Sunday, September 27, 2009

Stanley Holloway

A CD found recently at a boot sale. Still available I think if you search for it on the Avid label. 2001. Mostly the monologues that he was famous for but with a few novelty/ music hall songs thrown in for good measure.

Wikipedia says-

"He was born in Manor Park, Essex (now Greater London), England, and attended The Worshipful School of Carpenters in Stratford.

His Mother Florrie was a housekeeper and his father George was a Lawyers Clerk. He had one sister called Millie.

His first job was as a junior clerk in a boot polish factory called "Everitts Nutta and Jetta"" where he earnt ten shillings a week. His second job was again as a clerk but this time at Billingsgate fish market. Whilst working there, he began his performing career as "Master Stanley Holloway -- The Wonderful Boy Soprano", from 1907. He began performing in end of pier concert parties at English east coast seaside resorts, including Walton-on-the-Naze and Clacton-on-Sea where he appeared for three years in Bert Graham and Will Bentley's concert party at the West Cliff Theatre in 1910.

He was then recruited by established comedian Leslie Henson to feature as a support in Henson’s own more prestigious concert-party performing in "Nicely, Thanks" in 1911.

He then planned a career as a singer in 1913 and went to Milan to train his voice, but realized that this wasn't for him and returned home. He then followed his heart and carried on in light entertainment.

In 1914 when World War I was in full swing, he enlisted in the Connaught Rangers infantry regiment. Upon joining he was immediately commissioned as a Second lieutenant. This was because a few years earlier he had had some training as a private in the London rifle Brigade.

Although an estimated 2,500 members of this regiment were killed during the Great War, Holloway survived and immediately began singing and acting in London's music halls and theaters, performing at the Winter Garden as Captain Wentworth in Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse's Kissing Time in 1919, and as Rene in A Night Out in 1920.

After the war he joined the Royal Irish Constabulary in 1920 as a Temporary Constable but left by the beginning of 1921. The 'Temporary Constables' of the RIC are more generally remembered as the 'Black and Tans'.

After the war, he found his first big success in the show The Co-Optimists which ran from 1921 until 1927 and was then filmed in 1929. A second run of the show from 1929 developed his comic song and monologue repertoire, which launched his recording career with records of his own created character, "Sam Small," and Marriott Edgar's "The Ramsbottoms" selling world wide.

Holloway established himself as a BBC radio personality in 1923 and developed his solo act throughout the 1920s while continuing his involvement with the musical theater and [The Co-Optimists]]. He was cast as Bill Smith in the London production of Vincent Youmans' musical comedy Hit the Deck (1927), in Song of the Sea (1928), and in Coo-ee (1929). He began recording his monologues for the phonograph market in the early '30s. Based on colorful "North Country" characters named Albert and the Ramsbottoms (by George Marriott Edgar) and Sam Small (whom Holloway created), these remarkable recitations were couched in rhyming stanzas. Apart from speaking the monologues, Holloway would often sing the verses, carefully sticking to the words but always characterizing them in his own special way. Other contributors who would write with Holloway included Greatrex Newman, Robert Patrick Weston, and Bert Lee."

Stanley Holloway - The Future Mrs. 'awkins

Stanley Holloway - The Parson Of Puddle

Stanley Holloway - Guarding The Gasworks

Stanley Holloway - My Missus

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Savannah Jazz Band

Another trad jazz cassette from the boot sale a couple of weeks ago for 25p. Reminds me of the Temperence Seven and trad jazz revival of the 50's.

Their website says-

"The Savannah is without doubt one of the most popular UK bands around. With their talent for satisfying listeners and dancers alike they have built up a truly international reputation at major festivals in the UK and overseas.

The band's driving and exciting New Orleans style attracts large audiences whenever they play. Their many fans follow them from festival to festival and turn out devotedly to see them at regular venues in the UK. This tremendous support is very much appreciated by the band.

Demand for their music has prompted regular recordings on tape and CD. To date, 18 recordings have been made of the band, 12 live concerts and 6 in the studio by Lake Records. Their CDs sell like hot cakes. Other 'goodies' such as Polo Shirts, Sweatshirts, and even ladies Knickers sporting the Savannah logo were once a popular line - a sure sign of the band's popularity, all sadly discontinued.

Their music can be heard as far away as New Zealand and America and they have travelled to Holland, Germany, Denmark. Finland, Majorca, Canada and all parts of the UK, delighting new audiences and collecting loyal supporters along the way.

However, the band's reputation has not suddenly emerged; it has been hard earned and well-deserved for nearly 3 decades. Formed in 1979, The Savannah started their swinging Thursday night sessions at the Station Tavern at the railway station in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, which has now come to an end.

Fortunately their dedication and ability has steamed ahead, and a residency continues at the Royal British Legion , Golcar where on the first Thursday of each month the band can be seen and heard for a relatively small entrance fee.

The Savannah Jazz Band is as much a musicians' band as it is a magnet for its impressive number of loyal fans. Over the years the band has enjoyed playing with some very fine and talented musicians and the genuine admiration that exists between Savannah and the many guests who have joined them is mutual. This tradition is continued at the Royal British Legion, Golcar."

Tracks include - Only A Beuatiful Picture, Love Songs Of The Nile, Creole Blues, I Double DareYou, Chloe, Home Sweet Home, I get The Blues When It Rains, Let Me Call You Sweetheart.

The Savannah Band - Side Two

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Charleston Chasers

A cassette on the Sovereign label from 1994 found at the boot sale this week. A medley above includes songs Ain't She Sweet, I Wanna Be Loved By You and Varsity Drag.
Their website says -

"The Charleston Chasers, a ten piece band who are led by percussionist and vocalist Debbie Arthurs, play hot vintage music like you have never heard before! The Chasers, formed in 1987, are the spearhead band for music from the Art Deco era, so it was no surprise when they were chosen to play at the launch party for the Art Deco Exhibition at London's Victoria and Albert Museum. Some 800 invited guests were returned to the great age of artistic and musical creativity and to great acclaim, The Chasers drove new life into old numbers.

The Charleston Chasers hot vintage music show has been seen in some of the UK's finest theatres with guest presenters David Jacobs, Eric Knowles and Angela Ripon. The show features the well- known tunes of the day,including numbers by Fats Waller, George Gershwin, Charlie Kunz and Hoagy Carmichael, and are performed by top-flight musicians and sung by vivacious vocalists.

The Charleston Chasers have appeared at International Arts Festivals in Bath, Cheltenham, Edinburgh Leicester, Lichfield, and performed at open-air concerts for English Heritage, The National Trust and many fund raising events. European Festivals have warmly welcomed The Chasers. Two visits to Switzerland, as well as Holland and Denmark have had audiences clamouring for more of The Chasers music. The Chasers recordings are regularly played on BBC Radio 2 courtesy of Desmond Carrington, Russell Davies and David Jacobs."

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Spitting Image

A cassette on the EMI label from 1990 - a compilation of songs from the satirical puppet series Spitting Image that was popular throughout the 80's and 90's on TV.
Many of the voice artistes involved went on to become famous in there own right later on - people like Chris Barrie, Steve Coogan, Hugh Dennis and Harry Enfield to name but a few.

"The premiere of Spitting Image opened with a puppet caricature of Israel's prime minister Menachem Begin wearing a magician's outfit. With a flourish, he produced a dove of peace from his top hat, then announced, "For my first trick . . ."--and wrung its neck.

This was the first of many outrages perpetrated on the British public, who were either offended or delighted each Sunday evening from 1984 to 1992. Spitting Image was roundly condemned for its lampooning of the Royal family: the Queen was portrayed as a harried housewife, beset by randy, dullard children and screaming grandkids. Britain's most cherished figure, the Queen Mother, appeared as a pleasant, if somewhat boozy great-grams.

The Conservative leadership was a constant target: Margaret Thatcher's puppet was a needle-nosed Reagan groupie who consulted with Hitler on immigration policy and sold off England's infrastructure to baying packs of yuppies and her eventual successor, John Major, was portrayed as a dull, totally grey man who ate nothing but peas. The opposition Labour leaders, including Neil Kinnock as "Kinnochio," were pilloried for their inability to challenge decades of Tory rule.

In spite of its detractors, over 12 million viewers (a quarter of England's adult population) watched Spitting Image on Central Independent Television, a subsidiary of ITV. Its spin-off records, books, comics and videos sold in the million. It won an International Emmy for "Outstanding Popular Arts" program in the 1985-86 season, and a franchised edition appeared on Moscow television. "

Spitting Image - Apart-Aid

Spitting Image - I'm Sure Livin' Since I Died

Spitting Image - The Estate Agent Song

Spitting Image - The Mad Song

Spitting Image - We're The Has-Beens

Spitting Image - The Chicken Song

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Philicorda Rhythm Record

Another 45rpm EP from the boot sale that I couldn't resist for 25p. On the Philips label from the 60's. A disc to play along to while you tickle the ivories on your Philicorda organ. A forerunner of the built in rhythm device that most electric keyboards have now in abundance.

Philicorda - Quick-step

Philicorda - Fox Trot

Philicorda - Rumba

Bouzouki Songs

This EP on the Odeon label caught my eye yesterday at the boot sale. It's pretty much what I expected. A holiday souvenir from Greece in the 60's or 70's I imagine.

"In Greece, this instrument was known as the pandura or pandourion, also called the "trichordo" because it had three strings; it was the first fretted instrument known, forerunner of the various families of lutes worldwide. The source of our knowledge about this instrument is the Mantineia marble (4th century BC, now exhibited at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens), depicting the mythical contest between Apollo and Marsyas, where a pandouris is being played by a muse seated on a rock.

From Byzantine times it was called the tambouras. The modern Turkish Tanbur is practically identical to the ancient Greek pandouris. On display in the National Historical Museum of Greece is the tambouras of a hero of the Greek revolution of 1821, General Makriyiannis. This tambouras bears the main morphological characteristics of the bouzouki used by the Rebetes.

The Turkish Saz belongs to the same family of instruments as the bouzouki. A middle-sized kind of saz is called a "bozouk saz". Bozuk in Turkish means "broken, not functioning, modified". Here it is used in order to specify the size of the instrument. It is concluded, therefore, that the bouzouki has been named after the jargon of the Turkish saz. An alternative popular etymology maintains that the word "Bozouk" was used because different tunings (the Turkish 'düzen') are required for the instrument to play in different musical scales (known as Dromoi in Greek, Maqam (pl. Maqamat) in Arabic). A tuning known as the "bozuk düzen" (broken tuning) still exists in Greek folk music.

The early bouzoukia were mostly Three-string (Trichordo), with three courses (six strings in three pairs) and were tuned in different ways, as to the scale one wanted to play.

After the late '50s, four-course (Tetrachordo) bouzoukia started to appear. The four-course bouzouki was made popular by Manolis Chiotis. Chiotis also used a tuning akin to standard guitar tuning, which made it easier for guitarists to play bouzouki, even as it angered purists."

Yiannis Kalatzis - The Skittish One

Yiannis Kalatzis - How Right The Children Are