Friday, September 08, 2006

Music Hall To Variety

This is a great LP of old Music Hall songs from the early part of the last century. I have managed to collect all three volumes from various flea markets and bootsales over the years. The first is my favourite and contains some priceless novelty songs of the period.

"Surviving recordings make it clear that few music hall stars had good voices. Like their vaudeville counterparts in the U.S., their primary qualifications were energy and personality. The best music hall performers had both in abundance. Marie Lloyd (seen at left) was one of the most beloved music hall stars. Her stage humor ranged from the wholesome to the risqué. If her trademark parasol failed to open, she would quip, "I haven't had it up for ages." One of her songs was "She Sits Among Her Cabbages and Peas" – a title that sounds less innocent than it looks. Lloyd always adapted her act to the audience at hand, winning almost universal affection. Playwright and poet T. S. Eliot explained her appeal this way –

No other comedian succeeded so well in giving expression to the life of the music hall audience, raising it to a kind of art. It was, I think, this capacity for expressing the soul of the people that made Marie Lloyd unique.
- Selected Essays by T. S. Eliot, Faber and Faber, London, 1941

After World War I, food service disappeared from the music halls, and traditional theatre seating replaced the old benches and tables. But there was still plenty of beer! Performers faced more concentrated scrutiny, which only strengthened the popularity of favorites like comic singers Florrie Forde, George Robey and Harry Champion. Most performers preferred songs with simple repetitive refrains that were easy for audiences to remember and sing along with. "

Find out more about the music hall HERE.

Billy Williams - When Father Papered The Parlour

Harry Champion - A Little Bit Of Cucumber

Ella Shields - Burlington Bertie

G.H.Elliott - Down Home In Tennessee

These SendSpace files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

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