It's 12 years since Tiny Tim's death on 30th November 1996, so as a tribute here a few songs from one of his later albums.
"Tiny Tim already had something of a cult following around New York when he appeared in the film You Are What You Eat. This led to a booking on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, an American television comedy and variety show, which turned out to be his big break. Other appearances on the shows of Johnny Carson, Ed Sullivan, and Jackie Gleason followed, and he made a name for himself as a novelty performer. Apart from his extraordinarily high falsetto voice, his appearance—long curly hair, large nose, tall stature (he was six feet one inch), and clutching his relatively tiny ukulele—helped him stand out from the crowd. In 1968, his first album, God Bless Tiny Tim, was released. It contained a version of his signature song, "Tiptoe Thru The Tulips", which was a hit when released as a single. The other songs displayed his wide-ranging knowledge of the American songbook, and also allowed him to demonstrate his baritone voice, which was less often heard than his falsetto. On one track, a version of "I Got You Babe", he sang a duet with himself, taking one part in falsetto, and the other in the baritone range. "On the Old Front Porch" extends this to a trio, including a boy (Billy Murray), the girl he is courting (Ada Jones), and her father (probably Murray again). Another notable song was a cover of "Stay Down Here where You Belong", written by Irving Berlin in 1914 to protest the Great War. It is a powerful condemnation of those who foment war. (The comedian Groucho Marx also used this song as part of his own act, at least in part to irk the patriotic Berlin, who in later years tried in vain to disown the song)."
A rather battered LP on the budget Saga label from 1969. Mine Hosts- Don & Betty Lowes and vocals by various people including Joe Gibbons, Siggy Jackson , Bill Parry and Lenny Walker. A quaint reminder of what pubs used to be like before karaoke and juke boxes took over.
The sleeve notes say -
"From the times of "Greensleeves" and wandering mintrels in tudor taverns to the microphones and amplifications in the modern local, music has always played an integral part in consolidating the Englishmen's enjoyment of his pint of ale. We present on this record a selection of 'pub' favourites that have stood the test of time and whose lyrics and melodies are firmiliar to the tongue and memorable to the ear, from "The Great Big Shame" written in 1895 to our most recent choice "I've Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts of 1948 vintage."
"For sixteen years, big Ronnie Barker and little Ronnie Corbett hit hard on the nation's funny bone with their gently subversive, often wonderfully rude comedy routines, which lampooned countless aspects of British life - pompous authority figures, eccentric middle class guests at dreary cocktail parties, shabby men (with distinctly surreal private lives) putting the world to rights over a beer or ten, ghastly restaurants with rude waiters and incompetent chefs, bumptious politicians, leery rock stars and deeply suspicious doctors. Although often regarded as a "safe" series, The Two Ronnies' best sketches often strayed toward decidedly bizarre and ridiculous Monty Python territory, which isn't surprising as several of the Pythons (together with genius upstarts like Marshall and Renwick) wrote for the series - that's when the great Ronnie Barker wasn't providing the bulk of the material himself under a number of unlikely pseudonyms! (Remember Gerald Wiley? That was him.) The musical numbers can seem dated to modern eyes, but the country and western parodies from 'Big Jim Jehosophat'(Corbett) and 'Fatbelly Jones'(Barker) were always a joy, wrapping dozens of double-entendres around some genuinely catchy tunes, as were the lesser-seen spoofs of Chas and Dave, Status Quo and even Kid Creole and the Coconuts! As with many of the 'old school' comedians, the Two Ronnies' work has endured far better than many of the 'alternative' comedians who tried to push them aside - not only that, they're still being repeated."
"Varney was born in Canning Town, which was then considered a part of Essex but is now a part of East London. His father worked in a rubber factory in Silvertown and he was one of five children who grew up in Addington Road, Canning Town. Varney was educated at nearby Star Lane Primary School in West Ham and after leaving school at 14, he worked as a messenger boy and a page boy at the Regent Palace Hotel. He took piano lessons as a child and was sufficiently proficient to find employment as a part-time piano player. His first paid engagement was at Plumstead Radical Club in Woolwich, for which he was paid eight shillings and sixpence. He also played in working men's clubs, pubs and ABC cinemas, and later sang with Big Bands of the time. He and his mother decided that show business was the career for him, and he gave up his day jobs.
During World War II, he joined the Royal Engineers, but continued performing as an army entertainer, touring the Far East for a time. After being demobbed, he starred on stage in the late 1940s in a comic revue entitled Gaytime. His stooge in the act was Benny Hill. He then went on to become an all-round entertainer, working his way around the music halls.
In 1961, he was given the role of a foreman in the popular sitcom, The Rag Trade, which made him a household name. Also around this time he starred in a show for BBC TV called The Seven Faces of Reg Varney where he performed seven different characters in front of an audience at the Shepherd's Bush theatre in London. Varney rushed about at a frantic pace on stage as he changed clothes between characters. After that followed another comedy role in Beggar My Neighbour; this also starred Pat Coombs, June Whitfield, and Peter Jones. Pat Coombs played the wife of Varney's character and she would later appear in the On the Buses movie. The series ran from March 1967 to March 1968 (24 episodes of 30 minute duration) and a short special was shown as part of Christmas Night with the Stars on 25 December 1967. In 1966 he starred in The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery as Gilbert.
On 27 June 1967, the world's first voucher based cash dispensing machine was installed at the Enfield Town branch of Barclays Bank (Varney lived in Enfield at the time). For publicity purposes, Varney made the first withdrawal.
His greatest success was in the sitcom On the Buses which was written by Ronald Chesney and Ronald Wolfe, who had also written The Rag Trade. Varney played the lead character of Stan Butler, a long suffering but loyal man who never gets his way with the ladies."
I found this in a charity shop last year. It comprises mostly of traditional folk songs but also two "novelty" songs included from the days of music hall. Redd Sullivan and Martin Winsor started the Troubadour folk club in London in the 50's and many of the great names of folk played there. People like Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Shirley Collins, Martin Carthy etc. Martin Winsor was born in Liverpool but moved to London where he became an authority on London folk-lore and dialect. He sang all kinds of songs from vaudeville , Irish folk songs, Scottish folk songs, sea shanties, pop songs and monologues. In fact anything that took his fancy became part of his extensive repertoire. Redd Sullivan started singing in folk clubs in 1953 and well known on radio and television in the 60's when he appeared on Easy Beat, Roundabout, Country Meets Folk and Folk On Friday. Also accompanying on this record are Jeannie Steel, Alastair McDonald and Ian Campbell.
An EP 45 I bought at Crewe flea market today for 20p. Predictably dull MOR version of latin sound. I was considering whether this was worthy of including here but seems churlish not too. Recorded at the Edmundo Ros' Club in London 1958.
"Born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Ros' mother was an African-Venezuelan; his father was Scottish. Ros' parents separated not long after he was born, and he was enrolled into a military school, where he became interested in music and learned to play the euphonium or bombardin. From 1927 to 1937 his family lived in Caracas, Venezuela. He played in a military band for four years. Later, he received a music scholarship from the government. In June 1937, he moved to London, England to study classical music at the Royal Academy of Music. He soon returned to playing popular music and also recorded several sides as a sideman to Fats Waller who was visiting London in 1938.
In 1939, he formed his own rumba band, "Rumba With Ros". In 1941, he gained recognition with the track "Los Hijos de Buda" and was playing regularly at the elegant Coconut Grove club on Regent Street, which attracted members of high society.
In 1946, he owned a club, a dance school, a record company and an artist's agency. His band grew to 16 musicians. His album The Wedding Samba sold three million copies in 1949.
In 1951, he bought the Coconut Grove and renamed it Edmundo Ros' Dinner and Supper Club. The club became popular for its atmosphere and music; it closed in 1965. From 1964 to 1968 he was the owner of the internationally known and very exclusive Edmundo Ros Club on Regent Street.
His album Rhythms of The South (1957) was one of the first high-quality LP stereo records. He was with Decca records from 1944 to 1974.
In 1975 (at the age of 65) he retired and moved to Jávea, Alicante (Spain). On January 8, 1994, he gave his last public performance. Ros was appointed to the Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, in the 2000 New Year's Honours List.
He is also a Freemason and a member of Sprig of Acacia Lodge No 41, Javea, Spain."
Whilst I am in the ska mood I might as well upload some tracks from this Pama LP from Lester Sterlin who had a hit on the reggae charts back in the late 60's with a tune called "Bangarang" - the title track of this record of mostly chugging instrumentals.
Not much gleaned from the internet about Lester but this is what the sleeve notes say-
"In December a new sound hit the music scene and this new sound was called Reggae. Among the most outstanding in this field of music, was a tune called BANGARANG performed by Lester Sterlin with narration and singing by the sophisticated "Stranger Cole". The number was the Reggae Number One Hit for quite a few months and still quite a favoutite. the gret Joe Loss Band wasted not time in including this number in their repertoire and feature it quite a lot, to the thrill and entheastification of their thousands of followers."
The young lady on the sleeve is Miss Unity Records, Eunice Cooke.
I've had this in my collection for many years but can't remember where I bought it for 35p - probably a junk shop in Limehouse. One of the very first releases on Chris Blackwell's Island label in 1963. Director of music - Ernest Ranglin, who probably plays guitar on some tracks here.
"Island records was founded in Jamaica in 1959 by Chris Blackwel, the son of a white plantation owner. The label took its name from the Alec Waugh novel 'Island In The Sun'. The early releases on the label were by West Indians and in the music styles that were later to be known as Ska, Bluebeat and Rock Steady. It looked a very good investment when one of Blackwell's first productions, "Boogie In My Bones" by the Cuban-born singer Laurel Aitken, stayed at number one on the Jamaican radio chart for eleven weeks. Blackwell opened an office at South Odeon Parade in central Kingston, Jamaica, where he expanded his artistes with recordings by Wilfred 'Jackie' Edwards and Owen Gray. Both singers were already stars on the talent show circuit; so popular that eager youths fought among themselves for the honor of carrying Jackie Edwards' sharp stage-clothes to the dressing room. By 1962 Chris Blackwell was operating from premises in Notting Hill Gate, London. He catered for the large West Indian community in London by releasing records from Jamaica on his Island label. Blackwell also reckoned that, by switching to London, he could not only continue his own productions but also provide an international platform for Island's Jamaican rivals. The company could, therefore, potentially have the pick of Jamaica's hottest records, and hopefully becoming Britain's leading Ska label."
Not sure where this oddity came from. A holiday in the Algarve perhaps and languished in some attic for a couple of decades. I found it at a local boot sale a couple of years ago I think. I wasn't going to upload it but it seems churlish not to. I was attracted to the daft sleeve photos I must admit and the songs are a little MOR but a couple have a nice accordion/novelty slant. I could not find anything about Manuel on the interent though he does seem to be a popular star in Potugal and even has his own website that I find rather confusing. Maybe if I knew Portuguese it would help! Maybe he is the Russ Abbott of Lisbon?
Found this little gem in a charity shop some time ago for a couple of quid. Recorded in 1976 on the little known Red Rag Recordings label based in Teddington in Middlesex. It has the unfortunate title of "Twelve Inches Of Cocky" and you can imagine the kind of websites that appeared when trying to track info. down on this band! Needless to say I didnt find out anything atall and so will have to use what little there is on the sleeve notes. It says -" All songs played by the members of Cocky apart from Harmonica Henry who bribed us to play harp on Maggie Campbell, and Stan Arnold who didn't bribe us (tight sod!) to do a duck call on Jollity Farm. Recorded at Riverside Studios with the help of David Le-Neve Foster. Produced by Dave "Hot Licks" Peabody. Luncheon vouchers and cold coffee supplied by Stan Arnold. Pains in the arse caused and treated by Alan Robinson. Sleeve design by Mike "Toulouse" Walsh. Sleeve snapshots by Brownie 127 Studios - director D. Peabody."
It has been signed by all members of the band in lovely blue biro.
"The label was set up by the Palmer Brothers - Harry, Jeff, and Carl - initially as a soul label, but later concentrating on Jamaican music, releasing rocksteady singles from 1967. Much of the label's output was licenced from Jamaican producers such as Clancy Eccles, Alton Ellis, Bunny Lee, and Lee "Scratch" Perry, although they also released music by local talents such as Junior English and Delroy Washington. Derrick Morgan became one of Pama's biggest stars, having a UK chart hit with "Moon Hop". Pama's biggest hit came with Max Romeo's "Wet Dream", which reached #10 in the UK singles chart (despite lack of airplay, in part due to its risqué lyric), and sold over 250,000 copies.
The rivalry between Pama and their main UK reggae competitor, Trojan Records, was clear, with Trojan's Tighten Up series of compilations and Pama's similarly-titled Straighten Up series going head to head. The rivalry had been fuelled by Bunny Lee's earlier licencing of Derrick Morgan's "Seven Letters" to both Pama and Trojan.
Pama introduced a number of subsidiary labels, often associated with individual producers, including Pama Supreme, Supreme, Crab, Bullet, Gas, Nu Beat/New Beat (Laurel Aitken), Success (Rupie Edwards), Camel, Escort, Unity (Bunny Lee), and Punch (Lee "Scratch" Perry)."
A wonderful Bollywood Lp found at Brick Lane in East London some years ago. It was featured once before on the infamous 356 Days project in 2003 so time to dust it off and give it another play. The cover of this album is very 60's but the date says 1978. Made in Dum Dum, India by EMI. Manufactured and distributed by the Gramaphone Company of India Ltd. Its the soundtrack of a film called TEEN EEKAY produced by the unlikely named J& J ART INTERNATIONAL. This track by SONIK OMI stands out like a sore thumb as the others are very much your typical Bollywood fodder and sung by stalwarts such as Asha Bhosle and Usher Mangeshkar and written by Sonik Omi and a posse of people. This track by OMI is written by someone called Joginder. It's that mixture of a thousand violins wailing away and OMI's amazing growling vocal that really set this track apart from the rest of the songs here. What on earth could he be singing about with such animal relish and abandon? One thing is for sure - once heard, never forgotten!