First of all, many thanks to those who emailed me following my article “Growing Up In 1950’s Britain” in my last bulletin. I really appreciated all your personal memories of the same period.
One that I wanted to share with you was sent to me by the British music writer and contributor to Record Collector, Austin Powell:
“Here’s a story I often tell about today’s “24 hour delivery” systems offered by so many people.
In the mid-50s my Grandmother took in lodgers. One regular was a man who worked for (I think) a food distribution company called Kearly & Tonge. He arrived on a train that arrived in my home town Knighton (on theEnglish/Welsh border) from Shrewsbury (in Shropshire) at about 1pm on, say, a Tuesday and then proceeded to visit each of the 3 (of 5 grocers in the town of 1800 inhabitants) shops he had dealings with.
He then went to my Grandmother’s, wrote out his orders and walked back to a post box in the centre of the town and mailed off his day’s orders.
The following morning (Wednesday) he took a bus to the next town, took his orders from those shops, and then returned to my home town to catch another train further into Wales to repeat the routine.
Having posted his orders mid-afternoon on the Tuesday, on the Thursday morning on a train that arrived very early in the town, all his orders would then be delivered to the various shops by railway ‘dray’.
Not quite a 24 hour service, but pretty impressive using first class mail and the British Railways.”
Fun British ads of yesteryear
Sabrina was a so-called ‘dumb blonde’ British actress who made various appearances on British television in the 1950’s often with comedian Arthur Askey and she appeared in his series “Before Your Very Eyes”. She was thought of as Britain’s answer to Jayne Mansfield.
R&B Legends #3:
Rudolph Toombs (c.1914-1962)
I’ve long been a fan of the R&B songwriter Rudolph ‘Rudy’ Toombs and I’m listing below a group of his most successful compositions. Billy Vera tells me that Rudy was a comic actor and a tap dancer before he started writing songs. Indeed, he appeared in three black movies in the 1940’s including “Reet Petite And Gone” which starred Louis Jordan. He was a staff writer at Atlantic Records and key songs in his portfolio are the three major hits he wrote for Ruth Brown (DADDY DADDY, 5-10-15 HOURS and the unforgettable TEARDROPS FROM MY EYES), HOME AT LAST which charted for Little Willie John plus four standout drinking songs: CRAWLIN’, ONE MINT JULEP, NIP SIP and ONE SCOTCH, ONE BOURBON, ONE BEER. Below in blue are links to YouTube postings of certain of his songs.
By The Clovers (Atlantic: 1953) US #3 R&B
DADDY DADDY (Toombs)
By Ruth Brown (Atlantic: 1952) US #3 R&B
5-10-15 HOURS (Toombs)
By Ruth Brown (Atlantic: 1952) US #1 R&B http://youtu.be/u_lw1hqdTJ8
GUM DROP (Toombs)
By Otis Williams & His New Group (DeLuxe: 1955) http://youtu.be/c8dTjahNMdo
Covered by The Crew-Cuts on Mercury and by The Mills Brothers on Decca, both in 1955
HOME AT LAST (Toombs)
By Little Willie John (King: 1956) US #6 R&B
I’M SHAKIN’ (Toombs)
By Little Willie John (King: 1959) http://youtu.be/Bl-sagy3uzI
IT HURTS TO BE IN LOVE (Toombs/Dixon)
By Annie Laurie (DeLuxe: 1957) US #3 R&B http://youtu.be/q58TAGu8-pQ
NIP SIP (Toombs)
By The Clovers (Atlantic: 1955) US #10 R&B
ONE MINT JULEP (Toombs)
By The Clovers (Atlantic: 1952) US #2 R&B http://youtu.be/2rNoR8jnPRU
By Ray Charles (Impulse!: 1961) US #1 R&B
–Superb instrumental version from Ray’s LP “Genius+Soul=Jazz” http://youtu.be/Sizi33LthYg
Lots of other interesting cover versions including Sarah Vaughan (Roulette: 1962) http://youtu.be/rjUlIHB8ra8
and Freddie Hubbard (Blue Note: 1960) http://youtu.be/jgVGL5Pauh4
ONE SCOTCH, ONE BOURBON, ONE BEER (Toombs)
By Amos Milburn & His Aladdin Chickenshackers (Aladdin: 1953) US #2 R&B http://youtu.be/vs72AsFfgfk
TEARDROPS FROM MY EYES (Toombs) http://youtu.be/Wyi8XLiJxv8
By Ruth Brown (Atlantic: 1950) US #1 R&B
THAT’S YOUR MISTAKE (Toombs)
By Otis Williams & His New Group (DeLuxe: 1956) US #14 R&B
Rock on! Alan