Three very different songs called "Haunted House" by three very different artistes.
The first from Ray Noble's Orchestra in the 30's or 40's is from a cheap CD called Childrens All-Time Classics on the Cedar label.
The next is by Leon redbone from the album "On The Track" and the third and my favourite is by Jerry Lee Lewis from a compilation of his songs at his time with Mercury Records from 1973. I also have a version by Ry Cooder and John Hiatt etc. playing live but unfortunately I can't find it at the moment.
Watched part of a fascinating profile of Al Bowlly on BBC 4 last night and this remined me of a couple of the novelty songs he sang before he became more well known as a "crooner".
"In the 1930s, he was to sign two contracts which were to change his fortunes - one in May 1931 with Roy Fox, singing in his live band for the Monseigneur Restaurant in London, the other a record contract with Ray Noble's orchestra in November 1930. During the next four years, he recorded over 500 songs. He also found time to occasionally record with other orchestras such as Lew Stone's ; however, he was inundated with demands in this period, and made the bulk of his recordings with Noble. There was considerable competition between Noble and Fox for Bowlly's time, as for much of the year, Bowlly would spend all day in the recording studio with Noble's band, rehearsing and recording, only to then spend the evening playing live at the Monseigneur with Fox's band. A visit to New York in 1934 with Noble resulted in more success and their recordings first achieved popularity in the USA; he appeared at the head of an orchestra hand-picked for him and Noble by Glenn Miller (the band included Claude Thornhill, Charlie Spivak, and Bud Freeman, among others). During the early-mid 1930s, such songs as "Blue Moon", "Easy to Love", "I've Got You Under My Skin", and "My Melancholy Baby" were sizable American successes — so much so that Bowlly gained his own radio series on NBC and travelled to Hollywood to co-star in The Big Broadcast in 1936, which also starred one of his biggest competitors, Bing Crosby. Al Bowlly often worked with Ray Noble and His Orchestra. In December 1931, Bowlly had married Freda Roberts, but the marriage proved a disaster, with Bowlly discovering his new wife in bed with another man on their wedding night. The couple separated after two weeks, and sought a rapid divorce. He remarried in December 1934, this time to Marjie Fairless, the marriage lasting until his death."
"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.
"Born in 1928, in Lancashire, Bernard Cribbins is one of the best known children's entertainers in the UK. He has been an actor since the age of 14, when he became a student player with his local repertory company. By the 1950s, Cribbins had become a star of the London stage, featuring in his own revue. It wasn't until the 1960s, however, until he attained true public acclaim, appearing in a string of successful films and had musical success with a number of novelty records like Right Said Fred and Hole in the Ground. He is better known today for voice over work (The Wombles, as well as numerous advertisements) and his appearances on Noel's House Party on BBC1."
Not really a boot sale find but an excuse to upload some novelty songs by Fred Douglas who I know nothing about except he made lots of cover versions of hits on the cheap Regal label that sold in Woolworths I believe back in the 30's and 40's. Later they had the Embassy label which did a similar service - all the pop hits of the day by obscure singers who nobody had ever heard of! Fred Douglas went by several other nom de plumes so probably appeared on other records too.
That dirty laugh, the bag of spanners features, star of many Carry Ons and foil for Hancock in Hancock's Half Hour. Another profile of a great british character actor.
"James was born Joel Solomon Cohen, to Jewish parents, later changing his name to Sidney Joel Cohen and then Sid James, in a peculiar quirk of fate on Hancock Street, Hillbrow, Johannesburg, South Africa. He worked as a diamond cutter, hairdresser, dance tutor and reputedly a part-time boxer in fairgrounds, before becoming a professional actor. It was at a hairdressing salon in Kroonstad, Orange Free State that he met his future wife. He married Berthe Sadie Delmont, known as Toots on 12 August 1936 and her father Joseph Delmont, a wealthy Johannesburg businessman, bought a salon for James. Within a year, however, James announced that he wanted to become an actor and joined Johannesburg Repertory Players. Through this he got work with the South African Broadcasting Corporation. He and Delmont divorced in 1940 mainly as a result of James's many relationships with other women; it was a pattern that continued throughout his life. In 1943, he married a dancer, Meg Sergei, née Williams (born 1913). They divorced on 17 August 1952. On 21 August that year he wed Valerie Elizabeth Patsy Assan (born 1928), an actress who used Ashton as her stage name. During their marriage, he had a well publicised affair with his Carry On co-star, Barbara Windsor. During the Second World War, he became a lieutenant in the South African Army in an entertainment unit, and subsequently took up acting as a career. He came to Britain in 1946 on the back of his service gratuity. Initially he worked in repertory before being spotted by the nascent British post-war film industry."
Kenneth Horne ( third from the left ) always made me laugh and the two shows I remember most from my childhood and early years are Beyond Our Ken and Round The Horne that also starred Kenneth Williams , Hugh Paddick and Betty Marsden also seen in this photo. This is another radio profile of approx 60 mins. in length.
"Born Charles Kenneth Horne , he was the son of Charles Silvester Horne (1865-1914), a Congregationalist minister, Liberal MP for Ipswich, and powerful orator who built the White House in Sandford Avenue, Church Stretton as the family home, and is commemorated by the 'Silvester Horne Institute' in Church Stretton, Shropshire. His maternal grandfather was Herbert Cozens-Hardy, the Liberal MP for North Norfolk who became both the Master of the Rolls and Baron Cozens-Hardy on 1 July 1914. During World War II, Horne served in the RAF, reaching the rank of Wing Commander. As part of BBC radio's support of the war effort entertainment programmes were devised to target each wing of the armed forces, this led to Horne's involvement in Much-Binding-In-The-Marsh set at the titular fictitious air force base, a series which continued until 1954. He died from a stroke whilst standing up to make a speech at the Dorchester Hotel in London, just after the fourth series of Round the Horne was completed. A fifth series had been commissioned, but it was decided that the show could not continue without its star."