“A Place in Your Heart” is a comparatively conventional love song whose lyrics feature the singer’s professed wish to inhabit a metaphorical dwelling place in her lover’s heart (“Some secret little corner where I’d stay, / Lock the door and throw the key away….”). The tune is pleasant and catchy, but the strongest point of Elsie Carlisle’s version of the song is her passionate yet sincere interpretation of its themes. The extent to which she made the song her own can be gauged by comparing her version to that of composer Sam Coslow himself.
“A Place in Your Heart” was also recorded that year in Britain by Ambrose and His Orchestra (with vocalist Sam Browne), the BBC Dance Orchestra (under the direction of Henry Hall, with vocals by Les Allen, in a Van Phillips arrangement — at a recording session which also featured vocals by composer Sam Coslow himself, singing another of his songs, “Cupid”), The Masterkeys (vocals by Leslie Douglas), Jack Payne and His Band (with Ronnie Genarder), and Louis Freeman and His Playhouse Band.
“Coming Thro’ the Cornfield.” Words and music by Horatio Nicholls (a.k.a. Lawrence Wright). Recorded by Elsie Carlisle with piano accompaniment by Carroll Gibbons on June 21, 1926 at the Gramophone Company’s Studio B at Hayes in Middlesex. Zonophone 2772 mx. Yy8563-2.
Elsie Carlisle sang “Coming Thro’ the Cornfield” at her second recording session for what was to be her second record, accompanied by pianist Carroll Gibbons, who would soon become the famed director of the Savoy Hotel Orpheans. The song was written by performer, music publisher, impresario, and composer Lawrence Wright, who tended to use the pseudonym “Horatio Nicholls” on his own original compositions. Elsie handles this effusive expression of love in a rustic setting with her usual sweetness, and the pairing with “I Love My Baby” on the other side of the record allows her to adopt the personae of two very different girls in love.
“Coming Thro’ the Cornfield” was recorded two days later by the Savoy Havana Band, in late July 1926 by Bert Firman’s Dance Orchestra, and again in late September by Bert Firman’s band (as “Newton Carlisle’s Dance Orchestra” on Homochord and as “Dan Frederick and His Dance Orchestra” on Sterno).
“My Dog Loves Your Dog.” Music by Ray Henderson, lyrics by Jack Yellen and Irving Caesar for the film George White’s Scandals (1934). Recorded by Elsie Carlisle and Sam Browne with orchestral accompaniment on June 22, 1934. Decca F. 5079.
In June, Elsie Carlisle and Sam Browne would tackle the song themselves, but with less than three minutes to sing it — including an instrumental interlude — they present a considerably abbreviated version. Their male-female duet adds flavor to the song, though, and ultimately allows the entrance of the element of strife between lovers that one would expect in a Sam-and-Elsie bit. When Sam first accosts Elsie and begins to observe the growing familiarity of their respective dogs, she responds, “Yes. Someone mentioned it today. You can see it in their eyes” in a stilted delivery that must either betoken haughtiness on the part of Elsie’s character or perhaps exhaustion on the part of Elsie herself! Either way, I find her awkward beginning intensely funny. Some very nice singing ensues, but Elsie’s observations about the dogs ultimately serve as a riposte to Sam’s advances. The dogs begin to fight, and the two singers conclude “And if our doggies bite each other, why can’t we?” — a comic twist not present in the movie.