As I haven't been invited on to Desert Isle Discs, here are the records I would happily share for ever with myself on my Desert Island.
Mark Sheridan: What a Game It Is Wow-Wow!
Issued on Winner 2473, also recorded by Sheridan on Pathe.
Forget his wonderful I do Like to be Beside the Seaside, fine though that is. Mark puts his all into this number, confiding in us all his little secrets squeezing his girl, telling her stories, etc etc.
If you want to hear a real top line music hall star, just compare how Harry Fay does this song on Zonophone (1215), or Will Terry (Bob Cannon) on Cinch (5160) and you'll see what a great star was Mark Sheridan
A complete fantasy, this rambling is specially devoted to
A Royal Customer
Among the many record collections I have viewed, this one does stick out in my mind. There was no particular indication that this was to be anything out of the ordinary, a country address in the middle of nowhere it is true, but it was only when I reached the postcode as guided by my satnav, that I realised this was something special.
For a start, the ten foot iron gates were guarded by a smart uniformed porter, who demanded who I was. When I gave my name, I was frisked before the gates swung open unceremoniously. The porter told me to report to the back door, giving me instructions how to drive there.
Duly reaching that spot, I was about to ring the bell when the door opened and a burly looking servant beckoned me to come in. The traditional "this way sir," and I followed, trying to puzzle who on earth would live in a house like this. I might have well been in the dark, had it not been for a lady I happened to pass in one long wide corridor. I bowed politely, and received a slight acknowledgement.
After climbing several flights of stairs, we reached an attic room where the owner was seated amidst an antique looking piece of cast off furniture, lovingly clutching the records I had come to value.
"One played these as a child," the owner greeted me. "One loved them so much, but as one is so short of cash nowadays, one has decided to sell them with great reluctance." He proffered a slightly tatty album of six records.
"Is that all?" I asked, abruptly. I half apologised immediately, but had I come all this way for such small reward? "I was told these were national treasures you had!"
He brushed aside my rudeness with the air of a man used to such rebuffs, and the look of a man who knew he was holding a small fortune. My face when I examined the album soon made him sit up.
The first disc was of The Goons. it wasn't even in good condition. There were needle digs and scratches over the surface. "It's been well loved," I felt obliged to say something. He looked crestfallen."Yes, but it's THE Goons," he insisted, "you know, Milligan, Sellers, Secombe," as though he were talking to some ignoramus.
Another Goons disc, cracked, "one played that one every Christmas," he smiled. "Not much use now," I muttered. Nor was a Gracie Fields or two Charlie Kunz medleys. I had lost hope when I turned to the last record, but my expression changed when I spied a test pressing, with the legend Gramophone and Typewriter Limited on it. Eagerly, I brushed aside the dust encrusted on the label to read the handwritten title, Speech.
He could see my interest. "I think that was my great great grandad's," he explained, "he said he didn't like the sound of his own voice, so one was never allowed to play that."
"But this could be very valuable," I interjected, pulling the disc out of its sleeve. A pile of shellac dropped to the floor.
"Oh yes, it got broken," he explained, "my sister and I were playing flying saucers and the mater got very cross when she found what we'd been doing. There was a terrible mess on one's front lawn."
"You mean you broke lots of records?" I asked. He nodded sadly. "Well, I suppose it's what we used to do in the 1960s when people were chucking old records away," I added by way of consolation.
"Oh no," he replied, "this happened last month at our Christmas bash, things got a bit out of control..."
"So there were other records damaged, were there?" I asked excitedly.
"Yes indeed, one was made to sweep up all the pieces. The mater was very angry and made us put them in this box." He pointed to a grubby chest, half hidden behind a large scale model of a village, which I was already opening.
Breathlessly I lifted the lid. I saw a sea full of the rubble of shellac, three foot deep. In vain I searched for any survivors of this holocaust.
Jagged pieces of vandalised record were all my hands grasped. Pieces of paper labels with George 1911, Edward 1908 greeted my sorrowing eyes, even one etched half of a label inscribed Vict----- and Disra---. My heart sank.
Abelardo was active in the UK recording studios from July 1929 until October
1930. During that time he made only two records with his "band" - which
appears to be in effect the Decca Studio Band. These were issued as "Lou
Abelardo and His Band" in the Decca F series and were recorded in October
With my Guitar and You / I don't mind walking in the Rain - Decca
Living a Life of Dreams / Nobody cares if I'm blue - Decca F2032
However he also appears as a vocalist on some earlier Decca issues:
Gotta feeling for you (piano acc.)/ Love is a Dreamer (with orch.) - Decca F1592
(recorded Sept/Nov 1929)
Singing a Vagabond Song / Good for Nothing but Love - Decca F1778
(recorded April 1930) with piano acc. by Claude Ivy
Blue Melody / Should
I? - Decca F1827 (May 1930) with orchestral acc.
When it's Springtime in
the Rockies / It happened in Monterey - Decca F1855 (June 1930) orchestral
He was also a vocalist with these bands:
July/Aug 1929: Jay Wilbur:
Mean to Me / My Sin - Dominion A 174
Honey / Precious little Thing called
Love - Dominon A 175
When Tomorrow comes / I'm thirsty for Kisses -
Used to you / Little Pal - Dominon A 178
January 1930 :
With Ambrose: Decca M96, 101, 109, 110 (Tiptoe through the Tulips/Painting the
Clouds), 111, 112 ,113 115,and 117. Apart from the item noted, none are common
being issued in the expensive Decca Magenta series.
Dec 1929 to April
1930, also August 1930: with Harry Bidgood's studio band on Broadcast
29 to June 1930 : with Ray Starita Band on Columbia
February 1930 to
October 1930: with various groups lead by Van Phillips on Columbia - (Four
Bright Sparks, The Buckingham Players).
May 1930: With Debroy Somers Band
Lou had a very pleasant voice and his records are well worth obtaining.
Most are not worth a lot, which makes it even more pleasant! Expect to pay no
more than one UK pound or so for most in reasonable condition, though I would
say the Decca M records by Ambrose would set you back 2-5 UK pounds. The two
records where he is nominal bandleader are typical of the hot dance music that
appeared on Decca at this period and as a buyer I would pay at least 5 UK
pounds for a good copy.
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