A song from the pens of the brilliant and prolific songwriting team of R.P. Weston (lyrics) and Bert Lee (music) (who else could ever rhyme “Persia” with “curse ya”?), A Proper Cup of Coffee was, to my knowledge, first performed […]
I am indebted to Maria for inspiring this blog post. Following the performance at Leighton House last Sunday, she was now looking for a new repertoire of songs for her choirs, and was gravitating towards the skiffle and trad of […]
Maria and I were randomly talking this evening about ideas for future performances. And thus it was that I ended up revealing one of my closet passions when I began waxing lyrical about Vernon Dalhart, Bob Willis, Jimmie Rodgers, Merle […]
Another great song, one I think we’ll all know in one version of another (my own favourite was always the 1931 recording by Jack Teagarden, Joe Venuti, and Eddie Lang). But today, celebrating its centenary, we offer the original recording […]
I imagine that Yip Harburg is unlikely to be the first name to spring to your lips if asked to name a famous American songwriter from the Thirties. So you’ll probably be surprised to discover that you know many of […]
“Well, I gave my youth to king and country, But what’s my country done for me but sentenced me to misery. I traded my helmet and my parachute For a pair of crutches and a demob suit” An unusual choice […]
Here’s a treat: Marie Lloyd’s My Old Man Said Follow the Van, written in 1919 by Fred W. Leigh and Charles Collins, in this utterly wonderful performance by Jessie Wallace. Although humorous, the song (according to its Wikipedia entry): reflects […]
Malvina Reynolds? Peggy Seeger? Rosalie Sorrels? Dory Previn? Joan Baez? Buffy Sainte-Marie? Judy Collins? Ani Difranco? Certainly some outstanding names there; but no, the most important and most influential female folk singer (and protest singer and political activist) of the […]
It’s one of those songs that we’ve all known forever. Published in 1921, the lyrics by Raymond B. Egan and Gus Kahn, music by Richard A. Whiting, and recorded here by Gus Van and Joe Schenck, the song had first […]
Maria and I had a great time last Thursday morning presenting our first Protest Songs workshop at Brompton Cemetery Chapel in Fulham Rd, Kensington, covering the period from 1381 to the end of the 19th century. A bit rushed, trying […]
No comment to this, one of my favourite songs, written by one of my favourite writers (Yip Harburg) and sung by one of my favourite singers (Rudy Vallee), other than that this heralds in our coming season of “Protest Songs” […]
From some time around 1939, this recording by Ronald Frankau and Tommy Handley of a song I learned as a small child.
Those of you who know Radio Days well will know that we’ve a bit of a ‘thing’ about George Formby. Those of you who know us really well will know we’re also huge fans of Formby’s mentor, Cliff Edwards (“Ukulele […]
It was some time in the late 1960s that I bought a compilation album that featured among its tracks a 1931 recording by the Mills Brothers of ‘Sweet Sue’. I’d listened to it a number of times before it dawned […]
I adore the popular songs of the beginning of the 20th century, whether English, French, or American. (There’s probably a great deal more from the rest of the world, with regard to which I must alas plead shameful ignorance.) Some […]
We love this clip! Filmed on 7th March 1931, this Fox Movietone News Story shows scenes from a French amateur dance competition (“championat de France de danse moderne amateur”). We especially love the guys dancing solo from minute 4:00 onwards–I […]
I’m not sure of the date of composition of this fabulous song written and composed by Charles Ridgewell and George A. Stevens, though Mark Sheridan’s original version pre-dates Stanley Kirkby’s recording by at least (I think) a couple of years. […]
I’m always fascinated at the way that songs can seem to take on a life of their own, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse, as they pass from generation to generation. P.J. Proby’s 1964 recording of Hold […]
I admit it–I’m a huge fan of Marie Lloyd. A kind of real-life Betty Boop in some ways, she was by far the greatest and most charismatic singer of her era. A few days ago, Radio Days performed an online […]
An unusual choice this week, prompted by my having recently bought a first edition of Albert Chevalier’s 1901 memoirs, Before I Forget. Chevalier wrote this song, with music composed by his brother Charles Ingle (born Auguste Chevalier), in 1891. It’s […]
Many orchestras recorded Limehouse Blues but none, in our opinion, ever matched that of Bert Ambrose.
We love this song. So much, in fact, that María has now added it to her repertoire for our ‘holidays and leisure’ theme. Jack Charman sings All The Girls Are Lovely By The Seaside, a very popular song of the […]
I guess the place we have to start this week is with a 1932 cartoon. I’ve been an ardent fan of Betty Boop and Popeye cartoons since I discovered them as a schoolboy in the 1960s (there’d been a Popeye […]
First recorded in October 1932 by Jack Hylton and his Orchestra with Phyllis Robins on vocals (though first performed in the theatre in August 1932 revue Words and Music by Joyce Barbour, Steffi Duna, Norah Howard and Doris Hare), Mad […]
Recording as ‘North & South’, the great Tommy Handley & Ronald Frankau sing Riding On A Camel and, on the flip side, Moscow (1929). Tommy Handley and Ronald Frankau were an odd pairing for a double act, Handley was a […]
Britain’s heartthrob of the 1930s, Al Bowlly, sings ‘Melancholy Baby’.
It’s very unlike us to post anything by a contemporary singer, but this song and video by Janet Klein really deserve showcasing. So far as we’ve been able to ascertain, the song is self-penned and yet brilliantly captures the mood […]
Bit late in posting this (already posted to our Facebook page). There are a heck of a lot of singers and musicians who have recorded ‘Story Weather’ over the years. If pushed to choose one recording, it would have to […]
A singer for whom I’ve long had a soft spot, Ronald Frankau sings ‘Fanny Is Evacuated Now’ (1941).
We today think of ‘globalisation’ as a phenomenon of the latter part of the 20th century. There was, however, a moment in the years between the end of the First World War and the beginning of the Second World War […]