A terrific LP of old music hall stars that were still around in the 20's and 30's to record these medleys of their biggest hits. I've had these on a cassette for a number of years but glad to find this vinyl version on the cheapo Music For Pleasure label that was released in the 60's and sold for 12 shillings and sixpence back then. Wee Georgie Wood writes the sleeve notes- here's the first part about Billy Merson -
"The Greatest Music-Hall Ever Assembled" is no mean boast, yet the six stars on this album really do represent the best of music-hall entertainment. I can think of no better selection of artists and numbers with which In illustrate the talks on music-hall immortals which I give throughout this country and America. There were other greats too, of course, but these six stood in the front rank and I am proud to have been a personal friend of them all. BILLY MKRSON typified the individuality and personality which marked out the great artists of the days when, to quote George Bernard Shaw: "The music-hall, thank God. is part of the traditional British life acceptable.— nay, indeed welcomed—by Ireland". "On The Good Ship Yacki Hicki Doola" was the popular favourite of pierrot shows, amateur reviews for charity, and delighted countless sea- side charabanc parties. Merson's own particular favourite was "The Photo Of The Girl I Left Behind Me" but "Signora", the least successful item in his repertoire, was nevertheless the critics choice. Lewis Waller's performance in the well-known drama "A White Man" inspired "A Prairie Life". Best known of all his numbers was of course, "The Spaniard That Blighted My Life" and I can remember that, during the Drury Lane rehearsal breaks of that truly great musical "Rose Marie" (in which Merson played the part of Herman), the composer Rudolf Kriml would implore Billy to teach him the trick of "The Spaniards" opening of "O list to me while 1 tell you" with which Billy played vocal tricks with nuances of tremolo and almost a yodel. In 1943, Al Jolson sang this song to the troops when we were together in North Africa and he always pre- faced it with a personal tribute to "That Merson man of the music-hall". Later, when Joe Brown parted from "The Bruvvers" to gain fame as a solo performer, he added the song to his reper- toire and performed it with great success on a T.V. show filmed in colour specially for America, when it was generally thought to be a new song!"