The electric guitar is the most important instrument in pop music of the second half of the 20th century. Still, most guitarists remained music-workers that kept in the shadow of the stars they accompanied. Few of them managed to become stars themselves. So far, I´ve done small portraits of session guitarists like George Barnes, Everett Barksdale, Grady Martin, and German guitarists Dieter Resch and Fritz Woelffer.
Ivor Mairants (1908-1998) was a very prolific British guitarist from the 30s to the 70s. He wrote influential guitar instruction books and in 1958, opened Britain’s first specialist guitar shop. It still exists today.
Some examples of his guitar work can be heard on Youtube. A British Pathé film from 1933 shows a young Ivor Mairants playing guitar and singing with a trio, in the Roy Fox Band. The band appears in the last 3 minutes. In 1942 he played with Jack Simpson and his Sextette. Mairants guitar can be heard in the brilliant Stay Out Of The South featuring vocalist Betty Kent.
Despite his prolific careeer and legacy, Ivor Mairants solo work has not been reissued in more than 50 years. That includes an album by Ivor Mairants and his Septet on the British Richmond label and this EP on the Dutch Palette label.
Ivor Mairants versatile guitar work deserves to be heard again, whether it be in the swingin´Toot De Toot, originally written by Belgian jazz musician Toots Tielemanns, or the rockin´Asia Minor, clearly inflenced by Les Paul.
Just noticed that the last post was my 700th post since I started this blog in 2007. To celebrate all these wasted years, here´s another flexible Birthday 78rpm postcard record, published by the London based Melody Cards company. These postcard records offer perfect copyright-friendly blog material: anonymous artists, no copyright noted, 50 plus years old and of course never reissued.
Plus, underneath the crackles and pops, a pretty silly song.
No washboard though….
Happy, Happy Birthday!
Happy, Happy Birthday!
On this anniversary of the day that you were born.
Let´s git goin´ down the track,
Once I´se there ain´t comin´ back,
Git those presents on the rack
Of the WASHBOARD BIRTHDAY SPECIAL
Another Oriole 45 and it´s a rocker for a change. Somebody already posted Countdown on Youtube, but to my knowledge it´s not commercially available anywhere. There are a few nice comments about how Phil Tate and his orchestra were regulars at the Streatham Locarno in south-east London.
Considering that Countdown was made by a regular big band for stuffy dance schools to teach teenagers how to dance the Jive, it´s pretty rockin´, in a Joe Meek kind of way.
Released in the “Strict Tempo Dance Series”: Tempo as laid down by the Official Board of Ballroom Dancing!
This is a Samba!
Martin Mordecai Slavin (1922-1988) was one of Britain’s top vibraphone players and a prolific session musician. He moved to Vancouver, Canada in 1966 and later settled in Hollywood. In the mid-80s he returned to the UK and played occasional freelance dates, until he was killed in a road accident.
More 1960s charleston tunes by Martin Slavin and his Gang (of studio musicians, I´d guess) on the British Oriole label. While the majority of Martin Slavin´s work was serious, I doubt that this particular record was supposed to be taken serious.
From a musical point, these songs are not Jazz and are not Rock´n´Roll. They were meant to be entertaining and funny and I feel that more than 50 years later they are still funny.
I love this record.
With this short little rock´n´roll song I´d like to celebrate the birth of my “new” blog! Just saw this hanging on the wall of a antique bookstore in my neighborhood last week and took it home for a measly 2 euros and fifty cents.
By coincidence it exemplifies the sort of copyright friendly material I was writing about in #2 of the blog ethics. The cardboard record was issued by a defunct “record company” and recorded by anonymous artists. There is no mention of copyright anywhere on the card either and it is definitely more than fifty years old, because it runs on 78 rpm, a format discontinued in most western countries by 1960.
The perfect birthday song for rockin´and rollin´teenagers! And old geezers too…
“Hep-Heppy Birthday to you!”
“Hep-Heppy Birthday to you!”
You ain´t no square! And I know that!
Let down your hair! You´re the coolest cat!
Push back the chairs! Get yer carpet rolled!
Just ROCK!. . . . . And you´ll never grow old!
Last week I also purchased this British cheapo/department store EP at the charity shop. When I bought it, it didn´t have a sleeve. Luckily, later when we played our new acquisitions, the missing Top Six company sleeve was on one of the 45´s that my friend had bought at the same place. Generously he let me have.
There are six cover-versions of 1965 British hit songs played by unnamed bands on this EP: “The Price Of Love” by the Everly Brothers, “I´s Just A Little Bit Too Late” by Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders, “Colours” by Donovan, “I`m Alive” by The Hollies, “She´s About A Mover” by The Sir Douglas Quintet and “Crying In The Chapel”, that Elvis took to number one on the British charts in 1965 where it stayed for two weeks.
A mixed bag of records this week: Polish beat, British beat, the (German) king of the slop, communist propaganda, private weirdness and some of the usual Berlin-related music. Most of them I found in the last two weeks. I have a whole box of old records that are still waiting to be posted but fresh finds always seem a little more interesting.
As you noticed I finally found out how to install the little audio player that WordPress offers. It only took me three years to learn how to use a simple HTML shortcode. Still I´m quite proud of myself for that because I learned it without the help of others. All by myself! I also now use Dropbox for file sharing because it seems that my other hosts will soon run out of bandwidth again this month. But Dropbox works just the same as the others.
This is probably the best song this week, the Chancellors from Manchester on the Swiss Elite Special label. I found it last week in a local thrift store for one Euro. It looks pretty beat-up and there´s a little hiss in the first ten seconds but besides that it plays pretty good. The drum-intro on My Girl copies the Rivieras California Sun but its a whole different song.
A great fast-paced rocker!
I found the Tunnel Users 45 a couple of years ago in a Berlin second-hand record store and couldn´t listen to it in the store, but bought it anyway because of the nice graphics, somewhere between the B 52´s and the Revillos.
Dance? is about a girl who takes the initiative because the boys are too shy to dance.
Sun Arise Dub is a sort of sped-up dub-style cover version of Rolf Harris´British #2 hit song from 1962 Sun Arise but with some added 1982 background noise.
The Tunnel Users were from Liverpool and I found the only information about them on a Welsh music site:
Tunnel Users - band (1981-83) feat; Colin Pennington (gtr,voc) (later of Decemberists, Hell Fire Sermons, James), Phil Butcher (voc), Clint Gannicliffe (keys), Gary Rowlandson (drms) (died 2006), Paul Maloney (bass), Geraldine French (voc), Jeff Hill (keys). Played Larks in The Park Festival 1981 and noted for their live performances rather than recorded work. Rel ‘Ideas’ tape (Mar81) on a label(?) was run by Garry Gannicliffe and based at Gladville Road, Mossley Hill, L’Pool, L17, and 7″ Dance on Ex-Jukey Recs (Jul82).