Friday, February 11, 2011

Fred Douglas

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 many other nome de plumes, some say as many as 60 including the comedy duo The Two Gilberts.

Chris Gavin says of The Two Gilberts -

"Almost nothing is known about this comedy duo, but it can be surmised from their recordings that the people making up the pairing varied with time. The odd thing is that the Two Gilberts appear at a time when comedy duettists had just about died out in terms of popularity. Harry Cove & Billy Thompson had dominated the recording studios (along with the likes on Will Brockton, Jack Charman, Stanley Kirkby, Lionel Rothery etc) with their duet records from before WWI. People with a good ear claim that Fred Douglas, a prolific maker of records in his own name, is always one of the pair. Recently it has been claimed that the most regular duo were Fred Douglas and Leslie Rome.

Interestingly, both Cove and Thompson were mainstays of The Two Gilberts at different times. Thompson seems to be Douglas's first partner before Cove took over in mid-1924. Recordings by Tom Gilbert exist, usually paired with recordings of the Two Gilberts, these records issued as by Tom Gilbert are also by Fred Douglas; the Regal company obviously dreamt up the name as a tie-in with the duettists as well as issuing record under Douglas's own name.

It seems that about these artists: Douglas, Thompson & Cove, very little is known as they spent pretty well the whole of their careers as recording artists, generally looked down upon by collectors and researchers as "of no historical importance or interest"."

Fred Douglas - Valencia

Fred Douglas - In The Gloaming Of Wyoming

Fred Douglas - California

Fred Douglas - On Mother kellys Doorstep


Phil said...

Regal was one of the EMI budget labels during the 78 era, and typically released novelty and music hall material, along with some dance band sides. It was later merged with anothe budget imprint, Zonophone, to become (wait for it) Regal Zonophone.

Great blog by the way - lots of fascinating stuff on here!

Wastedpapiers said...

Thanks Phil. Nice to get comments occasionally - encourages me to carry on with this blog.

basfordian said...

Just come across your blog. Fred Douglas was my great-grandfather. Up to 60 stage names is about right, he was an infamous non-payer of income tax. And yes, to confirm, he was definitely one of the Two Gilberts. I'm researching this stuff for a fictionalised account of the time and his life, hence coming across your blog. Interesting stuff - thanks.

Wastedpapiers said...

Thanks basfordian- much appreciated. Good luck with the book - keep us updated!