Round the Town: Following Grandfather's Footsteps - A Night at the London Music Hall

Round the Town: Following Grandfather's Footsteps - A Night at the London Music Hall


A four-CD collection dedicated to the golden age of English music hall, Round the Town collects together 106 performances, dating between 1901 and 1930, largely culled from original Edison cylinders and, subsequently, 78s. What this means on the most immediate level is that the sound quality is frequently appalling -- perhaps half of each disc is of little more…  See more details below


A four-CD collection dedicated to the golden age of English music hall, Round the Town collects together 106 performances, dating between 1901 and 1930, largely culled from original Edison cylinders and, subsequently, 78s. What this means on the most immediate level is that the sound quality is frequently appalling -- perhaps half of each disc is of little more than academic value, as every sonic flaw to which the original format was heir is reproduced with stunning digital clarity, while the actual performance crackles away in the distance someplace. At the same time, however, much of this material is of such unutterable rarity that simply being able to hear it at all is a godsend. As always with Bear Family releases, the packaging is superlative. Round the Town comes complete with a 12 X 12 hardbound book written and annotated by Tony Barker, editor of the British Music Hall magazine. Full color throughout (even when that simply means sepia tones), it features brief biographies of each of the performers featured, together with song lyrics, discographical information, and photographs -- mountains of photos, including original records, sheet music, playbills, and more. Taken alone, it is perhaps the most lavish and informative overview of its subject ever published. Accompanied by four CDs, it will thrill all but the most morose enthusiast. An astonishing number of the songs herein remain a part of the modern musical language, in the U.K. if not elsewhere. The blurb on the back of the box points out that music hall was a major influence on the work of such rock and pop icons as Ian Dury, Squeeze, Morrissey, and Ray Davies. But even if such a recommendation could prompt you to rush out and buy a copy now, even that is small potatoes when compared to the staying power of the music itself. Many of the featured artists barely rank as footnotes in modern musical history. Chas McDevitt speaks glowingly of George Formby in his authoritative history of the British skiffle movement, Skiffle, imbibing the ukulele-playing urchin's 1930s recordings with the same passionate rebellion as later generations might bestow upon Elvis Presley or the Sex Pistols. Closer inspection, however, reveals the George Formby featured here to be the father of the iconoclast -- which does not minimize the joy of his recordings, but does rather prove that earlier point. How many people even knew that George Formby had a performing parent? Songs like "Daisy Bell," "Two Lovely Black Eyes," "Has Anybody Seen Our Cat?," "All the Nice Girls Love a Sailor," "Popsy Wopsy," and "Yes, We Have No Bananas," on the other hand, have survived close to a century without losing any of their appeal or their familiarity -- wistfully, one wonders whether any of today's music will prove just as evocative 100 years from now. Or whether elements of it will be incorporated into the pop hits of the future with as much élan. Queen lifted a chorus of Mark Sheridan's 1909 hit, "I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside," for its "Seven Seas of Rhye"; Harry Champion's "Henry the Eighth" topped the U.S. chart in 1965 (courtesy of Herman's Hermits, a full 54 years after it was originally cut). Charles Penrose's maniacally infectious "The Laughing Policeman" was still a British radio favorite into the 1970s, and Jack Pleasants' "21 Today" remains in common birthday currency even now. And so on for some four hours of music -- some timeless, some terribly dated, and some an indistinct whistling beneath the crackle and hiss. For even seasoned fans and collectors of music hall, Round the Town is a journey of discovery, paved with gold and littered with junk, but rarely dull and never uninteresting. An awful lot has changed in the last 100 years. But laughter, love, lust, and lewdness, the principle themes of much of this collection, have barely altered one iota. The spirit of music hall has always been with us. Round the Town allows us to sample its flesh as well.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Bear Family

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Disc 1

  1. Two Lovely Black Eyes  - Charles Coborn
  2. For Old Times' Sake/Daisy Bell  - Florrie Forde
  3. Nellie Dean/After the Ball  - Florrie Forde
  4. E Dunno Where 'E Are  - Gus Elen
  5. The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo  - Charles Coborn
  6. Lily of Laguna  - Eugene Stratton
  7. The Grass Widower  - Dan Leno
  8. Has Anybody Seen Our Cat?  - Burt Shepard
  9. How Do You Do?  - Pat Rafferty
  10. Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home  -  Pete Hampton
  11. Can't You Take My Word?
  12. The Galloping Major  - Stanley Kirkby
  13. Bedelia  - Joe O'Gorman
  14. Following in Fathers Footsteps  - Stanley Kirkby
  15. The Bull & Bush  - Florrie Forde
  16. Mary Was a Housemaid  - Burt Shepard
  17. Callers  - George Mozart
  18. Waiting at the Church
  19. Hello, Hello, Hello! It's a Different Girl Again  - Whit Cunliffe
  20. I've Fold His Missus All About Him
  21. The Boys' Brigade  - Hamilton Hill
  22. There's a Girl Inside  - Victoria Monks
  23. You Splash Me and I'll Splash You
  24. I'se a -Waiting for You Jasie  - G.H. Elliott
  25. The Next Horse I Ride On
  26. The Foximeter Car  - Billy Williams
  27. She's a Lassie from Lancashire  - Ella Retford

Disc 2

  1. Funicula  - George Formby
  2. Oh! Oh! Antonio  - Florrie Forde
  3. Sea Shells
  4. Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?  - Florrie Forde
  5. Billy Brown  - Harry Fargson
  6. My Latchkey  - George Lashwood
  7. The Suffragette  -  Happy Fanny Fields
  8. I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside
  9. Send for a Policeman  - George Lashwood
  10. Ship Ahoy! (All the Nice Girls Love a Sailor)  - Ella Retford
  11. Don't You Think You've Oversteeped the Margin?
  12. Boiled Beef and Carrots
  13. Come up in My Balloon
  14. Fall in the Follow Me
  15. Come and Be One of the Midnight Sons
  16. Henry the Eighth
  17. Seventeen (My Girl Is Only Seventeen)  - Phil Ray
  18. King Ki-Ki  - Little Tich
  19. I'm Shy, Mary Ellen, I'm Shy  - Jack Pleasants
  20. If You Shoulde See a Dandy Coon  - G.H. Elliott
  21. They Can't Find Kelly
  22. When Father Laid the Carpet on the Stairs  - Nelson Jackson
  23. Adam Was a Scotchman  - Jock Whiteford
  24. The Spaniard That Blighted My Life
  25. I'm 21 Today  - Jack Pleasants
  26. Beauty of the Guards  - George Bastow
  27. My Old Dutch

Disc 3

  1. Does This Shop Stock Shot Socks with Spots?
  2. Since I Had a Go at My Dumb Bells  - George Formby
  3. Won't You Come Dear, into the Park?  - May-Moore Duprez
  4. Tommy Trouble  - Chas R Whittle
  5. Every Little Movement Has a Meaning of Its Own
  6. In the Morning  - Fred Earle
  7. I Want a Girl  - Ella Retford
  8. How Dare They?  - Tom Wootwell
  9. I'm Going Back to Dixie  - Ella Retford
  10. That's Phiosopy  - R.C Knowles
  11. Father's Got a Job  - Maidie Scott
  12. Casey Jones
  13. Who Were You with Last Night?
  14. M.A.D.A.M.  - Arthur Lennard
  15. Hullo! Miss London  - Victoria Monks
  16. They All Walk the Wibbly Wobbly Walk
  17. Daily Mirror Front Page  - Ernest Shand
  18. Curiosily  - Little Tich
  19. Hold Your Hand Out, Naughty Boy  - Florrie Forde
  20. The Bed and Have Another Lock  - George D'Albert
  21. Wha tWould the Leaside Be Without the Ladies?
  22. Garge, Lloyd  - Ernest Shand
  23. Pepsy Wopsy  - Daisy James
  24. Innocent Bessie Brown  - Beth Tate
  25. Waiting for Futher Evidence  - Frank Leo
  26. The School Strike (We All Come Out on Strike)  - Maidie Scott

Disc 4

  1. Burlington Bertie from Bow  - Ella Shields
  2. He's a Pro'  - Harry Weldon
  3. The Mormon's Song
  4. Lambs, Baa  - Ella Shields
  5. How's Your Father
  6. The Lads from Our Village  - Zona Vevey
  7. I Will Have a Night to-Night  - Morny Cash
  8. The Night Began to Fall
  9. Tha Charlie Chaplin Walk  - Nat D. Ayer
  10. I Went a Jazzing  - Jack Pleasants
  11. Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue
  12. Archibald Certainly Not
  13. What d'Yer Think of That?  - Ernie Mayne
  14. Ma!  - Olive Fox
  15. Things Are Worse in Russia
  16. Olga Petrovotski  - Laurie Jay
  17. Why Am I Always the Bridesmaid?  - Lily Morris
  18. I Do Like to Sing in My Bath  - Alfred Lester
  19. Wireless on the Brian  - Ernie Mayne
  20. Yes! We Have No Bananas  - Alfred Lester
  21. Show Me the Way to Go Home  - Ella Shields
  22. Only a Working Man  - Lily Morris
  23. He's Moved in a Bigger House Now
  24. Don't Have Any More, Mrs. Moore  - Lily Morris
  25. She Was Poor, But She Was Honest  - Billy Bennett
  26. The Laughing Policeman  - Charles Penrose

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Billy Williams   Track Performer
Albert Chevalier   Track Performer
Harry Tate   Track Performer
Marie Lloyd   Track Performer
George Graves   Track Performer
Mark Sheridan   Track Performer
Wilkie Bard   Track Performer
Sam Mayo   Track Performer
George Robey   Track Performer
Harry Champion   Track Performer
Harry Ford   Track Performer
Alice Lloyd   Track Performer
Billy Merson   Track Performer
Vesta Tilley   Track Performer
Nat Travers   Track Performer
Vesta Victoria   Track Performer
Nellie Wallace   Track Performer
Albert Whelan   Track Performer
Lily Morris   Track Performer
George Formby   Track Performer
Billy Bennett   Track Performer

Technical Credits

Holger Von Bargen   Art Direction
Tony Barker   Liner Notes,Reissue Producer,Illustrations
Fred W. Leigh   Composer
Billy Merson   Composer
Wolfgang Taubenauer   Artwork
Fred Edgar Gilbert   Composer
Charles Coborn   Composer
Harry Castling   Composer
Frederic Cliffe   Composer

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