Kevin and George Formby, by Michael Daly

Kevin’s website wouldn’t be complete without an account of his lifelong passion – and it was a passion – for George Formby, an artist Kevin considered the greatest British entertainer of the twentieth century. He knew Formby and many of his colleagues and family members personally, shared recorded material with him, and was one of the founders of the George Formby Society...

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Kevin remembered, by Keith Nichols

I wish my Dad had been like Kevin – a real enthusiast – excited and motivated by music. I first met Kevin Daly in 1975, when he produced Richard Sudhalter’s New Paul Whiteman album for Argo. We hit it off – Kevin knew all that was to be known about my kind of music, plus owning a record collection of many thousands of discs. The Whiteman project was successful, and this led to my participation on many recordings, mainly conducted by Alan Cohen, who had recorded Ellington’s Black, Brown & Beige for Kevin...

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The Yetties and Mr O'Dalaigh, by Bonny Sartin

The Yetties and Mr O'Dalaigh, by Bonny Sartin

Kevin must have been worth his weight in gold to the Argo/Decca set up. We worked with him from 1970 until 1977 and he was always brim-full of ideas for new LPs with a slightly different twist, and he produced most of them on a shoestring budget. We used to take our sleeping bags to London and kip on his floor. There were no hotels for us in the early years, but in a way that suited us just fine because we would never have felt at home in them and staying with Kevin was much more interesting. His background was so very different from ours and between us we had a fund of stories that kept us laughing into the night over a glass of wine...

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Recording with Kevin, by Norma Winstone, MBE

Kevin always seemed relaxed at recording sessions, as I remember. Even when we once turned up for a recording at ‘The Paramount Organ Works’ in Bolton which felt like someone’s house with an organ sunk into the lounge floor if I remember correctly! It was actually the home of cinema organist Ron Curtis’s three organs, one of which did actually rise up on its original cinema mechanism...

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Working (and drinking) with Kevin, by Martin Atkinson

I was a recording engineer at Decca from 1976-1989 and knew Kevin, in fact I worked with him and Iain Churches recording Ron Curtis and one of his organs at Ron’s Paramount Organ Works in Bolton. We had to make two trips as the first trip ended in a drunken stupor at lunch time, with Ron being unable to play! As we couldn’t stay an extra day we had to re-schedule for a later date...

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Thanks Kevin! by Andy Leggett

In October 1969 I’d given up the day-job building Concordes at Filton to strum guitar with the Pigsty Hill Light Orchestra – a comedy quartet selling primitive jazz and jug-band music on the folk club circuit. The name of Kevin Daly kept cropping up. He had produced Argo LPs for other folk artistes, similarly equipped with stringed instruments and too much hair. Several were suggesting we should approach him...

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Recording with the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra, by John Whitmore

I was a member of the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra in the late 1960s and 70s and was lucky enough to have taken part in two recording sessions for Argo in 1970. The sessions were produced by Fred Woods with Kevin Daly as the sound engineer. I remember both Fred and Kevin with great affection. We were only teenagers at the time but the Argo team treated us as they would any adult professional group...

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Decca Outside-Recording Techniques, by Peter van Biene

I joined Decca in January 1962, and after a year I asked to be transferred from the electrical workshop to recording outside away from Decca studios. My first job was at Walthamstow Town Hall where Decca were recording on behalf of RCA/Readers Digest with producer Charles (Chuck) Gerhardt and engineers Ken Wilkinson and Michael Mailes. The recording technique was a development of the Decca system devised by Roy Wallace in 1954...

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Peter Dawson - Full Sail: Songs of the Sea

Peter Dawson - Full Sail: Songs of the Sea

All the songs on this recording deal with facets of life at sea. Some take a lyrical and starry-eyed view, A Sea Call is pure poetry and imagination, Full Sail more proud and aggressive. Wilfred Sanderson’s The Glory Of The Sea is a parent’s tribute to a son lost at sea while fighting for England’s honour, whereas We Saw The Sea reflects the sailor’s viewpoint. Irving Berlin was born only ten years after Sanderson, but their viewpoints are completely different...

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The Wonder of the Age - Mr. Edison's New Talking Phonograph

The Wonder of the Age - Mr. Edison's New Talking Phonograph

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...

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George Formby - Easy Going Chap

George Formby - Easy Going Chap

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 touring reviews, employing the supporting acts on salary...

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La vie Parisienne

La vie Parisienne

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...

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Dick Powell - On the Avenue

Dick Powell - On the Avenue

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 straightforward 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...

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Fats At The Organ

Fats At The Organ

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 Avenue...

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Frank Crumit - Mountain Greenery

Frank Crumit - Mountain Greenery

Without any doubt, Frank Crumit’s most popular song was Abdul Abulbul Amir, written by the Irish composer Percy French in 1890, and set during the Crimean War. It is still one of the most requested items on BBC nostalgia shows, and it led to several follow-up versions where Abdul and his perennial adversary Ivan Skavinsky Skavar refought their battle in evermore complex fashion. The original 78rpm record was so popular that it was re-issued by public demand in 1953, twenty-five years after its first appearance...

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Ruth Etting - Ten Cents a Dance

Ruth Etting - Ten Cents a Dance

Throughout her ten-year recording career, Ruth Etting had the pick of America’s songwriters and musicians working with her. The list of composers and lyricists reads like a Who’s Who of Tin Pan Alley – Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, the ukulele-playing Buddy de Sylva, Lew Brown, Ray Henderson, Johnny Green, Yip Harburg, Al Dubin, Joe Burke, Jack Yellen, Milton Ager, Gus Kahn and Walter Donaldson...

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Father Sydney MacEwan - The Road to the Isles

Father Sydney MacEwan - The Road to the Isles

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 his other friends scattered in different countries in their millions...

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Flappers, Vamps, and Sweet Young Things

Flappers, Vamps, and Sweet Young Things

Flappers, Vamps and Sweet Young Things were by no means the only young women about during the 1920s, but these particular classifications are ones that readily spring to mind when describing the world of the jazz age. Flappers were the young, pretty, good-time girls; barely into their twenties, but already with experiences that their mothers had never known (nor in most cases, would wish to)...

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Cliff Edwards - The Hottest Man In Town

Cliff Edwards - The Hottest Man In Town

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 made the ukulele the most popular musical instrument in America, and his virtuoso playing sold thousands of ukes to aspiring young players...

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