Dinosaur Discs Magazine August 2020 No.145
This mini information magazine on old records is issued monthly and covers many aspects of collecting 78rpm records
From The Stage December 17th 1931
The panto season saw Wee Georgie Wood in Dublin, Will Fyffe in Belfast, Dorothy Ward and Shaun Glenville in Leeds, George Formby went to Liverpool in Dick Whittington, Randolph Sutton to Derby.
Other provincial dates saw Jack Buchanan at the Liverpool Empire in Stand Up and Sing (from Dec 24th), Marie Lloyd Jr at the Birmingham Empire, and Billy Merson in Cinderella at the Glasgow Pavilion. Max and Harry Nesbitt made a first appearance at the Eastbourne Hippodrome, while at the Oxford New, old timers in Vintage Variety included Marie Kendall, Harry Bedford, and Tom Finglass. In London, a top bill at Shepherd's Bush included dear GH Elliott, The Houston Sisters, and Teddy Brown.
Norah Blaney and Gwen Farrar were at the Victoria Palace with new songs by Rowland Leigh, mixed in with old standards. One critic found "an unneccesarily depressing note" in Trafalgar Square Blues, while conceding "the Blaney-Farrar turn is a joyous interlude." One other in the show was Archie Pitt in Looking for the Leaks.
In court was Andre Charlot, once known for his famous revues. He owed over £40,000, with very little in the way of assets.

Extra Articles
Harry Shalson
The story of one of the great singers of the early electric era, by his son Vaughan. Harry made some fine records with hot accompaniments, the best perhaps being the 1930 recording of "Just Imagine" issued on HMV B3647. My own favourite is his 1929 "The One I love can't be bothered with me" on HMVB3427.

Vaughan writes:
My father, Harry Shalson, was born in Hackney, London on May 10, 1898 to parents Henry and Mary Ann. He had one younger brother, Len, and a sister, Elsie.
The family had a piano in their home that his mother played, but young Harry showed no particular interest in music, and consequently neither took piano lessons nor had any other formal musical training. Apparently, when he was eight or nine, he started to amuse himself by vamping chords on the piano and picking out simple melodies by ear. His piano technique was entirely self-taught, therefore, as was his style of singing, though over the years he learned both to read and write music. When he died, he was still receiving royalties from the Performing Rights Society on more than 200 songs that he had written over thirty years earlier while he was “in the profession.”
Going back to his childhood, his father ran a public house in Hackney, and by his early teens Harry regularly earned “pocket money” playing piano and singing in the pub on weekends. Somewhere during this time he also acquired a part-time job at a local movie theatre accompanying the silent films of the pre-“talkies” era.
Little is known of his early family life or schooling, except that he left home in his late teens when his parents separated.
The earliest record I have of his professional engagements is playing with Clarke’s Hawaiians in Hendon in 1919. From then until 1924 he had engagements in various clubs (including Desti’s, Jade’s, The Riviera, Murray’s and the Portman Rooms among others) as well as a number of the popular “Palais de Dance” of the day. In 1922 he played with a jazz band called the “Manhattan Five” and subsequently formed a band of his own that was billed as “Harry Shalson’s Novelty Jazz Band”. Perhaps his most unusual venture during that period, however, was the formation of “The Versatile Three,” a singing trio with which he performed in “black face” in late 1923. (no connection with the Winner recording group - ed.)
In the spring of 1924 he was invited to perform at a royal command performance before the King and Queen of Norway and continued playing in Oslo from May through September. He returned to London and resumed the “club circuit” (Jimmy’s, The Golden Square, the Mayfair, the Ambassador’s etc.), both as a solo artist and with a number of bands, such as Van Straten’s Ambassadors Orchestra, Arthur Hetherington’s Piccadilly Players, and Bert Ralton’s Original Havana Band.
The recording phase of his career appears to have begun in 1925 with Columbia Records and Imperial, playing with Bert Ralton’s Band and Ronnie Munro and his Dance Orchestra. By 1926, Imperial was billing him as “England’s First Whispering Vocalist,” (undoubtedly a comparison to “Whispering Jack Smith” on the other side of the Atlantic) which title later evolved into “England’s Whispering Baritone.” From there he moved to Brunswick and HMV. Unfortunately, other than a 1928 list of Brunswick releases and a similar 1931 list from HMV, I do not have details of how long he recorded with each company, nor how many recordings he made, although I have been able to compile a list of some 64 titles from various sources.
Starting in 1927 he began writing, producing and appearing in a number of reviews with titles including, “Spice of Life,” “Paris Life,” “Midnight Madness,” Ladies First,” and “Whirl of the World.” These occupied most of his time (interspersed with occasional club engagements) until 1934. In addition to composing the music for these reviews, he composed a number of popular songs with Jimmy Kennedy, including “Tall Timber” (1930) and “Moon of My Dreams” (1931). From a recording standpoint, his most successful compositions appear to have been “My Southern Home,” which he recorded on Brunswick, and “Poor Little Me – Wonderful You,” which he recorded on HMV.
In 1934-35 he teamed-up with Eddie Fields, appearing in Variety together and composing songs, such as “Live and Let Live.” This was followed in 1935 by a weekly series of appearances with Chappie D’Amato which lasted until the end of 1936. I believe these were staged at the Savoy and were broadcast live over BBC radio.
Two other events were to occur that year that would change the direction of Harry’s life. First, he met Esme Smith, whom he would later marry and, second, he was approached by Garland Advertising Service to develop a series of radio ads for Rowntree’s gums and pastilles. The result of the latter was the creation of “Sam, the Sweetshop Man” and related patter and songs. More importantly, it sparked Harry’s interest in commercial radio and the potential for advertising which led him in such unlikely directions as sports broadcasting from Wembley and forming Curzon Enterprises, Ltd., a company specializing in point-of-sale displays.
Thus began a new phase of Harry Shalson’s life as a businessman. He married my mother, Esme Smith, on December 16, 1939 at Caxton Hall in London. The following year, with the commencement of the “Blitz,” they moved to Maidenhead, some twenty miles west of London, and Harry, a quintessential Londoner, was forced to become a suburban “commuter” taking the train to Paddington each day.
The war years were a difficult time to start a new venture, and Harry supplemented the meagre revenues of his fledgling business by composing advertising ditties, such as “The Meltonian Theme Song” (which he also recorded for the company).
Eventually, however, the war ended, and Esme gave birth to their only child, a son they named Vaughan (me!), on January 10, 1946. Concurrently, roughly mid-way between Maidenhead and London, a novel development was taking shape in the form of one of the country’s first major industrial parks, the Slough Trading Estate. For the next eighteen years, Curzon Enterprises thrived on this conveniently located market, providing point-of-sale displays for products from a broad range of companies including Aspro, Mars, Horlicks and Johnsons.
In 1963, as Harry passed his 65th birthday, he and Esme decided they would like to retire to the south coast of England, and they purchased a home on the seafront in Hove. The house, a regency property dating back to 1828, required substantial modernization and they travelled back and forth each week for more than a year to confer with various contractors on the work. Finally, it was finished. Meanwhile, Vaughan, who was now eighteen, had been offered a place at St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge to study Mechanical Engineering. In September 1964, therefore, their long-time home in Maidenhead was sold; Vaughan was carted off to Cambridge; and Harry and Esme moved into their new home in Hove.
Sadly, less than five months later, on the morning of February 5, 1965, Harry suffered a massive haemorrhagic stroke from which he died later that day

Old Gramophone Societies: Dulwich
Yet another group in London! This one met at the Samuel Bowley Coffee Tavern in Peckham Rye.
The January 1922 meeting sounds a trifle monotonous, being the complete Pagliacci on ten HMV records, sung in Italian with the La Scala Milan Orchestra.
Before each disc was played, the operator of the gramophone, Mr Lewis, introduced it, "thus adding greatly to the general interest."
There was a much needed interval for refreshments, which were free to members who had paid their seven shillings and sixpence sub.
After the interval the rendition of the Harlequin's Serenade "evoked much applause." Also "the remainder of the opera was very much appreciated."

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