Favorite 747 Jack Smithson- A Soldier and a Man/ Fall In
"The poem by Harold begbie to the music of Cowen. This verse appeared a few weeks back in The Daily Chronicle. Readers may recall it better by its first line, 'What do you lack, sonny, what do you lack?' Sung with great enthusiasm and clearly recorded."
Scala 610 R Durant: Fall In/ Your King and Country Want You
"Both these titles are well known by this time. They are of the stirring patriotic type hat so well befits the exigiencies of the times, and rendered in the robus yet artistic manner associated with this singer, they 'make good' as our Yankee friends say. They are sung with all the fervour that a good rendition of a patriotic ballad requires, and go with great vim and swing."
Coliseum 668 Arthur T Brookes: Fall In/ Your King and Country Want You (actually the same recording as the last!)
"Both these patriotic items have got beyond the lines of criticism, in the matter that the great public have taken them under their wing, so to speak. The declamatory nature of the music, as suggested by the titles, receives an admirable rendition by the artiste, and both songs are of the best type of patriotic music, in all the three attributes- words, music, and rendering."
Beka 910 Robert English: Our Fleet/ Victor Conway: Maple Leaf For Ever
"Whilst we at home are sleeping, ur fleet their watch is keeping, and so on, is the welcome sentiment of the first title, admirably sung by Mr English. The Canadian National Anthem is a fitting accompaniment to such a song, and in its turn receives capital treatment by this reliable artiste."
Variety Acts Who Made 78's Still Going -
(From the trade paper The Stage dated January 19th 1956 )
Front page there is a photo of George Formby, with news that he has just signed a contract to star as Idle Jack in Emile Littler's production of Dick Whittington at the London Palace... next Christmas! A more immediate engagement is announced- as from April 9th, Eartha Kitt will be opening at the Cafe de Paris.
Roy Barbour, who made made Rex records before the war, was playing Simple Sammy in Mother Goose at the Leeds Empire. He had been in panto in Australia last year, playing in Jack and Jill.
Man with the Golden Trumpet Eddie Calvert was at the premiere of the film The Man with the Golden Arm on January 12th 1956, at the Odeon Leicester Square, where he played the title music, backed by Norrie Paramor's Orchestra. It is reported that he had recorded the title two days previously.
The Tony Crombie Orchestra had played to a capacity audience on January 15th at the Aldershot Hippdrome. Future visitors are to be Alex Welsh (Jan 22nd) and Tony Kinsey (Jan 29th).
An accident is reported involving Tony Mansell, vocalist with Johnny Dankworth. On January 13th Tony's car had skidded on an ice patch on the London to Portsmouth road at 50mph. The car would have overturned into a ditch had it not struck a milestone which stopped the car. The show must go on, and apparently he drove on despite "a broken brake drum and several bad dents."
On a happier note, the marriage was announced of Celia Lipton to Victor Farris at a ceremony in New Jersey. However the death was announced of Percy Heming, aged 68, his obituary recalling his long run in Lilac Time in the early 1920's, excerpts from which he recorded on Vocalion.
Phyllis Sellick and Cyril Smith opened a series of lunchtime concerts at the Civic Hall Croydon. The first was a sellout, and some patrons had to be turned away. The second concert included Dennis Brain, horn, and Jean Pougnet, violin.
Among trade cards can be seen such diverse stars as Winifred Atwell "queen of the keyboard," GH Elliott c/o Archie Parnell, Elton Hayes "he sings to a small guitar," Primo Scala of Copley Park London SW16, and The Five Smith Brothers "Mrs Smith's Five Little Boys."
Ronnie Ronalde had taken out a larger advertisement to tell punters to listen to him singing My Mother's Hands on the BBC Light Programme next Sunday (Jan 22nd) at 11.15pm.
(reissue from no 54)
analysing records by Billy Williams (1878-1915).
The Kangaroo Hop -
This was Billy's most successful attempt at ragtime.
There are the following versions, in order of recording:
1. Zonophone 912
2. Columbia 1979
3. Favorite 530
4. Homophon 1199
also a Jumbo version which has eluded us. The discography lists a group of
recordings on Pilot / The Stars / Invicta, but these are not by the great man.
However they are by Jack Charman. (* in text means BW laughs)
The Zono begins by advertising "The latest song from Australia." At the
finish we have some humour, which today might be considered rather poor taste:
"See poor father hopping about with his wooden leg * and mother hopping around
the room * and Mailey(?) with her bad corn * ". He sings then concludes:" very
funny and all, too *"!
The introduction on Columbia is much more polished,
with the band nicely drawn in: "You've heard about Alexander's Ragtime Band
and the Turkey Trot, but have you heard the Kangaroo Hop?" "NO"- shouts the
Band. "All right then, I'll sing it to you. Come on me lads... ". Billy
appears to have more time at the end as he expands the Zonophone monologue and
introduces audience participation: "You ought to see father hopping about the
parlour * and mother hopping after him *". This looks more tasteful until he
adds:" Then me sister hopped about * and I stood on a tin tack and then I
hopped!" And the wooden leg then gets introduced! Billy continues "You oughter
seen a man the other day with a wooden leg, see him hopping about *. Oh dear
oh dear. It's a bit of a dance that is. Come on mother all join in now. You
get on that side. And now come on sister you get this side. Now are you ready?
(he sings) Hop hop, * Oh look at him hopping in the corner *"!
perhaps the best version. The Favorite is similar but not as expansive. It
begins "You've heard about Alexander's Ragtime Band and the Turkey Trot, but
I'll bet you've never heard the Kangaroo Hop eh? Come on lads *". The wooden
leg returns at the end too, this time it belongs to father: "You oughter see
us hopping all over the room * see mother hopping round the floor, and father
with his wooden leg hopping about *. It's a bit of a scream isn't it * "?
The Homophon recording is an improvement. Being the last to be recorded,
Billy has polished the patter at the start: "You've heard of Alexander's Band,
the Turkey Trot and the Grizzly Bear, but I'll tell you what I'll do with you.
I'll bet you, er, five pounds, you haven't heard the Kangaroo Hop *". The end
sees Billy optimistically including more than just the family in the hop: "You
oughter see auntie and I * hopping all round the room * and father with his
wooden leg *"! Nothing new in this last then, but after singing he finishes:
"All the villagers hopping about the green * and all the rabbits hopping and
the kangaroos hopping after me *. Oh dear oh dear, this ragtime stuff *"!
So comparing these versions, we can see that as usual Billy keeps his
patter to a general format, but refines it. Except for the wooden leg! I feel
the best version is perhaps the Columbia one, which fortunately turns up
frequently on the Regal reissue. This is also the one used in the BW CD.