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Various Artists:
A Night At The Music Hall
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Description ‘Music Hall’ was a uniquely British form of entertainment that lasted effectively for about seventy-five years, finally succumbing under the onslaught of wireless, movies and its own step-child, variety.
Its beginnings are rooted in the needs of the British labouring poor of the mid-nineteenth century who had flooded into the cities in the wake of the industrial revolution. Of course, there was entertainment of a homely sort available to them but nothing in a regular or regulated form. As a group they didn’t have the money or the inclination to become theatre-goers. Any leisure time would usually be spent in public houses - drink seemed to represent better value for their spare pennies than high art.
According to music hall mythology the story began in the Canterbury in London’s Westminster Bridge Road, when Charles Morton opened a separate room to which men could bring their wives and be entertained as they drank. Calling it a ‘singing room’, Morton charged no entrance fee, making his money from the food and drink he supplied. The venture was so successful that, in 1854, he had a new building erected next door, which he dubbed The Surrey Music Hall.
Within a few years music halls could be found throughout the length and breadth of Britain, supplying entertainment for people who knew what they wanted and now had the money to pay for it - at least on Saturday nights. Initially the halls catered to local audiences who had their own tastes and heroes. Thus, different styles evolved: an artist who might have-em in the aisles in The Smoke could die the death in Brum, while Scotland developed its own bastions, virtually impenetrable by any ‘turn’ from south of the Tweed. Eventually Yorkshiremen, Geordies and even the occasional Scot could prove successful in any part of the country. Some artists even enjoyed international reputations.
The variety of ‘turns’ ranged through acrobatics, juggling and ‘specialist’ acts to stand-up comedians and full-blown sketches, which could be dramatic but were often comic.
The advent of recorded sound just as music hall was enjoying its Golden Age means that many of the comic turns and songs have been captured on cylinders and discs.
It is through its singers that music hall is mostly remembered now. Music hall crowds loved to sing along, and this led many singers deliberately featuring ‘chorus’ songs in their acts and encouraging their audiences to participate. These choruses entered the common awareness as a sort of urban folk music.
By the 1890s the halls had grown into lush dream palaces draped in red velvet, with plush seating (in the more expensive section, at least) and lots of gilt. Now they were open seven nights a week. The turns, too, had become more sophisticated - including in their ranks artists from all over the Empire, not to mention America.
With success came respectability of a sort, and the upper echelons of society could sometimes be found disporting themselves in the halls. Winston Churchill’s earliest recorded public speech followed some sort of brawl in London’s Empire Theatre in 1894. The artist Walter Sickert found inspiration there, and the ultimate accolade came in 1912 when there was a ‘command’ performance before royalty. During The First World War music hall came to represent something of the spirit of those involved, not just at home but at the various fronts.
After the war, music hall melded into variety, but a subtle transmutation took place as ‘live’ entertainment faced up to the challenges of the wireless and - more important on Saturday night - the ‘pictures’. Of course, it wasn’t instantaneous - many music hall turns continued in work into the thirties and forties (we have included a recording of Harry Champion recalling his ‘hits’ in 1931). By the 1930s, music hall was already a thing of nostalgia - nostalgia so strong that it is still felt today by people who weren’t even born when that gaudy, sparkling era came to a close.
Track Listing
Disc 1
Never Let Your Braces Dangle - Harry Champion
Joshua - Clarice Mayne
Captain Gingah O T - George Bastow
The Grandfather’s Clock - George Formby Sr.
A Little Bit Of Cucumber – Harry Champion
Revue - Marie Lloyd
Foolish Question - Ada Reeve
Other Department, Please - Harry Fragson
Old Bull And Bush - Mark Sheridan
Now I Have To Call Him Father - Vesta Victoria
It’s A Great Big Shame - Gus Elen
If It Wasn’t For The ‘Ouses In Between - Gus Elen
That’s How This Little Girl Got On - Marie Lloyd
’Arry, ‘Arry, ‘Arry - Alec Hurley
Up I Came With My Little Lot - Herbert Campbell
The Bird On Nellie’s Hat - Madie Scott
We All Marching Home Again - Mark Sheridan
You Don’t Want To Keep On Showing It - Harry Champion
Oh, Oh, Antonio - Florrie Forde
The Coster Girl In Paris - Marie Lloyd
Ginger You’re Barmy! - Harry Champion
Bang Went The Chance Of A Lifetime - George Robey
Bread And Marmalade - Sam Mayo
The Green Eye Of The Little Yellow God - Bransby Williams

Disc 2
I’m Henry The Eighth - Harry Champion
Cover It Over Quick, Jemima - Harry Champion
The Girls I Left Behind Me - Vesta Tilley
I’ll Show You Round Paree - Vesta Tilley
I Wanted A Wife - Mark Sheridan
One Of The Bhoys - Mark Sheridan
I May Be A Millionaire - Eugene Stratton
Send For John Willie - George Formby Sr.
Playing The Game In The West - George Formby Sr.
They’re All Single At The Seaside - Ella Retford
Molly Molloy - Ella Retford
We All Go The Same Way Home - Charles Whittle
Play Us Another Before You Go - Charles Whittle
The Golden Dustman - Gus Elen
Mrs Carter - Gus Elen
The First Cigar - Louis Bradfield
When I Marry Amelia - Henry Lytton
Anona - Florrie Forde
Riding On Top A Car - George Lashwood
Me-Riah - Gus Elen
’Arf A Pint Of Ale - Gus Elen
The Pavement Artist - Gus Elen
Twice Nightly - George Formby Sr.
Looking For Mugs In A Strand - George Formby Sr.
All Of A Sudden It Struck Me - George Formby Sr.

Disc 3
The Publican - Gus Elen
The Coster’s Pony - Gus Elen
On The Margate Boat - Lillie Langtry
No Show Tonight - Herbert Campbell
Riding On A Motor Car - Vesta Victoria
Dick Whittington - Gus Elen
Nature’s Made A Big Mistake - Gus Elen
I’ve Got To Get Back To Work - Alf Gibson
Oh Blow The Scenery On The Railway - George Lashwood
It Ain’t All Honey And It Ain’t All Jam - Vesta Victoria
Don’t Stop My ‘Alf A Pint O’ Beer - Gus Elen
I’m Going To Settle Down - Gus Elen
Pretty Little Villa Down At Barking - Gus Elen
John Willie’s Ragtime Band - George Formby Sr.
John Willie’s Jazz Band - George Formby Sr
Sleuthy Dread Of The Heads - Harry Weldon
Billy - Beth Tate
Woman’s Opinion Of Man - Marie Lloyd
Molly O’morgan - Ella Retford
Beside The Seaside - Mark Sheridan
In The Good Old Summer Time - Julia McKay
Silver Bell - Gertie Gitana
I’m Henry The Eighth / Cover It Over Quick Jemima / The End Of My Old Cigar / The Old Red Lion / The Best That Money Can Buy / Boiled Beef And Carrots - Harry Champion
The Trumpet Song - Sam Mayo

Disc 4
Wait Till The Work Comes Round - Gus Elen
You Can’t Help Laughin’ Can Yer? - Harry Champion
Little Dolly Daydream - Eugene Stratton
Never Introduce Your Donah To A Pal - Gus Elen
Wotcher My Old Brown Son - Harry Champion
Who Were You With Last Night - Mark Sheridan
Down At The Old Bull And Bush - Florrie Forde
Hello, Hello, Who’s Your Lady Friend - Harry Fragson
A Little Of What You Fancy - Marie Lloyd
Jolly Good Luck To The Girl Who Loves A Soldier - Vesta Tilley
Burlington Bertie From Bow - Ella Shields
Nellie Dean - Gertie Gitana
Every Little Movement - Marie Lloyd
Lily Of Laguna - Eugene Stratton
The Whistling Bowery Boy – Albert Whelan
Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly? - Florrie Forde
When I Took My Morning Promenade - Marie Lloyd
Archibald, Certainly Not - George Robey
When Father Papered The Parlour - Billy Williams
Hold Your Hand Out You Naughty Boy - Florrie Forde
Any Old Iron? - Harry Champion
I’m Getting Ready For My Mother-In-Law - Harry Champion
Down The Road - Gus Elen
Boiled Beef And Carrots - Harry Champion
The Honeysuckle And The Bee - Belle Davis
I’ll Be Your Sweetheart - Lil Hawthorne
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Label JSP
Number 1903
Subsidiary Artists: Harry Champion
Clarice Mayne
George Bastow
George Formby
Marie Lloyd
Ada Reeve
Harry Fragson
Mark Sheridan
Vesta Victoria
Gus Elen
Herbert Campbell
Madie Scott
George Robey
Sam Mayo
Bransby Williams
Vesta Tilley
Eugene Stratton
Ella Retford
Charles Whittle
Louis Bradfield
Henry Lytton
Florrie Forde
George Lashwood
Lillie Langtry
Alf Gibson
Harry Weldon
Julia McKay
Gertie Gitana
Marie Lloyd
Ella Shields
Albert Whelan
Billy Williams
Belle Davis
Lil Hawthorne
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