They Go Wild, Simply Wild, Over Me (1917)

A silly song by Joe Macathy to a ripping tune by Fred Fisher from 1917…

They go wild, simply wild, over me!
They go mad, just as mad as they can be!
No matter where I’m at,
All the ladies, thin or fat,
The tall ones,
The small ones,
I grab them off like that!

Every night, how they fight over me!
I don’t know what it is that they can see!
The ladies look at me and sigh,
In my arms they wanna die!
They go wild, simply wild, over me!

Published in: on December 31, 2010 at 12:34 pm  Comments (2)  
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I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles (1919) on ukulele

Published in: on December 28, 2010 at 8:14 pm  Comments (2)  
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Recreational Music Defended (another Letter to an Editor)

The [Adelaide] Advertiser of 18 March 1950 printed the following letter to the Editor:

Sir — Mr …… ‘s reference to “so-called music” is obviously an attempt to belittle recreational music and instruments. It is absurd to suggest that the term “music” is confined to the classics and that music has not a recreational function.

Recreational instruments have also a place in classical music. Mozart (“Don Giovanni”), Handel (“Alexander Balus” oratoria) and Beethoven wrote music for the mandolin: Paganini and Schubert wrote for the guitar and Percy Grainger created a new technique of writing for the guitar which he called the “Australian Way”. The late Brewster Jones‘s symphony orchestra played his composition “the Nightingale Suite” in the Adelaide Town Hall in 1919 and featured the ukulele in the second movement.

There is no point in dividing music teaching into two sections, making one section illegal except for those registered. It is no defence to describe other music but classical as “so-called music”. Musical snobbery will do more harm than good to the laudable promotion of interest in the classics. Symphony orchestra instruments are usually in dance bands — are these musicians to be compelled in future to be trained only as classical players?

John Nicholas

So there! Does anyone have a copy of Brewster-Jones’s “Nightingale”?

Published in: on December 24, 2010 at 9:36 am  Comments (2)  
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A Letter to the Editor, 1930

The Evening Post of New Zealand, 28 April 1930:

Sir — The residents of Oriental Bay would be extremely grateful if the police would send a constable to patrol the Parade on Sunday nights. Some people delight in gathering near the Band Rotunda between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. regularly to ‘howl’ their ragtime songs, accompanied by an amateur ukulele player. This behaviour is an annoyance to the residents — I am, etc.

A disgusted resident.

Perhaps Disgusted hopes the constable might sing and play the uke with more decorum? Surely the writer cannot object to people being delighted between such reasonable hours. Oh, but “Ragtime” suggests that our correspondent might perhaps have been about 70 years old. [My daughter says I’m not to jump to conclusions — the writer might also have been an 18-year-old devotee of classical music. Point taken.]

Published in: on December 21, 2010 at 7:11 pm  Comments (1)  
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He trifled with her affections to get the ukulele

The New Zealand Evening Post of 8 and 10 October 1934 told the sorry tale of a young con-artist who did Ms Rola McDonald wrong.

Rola met a seemingly personable young man and ‘kept company’ with him for a week or so, and she grew to trust him. So much so that she lent him her ukulele (which was worth every cent of the one pound seven shillings and six pence she paid for it).

Too late she learned the truth. Her new friend, James Valentine (alias James O’Sullivan, alias William Hector McKinnon, alias William Hector Forbes, a seaman aged 18) immediately exchanged the ukulele for 5 shillings at the local second-hand shop, intending to keep the money for himself.

Happily he was apprehended, charged, convicted and sentences to two years at the Borstal Institute. Hopefully he learned there how to determine the true value of a ukulele.

Published in: on December 20, 2010 at 7:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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More of Ethel Formby

The Woman’s Weekly of 16 October 1943 fills in some details omitted by the Argus of 2 October 1943. The first and most obvious point was that Ethel was better looking than older brother George.

Ethel Formby

Ethel was the youngest of the seven Formby (really Booth) children, and she was interviewed while playing the Melbourne Tivoli circuit. She had just spend a year in New Zealand with her husband, John Gibson, who flew fighters with the RAF. She met Johnny when she was 18 years old and married him after a five-day courtship. “He was so persistent”.

John Gibson

While in Australia, Ethel hoped to meet former members of squadron 457, in which her husband had been a flight commander. Johnnie had to bail out of his aircraft on three occasions during his war service, and once landed his plane on an unexploded German bomb. (It went off, destroying his fighter, about 20 minutes after he was out of it).

Ethel lost a ukulele during the Blitz, along with everything she had in the house. The lost uke was named Bertha (the one she had taken to boarding school), but happily her other ukes, Matilda and Ermyntrude were still ok.

She started on the stage as a dancer, but took up ukulele performances because it was much easier than dancing. She played the same sorts of songs as her older brother, only using her Lancashire accent for these performances.

Published in: on December 16, 2010 at 10:21 am  Comments (10)  
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