Friday, May 11, 2012

Bob and Alf Pearson

This 78 on the Rex label is another from the suitcase I bought recently. Bob and Alf do a version of the Gracie Fields hit song from the film Sing As We Go. This is the slightly posher version. "Bob & Alf Pearson were one of the few singing duos to span all the decades from the 1930's to well into the 1980's. Their gentle humour and immaculate harmonies made them enormously popular on stage, on record and most memorably, on radio. Their signature tune, We Bring You Melody From Out Of The Sky, My Brother And I, evokes sweet memories for any fans of Ted Ray's outstanding BBC radio series `Ray's A Laugh'. They were born in Sunderland. Their mother, professionally known as Emily Smiles, had a big reputation as a well known local singer Her talents were obviously passed on to her boys. Bob was born in 1907 and AIf in 1910. In 1924, aged 14, Alf started his solo career, singing on the stage of the local King's Theatre which was owned by George Black. In 1927 Bob and Alf started singing duets at amateur concert parties in the North East, occasionally in Pierrot ensembles where no doubt Bob's talent on the piano was very welcome. So began their illustrious and successful career By 1928 the whole family had moved to Tolworth, in Surrey. They were plasterers and their father's firm had won the contract to plaster the houses that were being built on the Kingston by pass at Tolworth. They entered a nationwide talent contest sponsored by Columbia Records: the prize for winning was a recording contract and 50 copies of the record. They won of course and received their 50 records. This enormous publicity resulted in them being booked by John Sharman of the BBC, For the hit show,`Saturday Music Hall'. They made their first broadcast in 1929 and at the same time they began recording for the Piccadilly Recording Co. They had started to do some weekly transmissions for the television pioneer John Logie Baird, from his studio in Long Acre; all this now a part of early television history. Bob and Alf were probably the first couple to have their faces on the small screen. Alf remembers, "There were only about 400 TV sets in the country and the picture was about the size of a cigarette card". They were at this time still plastering and would leave the job at about l0a.m. charge up to John Logie Baird's studio by train and sing two sets of three songs twice a week, for the princely sum of two guineas (£2.10) As finance was very tight for the development of this new fangled TV, they were asked to take a cut and perform for one guinea (£1.05) Eventually they decided to end this charging around, give up plastering and try their luck as full time professionals." Bob & Alf Pearson - Love Wonderful Love Bob & Alf Pearson - Sing As We Go

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