Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Charlie Gillett - Roy Brown 6/8/78

Another great old Honky Tonk radio show from 1978 broadcast on Radio London. Charlie is talking to R&B pioneer Roy Brown and playing some of his hits from the 40's and 50's and tracks from Roy's latest release. Interspersed with some fascinating tales of how it was for black artists in the record business back then - unscrupulous managers and all.

Wikipedia says -

"Roy James Brown (September 10, 1925 — May 25, 1981 was a pioneering Rhythm & Blues singer, songwriter and musician who had a primary influence on the early development of rock & roll music. Brown sang R&B tunes with a gospel feel, the first blues singer to do so. The "call and response" gospel style was limited to the church prior to Brown's arrival to the music scene. R&B was mostly "jivey" novelty tunes, like "Caledonia" by Louis Jordan and blues sung behind jazzy, boogie-woogie beats like "Roll 'em Pete" by Joe Turner. His seminal "Good Rocking Tonight" was covered by Wynonie Harris, Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Pat Boone. In addition, his melismatical pleading, gospel-steeped delivery impacted the vocal styles of B.B. King, Bobby Bland, Jackie Wilson and Little Richard. His role as a crucial link between postwar R&B and rock's initial rise is underappreciated by the masses."

Charlie Gillett - Roy Brown Pt. 1

Charlie Gillett - Roy Brown Pt. 2

Ann Stephens

I rarely buy records from the Oxfam shop as the prices tend to be a bit steep but for 49p this seemed like a bargain steeped as it is in nostalgia for far distant innocent age when we had "Children's Favourites" on the wireless ( long before the radio was invented ) Also someone called Uncle Mac who used to introduce it every Saturday morning. I think his name was Derek McCulloch? A kindly old uncle figure who smelled of Werther's Originals and had a wooden leg.
I suppose it's just the nostalgia that makes this EP on the HMV label so appealing.

The sleeve notes don't tell us much about the precocious Ann but it does say-

"Ann was an HMV recording discovery, for when they needed an Alice for their Alice In Wonderland series in 1941. Ann was the successful applicant out of 700 who were auditioned for the company. Her debut on record was successful and instantaneous, and her natural, untrained voice endeared her to a nation and led her to being offered several film parts."

The whistler on Dicky Bird Hop is Ronald Gourley. The orchestra on Buckingham Palace and Christopher Robin is conducted by Clifford Greenwood. The orchestra on the other two songs is conducted by Henry Geehl.

Ann Stephens - Buckingham Palace

Ann Stephens - Dicky Bird Hop

Ann Stephens - Teddy Bears Picnic

Ann Stephens - Christopher Robin

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Laurel & Hardy

One of my favourite all time comedy duo's. They still make me smile despite having seen these classic shorts and features dozens of times. These tracks were taken from a CD called The Laurel & Hardy Collection on HMV that was released back in the 90's mostly comprising of extracts of dialogue from the films and a few songs - two of which I have uploaded here.

Wikipedia says -

"Laurel and Hardy were one of the most popular comedy teams of the early to mid Classical Hollywood era of American cinema. Composed of thin, English-born Stan Laurel (1890–1965) and heavy, American-born Oliver Hardy (1892–1957) they became well known during the late 1920s and the 1930s for their work in motion pictures and also appeared on stage throughout America and Europe.

The two comedians first worked together on the silent film The Lucky Dog. After a period appearing separately in several short films for the Hal Roach studio during the 1920s, they began appearing in movie shorts together in 1926. Laurel and Hardy officially became a team the following year, and soon became Hal Roach's most lucrative stars. Among their most popular and successful films were the features Sons of the Desert (1933), Way Out West (1937), and Block-Heads (1938) and the shorts Big Business (1929), Liberty (1929), and their Academy Award–winning short, The Music Box (1932).

The pair left the Roach studio in 1940, then appeared in eight "B" comedies for 20th Century Fox and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from 1941 to 1944. Disappointed in the films in which they had little creative control, from 1945 to 1950 the team did not appear on film and concentrated on their stage show, embarking on a musical hall tour of England, Ireland and Scotland. They made Atoll K, a French/Italian production and their last film, in 1950/1951, before retiring from the screen. In total they appeared together in 106 films. They starred in 40 short sound films, 32 short silent films and 23 full length feature films, and in the remaining 11 films made guest or cameo appearances."

Laurel & Hardy - Another Fine Mess

Laurel & Hardy - Way Down South

Laurel & Hardy - Goodbye

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Charlie Gillett - Ry Cooder - Brad of The Specials

Two more old radio shows in tribute to Charlie Gillett who died last week. Both from the Undercurrents series on Capital Radio around 1982/3.
Ry Cooder had just undertaken his UK tour with the John Hiatt and his band and plays some favourite records and talks about the origins of some of his new songs.
Brad of The Specials had just started his own Race record label and plays some initial releases.

I apologise for the poor recording quality - these cassettes are over 25 years old!

Wikipedia says of Ry Cooder -

"Ryland "Ry" Peter Cooder (born 15 March 1947, in Los Angeles, California) is an American guitarist, singer and composer.

He is known for his slide guitar work, his interest in blues-rock, roots music from his native North America, and, more recently, for his collaborations with traditional musicians from many countries.

Cooder's solo work has been an eclectic mix, taking in dust bowl folk, blues, Tex-Mex, soul, gospel, rock, and much else. He has collaborated with many important musicians, including The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Earl Hines, Little Feat, Captain Beefheart, The Chieftains, John Lee Hooker, Pops, Mavis Staples, Gabby Pahinui, Flaco Jiménez, Freddy Fender and Ali Farka Touré. He formed the Little Village supergroup with Nick Lowe, John Hiatt, and Jim Keltner.

Cooder was ranked 8th on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."

Charlie Gillett - Ry Cooder

Charlie Gillett - Brad of The Specials

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Texas Kitty (Re-Up)

Jim in Basingstoke sent this cassette to me recently. Its a rare copy of a 10" LP on the Philips label from the late 50's early 60's that he was sent many years ago and he has been wanting to hear more of Texas Kitty but the internet does not tell us much.
The only image I could find is of an EP. called "Texas Kitty" that was put out about the same time and contains some of the same tracks.

Luckily a Dutch friend Jan managed to track down a short biography on a dutch website. Her real name was Kitty Prins.

"She was born in Groningen, The Netherlands. She was not only a singer, but a professional painter as well. However her carreer in our country never really got from the ground. She was more succesfull in Vlaanderen (the Dutch speaking part of Belgium). She also had a fan-club in South Africa and she had contacts with the Country Music Assocation in the VS, where she perfromed in the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
After being seriously disappointed in The Netherland by people breaking contracts and so on, she decided to move to Vlaanderen permanently. Untill 1981 she presented a country show on Belgian radio. The last years of her life she spent painting. The website isn't clear about her birth and death date (1900-1900?)."

Thanks for that Jan.

Texas Kitty - Just A Little Lovin'

Texas Kitty - New Mule Skinner Blues

Texas Kitty - My Sweet Love Ain't Around

Texas Kitty - My Love For You

Texas Kitty - I Don't Care

Texas Kitty - Mule Train Yodel

Texas Kitty - After Dark

Texas Kitty - Granma's Old Grey Car

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Charlie Gillett - Honky Tonk 1977 - Ian Dury

I'm sure all fans of the late Charlie Gillett and Ian Dury will enjoy this programmme on Radio London from 1977 - not sure of the exact date recorded just as New Boots & Panties was being released. Dury engages us with some poetry and an eclectic choice of records and some entertaining banter between the two.

Wikipedia says of Dury-

"Dury was born in north-west London at his parents' home at 43 Weald Rise, Harrow Weald, Harrow (although he often pretended, and indeed all but one of his obituaries in the national press stated, that he was born in Upminster, Havering). His father, William, was a bus driver and former boxer, while his mother Margaret (known as Peggy) was a health visitor, the daughter of a Cornish doctor, and granddaughter of an Irish landowner.

William Dury trained with Rolls-Royce to be a chauffeur, and was then absent for long periods, so Peggy Dury took Ian to stay with her parents in Cornwall. After the Second World War, the family moved to Switzerland, where his father chauffeured for a millionaire and the Western European Union. In 1946 Peggy brought Ian back to England and they stayed with her sister, Mary, a physician in Cranham, a small village bordering Upminster. Although he saw his father on visits, they never lived together again.

At the age of seven, he contracted polio; very likely, he believed, from a swimming pool at Southend on Sea during the 1949 polio epidemic. After six weeks in a full plaster cast in Truro hospital, he was moved to Black Notley Hospital, Braintree, Essex, where he spent a year and a half before going to Chailey Heritage Craft School, East Sussex, in 1951. Chailey was a school and hospital for disabled children, and believed in toughening them up, contributing to the observant and determined person Dury became. Chailey taught trades such as cobbling and printing, but Dury's mother wanted him to be more academic, so his aunt Moll arranged for him to enter the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe which he attended until the age of 16 when he left to study painting at Walthamstow Art College, having gained GCE 'O' Levels in English Language, English Literature and Art.

From 1964 he studied art at the Royal College of Art under British artist Peter Blake, and in 1967 took part in a group exhibition, Fantasy and Figuration, alongside Pat Douthwaite, Herbert Kitchen and Stass Paraskos at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London.[6] When asked why he did not pursue a career in art, he said, "I got good enough [at art] to realise I wasn't going to be very good."[citation needed] From 1967 he taught art at various colleges in the south of England.

Dury married his first wife, Betty Rathmell, in 1967 and they had two children, Jemima and the recording artist Baxter Dury. Dury divorced Rathmell in 1985, but remained on good terms."

Charlie Gillett - Ian Dury Part 1

Charlie Gillett - Ian Dury Part 2

Friday, March 19, 2010

Calypso Carnival (Re-Up)

Scouring the archives I thought I had uploaded this one before but I couldn't find it so here it is. It was released in 60's on the Melodisc label inthe U.K. The blurb on the back of the 10" sleeve proclaims -

"In this album you not only have Calypsos in different, colourful and contrasting styles from Trinidad's leading calypsonians in The Lion's "COME PUNKSIE", a contsant favourite to George Browne, The Roving "trooperdor" singing "The Single Man", an old Jewish melody - to the Mighty Terror expressing in "Chinese Children" grave predicament with seriousness and feeling which is undoubtedly felt by many today.
Perhaps it was at this stage Meloldisc Records Ltd. decided to give "Calypso Carnival" a fuller Federal Caribbean flavour and leaving Trinidad to the South they proceeded North to Jamaica for haunting mentos by Tony Johnson and Eric Hayden - the former giving his advice and opinion on the Smarter Sex. Leaving Jamaica they go to Haiti for the Calypso Merangue "Stone Cold Man" by the Charmer. This is the current craze in the Caribbean, Norht and South America. In this you will note strong French influence, but unlike the French in "Sone Cold Man" the blame is on the wife. Please excuse the jumps and crackles. "

Discover more about calypso HERE.

Lord Kitchener - Big Toe

George Brown - Single Man

Eric Hope - Give Her The No. 1

The Lion - Come Punksie

The Charmer - Stone Cold Man

Little Nora - Tomato

The Mighty Terror - Chinese Children

Tony Johnson - Man Smart, Woman Smarter

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Charlie Gillett 1942 - 2010

Very sad news today of the death of Charlie Gillett - one of the greatest DJ's and knowledgeable broadcasters/writers about popular music ever.
I followed his radio shows avidly from the early days of Radio London's pioneering "Honky Tonk" in the early 70's to the latest world music shows on BBC Radio 3. Charlie's calming soothing voice was the perfect antidote to all those other DJ's who sounded like they were shouting by comparison. He obviously loved all the music he played and that came across in his shows.
I used to send him mix-tapes of my scratchy market finds back in the 80's ( the cassette equivelent of this blog!) and he seemed to enjoy them - so much so he invited over to Capital Radio , the station he was working for at the time, to play some of them.
It was a very nerve racking experience but one I shall never forget. Charlie was the perfect host and tried to put me at my ease as he could see I wasa nervous wreck!
He gave me a lift home afterwards and when he saw I lived next to a pub in Lambeth Walk he said " Blimey, I used to put bands on at that pub a few years ago , I hope they didn't make too much noise!"

Wikipedia says-

Gillett was born in Morecambe, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom. He began in journalism in 1968 with a weekly column in the Record Mirror. His 1970 book, The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll, originally written as his Master's thesis for Columbia University, was a seminal history of popular music. It received excellent reviews in both Time magazine and The New York Times and enabled Gillett to further his music journalism career and to write a second book, Making Tracks. He wrote for a variety of music magazines including Rolling Stone and New Musical Express and contributed to The Observer.

He began a weekly radio programme, Honky Tonk on Radio London in 1972, leaving in 1978. He brought Ian Dury to public attention, and was the first DJ to play demos by Graham Parker, Elvis Costello and Dire Straits ("Sultans of Swing"). In the latter case, significant numbers of London's A&R men had contacted Gillett's studio by the time he had finished playing the song - sending Dire Straits on their journey to global stardom.

With partner Gordon Nelki, Gillett launched the Oval record label in 1974 with Another Saturday Night, a compilation album which popularised Cajun music in the UK. The duo managed Ian Dury's first group Kilburn & the High Roads, co-produced the first Lene Lovich album (including the hit "Lucky Number") and published Paul Hardcastle's worldwide number one hit, "19". More recently they worked with record producer David Lowe on the projects Touch and Go (including the pan-European hit "Would You...?") and Dreamcatcher.

In 1980 Gillett joined Capital Radio, and began to play more independent music. He was fired in 1983, but after listener complaints was re-hired with orders for a new format. He chose to follow his new interest in music from the rest of the world and his show, A Foreign Affair, is credited with helping to launch 'world music'.Having been the first British DJ to play Youssou N'Dour, Salif Keita, "Hot Hot Hot" by Arrow (Alphonsus Cassell) and many more, he left Capital in December 1990. He was presented with the Sony Gold Lifetime Achievement Award the following year."

Obituary in The Guardian HERE

Here's one of my favourite shows when Charlie used to pick a different theme every week on Capital Radio back in the 80's- this one is "Letters".

Charlie Gillett- Capital Radio - Letters

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Another LP from The Mighty Sparrow who has dropped the Mighty from this 1984 LP on the B's Records label. Recorded in New York and very much more "Soca" than the calypso in days of old.

"Slinger Francisco, better known as The Mighty Sparrow, affectionately dubbed, The Birdie is the unrivaled Calypso King of the World, with a career that spans over 40 years and counting. This artist par excellence has earned his rightful place as "King of the Calypso World" by defeating every other competitor/pretender to his throne. He has entertained audiences across the globe, including, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America, to name but a few.

Sparrow's roots are in Gran Roi, a rural fishing village in Grenada. He was born to a poor working class family. They migrated to his adopted homeland, Trinidad, when he was just one year old. He attended the New Town Boys School where he was selected to sing in the boys. choir of St. Patrick's Catholic Church. This was his initial involvement in music. The harmonics of the Gregorian Chants and the Plainsongs of the church that were embedded in him would later affect the depth and intensity of his compositions. His vocal abilities also reflect his childhood role as the head choirboy who sang baritone and tenor in Latin in the church."

Sparrow - Don't Back Back

Sparrow - BYO

Sparrow - Marajhin Cousin

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Carson Robison (Re-Up)

My CD recorder is busted at the moment so can't upload any vinyl just now, so here's a couple of CD tracks from some 78's at the Country & Western Music Archive. I remember him best from his song "The Runaway Train" that was constantly featured on Children's Favourites on the radio during the 50's and 60's.

Wikipedia says-

"Carson Jay Robison (August 4, 1890 - March 24, 1957) was an American country music singer and songwriter. He was also known as Charles Robison.
Born Carson Jay Robison in Oswego, KS. His first professional job was as a singer and whistler at radio station WDAF (Kansas City, MO). In 1924 he moved to New York City and was signed to his first recording contract with Victor Records. From 1928 to 1931 he teamed with Frank Luther and recorded songs. In 1932, he started his own band and continued touring and recording through the 1930s and 1940s. In the late 1940s and early 1950s he appeared on the Grand Ole Opry.
Although he played country music for most of his career, he is also remembered for writing "Barnacle Bill The Sailor" with music composed by Frank Luther.
Carson Robison died in 1957 in Poughkeepsie, NY and was posthumously inducted into Country Music Hall of Fame in 1971."

Carson Robison - Cross-Eyed Sue

Carson Robison - Peg-Leg Jack

Carson Robison - Didn't He Ramble

Carson Robison - The Bum Song

Little Jack Little (Re-Up)

An excerpt from a radio show dubbed to a tape that a friend sent me a few months back. Not much info. about Little Jack Little could be found at the time but since then a few more snippets of his biography have emerged. Recorded at the Green Room of the Edison Hotel in New York.

Songs include-

1. Hortense
2. You Taught Me To Love Again
3. Crazy Rythym
4. Bolero Medley

"Little Jack Little was a 1930s bandleader and singer who enjoyed a major hit with "Hold Me" in the mid-'30s -- another song with which he was closely associated was "You Oughta Be in Pictures." He was a master of a singing-talking technique that was popular in the 1930s, and he was successful until his violinist, Mitchell Ayres (aka Mitchell Agress), bolted from the orchestra with some of its other best members and formed their own band. Little later led a bolero rhythm orchestra -- he is best remembered by Honeymooners fans for his mention, alongside Basil Fomeen and Ted Fiorito, by Jackie Gleason's Ralph Kramden in the episode "Young at Heart," as he recalls the bands that used to play at the Sons of Italy Hall in Brooklyn. Little passed away in 1955."

Discover more about Little Jack Little HERE.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Lonnie Donegan

A scratchy LP on the Pye label from the late 50's with some frantic live tracks recorded at the London Palladium in 1957 and a few hits including Grand Coulee Dam , Tom Dooley and Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It's Flavour On The Bedpost Overnight. You can hear plainly why the youth of the day including the likes of John Lennon and Paul MacCartney loved this so much and made them rush out to get a guitar!

"He formed his own group, the Tony Donegan Jazz Band, in 1952. They were successful enough that the National Jazz Federation asked the band to play a show at Festival Hall with American ragtime pianist Ralph Sutton and blues/jazz legend Lonnie Johnson. The Federation had brought to the two over to England in defiance of a Musicians' Union ban on all foreign performers and needed a non-union band like Donegan's to play support for the two guests. The master of ceremonies at the show made a mistake in his announcement, introducing the American guitarist as "Tony Johnson" and the British banjo man as "Lonnie Donegan." The name stuck.

Donegan and his band eventually hooked back up with his old friend Chris Barber, who'd kept his band going throughout the previous two years, and eventually Barber and Donegan linked up with fellow jazzman Ken Colyer, into a kind of supergroup led by Colyer. The Ken Colyer Jazzmen, as they were called, specialized in Dixieland jazz, and built a formidible reputation, their shows popular in every club they played. It was during these shows, between sets by the full band, that Donegan would come on stage with two other players and perform his own version of American blues, country, and folk standards, punched up with his own rhythms and accents, on acoustic guitar or banjo, backed by upright bass and drums. The name "skiffle" was hung on this music as a way of referring to it on the group's posters. The word, according to Donegan, was suggested by Ken Colyer's brother Bill, who remembered an outfit called the Dan Burley Skiffle Group, based in Chicago in the 1930's. It seemed to fit, and it caught on; the Ken Colyer Jazzmen became almost as popular for Donegan's between-set skiffle songs as they were for their Dixieland music. "

Lonnie Donegan - Don't You Rock Me Daddy-O

Lonnie Donegan - Putting On The Style

Lonnie Donegan - Gamblin' Man

Lonnie Donegan - My Dixie Darling

Lonnie Donegan - Bring A Little Water Sylvie

Lonnie Donegan - Cumberland Gap