Monday, 22 March 2010

Gimme some sugar ... cake

I mentioned Joe Venuti's sublime recording of Tea for Two in the entry about Hubert Gregg. I have now found out a little more about it and located streamed versions of both sides of the original UK Parlophone 78.

Friday, 12 March 2010


Rather than disfiguring the previous post with audio clips, here they are instead. While it may be fitting that only a limited amount of the particular recordings Hubert Gregg played can be found on youtube, it does mean I can't present the lovely version I heard of Have You Met Miss Jones - and I don't even know who sang it. This version, which cannot be embedded here, is definitely not the recording played on Thanks For the Memory around the early eighties, as it lacks the beautiful verse, but the tempo seems roughly the same. Read about the song's original context here.

 The one performance by Hubert Gregg himself which seems available on youtube is not necessarily his best and the audio does not do justice to what I presume is Gordon Langford's piano. But here it is anyway.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

They Turned Me On - Part Three: Hubert Gregg

Why, during a period of transition and possibility in my life, I should have been so drawn to a radio show featuring fifty-year-old recordings played by a man already in his mid-sixties I can't fully explain, but Hubert Gregg's Thanks for the Memory was the dominant soundtrack to my reincarnation as a university student in the early 1980s: Old Romantic, as it were.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

They Turned Me On - Part Two: Ken Sykora

Listening to Ian Whitcomb's show (see previous post) reminds me that, important as my local library may have been in encouraging my listening to music beyond rock and pop (even if it was mainly down to their snooty refusal to stock that kind of thing), I haven't yet discussed the broadcasters who stepped in to ensure that my ears, unlike those of the young Bing Crosby, remained pinned back thereafter.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

They Turned Me On - Part One: Ian Whitcomb

I quoted from Ian Whitcomb's amusing and touching essay Bill Haley's 1957 Hellbound Train to Waterloo, about the rock'n'roll pioneer's ill-fated UK tour, a few posts ago. It's available to read in full, along with other pieces by him, on the Sonic Boomers' website here. Ian Whitcomb's own website can be found here, with links to all sorts of goodies including CDs and songbooks.

It would be misleading, despite the evidence above, to describe Whitcomb as an untarnished Golden Rock God on the level of Robert Plant - in fact it would be plain wrong - but he did have US hits during the British Invasion including You Turn Me On, and he's interesting in the context of the themes to which I keep returning in this blog: unlike Haley himself, he has not had to resign  himself to being an oldies act - or only in one sense.