I've been looking for this LP by Cosmotheka for ages and luckily found it today at the local boot sale for a quid. A lovely selection of songs inspired by the music hall and featuring songs made famous by Gus Elan, Eugene Stratton, Billy Williams etc.
"The two Sealey brothers, Alan and Dave, were born in Melen Street and attended Bridge Street and Bridley Moor Schools. They became famous as a 'music hall' type duo known as Cosmotheka, a name taken from an old time music hall which was once in the back streets of Paddington. They have shared the stage with such fellow celebrities as Roy Hudd, June Whitfield, Don McClean, Isla St Clare, Charlie Chester, Dame Vera Lynn and many others.
Dave moved to London in the mid 1960s, hoping to become a pop star:
'I was always involved in some way or other as a singer and when I was in my twenties I was in a rock and roll band . We had a bit of success and got to make a recording for EMI at Abbey Road Studios, where the Beatles made Sergeant Pepper. A bit later on I got a solo career with Dick James' Music in London. Neither of these two recording contracts came to much, so I returned to Redditch and got married.
'My brother, Alan, had been singing in a folk group and in about 1974, shortly after I got married, we said suddenly, 'Why don't we sing as a duet?'. We hadn't really got anything in mind, except that Alan had an old music hall item he used to sing with his folk group. It was called, 'A little bit of cucumber'. Between us we then decided that's what we would have a look at, old music hall songs, and we would sing them in two-part harmony with me accompanying on my guitar. We went down to the local library, looked through the old scores and learned two or three of them.
Alan and I were both sales reps, and I was working in Digbeth in what had been the old Bird's Custard factory which was then being used for manufacturing polythene bags. I used to wander off at lunch time going round the local junk shops looking for songs to start Cosmotheka off. I was searching through some sheet music for songs by Gus Elen, who was a music hall singer, when the proprietor came over and said, 'What are you looking for?'. I told him and he said, 'I have got some of his records at home'. It turned out that he was a member of the Birmingham Gramophone Society. I asked him if I could take a tape recorder to his house and record some of the old songs, and he was very obliging. When I went to see him he took me into his front room, it was cluttered with old gramophones and phonographs. These were his main interest but he had collected a lot of cylinders and 78 records on the way. The first thing he played to me was a song called 'Little Billy's Wild Woodbines' by Billy Williams, who called himself 'The Man in a Velvet Suit'. His most famous song was 'When father papered the parlour'. The old fellow put the record on; there was a great big horn attached to the gramophone and a tiny metallic voice started coming out of the blackness of the horn. It felt like a time machine, almost as if I could see this little fellow at the end of this horn. I was completely hooked, I had never heard anybody sing quite like that and he affected a funny little laugh at the end. That was the first time I heard a music hall artist singing and I heard three that day. I walked away with about six numbers that formed the initial batch of songs for what was to become the Cosmotheka act."
Tracks are as follows = Good Little Girl, The 'ouses In Between, The Baby's Name, Little Dolly Daydream, Down The Road, Up Went My Little Umbrella, The Golden Dustman,
Cosmotheka - Side One