BRITISH FILM SONGS OF THE 1930s -Reel 2
Played by the Great British Bands and Orchestras of the era.
1. OVER MY SHOULDER from the film “Evergreen”
JOE LOSS AND HIS BAND with vocal chorus by Harry Case
Recorded in London on Friday 31st August 1934
2. NOW I UNDERSTAND from the film “Oh! Daddy”
THE GAUMONT-BRITISH DANCE BAND conducted by LOUIS LEVY with vocal by Sam Browne
Recorded in London on Thursday 13th December 1934
3. THE VALPARAISO from the film “Dance Band”
CHARLES “BUDDY” ROGERS AND HIS BAND with vocal by Buddy Rogers
Recorded in London on Saturday 9th February 1935
4. LOOK UP AND LAUGH the film “Look Up And Laugh”
SYDNEY LIPTON & HIS GROSVENOR HOUSE BAND with vocal by
Recorded in London on Saturday 14th September 1935
5. THERE ISN’T ANY LIMIT TO MY LOVE from the film “This’ll Make You Whistle”
CARROLL GIBBONS AND THE SAVOY HOTEL ORPHEANS with vocal by Anne Lenner
Recorded in London on Wednesday 19th August 1936
6. MUSIC HATH CHARMS from the film “Music Hath Charms”
BILLY COTTON AND HIS BAND with vocal sung by Alan Breeze
Recorded in London on Tuesday 17th December 1935
Some of the Great British Dance Bands offer their versions of songs from British Film Musicals of the 1930s. As I commented on the previous selection of such recordings, with lower budgets than their Hollywood competition, at least they featured great stars like Jack Buchanan, Jessie Matthews and Gracie Fields. Not only that, but they produced some memorable songs written by both British and American songwriters.
Jessie Matthews enjoyed great success with the film “Evergreen” and the song title “Over My Shoulder” was used the title of her autobiography, which was published in 1974. The version by the Joe Loss band is very difficult to beat with some inspired solos and an approach which brings out the best in the song. Much less well remembered is the film “Oh! Daddy”, though British Dance Band aficionados prize it for the chance to see future bandleader Ken “Snakehips” Johnson in a dance routine. “Now I Understand” is a forgotten song by the American songwriter Sam Coslow and unaccountably this is the only recording of a very attractive number by a British band. Here the orchestra is conducted by the best-known of the musical directors who worked at the British film studios of that era, Louis Levy. Sam Browne demonstrates yet again why his voice so much in demand in the recording studios.
Next we have a recording by the star of the film “Dance Band”, the American “import” Charles “Buddy” Rogers. This film has been released on DVD this year and is an entertaining musical picture. “The Valparaiso” is a good number, and this version made by a group of British session musicians is really first rate. Unfortunately we don’t know the name of the drummer who really is on great form, but the discography identifies Harry Owen and Max Goldberg on trumpets, Freddy Gardner and Teddy White are part of a three-strong reed section, the three violinists include Hugo Rignold and Reg Leopold, the pianist is Arthur Young and Bert Thomas is on guitar. The string-bass player is also unknown.
The great Freddy Gardner is also a member of Sydney Lipton’s line-up on “Look Up and Laugh”. This is an excellent version of the title song from one of Gracie Field’s popular movies with a trumpet solo that sets the high standard that one can always expect from the Grosvenor House dance band. The female singer has not been identified, although her voice is familiar to me. The fifth recording in this selection also features a girl singer, the delightful Anne Lenner, whose voice was quite perfect for the band at the Savoy Hotel, directed for decades by Carroll Gibbons. Here they play one of the most popular numbers from the “latest” Jack Buchanan film.
Finally we have the band of Billy Cotton playing a song composed by one of his peers, Henry Hall. This was the title song of the 1935 film that was made to cash in on the popularity of the BBC Dance Orchestra and its leader. Bill Cotton Junior, who had a highly successful career behind the scenes of BBC television, admitted in his autobiography that his favourite band when growing up was that of Henry Hall, so it is rather fitting that it is his Dad’s band that play this number, and very nicely too.
Recorded for the Regal Zonophone, Decca, Cinecord and Columbia labels in the period 1934-1936, these recordings are long out-of-copyright. These sides have been remastered from original 78rpm discs by this user and are unique transfers. These cannot be copied or sold without the permission of Peter Wallace.