March 1914 saw the announcement of the first British issue of this international label. "Made in Russia" was stamped on to the wax, and the label was one of the most beautiful of all pre first war ones.
Next month Talking Machine News, boosted by this new source of advertising income, reported that the company's warehouse in City Road (where else?) now stored "a large stock of records." Praised is "the quality of reproduction and smoothness of the material." Background data was given on Mr Harth, "one of the best known men in the industry." Then "another strong point is their big catalogue of Russian, Polish and Yiddish titles... Mr Harth tells us that he will very shortly commence recording here."
The English recordings of band titles were mostly issued in a series starting 101, though some of these are likely of imported material, despite the label credit. Vocal issues commenced at 301, and most seem to be by Jack Charman, or Jack under a pseudonym! Other British artists included Pamby Dick the accordeonist. This series ran to a few over 100 issues before production ceased owing to the difficulties of the war.
The SONGS of BILLY WILLIAMS (1878-1915)
Where Does Daddy Go When He Goes Out?
This is one of the best and sauciest of his later songs.
There were versions all recorded late 1912:
Columbia 1978, Zonophone 911, Homophone 1131, Jumbo 898
Recorded early in 1913 were:
Pathe 79973 and
On the Columbia version Billy announces the title, adding his terse comment: "you may as well ask where the fire goes when it goes out!(laugh) Oh dear oh dear (laugh)." To conclude he sings unaccompanied ending on a monotone thus: "I'm going downstairs so... oh goodness me, what a voice! (laugh)"
The Zonophone version starts almost identically with the title, and: "well you may as well ask where the fire goes when it goes out!(laugh). At the end he sings in a deliberately deep voice and remarks: "I've got a bit of a scab voice tonight, never mind about a base voice or a bass voice or... (laugh). I'm awfully sorry for singing these songs you know. Of course we have to do something for a living haven't we? Oh yes, it's awfully jolly... goodnight old sport hahahah." A typical chatty piece!
The Homphone version starts exactly as the Columbia one though the end is a mixture of both previous efforts: "What a funny voice I've got tonight," as he sings on a monotone. "Father, you'll pop out when you go out tonight. I'll bet you that(laugh)." Whatever he meant by that.
The Jumbo starts with a slight variation "I say mother...." followed by the title and then the familiar: "well you may as well ask where the fire goes when it goes out (Laugh)... come on me lads." The ending is more abrupt with only some unaccompanied singing and: "there's a funny note(laugh)."
The Favorite version starts the same as the Columbia even down to the oh dear:"you may as well ask where the fire goes when it goes out!(laugh) Oh dear oh dear (laugh)." In the second chorus he sings Three Blind Mice and the customary unaccompanied singing at the finale yields: "that's a funny voice isn't it?" plus some incoherent further remarks.
On Pathe, not for the first time, he slightly muffs his announcement after the title: "well you as well ask me where the fire goes when it goes out." The final singing solo brings forth the observation: "that's a bass voice I've got tonight, or a scout voice, or something like that (laugh)."
Unlike his earlier songs, there's not nearly so much variation in the recorded versions. Despite this, we should let that detract from the general brilliance of the lyrics.
Variety Acts Who Made 78's Still Going -
(From the trade paper The Stage January 1958 )
On the front page, news of a midnight matinee to come shortly with Norman Wisdom, Where's Charley, at the Palace Theatre in memory of Jack Buchanan, in aid of a cancer laboratory. Diana Decker also makes the front page (albeit with her name spelled 'Dekker'), as it was announced she was doing four weeks in cabaret starting January 27th at The Society.
Another Brit invasion of America was announced. This one by Frankie Vaughan who claimed he was "the spearhead of a British attack." He told a reporter of the opportunities, "they have colour tv, night clubs, show places. I want to work and sing as much as I can while I can." He was making a five month tour, after a four week spell at The Palace starting January 20th.
There's a photo of Billie Anthony who recorded for Columbia. She is showing off her Oscar for Variety Artist of the Year, just before leaving for a tour entertaining our troops in the Middle East.
Famous Zena Dare is also pictured, about to appear as Mrs Higgins in My Fair Lady at Drury Lane. A brief biography of her wonderful career is given, commencing with her debut at The Coronet at Christmas 1899 in The Babes in the Wood.
A lesser known old star, Roy Barbour who recorded on Rex Records, was presenting his show High Lights of 1958 at the Norwich Hippodrome. Roy owned The Arcadia in Lowestoft.
Bandleader Eric Winstone was claiming that melody was "paying off," he meant in contrast to skiffle and rock. He said, "we have found it to be true of our Monday evening Light programme radio show." He had added a string section to his normal band, and the show which had started in September 1956 was scheduled "to go on and on." He was also playing for two nights at the Savoy Ballroom Southsea.
Other bookings included Chas McDevitt at the Bournemouth Royal Ballroom on January 17th, and Betty Smith and her Quintet at the Winchester Lido ballroom on January 23rd. To mark the 21st year of the Southampton Guildhall, Joe Loss was booked for several dates in February, along with Harry Davidson taking the Old Time festivities, and Cyril Stapleton making their first dance date there.
Eugene Pini was booked at the Scarborough Spa for the next two seasons. He had a band of 17.
The Six-Five Special on tour was at the Salisbury Gaumont on January 19th, and was also booked at the Southampton Gaumont on February 9th. On the bill were Kenny Baker, Don Lang and His Frantic Five, plus Rosemary Squires, Joe Mr Piano Henderson and Carl Barriteau.
Ken Colyer and His Jazzmen had a large audience for an appearance at Croydon's Civic Hall. "Their unity was well displayed."
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