Saturday, December 31, 2005

Slip Fingers O'Reilly

Not much found about Mr O'Reilly. This E.P. was found at Brick Lane a few years back I think. Again it was the amusing sleeve that made me buy it. The curious renditions of classical works fused with cockney knees-up pub piano and honking saxaphone would make most lovers of Brahms and Lizst reach for the ear-plugs! A good reason to end the year with them then. Happy New Year to all and I look forward to continuing in the same vein in 2006. Cheers!

Slip Fingers O'Reilly - Swan Lake

Slip Fingers O'Reilly - Bizet's Carmen

These You Send It files are available only for a short time.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Burl Ives

"Burl Ives was one of six children born to a Scottish-Irish farming family in Jasper County, Illinois. He first sang in public for a soldiers' reunion when he was 4. In high school he learned the banjo and played fullback, intending to become a football coach when he enrolled at Eastern Illinois State Teacher's College in 1927. He dropped out in 1930 and wandered, hitching rides, doing odd jobs, street singing.

Summer stock in the late '30s led to a job with CBS radio in 1940; through his "Wayfaring Stranger" he popularized many of the folksongs he had collected in his travels. By the 1960s he had hits on both popular and country charts. He recorded over 30 albums for Decca and another dozen for Columbia. In 1964 he was singer-narrator of Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) (TV), an often-repeated Christmas television special. His Broadway debut was in 1938, though he is best remembered for creating the role of Big Daddy in the 1950s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958).

His four-decade, 30+ movie career began as a singing cowboy in Smoky (1946) and reached its peak with (again) the Big Daddy role in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) and an Oscar for supporting actor in The Big Country (1958), both in 1958. He officially retired to Anacortes, Washington, at age eighty though he continued to do frequent benefit performances."

More about Burl Ives can be found HERE.

Burl Ives - The Little White Duck

Burl Ives - A Froggy Went A Courtin'

These You Send It files are a last resort after several unsuccesful tries using other file hosting systems. Will use these until I find something better.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Bobbie Comber

Trying to find an excuse to upload these two novelty songs by the little known Bobbie Comber. Nothing on the internet about him. He has one compilation on Windyridge Records. Well worth seeking out. He was in a few films too it seems. Any other info. greatly appreciated. Trying out new file hosting as the Rapid Share files seem to have gone a bit strange lately. Sorry if you've been having trouble with them. Any feedback about Save File greatly appreciated.

Bobbie Comber - Maggie's Cold

Bobbie Comber - On A Cold & Frosty Morning

Friday, December 23, 2005

Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas (1914 - 1953)

"I've had eighteen straight whiskies, I think that's the record . . ."

"Welsh lyrical poet best remembered for the radio 'play for voices' Under Milk Wood.

Thomas was born in Swansea, Wales, and embarked on a career as a journalist before establishing himself as a poet with the publication of Eighteen Poems in 1934. He married Caitlin Macnamara (1913-94) in 1936, and that same year published a further volume, Twenty-five poems.

Thomas' other work includes an unfinished novel Adevntures in the Skin Trade, (1955), and several collections of short stories, many written originally for radio. But he wrote his three most famous lines in a 1952 poem about his father's brush with death;

"Do not go gentle into that good night
Old age should burn and rave at close of day
Rage, rage against the dying of the light"

Thomas' best work, especially Under Milk Wood, is almost spell-binding, but he himself was for many years haunted by the spectre of his own poetic deterioration, and he died of an alcohol-induced brain haemorrhage during an American reading tour."

Find out more about Dylan Thomas HERE.

Dylan Thomas - A Child's Christmas In Wales Pt1.

Dylan Thomas - A Child's Christmas In Wales P2.

These Rapid Share files are accessible as described in previous posts.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

TV Themes

Mostly awful TV themes of programmes long forgotten like Albion Market and Super Gran. I've always had a soft spot for Chas 'N' Dave and Ian Dury so these two oddities made me fork out the 50p or whatever it was to buy this. The Ian Dury song is the theme of "The Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 and Three Quarters".

Find out more about Ian Dury HERE.

Find more about Chas 'n' Dave HERE.

Discover more about Crackerjack HERE

Ian Dury - Profoundly In Love With Pandora

Chas 'N" Dave - Crackerjack

These Rapid Share files are accessible as described in previous posts.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Alphonse The Horse

Not much to say about this one. A slightly creepy horse to scare children at their Christmas parties! Sleeve art done by a horse with a crayon.

Alphonse - Space Ride

Alphonse - Haunted House

These Rapid Share files can be accessed as described before in previous posts.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Howdy Doody Time

"The Howdy Doody Show was one of the first and easily the most popular children's television show in the 1950s and a reflection of the wonder, technical fascination, and business realities associated with early television. While Howdy and his friends entertained American children, they also sold television sets to American parents and demonstrated the potential of the new medium to advertisers.

The idea for Howdy Doody began on the NBC New York radio affiliate WEAF in 1947 with a program called The Triple B Ranch. The three Bs stood for Big Brother Bob Smith, who developed the country bumpkin voice of a ranch hand and greeted the radio audience with, "Oh, ho, ho, howdy doody." Martin Stone, Smith's agent, suggested putting Howdy on television and presented the idea to NBC televi-sion programming head Warren Wade. With Stone and Roger Muir as producers, Smith launched Puppet Playhouse on 17 December 1947. Within a week the name of the program was changed to The Howdy Doody Show."

A strange record with a mix of newsreel and childrens puppet show! Not sure who it was aimed at. A brief segment here which gives a flavour of the whole LP.

Read more about Howdy Doody Time HERE.

Howdy Doody - Howdy Doody Time

This Rapid Share file is available as described in earlier posts.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Harry Corbett and Sooty

"Sooty's genesis occurred in 1948 when, during a family holiday in Blackpool, a Yorkshire engineer and part-time magician named Harry Corbett chanced upon a glove puppet teddy bear in a novelty shop at the end of the seaside resort's famous north pier. "I'd always had a thing about teddy bears," noted Corbett, years later. "And this one had a cheeky face. It was almost as if it was saying, 'Don't leave me here.' " So Corbett parted with the princely sum of 7s 6d (38p.) and returned to the boarding house with his new partner-to-be housed within a brown paper bag. Corbett soon set about incorporating the puppet into his magic act with immediate success. It was in 1952 that the mismatched duo made their television debut on a BBC show called Talent Night, to instant success. The TV critic of the Sunday Express newspaper writing on 4th of May commented: 'Five minutes on the television screen last night established Harry Corbett's teddy bear as a rival to Muffin the Mule.' At that point, the bear was known simply as "teddy", and due to its decidedly sharp features, appeared to look more like a rat! Acting on advice to give the puppet a more distinctive look and its own name, the Corbett's carried out many experiments until they finally dubbed it's ears and nose with soot from the chimney. The result, and the character name which the look had suggested to them, ensured their place in televisual history."

Harry Corbett & Sooty - Texas Turkey Jig

Harry Corbett & Sooty - Chica Chica

These Rapid Share files are accessible as described in previous posts.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Spotnicks

"The Spotnicks was formed in Göteborg, Sweden, in 1957, by guitarist and undisputed bandleader Bo Winberg. The other members were guitarist and singer Bob Lander, drummer Ove Johansson, and bassist Björn Thein, several of whom had already played together in local rock & roll bands like the Blue Caps, Rock Teddy, and the Rebels. The first year, they performed under the name the Frazers, but soon changed it to the Spotnicks. In 1961, they were signed by Karusell and released their first singles containing mostly instrumental covers of famous songs. The selection of songs was as varied as the performance was homogenous, including titles like "Hava Nagila" and "Johnny Guitar." Later the same year, the Spotnicks toured Germany, France, and Spain and in 1962, they released the debut album The Spotnicks in London, recorded on their first trip to England. Featured on this tour were the space suits that the band would wear on-stage until 1969. "Hava Nagila" became a hit in England in 1963 and the same year, Johansson left and was replaced by Derek Skinner. The rest of the '60s meant increasing success in Europe, the U.S., and Japan, and the band even managed to compete with themselves on the Japanese charts when the Spotnicks' song "Karelia" took the first position from the Feenades' "Ajomies." The song was the same, just recorded under different titles. The Feendes were a Finland-based side project to the Spotnicks, built on Winberg and Peter Winsnes, who had joined the Spotnicks in 1965. Winberg also released less successful recordings under the name the Shy Ones. Compared to the following decades, the '60s were a relative stable period for the group when it came to the lineup. Some new members were recruited though, like drummer Jimmie Nicol, bassist Magnus Hellsberg, and drummer Tommy Tausis, who had earlier played with Tages

In 1969, the Spotnicks disbanded, but Winberg continued to record using the name until the group reunited in 1972 on request by a Japanese record company. The same year, "If You Could Read My Mind" from the album Something Like Country became a big hit in Germany. The Spotnicks would keep their popularity there for a long time, even as it faded elsewhere. Only the Japanese audience proved more faithful and accordingly, the Spotnicks located most of their tours during the '70s to these countries. After the release of Something Like Country in 1972, by many fans seen as the Spotnicks' best album, they had practically ended being a band, consisting mainly of Winberg and various session musicians."

I must apologize for the terrible condition of this record. Found at Brick Lane flea market many years ago. The sleeve photo is a classic and the music is pretty good too despite the crackles and jumps!

The Spotnicks - Old Kentucky Home

The Spotnicks - I'm Going Home

Download these Rapid Share files as described before in previous posts.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Billy Cotton Band

"William Edward Cotton (May 6, 1899 – March 25, 1969), better known as Billy Cotton, was a British band leader and entertainer, one of the few whose orchestra survived the dance band era. Today, he is mainly remembered as a 1950s and 60s radio and television personality, although his musical talent emerged as early as the 1920s. In his younger years Billy Cotton was also an amateur footballer, an accomplished racing driver and the owner of a Gipsy Moth which he piloted himself.
Born in Lambeth, London, Cotton was a choirboy and then started his musical career as a drummer, an occupation he also pursued in the army during the First World War. In the interwar years he had several jobs such as bus driver before setting up his own orchestra, the London Savannah Band, in 1924. At first a straight dance band, over the years the London Savannah Band more and more tended towards Music Hall/vaudeville entertainment, introducing all sorts of visual and verbal humour in between songs. Famous musicians that played in Billy Cotton's band during the 1920s and 30s included Arthur Rosebery, Syd Lipton and Nat Gonella. The band was also noted for their African American trombonist and tap dancer, Ellis Jackson. Their signature tune was "Somebody Stole My Gal", and they made numerous records – 78s, that is – for Decca.

During the Second World War Cotton and his band toured France with the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA). After the war, he started his successful Sunday lunchtime radio show on BBC, the Billy Cotton Band Show, which ran for more than 20 years from 1949. It regularly opened with the band's signature tune and Cotton's call of "Wakey Wakey". From 1957, it was also broadcast on BBC television.
In 1962 Billy Cotton suffered a stroke. He died in 1969 while watching a boxing match at Wembley."

Billy Cotton Band - I've Got A Lovely Bunch Of Cocoanuts

BIlly Cotton Band - The Marrow Song

See previous blogs to find out how to access the Rapid Share files.

Wally Whyton

"Born in London, Whyton studied piano and trombone as a youngster. Inspired by the music of American folk musicians, including Pete Seeger, Josh White, and Woody Guthrie, he switched to guitar. Equally versed in blues and jazz, Whyton was a perfect choice to replace Lohn John Baldry in the early skiffle group the Thameside Four. Although he only played with the group for a few months, the experience proved invaluable when he met guitarist, vocalist, and the manager of London's Gyre and Gimbal Coffee Bar, Johnny Booker. Agreeing to work together, they formed the Vipers Skiffle Band with guitarist/vocalist Jean Van Der Bosch, bassist Tony Tolhurst, and washboard player John Pilgrim. Three months later, the group became the house band at London's Two I's Coffee Bar. Auditioned by George Martin, the Vipers signed with Parlophone in September 1956. Although their second single, "Don't You Rock Me Daddy-O" (which reached the British Top Ten), was followed by half a dozen other charting tunes, the Vipers recorded only one album, The Original Soho Skiffle Band, distributed in the United States. Whyton and the Vipers enjoyed a close relationship with skiffle singer Lonnie Donegan, who recorded "Don't You Rock Me Daddy-O." Whyton subsequently composed a spoof of Donegan's interpretation, "Putting on the Smile," that Peter Sellers recorded for his album, Songs for Swinging Sellers. Although they dropped skiffle from their name in May 1958 and had begun veering toward pop, the Vipers continued to influence British rock into the mid-'60s. Their constantly changing personnel included three musicians -- Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch, and Jet Harris -- who went on to form the Shadows."

Wally went on to join Children's Television in the 60's and I remember him with puppets Pussy Cat Willum, Ollie Beak and Fred Barker. He also did a long running radio show called "Country Meets Folk". I guess this old scratchy record ( sorry!) was made about that time he was on Childrens TV.

Wally Whyton - Clap Hands

Wally Whyton - Christmas Is Coming

These Rapid Share files are accessible by scrolling down the page and clicking on the FREE button. Wait at the bottom of the page for your file to appear ( about 20 seconds ).

Monday, December 12, 2005

Johnny Cash

"Born February 26, 1932, in Kingsland, Arkansas, J.R. Cash was one of six children belonging to Ray and Carrie Rivers Cash. When John was three years old, his father took advantage of a new Roosevelt farm program and moved his young family to Dyess Colony in northeast Arkansas. There the Cash family farmed 20 acres of cotton and other seasonal crops, and young John worked alongside his parents and siblings in the fields.

Music was an integral part of everyday life in the Cash household. John soaked up a variety of musical influences ranging from his mother's folk songs and hymns to the work songs from the fields and nearby railroad yards. He absorbed these sounds like sponge absorbs water. In later years Cash would draw from his life in Arkansas for inspiration: "Pickin' Time," "Five Feet High and Rising," and "Look at Them Beans" are all reflections on Cash's early life.

Cash remained in Dyess Colony until his graduation from high school in 1950. As a young man he set off for Detroit in search of work. He ended up in Pontiac, Michigan, and took work in an automotive plant. His tenure in the North Country was short-lived and Cash soon enlisted in the Air Force. After basic training in Texas (where he met first wife Vivian Liberto), he was shipped to Landsberg, Germany. While in the service Cash organized his first band, the Landsberg Barbarians.

After his discharge in 1954 Cash returned stateside and married Liberto. He and his new bride soon settled in Memphis where Cash worked a variety of jobs -- including that of appliance salesman -- while trying to break into the music business."

Here's a couple of tracks from one of my favourite Johnny Cash LP's which has quite a few "Novelty" songs on it.

Find out more about Johnny Cash HERE at his officila website.

Johnny Cash - Everybody Loves A Nut

Johnny Cash - Dirty Old Egg Sucking Dog

These Rapid Share files are accessible by scrolling down the page and clicking on the FREE button. Wait at the bottom of the page for your file to appear ( about 20 seconds ).

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Freddie "Parrot Face" Davies

"Brixton London born on the 21 July 1937, but long time Salford resident, Freddy Davies was a well known comedian in the 1960s and 1970s, both in live variety shows and television. A former Butlin's redcoat whose family were already veteran entertainers, Freddy was notable for blowing raspberries and his comic voice with its distinctive lisp and his trilby pulled hard down over his ears.
Later he went on to a successful career as a comedian along with fellow comedian and personal friend Jim Bowen on ocean cruise liners.
More recently he has made several notable television guest appearances in more serious roles, including BBC1's "Casualty" and in the 1995 mini TV Series "Band of Gold"."

Getting in to the spirit of Christmas with this obscurity from 1968 on the Major Minor label. It can only get better from now on. 49p! - well it was for charity!

Freddie "Parrot Face" Davies - All I Want For Christmas....

Freddie "Parrot Face" Davies - I'm A Little Christmas Cracker

These Rapid Share files are accessible by scrolling down the page and clicking on the FREE button. Wait at the bottom of the page for your file to appear ( about 20 seconds ).

Friday, December 09, 2005

Prag VEC

Not Much info on this post punk band so here's an edited interview from the NME in 1978.

"A NEW extended play record to enthuse about. A new band to sell to you. Their name' is prag VEC; the four tracks they've recorded are "Existential", "Bits", "Wolf" and "Cigarettes". A record self-financed with help from a close friend in the Honest John's empire.

The members of prag VEC are: Sue Gogan (vocals), John Studholme (guitar), David Boyd (bass), Nick Cash (not the 999 Nick Cash) (drums).

Firstly, why the 'curious' name? prag VEC?

Sue: "It's just just two words shortened. I read it somewhere and just liked the Sound of it."

Nick: "There's no instant connotations. . . people can come in with an open mind."

"A&R at Virgin didn't like us, said we were 'too progressive'... they'd just signed
Penetration, and said, 'Sorry - you're too like Pauline'."

The management agencies of Albion, Asgard, Cowbell, DJM, and A&M were approached, but all agreed: "You're not commercial enough. Come back in a year (when you are)."

"We don't have a manager. A friend is helping us organise, trying to get gigs around the country, but that's very tentative because he doesn't have any money either..."

And finally prag VEC's origins...

Sue and John started in the debatedly Trotskyite R&B band The Derelicts... "Which folded in 1976. Coming out of that gave us the impetus to form another band. In The Derelicts we weren't doing our own material, so we ended up trying to write songs together and spent about a year doing that. We went to see a lot of bands in that time, and kept very much in touch with the punk thing all the way through it.

"We've been together since February... me and John started the band, met Nick last May and finally persuaded him to join in February."

The problem is... "Our rehearsal space was a squat in North Kensington, but we've been evicted from there and rehoused for a flat 15 floors... so we can play in the lift."

Prag VEC - Wolf

Prag VEC - Cigarettes

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Doctor Swan

Another oddity. A childrens "Edutainment" record Made by Peter Pan in the 70's I would guess. Other records in the series are The Alphabet, Numbers, Manners, Words, Animal Sounds etc. This one is all about "Safety" and here's what it says on the back of the sleeve-

"By using a marvelous combination of information, comedy and songs, the marvelous Dr. Swan leads children into the world of education in a way that is often unique and always entertaining. "Learn About" deals with the everyday life experiences that the pre-school child can relate to. This series, through the use of stories and memorable songs, subtly teaches perceptual , auditory and motoric skills."

Doctor Swan - Safety

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Scanner's International Band

Not found on the internet either. Type in Scanner's International Band and all you get is tons of websites about scanners!
Here is a small introduction to the pop music of that troubled country Zimbabwe that may shed some light -

"In many cases, political unrest and social upheaval create a musical atmosphere that is ripe for change. Zimbabwe's Second Chimurenga, better known to foreigners as the Rhodesian War, was this catalyst. Chimurenga guitar was the first incarnation of electric Zim music.

The Chimurenga sound developed during the liberation struggle of the 1970s. As most Zimbabwean bands continued to play European covers, a few unique artists looked towards their own culture for inspiration. Thomas Mapfumo, arguably Zimbabwe's top artist, was the nation's Chirmurenga pioneer.

Looking inward, Mapfumo worked to base his music on his own Shona culture. The music, which finds its roots in traditional spiritual tradition, relies heavily on the mbira for inspiration. Rhythms and melodies from the mbira are transcribed for guitar and feature prominently in the songs. The lyrics usually contain a traditional moral message, or a more current, political tone. The mbira is present in many songs as well. Danceable yet relaxing, chimurenga sometimes has a trance-inducing quality to it. Mapfumo's band-mate, Jonah Sithole, is another Chimurenga pioneer. His work in transcribing mbira onto the guitar, as well as Mapfumo's elements of European rock and Caribbean reaggae made Chimurenga an infectious success. At the height of the voilence, the people of Zimbabwe relied of this music as the war for independence raged on. Robson Banda, backed by his band the Black Eagles, was another chimurenga icon who produced a number of hits during the 1970s and 1980s.

The South African Influence

Other artists, however, looked south for inspiration. Artists such as Oliver Mtukudzi found South African music as an appealing base for his emerging musical style. Another Zimbabwean icon, "Tuku" incoporated elements of Township Jive, Mbaqanga, and Jazz into his musical melange. Vocalist James Chimombe melded South African music with Country & Western influences to create some of the 1980s most memorable songs. Meanwhile, vocalist Zexie Manatsa, backed by the Green Arrows incorporated Mbaqanga, Chimurenga, and local cultural variations into his unique traditional-contemporary mix."

More about the music of Zimbabwe HERE.

Scanner's International Band - Makorokoto

Scanner's International Band - Baba Na Amai

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Georges Korafas

Again not much could be gleaned from the interent about this record or the artiste. Found in a charity shop or jumble sale by Celia and improved greatly by the addition of some amusing collage. The sleeve notes , translated by Babelfish , merely state -
"The marvellous sound of the whole of George Korafas is the result of many years of repetitions, development and research in the modern sonorites. Not only this orchestra makes you dancer, thanks to his science of the tempi and with the choice of topics, but still, you can the ecouter during hours without you weary bus Korafas it is music!"

Who can argue with that?

Georges Korafas - Kissin' Twist

Georges Korafas - Stai Accanto A Me

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Friday, December 02, 2005

Frank Crumit

"b. 26 September 1889, Jackson, Ohio, USA, d. 7 September 1943, Longmeadow, Massachusetts, USA. Crumit's early career took a somewhat unusual route from the Culver Military Academy, Indiana, via the University of Ohio, into vaudeville as the One Man Glee Club. First recording in 1919 for the Columbia label, he later signed for Victor Records in 1924 and shortly after for Decca. Crumit played the ukulele, sang in a soft, warm voice, and was especially noted for his performance of novelty numbers, such as A Gay Caballero, Abdul Abulbul Amir (and the follow-ups, The Return Of… and The Grandson Of . . .), The Prune Song, There's No One With Endurance Like The Man Who Sells Insurance, Connie's Got Connections In Connecticut, Nettie Is The Nit-Wit Of The Networks and What Kind Of A Noise Annoys An Oyster?. He is supposed to have written thousands of songs and adapted many others such as Frankie And Johnny and Little Brown Jug to suit his individual style. Crumit enjoyed great popularity throughout the '20s and '30s, appearing in several Broadway shows, including GREENWICH VILLAGE FOLLIES. He also appeared in TANGERINE with his future wife, Julia Sanderson. They married in 1927 and retired from show business for two years. Following their comeback in 1929, they were extremely successful together on radio in the '30s as the Singing Sweethearts, and in 1939 began THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES game show which continued until Crumit's death in 1943."

Frank Crumit - The Gay Caballero

Frank Crumit - Frankie & Johnny

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