Of all the singing stars of the 1920s, the one who has been most neglected in the current upsurge of interest in the period must be Cliff Edwards, or as he was universally known, ‘Ukulele Ike‘. Yet there was a time – and quite a long time – when he was a recording artist who had million-sellers, a film actor of accomplishment and a top-line draw in vaudeville. Almost single-handed, his records and broadcasts …read more »
The mass conscription of the First World War led to women replacing men in many factories and offices, where they were industrious, and for the first time liberated from what was often a tedious and boring home life. After the war, many stayed on, finding that a career of their own was a welcome alternative to becoming a household drudge or a fading spinster. They had considerable spending power from their own earnings which …read more »
Father Sydney MacEwan was unique, a man whose lyrical tenor voice brought him accolades from all over the world and made him one of Scotland’s greatest ambassadors, while at the same time following his vocation as a priest, serving his parishioners in his parish in Argyle. Few great artists have been able to bring happiness to others in such different spheres and in return have the contentment brought by the affection of his flock and …read more »
Ruth Etting – Ten Cents A Dance
The nightclubs, theatres, hotel cabarets and speakeasies of the mid-twenties brought forward several delectable young ladies who looked good and sounded even better when alone on stage with only a pianist and a solitary lime spotlight. Libby Holman, Marion Harris, Lee Morse and Annette Hanshaw were among the most sought after, but the girl who combined the maximum of smoochiness, pathos and sharp attack was the startlingly attractive …read more »
Frank Crumit – Mountain Greenery
The Twenties are generally regarded as a decade of hedonistic escapism. The ‘war to end all wars’ patently had not; riot and revolution were sweeping Europe. In the United States, bright young things were forgetting their troubles by dancing until dawn to whichever dance craze was current that particular week, smoking reefers supplied by ‘Smokie Joe’ or drinking gallons of bathtub gin at speakeasies. Flappers’ skirts crept higher as their …read more »
Thomas ‘Fats’ Waller was born in New York City on 21 May 1904 and by the time he was sixteen he had already written his first hit song ‘Squeeze Me’, and established a reputation as one of the most likeable and talented of the exponents of Harlem stride piano. He idolised James P. Johnson, who gave him lessons and encouragement and even got him his first job at Leroy’s Cabaret on 135th Street and Fifth …read more »
Twenty-five years after his death, Dick Powell’s films and records have had a remarkable renaissance with the contemporary interest in film musicals of the 1930s, particularly the extravagantly choreographed work of director Busby Berkeley. Powell’s dry humour and straight forward presentation made an ideal contrast to the visual hyperbole of Berkeley’s regiments of legs; tapping their way across the screen while waterfalls erupted, skyscrapers danced and girls were magically turned into electric violins. While all …read more »
While every city is unique and has its own special attractions, Paris has always had a particular magic. The leafy boulevards, the magnificent buildings and the dreamy Seine are a strong pull for tourists, but for visitors and Parisians alike, the varied and often spectacular entertainments appeal even more than the architecture. This record celebrates the singers and musicians who created that special delight in the years between the wars.
Maurice Chevalier opens the show …read more »
No one could doubt that George Formby was an easy going chap – with that great big grin and the knowing wink he made friends wherever he went. But despite his stage and film persona as a chirpy semi-imbecile, in reality George was a very sharp Lancashire lad. Together with his wife Beryl, who had the financial acumen in the family, they ran a very lucrative business. From the late Twenties they produced their own …read more »
We have become so accustomed to records, films and magnetic tapes, that we accept them as everyday household commodoties, but before Thomas Edison invented the Phonograph, the written word was the sole method of recording thoughts, speech or conversation; the actual sound of a voice could only be preserved in the memory of those who had actually heard the speaker.
The invention of the Phonograph was almost accidental. During 1877 Thomas Alva Edison was attempting …read more »