A CD Discography of the Music Hall

Does it go without saying that the music of the British (and, to a lesser extent, the Australian) music hall is burning up no Top 40 charts on either side of the Atlantic or Pacific?  Yes, it does.  Nearly.   Which is not to say that the songs made famous by music hall luminaries have vanished along with the memories of those patrons now in their dotage.  The compilation mania that has brought listeners box sets of artists who would've been hard-pressed to scratch together a decent Greatest Hits package during their eye-blink of fame has been relatively kind to the historical (and historic) recordings of the music hall.  Several U.K. labels have issued, with greater or lesser generosity, collections of the artists of the music hall in their heyday.  Or a decade or two past it.  Which is to quibble, as no other performance record exists of many of the greatest artists of that medium.  Below, I have listed compilations by title and label and have included a track listing for each title, as well as my admittedly-subjective views of each title.  As at my Obscure Stages bibliography site, I link titles, where possible, to amazon.com.  (UK visitors, I ask to search at amazon.co.uk.) 

Potential consumers should be aware of the widely-varying quality of the recordings.   While some recordings, particularly those from the '20s and even the '30s--arguably well past the golden age of music hall--retain decent or, occasionally, surprisingly-good fidelity, others sound as if they'd been recorded in a tin-roof shack during a hailstorm.  As long as one does not expect 21st-century fidelity from 19th-century recordings, one can appreciate even the scratchiest, hissiest performance, if only to snag a few fragments of music history.

Titles:

  1. Round The Town: Following Grandfather's Footsteps, A Night at the London Music Halls
  2. The Glory of the Music Hall, Volume I
  3. The Glory of the Music Hall, Volume II
  4. The Glory of the Music Hall, Volume III
  5. Windyridge CDs
  6. Cockney Kings of Music Hall
  7. The Golden Years of Music Hall
  8. Your Own...Your Very Own
  9. Masculine Women and Feminine Men
  10. Treading The Boards - Stars of Music Hall and Variety
  11. Great Days of Music Hall
  12. Boiled Beef and Cabbage: Australian Stars of the International Music Hall
  13. Is 'E An Aussie Is 'E Lizzie? Australian Stars of the International Music Hall


Round The Town: Following Grandfather's Footsteps, A Night at the London Music Halls, BCD 16021-1 DK, 16021-2 DK, 16021-3 DK, 16021-4 DK, Bear Family Records, P.O. Box 1154, D-27727, Hambergen, Germany.

The gold standard for music hall comps and a Tony Barker enterprise (he of Music Hall magazine) through and through, from producing the package through writing the liner notes to providing the discs and visual material.  106 songs on four CDs, a beautiful LP-sized 132-page hardcover book (that wouldn't look out of place on a tony coffee table) chock-full of bio material, sepia portraits and color reproductions of sheet music, and lyrics for each song, all printed on good stock paper. The track selection mixes the old warhorses with lesser-known material, all in great-sounding masterings.  Bear Family usually focuses on encyclopedic reissues for individual artists; this time, they, in collaboration with Barker, have crafted as desirable a mixed compilation as any from Rhino or any other industry leader.  My highest recommendation.

Disc I

  1. CHARLES COBORN Two lovely black eyes
  2. FLORRIE FORDE For Old Times' Sake/Daisy Bell
  3. FLORRIE FORDE Nellie Dean/After The Ball
  4. GUS ELEN 'E Dunno Where 'E Are
  5. CHARLES COBORN The Man Who Broke The Bank At Monte Carlo
  6. EUGENE STRATTON Lily of Laguna
  7. DAN LENO The Grass Widower
  8. BURT SHEPARD Has Anybody Seen Our Cat?
  9. PAT RAFFERTY How Do You Do?
  10. PETE HAMPTON Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home?
  11. HARRY FORD Can't You Take My Word?
  12. STANLEY KIRKBY The Galloping Major
  13. JOE O'GORMAN Bedelia
  14. STANLEY KIRKBY Following In Father's Footsteps
  15. FLORRIE FORDE The Bull & Bush
  16. BURT SHEPARD Mary Was A Housemaid
  17. GEORGE MOZART Callers
  18. VESTA VICTORIA Waiting At The Church
  19. WHIT CUNLIFFE Hello, Hello, Hello! It's A Different Girl Again
  20. VESTA VICTORIA I've Told His Missus All About Him
  21. HAMILTON HILL The Boys' Brigade
  22. VICTORIA MONKS There's A Girl Inside
  23. ALICE LLOYD You Splash Me And I'll Splash You
  24. G.H.ELLIOTT I'se A-waiting For Yer Josie
  25. VESTA VICTORIA The Next Horse I Ride On
  26. BILLY WILLIAMS The Taximeter Car
  27. ELLA RETFORD She's A Lassie From Lancashire

Disc II

  1. GEORGE FORMBY Funicula
  2. FLORRIE FORDE Oh! Oh! Antonio
  3. WILKIE BARD Sea Shells
  4. FLORRIE FORDE Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?
  5. HARRY FRAGSON Billy Brown
  6. GEORGE LASHWOOD My Latchkey
  7. HAPPY FANNY FIELDS The Suffragette
  8. MARK SHERIDAN I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside
  9. GEORGE LASHWOOD Send For A Policeman
  10. ELLA RETFORD Ship Ahoy! (All The Nice Girls Love A Sailor)
  11. HARRY FORD Don't You Think You've Overstepped The Margin?
  12. HARRY CHAMPION Boiled Beef And Carrots
  13. WILKIE BARD Come Up In My Balloon
  14. ALBERT WHELAN Fall In And Follow Me
  15. VESTA TILLEY Come And Be One Of The Midnight Sons
  16. HARRY CHAMPION Henry The Eighth
  17. PHIL RAY Seventeen (My Girl Is Only Seventeen)
  18. LITTLE TICH King Ki-Ki
  19. JACK PLEASANTS I'm Shy, Mary Ellen, I'm Shy
  20. G.H.ELLIOTT If You Should See A Dandy Coon
  21. BILLY MERSON They Can't Find Kelly
  22. NELSON JACKSON When Father Laid The Carpet On The Stairs
  23. JOCK WHITEFORD Adam Was A Scotchman
  24. BILLY MERSON The Spaniard That Blighted My Life
  25. JACK PLEASANTS I'm 21 Today
  26. GEORGE BASTOW Beauty Of The Guards
  27. ALBERT CHEVALIER My Old Dutch

Disc III

  1. GEORGE GRAVES Does This Shop Stock Shot Socks With Spots?
  2. GEORGE FORMBY Since I Had A Go At My Dumb-Bells
  3. MAY MOORE DUPREZ Won't you Come, Dear, Into The Park?
  4. CHAS R. WHITTLE Tommy Trouble
  5. MARIE LLOYD Every Little Movement Has A Meaning Of Its Own
  6. FRED EARLE In The Morning
  7. ELLA RETFORD I Want A Girl
  8. TOM WOOTTWELL How Dare They?
  9. ELLA RETFORD I'm Going Back To Dixie
  10. R.C.KNOWLES That's Philosophy
  11. MAIDIE SCOTT Father's Got A Job
  12. ALBERT WHELAN Casey Jones
  13. MARK SHERIDAN Who Were You With Last Night?
  14. ARTHUR LENNARD M.A.D.A.M.
  15. VICTORIA MONKS Hullo! Miss London
  16. MARK SHERIDAN They All Walk The Wibbly Wobbly Walk
  17. ERNEST SHAND Daily Mirror Front Page
  18. LITTLE TICH Curiosity
  19. FLORRIE FORDE Hold Your Hand Out, Naughty Boy
  20. GEORGE D'ALBERT Strip The Bed And Have Another Look
  21. VESTA TILLEY What Would The Seaside Be Without The Ladies?
  22. ERNEST SHAND Lloyd Jarge
  23. DAISY JAMES Popsy Wopsy
  24. BETH TATE Innocent Bessie Brown
  25. FRANK LEO Waiting For Further Evidence
  26. MAIDIE SCOTT The School Strike (We All Came Out On Strike)

Disc IV

  1. ELLA SHIELDS Burlington Bertie From Bow
  2. HARRY WELDON He's A 'Pro'
  3. GEORGE ROBEY The Mormon's Song
  4. ELLA SHIELDS Baa Lambs
  5. HARRY TATE How's Your Father?
  6. ZONA VEVEY The Lads From Our Village
  7. MORNY CASH I Will Have A Night Tonight
  8. SAM MAYO The Night Began To Fall
  9. NAT D. AYER That Charlie Chaplin Walk
  10. JACK PLEASANTS I Went A Jazzing
  11. NELLIE WALLACE Three Cheers For The Red, White And Blue
  12. GEORGE ROBEY Archibald Certainly Not!
  13. ERNIE MAYNE What D'yer Think Of That?
  14. OLIVE FOX Ma!
  15. SAM MAYO Things Are Worse In Russia
  16. JAY LAURIER Olga Petrovotski
  17. LILY MORRIS Why Am I Always The Bridesmaid?
  18. ALFRED LESTER I Do Like To Sing In My Bath
  19. ERNIE MAYNE Wireless On The Brain
  20. ALFRED LESTER Yes, We have No Bananas
  21. ELLA SHIELDS Show Me The Way To Go Home
  22. LILY MORRIS Only A Working Man
  23. NAT TRAVERS He's Moved In A Bigger House Now
  24. LILY MORRIS Don't Have Any More, Mrs. Moore
  25. BILLY BENNETT She Was Poor, But She Was Honest
  26. CHARLES PENROSE The Laughing Policeman

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The Glory of the Music Hall, Volumes I-III, GEMM CD 9475, 9476, 9477, Pavilion Records LTD., Sparrows Green, Wadhurst, E.Sussex, England.

A sweet collection, currently available only through Amazon UK as individual volumes.  Liner notes by Tony Barker are capsule bios nestled inside a scene-setting overview text.  Session information for each recording is included.  A well-assembled compilation from a strong reissue label, Pearl.

Volume I

  1. BILLY WILLIAMS Let's have a song upon the gramophone
  2. HERBERT CAMPBELL A seaside holiday at home
  3. CHARLES COBORN The man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo
  4. CHARLES COBORN Two lovely black eyes
  5. ARTHUR ROBERTS Topsy-turvy
  6. HARRY ANDERSON The Fishing Club
  7. BURT SHEPARD I wouldn't leave my little wooden hut for you
  8. HARRY RANDALL Something tickled her fancy
  9. ALBERT CHEVALIER Our little nipper
  10. R.G. KNOWLES Adam missed it
  11. R.G. KNOWLES The girl, the woman and the widow
  12. EUGENE STRATTON Little Dolly Daydream, pride of Idaho
  13. DAN LENO Wait 'til I'm his father!
  14. GUS ELEN Wait 'til the work comes round
  15. GUS ELEN Never introduce yer Donah to a pal
  16. GEORGE LASHWOOD There's another fellow looks like me
  17. ALEC HURLEY Piccaninny
  18. VESTA TILLEY What a nut!
  19. VESTA TILLEY There's a good time coming for the ladies
  20. HARRY CHAMPION You can't help laughing, can yer?
  21. HARRY CHAMPION Wotcher, my old brown son
  22. HARRY FRAGSON Paper-bag cookery
  23. LEO STORMONT Goodbye, Dolly Gray
  24. MARK SHERIDAN Belgium put the kibosh on the Kaiser
  25. MARK SHERIDAN Here we are again

Volume II

  1. HARRY FORD Poor, proud and particular
  2. LITTLE TICH Tally-ho!
  3. LITTLE TICH The best man
  4. GEORGE ROBEY The Editress
  5. GEORGE ROBEY The Servants' Registry Office
  6. MARIE LLOYD Something on his mind
  7. HARRY LAUDER Wee Jean McGregor
  8. HARRY LAUDER Rob Roy-Tam-o-Chanter O'Brian
  9. NELLIE WALLACE The cuckoo
  10. NELLIE WALLACE Mother's pie crust
  11. BELLE DAVIES The honeysuckle and the bee
  12. BEN ALBERT The honeysuckle and the bee
  13. BEN ALBERT While you wait
  14. LIL HAWTHORNE I'll be your sweetheart
  15. HARRY TATE Fishing
  16. SAM MAYO I was having my breakfast in bed
  17. SAM MAYO Put that gramophone record on again
  18. JACK PLEASANTS I shall sulk
  19. JACK PLEASANTS I'm shy, Mary Ellen
  20. ALBERT WHELAN Give it a smile
  21. ELLALINE TERRISS Everybody loves me
  22. WILKIE BARD I can say "truly rural"
  23. FLORRIE FORDE It's nice to have a friend
  24. FLORRIE FORDE The old "Bull and Bush"
  25. BILLY WILLIAMS Come into the garden John
  26. BILLY WILLIAMS Here we are again

Volume III

  1. ELLA SHIELDS If you knew Susie
  2. ALFRED LESTER Ours is a nice 'ouse, ours is
  3. ALFRED LESTER Germs
  4. GEORGE FORMBY, SR. Odds and ends, or Sunday Morning
  5. GEORGE FORMBY, SR. I kept on waving my flag
  6. MAIDIE SCOTT If the wind had only blown the other way
  7. BILLY MERSON The Spaniard who blighted my life
  8. G.H. ELLIOTT I've had my future told
  9. ERNIE MAYNE I can't do my bally bottom button up
  10. DOLLY CONNOLLY Moonlight bay
  11. MARGARET COOPER Agatha Green
  12. HARRY WELDON So long, Sally!
  13. HARRY WELDON What do you want to make
  14. MAY-MOORE DUPREZ Gretchen
  15. JAY LAURIER And it was
  16. GERTIE GITANA Anna Gray
  17. GERTIE GITANA Never mind
  18. JEN LATONA Rickety stairs
  19. CLARICE MAYNE & "THAT" Come over the garden wall
  20. CLARICE MAYNE & "THAT" Mr. and Mrs. Smith
  21. LILY MORRIS Don't have any more, Mrs. Moore
  22. DOROTHY WARD I want a girl
  23. NORAH BLANEY Oh, Mr. Porter!
  24. ALBERT CHEVALIER 'E can't take a roise out of oi!

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Windyridge CDs

The popularization of e-business has democratized and revolutionized retail. I will not bore Gentle Reader with a disquisition on the Internet's impact on commerce. However, relevant to the raison d'etre of this particular page is the fact that this democratization, popularization, and a number of other -zations has freed vendors, large and small, from onerous reliance on the vagaries and whims of the brick-and-mortar retail world and its denizens. The difficulty once experienced in obtaining music hall recordings on CD in what some call "meatspace" or, more prosaically, the material world of malls, stores, and uninformed buyers, has been alleviated to a great extent by the ability of vendors to sell their wares directly to a self-selecting public. And so, the advent of the Internet-based music hall CD business.

Windyridge, owned and operated by William J. Clark, is one such. From its website Windyridge sells a variety of CD-Rs of both the artist-oriented and theme-oriented variety. The four discs I discuss here share a design sensibility, presumably typical of the label's line: an illustrated CD-R, a back insert that lists tracks by Artist, Catalogue No., Matrix, and Recording Date, and a two-page sleeve that provides scanty biographic info for the artists included. I found it the discs a bit skimpy in terms of liner notes and other by-now-standard discographical, photographic, and anecdotal supplements. In terms of sound quality, in a randomly-selected head-to-head, I set Albert Chevalier's 1911 recording of 'My Old Dutch' from the Windyridge Chevalier set against the same from Bear Family's Round the Town collection. My preference is for the latter: the sound is warmer, the voice more present with less of the tinniness I found in the Windyridge cut. That said, Windyridge's sound restoration philosophy is noted on their website. Comparisons aside, each Windyridge disc balances well the twin tasks of superfluous-noise reduction and fidelity. The discs typify the notion that niche CD production can address flexibly the wants of a select audience, much in the way that reissue specialists Rhino and Hip-O have developed Internet-only, limited-run reissues via their Handmande and Select lines, respectively. (The following listings are verbatim from their respective inserts.)

Nellie Wallace & Maidie Scott - Mother's Advice

  1. NELLIE WALLACE Meet Me (The Sniff Song)
  2. NELLIE WALLACE Three Cheers for the Red White & Blue
  3. NELLIE WALLACE Half Past Nine
  4. NELLIE WALLACE Geranium
  5. NELLIE WALLACE Under the Bed
  6. NELLIE WALLACE Tally Ho!
  7. NELLIE WALLACE Cuckoo
  8. NELLIE WALLACE Mother's Pie Crust
  9. NELLIE WALLACE The Blasted Oak
  10. NELLIE WALLACE Three Times a Day
  11. NELLIE WALLACE Let's have a Tiddley at the Milk Bar
  12. NELLIE WALLACE Bang! Bang! Bang!
  13. MAIDIE SCOTT If the Managers Only Thought the Same as Mother
  14. MAIDIE SCOTT If the Wind had only Blown the Other Way
  15. MAIDIE SCOTT Father's Got a Job
  16. MAIDIE SCOTT The School Strike (We all came out on Strike)
  17. MAIDIE SCOTT Father got the Sack from the Waterworks
  18. MAIDIE SCOTT I'm glad I took my Mother's Advice
  19. MAIDIE SCOTT The Bird on Nellie's Hat
  20. MAIDIE SCOTT Since Father joined the Home Defence
  21. MAIDIE SCOTT Two Little Boys and the Apples
  22. MAIDIE SCOTT Being a Lady - I can't

Albert Chevalier, et al. - Costers & Cockneys
  1. ALBERT CHEVALIER My Old Dutch
  2. ALBERT CHEVALIER Our Little Nipper
  3. ALBERT CHEVALIER The Future Mrs. Hawkins
  4. ALBERT CHEVALIER The Fallen Star
  5. ALBERT CHEVALIER Wot ver do Ee luv Oi?
  6. ALBERT CHEVALIER What's the good of Anyfink?, or A Cockney Complaint
  7. ALBERT CHEVALIER 'E can't take a Roise out of Oi
  8. FRED EARLE I don't care what becomes of me
  9. FRED EARLE That's as far as I go
  10. FRED EARLE Meat, Meat, Meat
  11. FRED EARLE In the Morning
  12. GUS ELEN If I were King of England
  13. GUS ELEN 'Arf a Pint of Ale
  14. GUS ELEN The Pavement Artist
  15. GUS ELEN The Golden Dustman
  16. GUS ELEN 'E dunno where 'E are
  17. KATE CARNEY Are we to part like this, Bill?
  18. KATE CARNEY Ten Day's Leave
  19. KATE CARNEY Three Pots a Shilling
  20. DUNCAN & GODFREY The Coster's Courtship
  21. CHARLES RUSSELL The Coster Politician
  22. ALBERT CHEVALIER The Future Mrs. Hawkins

Chairman's Choice
  1. ARTHUR COLLINS Bill Bailey won't you please come home
  2. ROSIE LLOYD When I Take my Morning Promenade
  3. ALICE LLOYD Who are you getting at?
  4. DAISY WOOD One of the Ruins Cromwell knocked about a bit
  5. MARIE LLOYD JNR. I'd like to go again
  6. ALICE LLOYD The Nearer the Bone, The Sweeter the Meat
  7. MARIE LLOYD JNR. Don't Dilly-Dally on the Way
  8. CHARLES COBORN When I wants to see myself
  9. CHARLES COBORN It's so simple
  10. CHARLES COBORN The Man who broke the bank
  11. CHARLES COBORN He's All Right When You know him
  12. CHARLES COBORN Off she goes again
  13. CHARLES COBORN Two lovely Black Eyes
  14. NELSON JACKSON When Richard I sat on the Throne
  15. HETTY KING Oh Girls Why do you love the Soldiers
  16. HETTY KING I'm going away
  17. HARRY FRAGSON Billy Brown
  18. HARRY FRAGSON The Employment Agency
  19. HARRY FRAGSON Paper Bag Cookery
  20. HARRY FRAGSON The Other Department please
  21. YVETTE GUILBERT I will give you the keys to Heaven
  22. YVETTE GUILBERT I want yer ma honey
  23. EUGENE STRATTON Coon Drum Major
  24. EUGENE STRATTON I may be crazy but I love you
  25. EUGENE STRATTON Lily of Laguna
  26. EUGENE STRATTON Little Dolly Daydream
  27. G.H. CHIRGWIN My Fiddle is my Sweetheart
  28. G.H. CHIRGWIN The Jocular Joker
  29. G.H. CHIRGWIN Asleep in the deep
  30. G.H. CHIRGWIN Blind Boy

Music Hall Medleys
  1. TOM COSTELLO IN SONG MEMORIES I've made up my mind/The ship I love; Comrades/At Trinity Church I met my doom
  2. FLORRIE FORDE OLD TIME MEDLEY She's a lassie from Lancashire/Girls study your cookery book/Hello, Who's your lady friend/Susannah's long stocking/Down at the old Bull & Bush/Long way to Tipperary; Has anyone here seen Kelly?/Hold your hand out naughty boy/Flanagan/Oh Oh Antonio/Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag
  3. THE POPULAR SONGS OF BILLY MERSON The Lighthouse Keeper/The Spaniard that blighted my life/The Days when Knights were bold/I'm going away
  4. ELLA RETFORD SONGS MEDLEY Ship Ahoy/Molly O'Morgan/Take me back to dear Old Blighty; Has anyone seen a German band/Hey ho can't you hear the steamer/Irish and proud of it too
  5. HARRY CHAMPION OLD TIME MEDLEY I'm 'Enery the eighth/Cover it over quick Jemima/End of my old cigar; Old Red Lion/The best that money can buy/Boiled beef and carrots
  6. VESTA VICTORIA OLD TIME MEDLEY Waiting at the Church/He calls me his own Grace Darling/It's alright in the Summertime; Now I have to call him Father/Poor John/Daddy wouldn't buy me a bow-wow
  7. WILKIE BARD MEDLEY I want to sing in Opera/Let me sing; I can't reach that top note/O, O, capital O/Waiting here for Kate/My little deitcher girl/She sells sea shells; She cost me seven and sixpence/Chrysanthemums/Truly Rural/When the bugle calls/Don't play in the Shadows
  8. HARRY LAUDER MEDLEY I love a lassie/Saftest o' the Family/Stop yer ticklin' Jock/Waggie o' the kilt/It's nicer to be in bed/Keep right on to the end of the road; She is ma Daisy/We parted on the shore/Roamin' in the gloamin'/I've something in the bottle for the morning/Wedding of Sandy McNab/Lass of Killiecrankie/Wee Deoch and Doris
  9. SELECTION OF THE SONGS OF CLARICE MAYNE I was a good little girl 'till I met you/Nursie Nursie/Put on your ta-ta little girlie; Give me a cosy corner/Every little while/Joshua; A broken doll/I've got my eye on you/Come and cuddle me; Will he answer goo-goo/It's luvly to be in love/Georgie took me walking in the park

Cockney Kings of Music Hall, CD-SDL 413, Saydisc Records, Chipping Manor, The Chipping, Wotton-Under-Edge, GLOS. GL12 7AD, England.

No shortage of coster comedians here.  Another set of charming and informative notes from the ubiquitous Mr Barker, these generously-illustrated with portraits of the gentleman (and Missus Duncan).  Recording dates and other pertinent info for each track, presumably as available.

  1. GUS ELEN If It Wasn't For The 'ouses In Between
  2. HARRY CHAMPION Any Old Iron?
  3. ALBERT CHEVALIER The Future Mrs. 'awkins
  4. TOM WOOTWELL Wait a Minute
  5. FRED EARLE Meat! Meat!
  6. ERNIE MAYNE And The Fog Grew Thicker And Thicker
  7. DUNCAN AND GODFREY The Coster's Christening
  8. GEORGE BROOKS And His Day's Work Was Done
  9. CHARLES AUSTIN I've Only Been Married A Week
  10. FRED LAY The Penny Whistler
  11. HARRY CHAMPION I'm Getting Ready For My Mother-In-Law
  12. SAM MAYO I've Only Come Down For The Day
  13. HARRY BEDFORD The Germans Are Coming, So They Say
  14. BEN ALBERT Inquisitive Kiddie
  15. GUS ELEN Down The Road
  16. HARRY FORD The Day That I Become A Millionaire
  17. DAN LENO The May-Day Fireman
  18. HERBERT CAMPBELL Mamma's Darling Boy
  19. HARRY RANDALL Man!
  20. HERBERT DARNLEY My Next Door Neighbour's Garden
  21. NAT TRAVERS Won't Yer Buy Some Beer?
  22. RICH AND RICH The King of Karactacus
  23. ALBERT CHEVALIER Right As Ninepence
  24. CHARLES COBORN Should Husbands Work?
  25. HARRY CHAMPION Boiled Beef And Carrots

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The Golden Years of Music Hall, CD-SDL380, Saydisc Records, Chipping Manor, The Chipping, Wotton-Under-Edge, GLOS. GL12 7AD, England.

A Hugh Palmer compilation, with notes by same and photos courtesy of Barker.  Informative capsule bios and full-page portraits of some of the artists including an autographed one of Vesta Tilley in full-on military drag.  Recording date info provided as well.  A nice selection of the standards, useful as an intro to the genre for those who can't quite see the point of scratchy granpas bellowing before the Great War.

  1. MARK SHERIDAN Who Were You With Last Night?
  2. DAN LENO The Tower Of London (The Beefeater)
  3. ALBERT CHEVALIER My Old Dutch
  4. LITTLE TICH The Twenty-Third
  5. VESTA VICTORIA Look What Percy's Picked Up In The Park
  6. BILLY WILLIAMS Little Willie's Woodbines
  7. HARRY CHAMPION I'm Henery The Eighth
  8. JACK PLEASANTS I'm Shy, Mary Ellen, I'm Shy
  9. HARRY FRAGSON Hello! Hello! Who's Your Lady Friend?
  10. VESTA TILLEY Jolly Good Luck To the Girl Who Loves A Soldier
  11. MARIE LLOYD A Little Of What You Fancy
  12. GEORGE ROBEY And That's That!
  13. CLARICE MAYNE & "THAT" I Was A Good Little Girl Till I Met You
  14. ELLA SHIELDS Burlington Bertie From Bow
  15. GEORGE FORMBY, SR. Sailing
  16. HARRY LAUDER Roamin' In The Gloamin'
  17. GERTIE GITANA AND CHORUS Nellie Dean
  18. CHARLES COBORN The Man Who Broke The Bank At Monte Carlo
  19. FLORRIE FORDE Down At The Old Bull & Bush
  20. WILL FYFFE I Belong To Glasgow
  21. LILY MORRIS That's Where The Soldiers Go
  22. GUS ELEN A Great Big Shame
  23. HETTY KING Love 'em And Leave 'em Alone

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Your Own...Your Very Own, CD AJA 5004, Academy Sound and Vision LTD., 179-181 North End Road, London W14 9NL, England.

Tied-in, one presumes with the publication of a book by the same name authored by Peter Gammond, who then wrote the thin notes.  Not particularly generous with songs, for that matter.  Not essential.

  1. HARRY CHAMPION Don't Do It Again, Matilda
  2. MARIE LLOYD Every Little Movement Has a Meaning Of Its Own
  3. CHARLES COBORN Two Lovely Black Eyes
  4. DAN LENO Mrs Kelly
  5. GEORGE FORMBY, SR. One Of "The Boys"
  6. G.H. CHIRGWIN The Jocular Joker
  7. BILLY WILLIAMS Let's Go Where All The Crowd Goes
  8. BILLY MERSON The Photo Of The Girl I Left Behind Me
  9. JACK PLEASANTS I'm Twenty-One Today
  10. HARRY LAUDER Flower Of The Heather
  11. MAIDIE SCOTT If The Managers Only Thought The Same As Mother
  12. WILKIE BARD She Sells Sea Shells
  13. MARK SHERIDAN By The Sea
  14. LILY MORRIS Don't Have Any More, Missus Moore
  15. G.H. ELLIOTT Dinah
  16. ALBERT WHELAN Hello, Sunshine, Hello

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Masculine Women & Feminine Men, PAST CD 7072, Pavilion Records LTD., Sparrows Green, Wadhurst, E. Sussex, England.

A great theme collection (which is how the best of these comps are often assembled), this time featuring the famous cross-dressers of the music hall stage, along with a few artists not usually associated with performance en travesti.  Records courtesy of Tony Barker, who contributes some notes along with Charles Haynes.  Detailed recording info.  Neat neat neat, to quote Dave Vanian.

  1. GEORGE ROBEY The Bride
  2. VESTA TILLEY Monty from Monte-Carlo
  3. VESTA TILLEY Introduce me to the lady
  4. GEORGE ROBEY The Pro's Landlady
  5. ELLA SHIELDS Why did I kiss that girl?
  6. ELLA SHIELDS I'm not all there
  7. WILL EVANS The Mermaid
  8. GEORGE ROBEY The widow of Col. de Tracey
  9. VESTA TILLEY Aunt Matilda
  10. TOM WOOTWELL What do I want with a man?
  11. GERTIE GITANA Molly McGlory
  12. GEORGE ROBEY Good Queen Bess
  13. VESTA TILLEY Where are the girls
  14. G.S. MELVIN Gladys, the Girl Guide
  15. HETTY KING What does a sailor care?
  16. HETTY KING Fill 'em up!
  17. DOUGLAS BYNG Naughty Nellie Gwyn
  18. DOUGLAS BYNG Flora McDonald
  19. HETTY KING Tell her the old, old story
  20. DOUGLAS BYNG At the ball
  21. VESTA TILLEY Let's make a night of it

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Treading The Boards - Stars of Music Hall and Variety, CONIFER CDHD 154, Conifer Records, Horton Road, West Drayton, Middlesex UB7 8JL, England.

A bit of a hodge-podge: tracks recorded between 1927 and 1934, on what the uncredited liner notes describe as the cusp between music hall and variety.  Most of the old guard are well past their prime by this point, but it's a nice comp nonetheless.  Some of the unavoidables (The Spaniard That Blighted My Life, Goodbye Dolly Gray) alongside peppier novelties.  That said, the notes are thin, less so the recording info.

  1. BILLY MERSON The Photo Of The Girl I Left Behind Me
  2. GUS ELEN The Golden Dustman
  3. TOMMY HANDLEY Misery Farm
  4. ROBB WILTON I Should Say So
  5. FLORRIE FORDE A Bird In A Gilded Cage
  6. CHARLIE HIGGINS I'm A Daddy At 63
  7. NORMAN LONG My Little Austin Seven
  8. GEORGE ROBEY It's The First Time I've Ever Done That
  9. RANDOLPH SUTTON You Ought To Know Better, A Big Girl Like You
  10. G.H. ELLIOTT Little Dolly Daydream
  11. MARIE LLOYD, JR. The Coster's Wedding
  12. BILLY BENNETT The Call Of The Yukon
  13. ALBERT WHELAN (a) She's Only Been With Us A Week (b) Jolly Brothers
  14. LESLIE SARONY What Can You Give A Nudist On Her Birthday?
  15. GEORGE ROBEY A Little Idea Of My Own
  16. HETTY KING Fill 'Em Up
  17. GUS ELEN 'E Dunno Where 'E Are
  18. ALBERT WHELAN (a) You Can't Understand The Ladies (b) Sizilietta
  19. HARRY WELDON I'm Going Home To See If I've Gone Home
  20. LILY MORRIS Because He Loves Me
  21. BILLY MERSON The Spaniard That Blighted My Life
  22. SANDY POWELL (WITH 'LITTLE PERCY') The Lost Policeman
  23. G.H. ELLIOTT Sunny Skies
  24. FLORRIE FORDE Goodbye, Dolly Gray

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Great Days of Music Hall, EMPRESS RAJCD 834, Empress Recording Company, c/o P.O. Box 25E, Ashford, Middlesex, TW15 1XL, England.

Another intro comp, the usual suspects lined up for inspection, but just enough different ones to keep you biting.  Or at least me.  Every Little Movement and My Old Dutch and Burlington Bertie and so forth and so on.  Actually, enough of the stand-bys are collected here, that it serves as a good start to a collection.  That said, thin notes and zero recording info.  Truly a no-frills generalist's disc.

  1. VESTA TILLEY Jolly Good Luck To The Girl Who Loves A Soldier
  2. BILLY WILLIAMS When Father Papered The Parlour
  3. LITTLE TICH The Gas Inspector
  4. EUGENE STRATTON I May Be Crazy
  5. FLORRIE FORDE Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly
  6. GEORGE ROBEY Archibald Certainly Not
  7. ELLA SHIELDS Burlington Bertie From Bow
  8. EUGENE STRATTON Lily Of Laguna
  9. MARIE LLOYD Every Little Movement
  10. ALBERT CHEVALIER My Old Dutch
  11. DOUGLAS BYNG Naughty Victorian Days
  12. DAN LENO The Mocking Bird
  13. GUS ELEN It's A Great Big Shame
  14. GUS ELEN 'Arf A Pint Of Ale
  15. ALBERT WHELAN The Three Trees
  16. ALBERT WHELAN The Preacher And The Bear
  17. BILLY WILLIAMS Don't Send My Boy To Prison
  18. ELLA RETFORD Medley: Ship Ahoy/Molly O'Morgan/Take Me Back To Dear Old Blighty/Has Anyone Seen A German Band/Hey! Ho! Can't You Hear The Steamer/Irish And Proud Of It Too.
  19. HARRY FAY PC 49
  20. CHARLES COBURN Two Lovely Black Eyes
  21. NELLIE WALLACE Three Times A Day

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Boiled Beef and Cabbage: Australian Stars of the International Music Hall, CD LRH 325, Larrikin Entertainment PTY Ltd, PO Box 437, Newtown, NSW 2042, Australia.

The theme this time is music-hallers from Oz, and a fine pair of comps it and its sibling (below) are.  Heavy on the Florrie Forde, Albert Whelan, and Billy Williams, and well-mastered, both volumes are well worth the investment.  Notes by Warren Fahey are arranged by artist and provide bio data and portraits.  Detailed recording info.  Well done.

  1. ALBERT WHELAN Some Girl
  2. ALBERT WHELAN So Will I
  3. FLORRIE FORDE Girls of the Clogs & Shawl
  4. FLORRIE FORDE Yip I Adee I Aye
  5. FLORRIE FORDE It Takes An Irish Hert To Sing An Irish Song
  6. BILLY WILLIAMS Wait Till I'm Old As Father
  7. BILLY WILLIAMS Where Does Daddy Go
  8. ALBERT WHELAN Binky-Doodle-I-Dub
  9. FLORRIE FORDE Lets Take A Stroll Around The Island
  10. FLORRIE FORDE Oh The Lady With The Glad Eye
  11. FLORRIE FORDE Oh! Charlie Charlie
  12. BILLY WILLIAMS I Must Go Home Tonight
  13. BILLY WILLIAMS Old Grey Coat
  14. ALBERT WHELAN Slippery Sam The Stoker
  15. ALBERT WHELAN Scrooge's Christmas Morning
  16. MALCOLM MCEACHERN A Chip Off The Old Block
  17. MALCOLM MCEACHERN Cheerily Yeo-Ho
  18. PAT HANNA The Gospel According To Cricket
  19. FLOTSAM & JETSAM Song of Love (Liebestraum No.3)
  20. ALBERT WHELAN P'Liceman! P'Liceman! Hold My Hand
  21. ALBERT WHELAN Have A Drop Of Gin Old Dear
  22. FLORRIE FORDE My Little Lovebird
  23. FLORRIE FORDE She's A Lassie From Lancashire

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Is 'E An Aussie Is 'E Lizzie?: Australian Stars of the International Music Hall, CD LRH 325, Larrikin Entertainment PTY Ltd, PO Box 437, Newtown, NSW 2042, Australia.

(annotation above)

  1. FLORRIE FORDE Medley: She's A Lassie From Lancashire, Girls Study Your Cookery Book, Hello! Hello! Who's Your Lady Friend, Susanna's Long Stocking, Down At The Old Bull And Bush, It's A Long Way To Tipperary, Has Anybody Seen Kelly?, Hold Your Hand Out Naughty Boy, Flanagan, Oh! Oh! Antonio, Pack Up Your Troubles
  2. FLORRIE FORDE Goodbye
  3. FLORRIE FORDE The Van Dam Family
  4. FLORRIE FORDE Mother's Had A Row With Father
  5. BILLY WILLIAMS Bobbing About In The Briny
  6. HARRY FAY In The Days That Are Coming Bye & Bye
  7. MR HAMILTON HILL Little Brown Man Of Japan
  8. BILLY WILLIAMS Money In The Bank
  9. BILLY WILLIAMS Settle Up Settle Down
  10. FLORRIE FORDE Mary's Ticket
  11. FLORRIE FORDE Come Into The Parlour, Charlie
  12. ALBERT WHELAN Give Yourself A Pat On The Back
  13. FLOTSAM & JETSAM Is 'E An Aussie Is 'E Lizzie?
  14. JETSAM Hello Ma
  15. FLOTSAM & JETSAM What Was The Matter With Rachmaninoff
  16. ALBERT WHELAN Children's Christmas--Jack & The Beanstalk
  17. ALBERT WHELAN Bathing In The Sunshine
  18. ALBERT WHELAN Topsy Turvy Talk
  19. MALCOLM MCEACHERN Young Tom O Devon
  20. MALCOLM MCEACHERN The Golden City of St Mary
  21. PAT HANNA The Gospel According To Racing

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Last revised: 7 September 2004.
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