signature label which are excellent compilations and contain songs and sketches by artists such as Max Miller, Billy Bennett, Old Mother Riley and Charlie Chester to name but a few.

Charlie Higgins - I'm A Daddy At 63

Charlie Higgins - In The Waxworks Late Last Night

Charlie Higgins - Charlie's Breach Of Promise Case

Charlie Higgins - Charlie's Saxaphone

Charlie Higgins - Bumpety Bumpety Bump

Monday, March 30, 2009

Adge Cutler & The Wurzels

I found this today in a local charity shop for 75p. I have uploaded some tracks before by the Wurzels but they have long since dried up. So here is both sides of this LP on the EMI label from 1966/67 recorded "Live at the Royal Oak, Nailsea, Zummerzet".

"Born Alan John Cutler in Bristol in 1930, he spent his early life in the small town of Nailsea in Somerset, and one of his first jobs involved working for a local cider mill — but, influenced by Len Uke Thomas (a local Bristol comic singer and entertainer) and a stint on the road as Acker Bilk's road manager, he took to a career in music. Armed only with a few songs he had written, in June 1966 he approached agent John Miles, who helped put together the band the Wurzels with guitarist and banjo player Reg Quantrill, accordionist Reg Chant, double bass player John Macey, and Brian Murphy on the wurzelphone — in reality a tuba. One of the first songs they played live was Cutler's composition "Twice Daily" — about a shotgun wedding between a young farmhand and the farmer's daughter Lucy Bailey — which was later to be banned from radio play by the BBC owing to its risqué lyrical content.

Encouraged by the local sales in the West Country, EMI nationally released the single "Drink Up Thy Zider" backed with "Twice Daily" and saw it scrape into the bottom of the chart at number 45, quickly followed by the album Adge Culter & the Wurzels, mostly recorded at the Royal Oak pub in Nailsea and including both sides of the single as well as humorous songs "Champion Dung Spreader," "Hark at 'Ee Jacko," "The Mixer Man's Lament," and "When the Common Market Comes to Stanton Drew." The album climbed to number 38 in the LP charts. After this brief foray into the national charts, the band returned to performing live concerts locally in Somerset. Cutler was a lifelong supporter of the Bristol city football club, and one of his songs, "Morning Glory," was changed to "One for the Bristol City," which the team used to fire itself up before each game.

On the May 5, 1974, following a Wurzels concert, Adge Cutler overturned his car on a roundabout in Chepstow and died from his injuries. Following his death, the Wurzels continued as a trio, by then featuring a completely different lineup of Tommy Banner, Tony Baylis, and Pete Budd. Amazingly, they enjoyed a period of chart success in the long hot summer of 1976, including even the number one single "Combine Harvester (Brand New Key)," based on the Melanie hit with new lyrics written by Brendan O'Shaughnessy, and the Top Three single "I Am a Cider Drinker," based on a holiday hit from the previous year, "Una Paloma Blanca."

Discover more about Adge Cutler & the Wurzels HERE.

Adge Cutler - Side One

Adge Cutler - Side Two

Sunday, March 29, 2009

George Formby

Two scratchy 78's I picked up at the boot sale today for 50p each. Not songs I've heard before I must admit . Wartime morale boosters but obviously didn't go down as well as he'd hoped - certainly not in the same class as some of his better known songs but interesting none the less.

"Musical comedian George Formby was among Britain's most popular stars during the first half of the 20th century, with a legacy encompassing over 200 records and more than 20 hit films. Born George Hoy Booth on May 26, 1904 in Lancashire, England, he was the son of George Formby, Sr., himself a popular Edwardian music hall comedian. The younger Formby first worked as an apprentice jockey, but his father's sudden death in 1921 prompted him to pursue his own career as a performer; he initially worked under his given name, but later adopted his father's nom-de-stage following his marriage to dancer Beryl Ingham, who soon took over the reins of her husband's career. Initially, Formby attempted to approximate his father's act, but with little success; the chance acquisition of a banjo ukelele proved the key to establishing his own stage persona, and in light of audiences' enthusiastic reactions to his idosyncratic, self-taught playing style, the instrument was never again far from his side.

With his toothy grin and goofy personality, Formby was dubbed "the beloved imbecile" by pundits; after earning a loyal following among music hall denizens, he scored a major pop hit with 1932's "Chinese Blues," which when renamed "Chinese Laundry Blues" became his signature song for the duration of his career. Two years later Formby made his first film, Boots! Boots!; the picture was a smash, and he swiftly contracted to make 11 more films for Ealing Studios. Over the course of movies like 1935's No Limit, 1937's Feather Your Nest and 1938's It's in the Air, he became Britain's biggest star, earning an estimated £100,000 a year; his films also continued to provide him with a wealth of saucy hit records, including "The Window Cleaner," "Fanlight Fanny," "Riding in the T.T. Races" and the Noel Gay-penned "Leaning on a Lamp Post," perhaps his most popular song."

Discover more about George Formby HERE.

George Formby - Our Fanny's Gone All Yankee

George Formby - Unconditional Surrender

George Formby - The "V" Sign Song

George Formby - The Old Cane Bottom Chair

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Peter Sellers

I bought a couple of CD's yesterday in a charity shop. On the Signature label - part of a 15 CD set called "Vintage British Comedy". These tracks culled from Vol.9 and Vol. 10. Other artists include Frankie Howard, Will Hay, Arthur Askey, Max Miller etc.

"Sellers was born in Southsea, Hampshire to a family of entertainers. His parents nicknamed him Peter at an early age, after his elder stillborn brother. He attended the North London Roman Catholic school, St. Aloysius College, although his father, Yorkshire-born Bill Sellers (1900 - 1962), was Protestant and his mother, Agnes Doreen 'Peg' née Marks (1892 - 1967), was Jewish. His maternal grandmother, Benvenida Welcome Mendoza (1855 - 1932), was of Portuguese-Jewish descent; her grandfather, Mordecai Mendoza (1774 - 1851), was a first cousin of English prizefighter Daniel Mendoza (1764 - 1836). Sellers was also a cousin of Talksport radio presenter Mike Mendoza.

Accompanying his family on the variety show circuit, Sellers learned stagecraft which proved valuable later. He performed at five at the burlesque Windmill Theatre in the drama Splash Me!, which featured his mother.[citation needed] He was a versatile artist, excelling at dancing, drumming well enough to tour with jazz bands (his drumming is shown in a clip of The Steve Allen Show in 1964), and playing ukulele and banjo. In Parkinson, Sellers claimed his father had taught George Formby to play ukulele. Sellers played ukulele on the "New York Girls" track for Steeleye Span's 1975 album Commoner's Crown.

During World War II, Sellers was an airman in the Royal Air Force, rising to corporal, though he had been relegated to ground staff due to poor eyesight. His tour included India and Burma, although the duration of his stay in Asia is unknown and its length may have been exaggerated by Sellers himself. He also served in Germany and France after the war.

As a distraction from the life of a non-commissioned officer, Sellers joined the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA), allowing him to hone his drumming and comedy. He occasionally impersonated his superiors, and his portrayal of RAF officer Lionel Mandrake in the film Dr. Strangelove may have been modelled on them. He bluffed his way into the Officers Club using mimicry and the occasional false moustache, although as he told Michael Parkinson in the 1972 interview, occasionally older officers would suspect him. The voice of Goon Show character Major Dennis Bloodnok came from this period."

Discover more about Peter Sellers HERE.

Peter Sellers - Jakka & The Flying Saucers Pt. 1

Peter Sellers - Jakka & The Flying Saucers Pt. 2

Peter Sellers - Never Never Land

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Norman Wisdom

Three tracks from Norman Wisdom from a rare 1968 LP on the EMI label called "One Man's Music - The Songs of Noel Gay". Mostly very slushy sentimental ballads sung by the likes of Beryl Reid, Des O'Connor and the Mike Sammes Singers. Not really my cup of tea but though you would like to hear them anyway.

"Norman Wisdom was born in the London district of Marylebone to Frederick and Maude Wisdom. His father was a chauffeur and his mother a dressmaker. After a difficult and poverty-stricken childhood he joined the 10th Hussars and began to develop his talents as a musician and stage entertainer

After he left the army he went into show-business, gradually becoming one of Britain's most successful stars. In 1954 he released the best-selling single that is still closely associated with his name, "Don't Laugh At Me (Cause I'm A Fool)".
Moving into film in the 1960s, he created an accident-prone, clownish character called Norman Pitkin, a lovable fool who appeared in several successful films, most notably The Early Bird (1965). His famous and widely imitated cry as Pitkin was "Mr Grimsdale! Mr Grimsdale!

In 1967, he was widely praised for his performance as a serious actor in The Night They Raided Minsky's, but his career began to decline in the 1970s and he was out of favour with British tastes in comedy for many years. On 11 February 1987 Norman Wisdom was the subject of Thames Television's This Is Your Life.
He became widely popular again in the 1990s, helped by the young comedian Lee Evans, whose act was heavily influenced by Wisdom's work. The highpoint of this new popularity was the knighthood he received in 1999 from Queen Elizabeth II.
After he was knighted, true to his accident-prone persona, he couldn't resist pretending to trip on his way out off the platform."

Discover more about Norman Wisdom HERE.

Norman Wisdom - Leaning On A Lamp Post

Norman Wisdom - Doing The Lambeth Walk

Norman Wisdom - Me And My Girl

Friday, March 13, 2009

Peter Cook & Dudley Moore

A double cassette found today in a charity shop for 99p. It contains Peter Cook's original E.L.Wisty LP (1965)and the Evening With... LP (1974). This cassette was released in 1994. Here's one side which includes the classic "One Leg Too Few" sketch.

"Well the Not Only was Peter Cook and the But Also, Dudley Moore. In the 60s and 70s this pair were a major part of the new comedy era, and Peter Cook was probably one of those who was the most responsible for the change in direction of comedy. He wrote a couple of well received revues for the West End, Pieces of Eight, and then One over the Eight, and then with Moore, Jonathon Miller and Alan Bennett, wrote and starred in Beyond the Fringe, the show that finally killed off the intimate review and replaced it with the Satire movement. Cook was the professional amongst the four and as such was paid more (although he actually received less due to his agent taking his cut!), and was responsible for a lot of the script, whereas Moore, was the musical one and came up with the parodies and musical interludes.

Not Only But Also was their BBC show, written and conceived by the pair, which developed their partnership, and gave rise to the famous Dagenham Dialogues of Pete and Dud, and included other gems such as One Leg too Few, and Sir Arthur Streeb Greebling. Their way of writing was rather novel in as much as they would talk into a microphone, recording their impromptu speech and then review it, developing parts that they thought had promise and discarding the rest. The scripts were not written in stone though, and half of the charm of the show is the ad-libs from Cook and Moore's reactions to them, usually with him trying to hold back laughter."

Discover more about Peter Cook HERE.

Pete & Dud - Hello

Pete & Dud - One Leg Too Few

Pete & Dud - Madrigal

Pete & Dud - Mini Drama

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Stanley Holloway

I've mentioned Stanley Holloway before a couple of times but this LP on the Vanguard label from the 60's is quite rare I think and so here's a few more tracks of his reworking of some old music-hall favourites.

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 - Lily Of Laguna

Stanley Holloway - Any Old Iron

Stanley Holloway - A Bachelor Gay

Stanley Holloway - While Strolling In The Park

Stanley Holloway - Wot Cher, All The Neighbours Cried

Shanker Jaikishan

An Oxfam shop buy from a couple of years ago, this Bollywood LP is all instrumentals and from two films "Mera Naam Joker" and "Bobby". Not sure of the dates of the films but this record was released in 1973.

"Shankar-Jaikishan were the greatest musical duo to have graced the world of Hindi cinema. So great was the impact of their creative genius that it had a lasting impact on the music of the Hindi films. Shankar-Jaikishan understood the taste of the masses, were able to cater to them, as well as moulded their tastes. No wonder then that during their tenure as music directors, they were exceedingly popular and 75 per cent of the films for which their scores were reounding hits - many have celebrated silver jubilees.

Shankar was born as Shankar Singh Raghuvanshi on October 15, 1922. His fathers name was Ram Singh Raghuvanshi, while Jaikishan was born as Jaikishan Dayabhai Paanchal on November 4, 1932 in Basanda, Gujrat. Neither Shankar nor Jaikishan were keen on education. Their schooling, as best, may be considered as scanty. Their love for music lured them away from any kind of systematic scholastic persuit.

Shankar's passion was the tabla. He learnt the fundamentals from Baba Nasir Khansahib. Through ceaseless practice and marathon riyaaz sessions, he mastered his skills and developed his own style. Jaikishan's interests were singing and playing harmonium. His first lessons in music were with Sangeet Visharad Wadilalji. He studied clasical music from Prem Shankar Nayak. On moving to Bombay, he studied under Vinayak Tambe. Shankar and Jaikishan, throughout their career, preferred their own favourite instruments: the tabla and the harmonium.

Shankar, initially joined a theatre group run by Satyanarayan and Hemawati. He then become a member of Prithvi Theatres, where he played the tabla and undertook minor roles in the company's plays. Jaikishan was on the lookout for a job related to music and Shankar introduced him to Prithvi thetres as a harmonium player. Susequently, they worked as assistants to the celebrated composer pair Husnlal-Bhagatram and imbibed much of their form and structure, which they successfully employed in a refined style. Shankar-Jaikishan both had a penchant for acting. Initially they happily undertook bit roles in Prithvi Theatres' plays, and, later they both played significant roles in the company's play Pathan. Shankar played a fisherman in R.K films Aag (1948), while Jaikishan acted in two films : Shri 420 (1955) and Begunaah (1957). The popular song 'Aei Pyaase Dil Bezubaan..' from the film Begunaah was picturised on him."

A Wikipedia write up about the film "Mera Naam Joker" HERE

Shanker Jaikishan - Chabi Kho Jae

Shanker Jaikishan - Na Mangu Sona Chandi

Shanker Jiakishan - Jane Kahan Gaye Woh Din

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

King Sunny Ade

I can't believe I haven't uploaded any King Sunny Ade sides before as I have several of his LP's - mostly released in Africa. He was picked up by Island Records in the 80's for a brief period but soon fell out of favour despite the success of other "world music" artistes such as Salif Keita and Youssou N'Dour etc.
This LP on his own Sunny Alade Records label from the 80's is a good taster of ju ju music at that time and features some wonderful lap steel guitar and talking drums.
I saw him at his first? London concert around 1987 at the Hammersmith Odeon and he and his band were truly wonderful - the live experience far superior to the records.

Wikipedia says-

"Born to a Nigerian royal family in Ondo, Adé left grammar school to pursue his career, which began with Moses Olaiya's Federal Rhythm Dandies, a highlife band. He left to form The Green Spots in 1967. He formed a record label in 1974, fed up with being exploited by a major label. After the death of Bob Marley, Island Records began looking for another third world artist to put on its contract and Fela Kuti was just signed to Arista Records. Producer Martin Meissonnier introduced King Sunny Adé to Chris Blackwell, leading to the release of Juju Music in 1982. Many music afficianados are quick to point out that Sunny Ade's brand music of Juju could not be ignored by anyone at the time, and they were not surprised that Chris and his crew decided to launch an attack on the world music scene with a very brillian artist such as Ade. Any first timer that listens to Sunny Ade's brand of Juju music will be attracted to the rhythm section. Till today, this seminal recording is often acclaimed to be one of the most important records in Africa. Adé gained a wide following with this album and was soon billed as "the African Bob Marley". Sunny Adé headlined concerts in the United States. The New York Times' Robert Palmer described one of Adé's several concerts in New York in the 1980s as one of the most significant pop music events of the decade[citation needed] and Ade as "one of the world's great band leaders"[1] His second album under the cusp of international stardom was Synchro System which attracted many converts of world music and it deservedly earned him a grammy nomination in the folk/ethic music category. Soon after, Nigerian imports (mostly pirated copies) of his massive back catalog began flooding the Western market. Island, concerned about sales and Adé's refusal to include more English in his repertoire, cut him loose after his third LP, 1984's Aura which featured Stevie Wonder on the harmonica. Sunny Ade has said in the past that his refusal to allow Island to meddle with his compositions and over-Europeanise and Americanise his music were the reasons why Island decided to look elsewhere.

In 1984, he and his music were featured in Robert Altman's comedy film O.C. & Stiggs His music was also featured in one of Richard Gere's movie "Breathless".

By the end of the 1980s, Adé released several albums in his native Nigeria. He continued to garner critical acclaim and widespread popularity in Africa. He featured prominently in Manu Dibango's 1994 star studied "WAKAFRIKA" album."

King Sunny Ade - Osupa Mi Tole etc.

Montego Joe

An LP on the Transatlantic label from 1965 featuring some instrumental jazz with an extra helping of timbales and conga drums.
Not much is found on internet about Montego Joe and I can be pretty sure thats not him on the sleeve!

Francis Squibb in the copious sleeve notes says -

"Montego Joe's personal history is sketched in the notes of his first LP on Prestige, but one correction must be noted: the correct date of his arrival in the United Staes from his native Jamaica is 1939, when he was "nine or ten years old."
In the years since and especially the last decade, he has become increasingly concerned about public and professional mis-understanding about the conga as a musical instrument - equating it with the bongo drums, for example and associating it with "beatniks".
The instrument has a distinguished history, having been used as a medium of communication before and during the days of slavery - not, as is often said, through some sort of primitive morse code, but through pitch variation in imitation of speech melody. Thus, from a strictly musical standpoint, if properly played the conga can be far more "experessive" than most of the drums and percussion devices used in jazz - a fact proved by this and his earlier LP."

Also playing on the LP are Al Gibbons - tenor sax, arranger and conductor. Leonard Goines - trumpet. Arthur jenkins - piano. Ed Thompson - bass. Milford Graves - drums , timbales. Sonny Morgan - miscellaneous percussion.

Montego Joe - Give It Up

Montego Joe - Ewe

Montego Joe - The Bata Blues

Montego Joe - Concumba

Montego Joe - Lexington Avenure Line

Monday, March 09, 2009

Leo De Lyon

A boot sale find from years ago on the London label from 1960.
A curious mix of MOR cocktail jazz and impersonations of instruments like trombone, trumpet and double "Slam Stewart" bass etc. Some corny gags thrown in for good measure.
Not much gleaned from the internet but the sleeve notes written by Leo tell us that he has toured the world with his show, from the London Palladium, China Theatre in Stockholm, Australia and the Far East and now Africa. He was in the navy and then television on such shows as "Wish You Were Here" and now cabaret. He is accompanied on this record by Andy Johnson - drums, Manny Parkes - bass and Arthur Heatley on tenor sax and alto sax.

His film appearances are listed HERE.

Leo De Lyon - How About You?

Leo De Lyon - Bewitched , Bothered and Bewildered

Leo De Lyon - Purple Flamingo

Leo De Lyon - Pennies From Heaven

Leo De Lyon - Leo In Africa

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Monster Rock 'N' Roll (Re-Up)

From an Lp called "Monster Rock 'n' Roll" on the Crypt label with a dedication to Screaming Lord Sutch. One can see why he would enjoy some of these offerings. Mostly from the late 50's. The tracks are as follows-

1. Monster Hop - Bert Convy
2. Mad House Jump - The Daylighters
3. Split Personality - Jim Burgett
4. The Monster Hop - Jimmy Dee
5. Nightmares - John Sowell
6. The Horror Show - Sharkey Todd
7. Igor;s Party - Tony's Monstrosities

Bert Convy.

"Convy was born in St. Louis, Missouri to Monica and Bert Convy. Convy was a member of the 1950s vocal band, The Cheers, who had a Top 10 hit in 1955 with "Black Denim Trousers (and Motorcycle Boots)". He was also a minor league baseball player."

The Daylighters.

"The Daylighters -- not to be confused with the Texas blues band of the same name -- was a Chicago soul male vocal group of the '60s. The Birmingham, AL-born group was started by high school student Tony Gideon in the mid-'50s. Seeking fame and fortune, Gideon, Eddie Thomas, George and Dorsey Wood, and Levi Moreland moved to Chicago, IL, in 1958. Two months later, Moreland returned to Alabama. WGES radio DJ George "G.G." Graves introduced him to record shop/record label/club owner Norvel "Cadillac Baby" Eatmon, who issued the group's first record "Mad House Jump" on his Bea and Baby label."

Jimmy Dee.

"What happened to him later is not quite clear. Some say he joined the Houston police force, others like Joel Whitburn reckon he managed the Houston Astrodome. A third source puts him in Chicago living the life of a very wealthy man with no interest in his rocking past. This Jimmy Dee apparently recorded for Inner-Glo and Pixie, but he's not the Little Jimmy Dee on Infinity, nor the Jimmy Dee on Ace and Scope."