Mar 18, 2022
We're back after a six month break. Less chat, more music this time round. We start with a very laid back Louis Armstrong and his version of Blueberry Hill. Billie Anthony was born Philomena McGeachie Levy in Glasgow in 1932. Here she sings her biggest hit, This Ole House. There were a few covers of this record in the British charts. Rosemary Clooney made no1 but Billie Anthony made no4. She had a great voice and it's surprising that her career had just petered out by 1960. Tony Martin stirs up passions with Kiss of Fire. He had a seven decade career and was married to Alice Faye and Cyd Charisse- but not at the same time! Strict tempo dance music next. Developed to standardise dance styles strict tempo bands never had a vocalist. I suppose it could be accused of being a little souless but in this section of records its comes over as chilled and relaxing. Two from the king of strict tempo Victor Silvester. A dancer himself he, along with Josephine Bradley, was a founder member of The Imperial Society of teachers of dance. Which I have to say does sound a tad pompous! Silvester sold 70 million records in his time. Check him out below. Its a fascinating read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Silvester
Both Josephine Bradley and Henry Jasques were originally dancers. Indeed Jasques was British Ballroom champion from 1934 to 36. His 1944 book on ballroom is still a highly sort after work. Latvian born Oscar Rabin joins the strict tempo crew with Love is all. Jo Stafford had highly successful career over five decades. Opera trained her voice is very pure. She married the band leader Paul Weston and they produced alot of fine work together. They had a side project though: Jonathon and Darlene Edwards, a truly bad caberet act. Listen here, if you dare: https://youtu.be/NySAbB2JLII
Some more obscure artists next. Victor Olof with Tancuf, a Slovakian dance, Harry Wulson yodelling in 1929. He produced a few such records but I cannot find a biog of him. The Accordion Emsemble were probably a Zonophone house band, here they play Espana Valise recorded in 1920. Gene Austin was extremely well known in his time. One of the first crooners he was also a fine songwriter, When My Sugar Walks Down the Street and, Forgotten Songs favourite, The Lonesome Road are just two of his compositions. Here he sings- I've grown so lonesome thinking of you. PIano duo and co bandleaders Victor Arden and Phil Ohman give us Kiddie Kapers. That leads us perfectly to two records on 45rpm. First a track that was very popular in my 1960s and 70s childhood. Sparky's talking piano. It was actually recorded in 1947 with the child actor Henry Blair voicing Sparky. The rather creepy piano's voice was created by a Sonovox voice processor. Which makes the human voice sound, well, both robotic and musical. It was invented in 1939 and had an early notable demonstration by Lucille Ball in a Pathe newsreel. We dissolve seemlessly from that to Sacha Distel singing Ich bin ein spielman. Back to 78s with with Coleman Hawkins with Half step down please. Tito Burns and his Sextet play Sloppy Joe. Burns had a career as a musician, accordian and piano, and as an impresario and manager. He discovered Dusty Springfield, managed Cliff Richard and organised the European tours of Simon and Garfunkle. We close with Joe Daniels and Drumnastics. Hope you enjoy it. Its good to be back.