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This mini information magazine on old records is issued monthly and covers many aspects of collecting 78rpm records
First and Last
Most recording stars were probably thrilled to enter the recording studio for the first time, and remembered vividly making their first disc. But I wonder how many knew when they were making their last?
Mark Sheridan (1864-1918)
Best known for his iconic I Do Like To be Beside The Seaside, he was one of the greatest of the Edwardian music hall comedians, his brisk patter and humour ideally suited to the medium of the gramophone.
The Gramophone Company secured his services in September 1905, and he recorded several titles for the cheap Zonophone label, the first of which was his version of Nursery Rhymes (Zono 42320).
He recorded fairly prolifically for many companies, his last for Regal in 1915, when he delivered McKenna's Singing Lesson (G7213). Hardly a worthy epitaph, for his many brilliant recordings, but he knew that the music hall was in decline. Sadly his attempt at revue in the comedian's graveyard of Glasgow was panned, and he shot himself
WH Berry in the Recording Studio
It's not often celebrities see fit to relate their experiences of recording. After all, for many it was only an incidental part of their professional lives, a chance to earn a fat fee for not much effort.
WH Berry was a stalwart of the West End musical comedy scene, starting in 1905 and continuing for 30 years at London's top theatres. His records are not uncommon, although he started way back at the turn of the century.
It was c 1902 that he was doing a summer season in Broadstairs Kent when he was offered the chance to make some cylinder recordings for Columbia. It was a financial blessing: "hard work, but it founded our fortunes and gave us a feeling of security."
Berry describes his experience in his autobiography Forty Years in the Limelight (Hutchinson 1939). He draws attention to the main drawback of the phonograph - the fact that masters did not produce many copies. "My letters from the company summoning me
to the studio .. were always brief but highly amusing: 'We shall want ten 'Huntsman'; six 'Buying a House'; twelve 'Skylarks'; and four 'That's where she sits all day'.'"
He wrote about his experience in The Talking Machine News for May 1903. "It is a most curious experience for a hardened singer (not to be confused with 'sinner') like myself to have to sing the most funny songs with none of the usual surroundings
such as platform, lights, audience, applause, 'the bird', and so on." An illuminating comment on the difficulties many Music Hall artists felt when trying to reproduce a stage performance on record. "To have to stand with one's face almost wedged into a fierce
and greedy-looking horn, with no expression whatever ... is an experience of a quaint and not to say nervy nature."
Writing in 1939, he concludes "I am told that there are some of those wax masterpieces of mine still in existence. If that is so, I trust their owners will listen to them with toleration and sympathy, for they must sound simply too thingumabob awful today."
True on most counts! At least some do survive. I specially like his Black Pudding.
Fred was a typical comedian of the era.
I found a reference to him in Clarkson Rose's autobiography "With a Twinkle in My Eye". He wrote (p.81f)
about his new show at Westcliffe-on-Sea in Kent:
"The previous year's cast (?1917) had included Fred Wildon, Fred Gibson and Ambrose Thorne...
For a week or two all I could hear about the town was praise of Fred Gibson."
Here's a list of the Fred Gibson recordings traced to date. Preceding the title is the matrix where known. After the title is a list of discs on which the title was issued.
This is not exhaustive! I would be fairly certain he also recorded under other pseudonyms. Beware however! Sometimes pseudonyms cover more than one artist, so I have only
listed artists under pseudonyms when I have checked the actual records.
(* as Sam Nicholls, ^ as Teddie Lawrence, + as Sam Dale, ~ as George Murray )
Recorded c 1916
Mary Jane is making Ammunition - Guardsman 635
My Wife's first Husband Gu635
Long Years ago Gu 645
1133 My meatless Day Guardsman 750
1134 Sugar Guardsman 750
Eat less Bread Gu783
Watching the Trains come in Gu783
I felt so awfully shy Gu801
Nobody loves me Gu801
On the good Ship Yacki Hicki Doola Gu804
Swim Sam Swim Gu804
On the Staff Gu806
Sergeant Coleman Keen Gu806
Apple Dumplings Gu816
This is probably Fred but without hearing the record I cannot be sure:
When you have Time to Remember Gu833 (The Three Freds with Fred Wildon, phonofiddle)
Music on our Surrey Farm (Three Freds)
War Bread Gu841
I've gone and missed that darn old Train again Gu841
My WAAC Gu859
Oh Oh Oh I want to go Home Gu860
I like a C'hup of C'hocoa Gu860
Goodbye Rachel Gu888
My Wife's a Luxury Gu888
First I went and won the DCM
The Abbey Ruin Gu891
1739x Hold My Hand I've got the Wind Up Gu944
1749x A-be My Boy Gu944
Ca'bages Ca'beans and Carrots Gu947
Norman the Mormon Gu947
1751x Kelly's come back to the Isle of Man Guar953
1752x No more Bully Beef and Biscuits Guar953
The Publican's Lament Gu964
Me and my Wife Gu964
What the Colonel told the Adjutant Gu967
Polly from the GPO Gu967
You're never too old to love a Girl Gu973
I'm on Strike Gu973
Abe take me back to Aldgate Gu975
Where do the Flies go to in the Wintertime? Gu975
I'm a good Girl now Gu985
I do like an Egg for my Tea Gu985
Come on Papa Guardman 1068 Scala1287 Tower 171
Do I? Yes I do Gu1068
San Fari Ann Gu 1081 Scala1287 Tower 171
Wh put the Bricks in Brixton? Gu1081
Have you seen a Winkle wink? Gu1089
Felix kept on walking Aco G15327
Riley's Cow Shed Aco G15482 Guardsman 1570^
The Photo Of The Girl I Left Behind Aco G15482, Coliseum 1676* Gu1570^
C6537 Shall I have it bobbed or shingled Colis1677* Beltona 609+ Homochord H663 ~
C6538 It ain't gonna rain no mo' Coliseum 1676* Beltona 609+ HomH663~
Riley's Cowshed Aco G15482 Colis1677*
00205The Argentines, The Portuguese and The Greeks Beltona 201+
00206 I ain't Nobody Darling Belt 201+
Recorded Autumn 1925
I've Never Wronged an Onion Aco G15859
I'm Fond of Swistle's Ness Milk Aco G15859
I'm an Airman Aco G15882
Tale of a Guinea pig Aco G15882
Recorded c July 1926
C8039 Oh Charley take it away Aco G16028, Colis1916* Guardsman 1935^
C8040 I must have 40 Winks Guar1935^
C8041 Poor Papa Aco G16028, Colis1916*
Recorded November 1926:
C80E Let's all join the Mustard Club Aco G16124
C81E More we are together Beltona 1118+ Coliseum 1980* Guardsman 1999^
C82E I've never seen a straight Banana Aco G16124 Beltona 1118+
Recorded April 1928
HH13229 Down by the Old Oak Tree Homochord D1262
HH13230 I Want to be Alone with Mary Brown Homochord D1262
Recorded August 1928:
The Hippopotamus Broadcast287
Buying a Stamp Broadcast 287
Recorded September 1928:
(with Bidgood's Broadcasters) This is the Way the Puff puff goes Bcast333
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