A strange record I found down Brick Lane many years ago. It was the brainchild of Jim Pembroke who moved to Finland with his Finnish girlfriend in 1965 and joined various rock bands the most notable being Wigwam who play on this album. Released on Charisma in 1972 I remember it being played quite lot on the John Peel radio show "Top Gear" around that time. Jim made two more solo albums, none of which I've ever heard but they sound great just by the titles alone. The one from 1977 is called "Corporal Cauliflower's Mental Function"!
Clinton Ford, whose real name was George Harrison strangely enough was born in 1931 in Salford near Manchester in the North West of England. "Clinton will now be best remembered for his novelty song, "Fanlight Fanny"- a recording he made while he was with Oriole, a minor label which had association with the Woolworth's budget record brand, 'Embassy'. In fact Clinton Ford was one of Oriole's most successful artists for a while, and "Fanlight Fanny" looked like Clinton's break into the big time. Sadly, it never quite happened.
Like many other artists of the time, Clinton had first excercised his entertainment ambitions by becoming a 'redcoat' at Butlins. Although his own leanings were towards country and western material, he began singing with traditional jazz bands and skiffle groups. This appears to have influenced his style somewhat and much of his best work was done in the company of trad groups like the Merseysippi Jazz Band and George Chisholm for example. Clinton's choice of recorded material was certainly diverse- with everything from the country flavoured sentimental 'Old Shep' and his confident interpretation of 'Run To The Door' through the most outrageous novelties like 'The Old Bazaar In Cairo' and even George Formby's 'Why Don't Women Like Me'."
"Charles Keeping was born and grew up in Lambeth, London, in a terraced house that housed three generations. He lived in an inner city environment of street markets and working horses that would inform his work his entire life. Charles and his elder sister, Grace, drew and made up stories from an early age, on surplus newsstand placards brought home by their father, Charles Keeping senior, who distributed newspapers to shops and newsstands in the area and boxed under the name Charlie Clarke. Young Charles was interested in little but drawing and horses, and did poorly at school. He left at 14. The Second World War broke out the following year, and when he turned 18 in 1942 he was called up and joined the Royal Navy as a wireless operator. He returned to civvy street in 1946 with a profound depression and a belief that a head wound he had sustained had disfigured him on the inside as well as (temporarily) on the outside, and would cause him to turn evil like Dr Jeckyll becoming Mr Hyde. He received treatment, was institutionalised for a time, and made a full recovery, but perhaps his sympathetic visual treatments of Frankenstein's monster and Grendel, the monster from Beowulf, owe something to this period of his life. He applied for a grant to study art at Regent Street Polytechnic, but for several years was turned down, so he read meters for a gas company during the day and took life drawing classes in the evening. He also worked as a life model, and on one such occasion in 1949 his demonstration of the functions of the muscles of the back attracted the eye of a student called Renate Meyer, who went on to marry him in 1952."
Charles went on to become a renowned and much sought after book illustrator. One of his pet projects was a lavishly illustrated book called Cockney Ding Dong about the songs he had heard as a child. A record was released to coincide with the book and Charles and some of his family are heard singing on it.
"Born: Bulee Gaillard, January 4, 1916, Detroit, Michigan - Died February 26, 1991 - England Other sources including Gaillard himself have claimed he was born on 1 January 1916 in Santa Clara, Cuba. Gaillard led an adventurous childhood. On one occasion, while traveling on board a ship on which his father was steward, he was left behind in Crete when the ship sailed. His adventures became more exciting every time he recounted his tales and include activities such as professional boxer, mortician and truck driver for bootleggers. Originally based in Detroit, Gaillard entered vaudeville in the early 30s with an act during which he played the guitar while tap-dancing. Later in the decade he moved to New York and formed a duo with bassist Slam Stewart in which Gaillard mostly played guitar and sang. Much of their repertoire was original material with lyrics conceived in Gaillard's personal version of the currently popular 'jive talk', which on his lips developed extraordinary surrealist overtones. Gaillard's language, which he named 'Vout' or 'Vout Oreenie', helped the duo achieve a number of hit records, including 'Flat Foot Floogie'. Their success led to a long running radio series and an appearance in the film Hellzapoppin."
"Leslie Holmes showed signs of being musical as soon as he could toddle, and as a boy he could play on the piano a tune he heard whistled in the street. After the first world war, he joined Henry Hall's band and broadcast with them in 1925. He later became a composer."
Very little is known about Leslie Holmes but he did join up with Leslie Sarony (someone who will feature here later I'm sure) to form The Two Leslies who had a few hits back in the thirties. These two tracks though are from 78's transcribed to Cd by a friend of mine. They are over 70 years old so please forgive sound quality. Leslie Holmes is the one with the glasses.
This compilation cassette found in a charity shop is a pretty good overview of the "Bumpkin" music scene down in the west country ( Cornwall, Devon, Somerset etc.) of England. Adge Cutler and the Wurzels are the most well known and had minor hits back in the 70's with several farmyard inspired ditties including "Combine Harvester" (based on an old Melanie song "Brand New key") and "Drink Up Thy Cider". Sadly Adge died back in the 70's but the Wurzels still plough a narrow furrow to this day. Not sure why Gloucester based Shag Connors and the Carrot Crunchers are included here but I suppose the name alone gives them admittance to this motely crew. You can find out more if you really want to by going HERE.
" He couldn't properly be considered part of the British Invasion -- he never had a hit in the U.S. or the U.K. -- but Screaming Lord Sutch laid some unheralded groundwork for the phenomenon. With a rock'n'horror act based to a large degree on Screamin' Jay Hawkins, David "Lord" Sutch was one of the first genuine rock & roll longhairs, and his bands employed such sterling instrumentalists as Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Ritchie Blackmore, Nicky Hopkins, and Mitch Mitchell before they became famous. His early '60s singles -- mostly over-the-top Halloween novelties or covers of early rock and R&B standards -- aren't brilliant, but they are genuinely energetic and fun performances that rank among the few out-and-out raunchy rock & roll records waxed in Britain before the ascension of The Beatles. Twiddling the knobs on his first five singles was the legendarily eccentric Joe Meek, who embellished Sutch's modest talents with his usual grab bag of treated instruments, compression, and odd effects. While he holds a position of undeniable importance in the history of British rock, Sutch was not a talented singer or musician, and the records he made after the mid-'60s were pretty lame, despite the presence of some stars who remembered him fondly (and had even sometimes played in his band in the old days). A well-known public figure in Britain, he ran for Parliament several times in the '60s representing the Raving Loony Party and founded the pirate radio station Radio Sutch in 1964."
This cassette found in a bargain bin is a compilation of later re-recorded work made in 1985.
"Jake Thackray was a singer-songwriter in the French tradition, a "chansonnier" whose songs are nevertheless convincingly and idiosyncratically English. This is scarcely surprising. After graduating from Durham University, Jake spent four years in France as a teacher where the likes of Jaques Brel and his particular hero Georges Brassens made their indelible mark. The influence of their songs and story telling propelled Jake towards his own writing and singing style. But despite this Gallic background his songs are no mere copies; they are firmly and recognisably rooted in the English countryside, character and language. They are also painfully funny, sad, tragic, rude, irreverent, incisive and happy, and often enough all these things at the same time. In short, they are unique.
By the mid-sixties Jake was back in his native Yorkshire teaching at a school near Leeds where he found a way to get unruly pupils to take an interest was through his songs. This and performing in folk clubs led to appearances on local BBC programmes followed by national TV with regular slots on The Frost Report, The Braden Beat and That's Life. In nearly thirty years of performing he made over 1,000 radio and TV appearances ranging from a topical song in magazine programmes to broadcasts of live concerts on both radio and television. His EMI catalogue produced seven albums between 1967 and 1991."
So says Jake's memorial website which you can find HERE.
If you ever wondered what else producer George Martin was doing in the early 60's besides guiding the Beatles, he was also producing records by such novelty acts as the Temperance Seven. This record on the Music For Pleasure budget label is a compilation of songs from 1961 to 1963. They had big hits in the U.K. around this time with "Pasadena" and "You're Driving Me Crazy" featuring their affectionate tribute to those dance bands of the twenties and thirties they modeled themselves on. They were the forerunners of such novelty acts that were to follow like the Bonzo Dog Band and Bob Kerr's Whoopee Band. The original band broke up in the late 60's but a new personel, sometimes augumented by past members are still active to this day.
"The Holy Modal Rounders were almost the very definition of a cult act. This isn't a case of a group that would be described by such cliches as "if only they got more exposure, they would certainly reach a much wider audience." Their audience was small because their music was too strange, idiosyncratic, and at times downright dissonant for mainstream listeners to abide. What makes the Rounders unusual in this regard is that they owed primary allegiance to the world of acoustic folk -- not one that generates many difficult, arty, and abrasive performers.
The Holy Modal Rounders were not so much a group as a changing aggregation centered around the two principals, Peter Stampfel and Steve Weber. When the pair got together in 1963, the intention was to update old-time folk music with a contemporary spirit. As Stampfel told Folk Roots in 1995, "The Rounders were the first really bent traditional band. And the first traditionally-based band that was not trying to sound like an old record." They weren't the only musicians in New York thinking along these lines, and Stampfel and Weber contributed heavily to the first recordings by a similar, more rock-oriented group, the Fugs.
The Rounders began recording in the mid-'60s for Prestige as an acoustic duo. Even at this early stage, they were not for everybody. Although clearly accomplished musicians, and well-versed in folk traditions, they were determined to subvert these with off-kilter execution and strange lyrics that could be surreal, whimsical, or just silly. They outraged folk purists by simply changing melodies and words to suit their tastes on some of their cover versions of old standards; Stampfel once wrote in the liner notes that "I made up new words to it because it was easier than listening to the tape and writing words down."
On their 1967 LP Indian War Whoop, Stampfel and Weber added other musicians, including playwright Sam Shepard on drums (Shepard also wrote some material). The resulting chaos was just as as inspiring, but both material and performance improved on 1969's Moray Eels Eat the Holy Modal Rounders. This addled combination of folk and psychedelia was their most inventive work, and featured their most famous song, "If You Wanna Be a Bird" (which was used on the Easy Rider soundtrack)."
"Elsa Lanchester was born to an eccentric family on October 28, 1902, in England. Her parents (James and Edith) were considered as Bohemians in all aspects of the work, refusing to legalize their union in any conventional way to satisfy the era's conservative society. An older sibling, Waldo, completed the family. Edith's parents even successfully sent her to an asylum for a while, as she refused to wed James even if she wanted to live with him. Shocking! Consequently, Elsa and her family moved numerous times. At 11 years of age, Elsa was enrolled at Isadora Duncan's School of Dance, in Paris. Sadly, the start of the first World War would prevent her to ever graduate and she was sent home.
Still very young at 12, the war situation obliged Elsa to find work, as she soon became a college dance teacher. Four years later, she helped create the Children's Theater in London and gave lessons for some years. Of course, she was part of an artists group, Cave of Harmony Productions, performing many songs and short sketches in cabarets. In 1927, Elsa made her movie debut in ONE OF THE BEST. The same year, as she was part of the cast of the play Mr. Prohack, she met another young actor that would change her life in a definitive way: Charles Laughton."
I've had this record for many years but it's a favourite for adding odd and exotic tracks to compilation tapes, especially the extraordinairy "The Yashmak Song". She was most famous for her role as the female monster in James Whale's "Bride of Frankenstein" and her marriage to Charles Laughton who pops up between tracks on this record to make pertinant remarks and join in on the chorus of the old music hall song "She Was Poor, But She Was Honest".
This strange promotional single for the Swedish cruise company Tor Line was found back in the 80's. Probably from Brick Lane again. One could almost imagine Yogi Yorgesson having a go at this! What is even stranger is the inclusion of an anonymous funky ska track in the middle of side two! Now I have my suspicions of who this might be but I wonder if anyone else can hazard a guess?
No excuses for yet another Asha Bhosle track this time from the Bollywood film Haseennon Ka Devta. Not sure of the date but I would think mid to late 70's. Another EP from Brick Lane when I lived nearby in Stepney in the 80's. Full of screeching violins and odd tempo changes. Music direction by Laxmikant Pyarelal and lyrics by Anand Baksi, whoever they might be.
"As the Singing Postman, Allan Smethurst benefited from the British public’s endearing sympathy for the underdog. His most popular hit, Hev Yew Gotta Loight, Boy?, momentarily outsold the Beatles — in East Anglia, at least — and for a few weeks became a national catchphrase. But like many novelty stars before and since, his 15 minutes of fame was little more than that, and after four albums he faded from the public consciousness ending his days as an alcoholic in the care of the Salvation Army. Smethurst, a postman from Norfolk who hummed his tunes on his daily round, bought his guitar from Woolworths in 1949 and started writing and playing his own dialect songs, initially confining his activities to his bedroom. “It was ten years afore I dare let people hear them,” he once admitted. Plucking up the courage to send a tape to the BBC in Norwich, he was given a spot on a local radio show compered by a sales promotion man, Ralph Tuck, who promptly founded a record label called The Smallest Recording Organisation in the World to promote the Singing Postman. The 100 discs which Tuck had cut in the early weeks of 1966 promptly sold out and Smethurst became an overnight star, ousting the Beatles from the top of the East Anglian hit parade." It was sadly downhill from then on. He took up drink to try and cure his crippling stage fright but obviously he was destined to be a "one hit wonder" and the music biz moved on to the next novelty act.
I think I found this Virgin single at Brick Lane back in the 80's. I can't find that much about Barry, only that he was in the punky pop band XTC for a while and left to join Robert Fripp in the League of Gentlemen and eventually Shriekback who may or may not still be around? In between he made this fine single that sadly wasn't a hit and a solo album I forget the name of. Maybe looking HERE will help fill in these gaps in my woeful blurb.
Growing up in the 60's meant the Billy Cotton Band Show on the radio at Sunday lunchtime whilst the roast and gravy was being dished up is ingrained into me. His catch phrase of "Wakey-wakey!" was hollered at the start of every half hour of music and family oriented merriment. His dance band was big throughout the 40's and 50's with numerous hits including "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts","Friends and Neighbours and "I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus". In the 60's he had a regular Saturday night show on the BBC TV that last many years. On this 45 E.P. I found at a boot sale (?) the vocalist is Alan Breeze who sang with his band for over 40 years.
"Calypso rhythms can be traced back to the arrival of the first African slaves brought to work in the sugar plantations of Trinidad. Forbidden to talk to each other, and robbed of all links to family and home, the African slaves began to sing songs. They used calypso, which can be traced back to West African kaiso, as a means of communication and to mock the slave masters.
Trinidad was colonized by the Spanish, received large numbers of French immigrants, and was later ruled by the British. This multi-colonial past has greatly impacted the development of calypso in Trinidad. Many early calypsos were sung in a French-Creole dialect called patois ("pat-was"). These songs, usually led by one individual called a griot, helped to unite the slaves.
Calypso singing competitions, held annually at Carnival time, grew in popularity after the abolition of slavery by the British in the 1830s. (It was the French who brought the tradition of Carnival to Trinidad.) The griot later became known as the chantuelle and today as the calypsonian.
The year 1914 was a landmark year in the history of calypso. This is the year that the first calypso recording was made. The late 1920s gave birth to the first calypso tents. Originally, calypso tents were actual tents where calypsonians would practice before Carnival. Today calypso tents are showcases for the new music of Carnival season.
By the late 1930s, exceptional calypsonians such as Atilla the Hun, Lord Invader and the Roaring Lion were making an indelible impression on the calypso music world. Lord Kitchener rose to prominence in the 1940s and dominated the calypso scene until the late 1970s. Lord Kitchener continued to make memorable hits until his death in 2001."
I forget where I found this record but it was probably Brick Lane a few years ago. Its a bit worse for wear but some great music here amid the pops and crackles! I tried to find out about the two artists here but no mention of them on the internet search engines I tried. Alas the Lord Kitchener track jumped so had to leave it off.
Couldn't find any information on this chap on the internet. Not really a boot sale find but from four tracks on a tape that a friend sent me recently. What really stands out on these tracks is the tuba playing - an instrument that lends itself very well to these old music hall songs. At least I think they are old music hall songs? Any light shed on these recordings greatly appreciated.
These You Send It files are available for seven days or until exhausted. Just been speaking to Jim who sent me the Chris Sandford tracks and he tells me Chris used to be an actor and was for a short while Walter Potts the singing milkman in the soap Coronation Street. He had a top twenty hit off the back of this called "Not Too Little, Not Too Late" in 1963. The tuba playing on this record on the Transatlantic label was done by the same chap who played tuba in the Temperence Seven. For a short while he was also a DJ on the Radio Caroline pirate radio station that braodcast from a ship off the coast of Essex. Jim says he made a few pop records but this was the only LP he had and didn't know of any others. So now you know!
"Besides being a touring comedy team they were noted as seasoned Nashville session musicians. In other words they played on a lot of albums backing up various famous musicians. They were not always credited on the records, and they were paid a set fee for their work. They had their first break as teenagers playing on the Renfro Valley Barn Dance. A locally produced radio show in Tennessee (USA). This lasted until around 1938.
When World War II began the budding stars split up. Homer served in European theater of Operation and as Jethro put it "He was the unsung hero of the Pacific. They wouldn't let me sing!"
After the war the two regrouped and took jobs with Spike Jones. They toured briefly but then got a gig as regulars on the Chicago National Barn Dance as well as regular spots on Don McNeil's Breakfast Club. Both radio programs were based in Chicago. Homer & Jethro were to settle in Chicago and remain even after becoming a national success.They recorded a record or two on the King label circa 1946-48 and then Were Signed by Steve Sholes to RCA in 1948.
Their routine had always been deadpan parodies of popular songs. (sort of a precursor to Weird Al Yankovich) However, they were both first rate musicians and this is why their parodies songs were always popular. They had a number 2 country hit with How Much Is That Hound Dog In The Winder and number 14 with the Parody, Battle of Kookamonga (take off of Horton's Classic Battle of New Orleans)"
"Kenneth Arthur Dodd was born on 8th November 1927 in Knotty Ash, Liverpool.
Ken Dodd got his big break appearing at Nottingham Playhouse in 1954, going on to top the bill at Blackpool in 1958 from where his show was broadcast live the following year.
His career as a comedian really took off with the advent of television but his act still owed a lot to the traditional "stand-up", prevalent in the old Variety Theatre.
Not only a legendary comedian however, his musical career has been sensational, particularly in the 1960's when his singles, such as 'Happiness', 'Promises' and 'The River' topped the Charts and in 1965, 'Tears' sold over two million copies, earned Ken two gold discs and went straight into the Charts at no.1. 'Tears' is still one of the biggest-selling singles of all time!
Ken has not been short of Radio and Television appearances either. 'Doddy's Music Box', 'The Ken Dodd Show', 'Ken Dodd's World of Laughter' and of course, 'Ken Dodd and the Diddymen' as well as the highly acclaimed 'Audience With' shows have all got high ratings.
Ken is also an accomplished actor. He has starred in both 'Twelfth Night' and the 1996 movie epic 'Hamlet', as well as famously starring in 'Dr. Who and the Bannermen'.
He was awarded an OBEin 1982 and in 1991 was given the British Comedy Awards' highest accolade for his lifetime contribution to humour, a 'Lifetime Achievement Award'."
"Albert Arthur Powell was born in a small house in Russum's Yard, Bridgegate, Rotherham on 30/01/1900. His father called him "Sandy" because of his ginger hair.His father left home when he was four years old and never came back, leaving his mother with Sandy and his younger sister. His mother, Lily, who had been a variety artist quickly returned to work first as a waitress/singer in a pub and then contracted as a feature artist. Young Sandy used to go along with her and hide under the piano out of the way. Lily obtained a number of dates and Sandy was taken touring with her. At the age of five he got his first part - sitting in the audience belting out the choruses to encourage the audience to sing along. In 1907 he first appeared on the stage as a boy soprano, but when his voice broke he gave up singing and concentrated on comedy and impressions. He often worked with his mother as the duo "Lily and Sandy".
Sandy was taught to read and write by his mother but had little formal education. The law requiring him to attend school in whatever town his mother was appearing in being largely unobserved. His experience came from life itself.
By the time the First World War broke out he was in regular work and topped the bill when he was just eighteen. He was called up on 30/04/1918 but was rejected as unfit for service. Due to shortage of manpower he was called up again on 11/11/1918 - Armistice Day as it happened.
Sandy Powell had a long career on the stage and in pantomime. In addition to this he made his first broadcast on the radio in 1928 which was the start of many years of radio comedy. He also recorded many of his music hall and radio sketches on record, the first of these "The Lost Policeman" in 1929. These were very popular and earned him a very comfortable sum in royalties over the years. He appeared in films and during the Second World War was a entertainer to the troops.
Sandy Powell was awarded the MBE in 1975. He died on 26/06/1982; still the old trouper preparing for his next show."