Jay Wilbur

An accomplished bandleader in his own right, Jay Wilbur (1898-1970) had enormous influence over the recording of British dance band music and over Elsie Carlisle’s “solo” output in his role as musical director for such labels as Dominion, Imperial, Eclipse, and Rex. Just as it has long been the custom to identify the glorious voices (including Elsie’s) credited only as “vocal refrain” on dance band records, it is increasingly common to recognize the part that people such as Wilbur played in determining the sound of British popular music. It would be fair to say that Wilbur’s contributions to Elsie’s career rival those of Ambrose.

Jay Wilbur – Wikipedia

Jay Wilbur

Jay Wilbur

“She Had Those Dark and Dreamy Eyes”

Clive Hooley has given us quite a treat: an Elsie Carlisle song recorded 73 years ago that was not previously on the Internet and is on no vinyl album or CD that I have ever seen. It is a wartime tune on the flip side of the album with the famous “Hut Sut Song.” Copyrighted in 1941, “She Had Those Dark and Dreamy Eyes” appears to have its roots in older sea shanties, and recurs in a truly filthy form in the doggerel of WWII airmen.1

“She Had Those Dark and Dreamy Eyes.” Music and words by Jimmy Hughes and Ted Douglas (1941). Recorded by Elise Carlisle on July 4, 1941. Rex 10021.

She had those dark and dreamy eyes, Elsie Carlisle, 1941

She Had Those Dark and Dreamy Eyes, Elsie Carlisle, 1941

“Please Leave My Butter Alone” (1940)

“Please Leave My Butter Alone.” Recorded by Elsie Carlisle on December 27, 1940 in the context of war rationing:

“Everybody pinches my butter;
They won’t leave my butter alone!
And nothing is better than butter
For keeping the old man at home.

Everybody says I’m old-fashioned
To sit on the things that are rationed, etc.”

Please leave my butter alone – Elsie Carlisle

Please Leave My Butter Alone – Elsie Carlisle

Video by hawkmoon03111951 (YouTube)

It must have seemed obvious to have Miss Carlisle express herself with such double-entendre, but the song had actually been first recorded that year by Elsie and Doris Waters (a.k.a. Gert and Daisy). There was even a version by the comedian Arthur Askey:

Arthur Askey – Please Leave My Butter Alone

Arthur Askey – Please Leave My Butter Alone

Video by Andrew Oldham (YouTube)

All of which raises the question: in wartime, if you were inclined to pinch someone’s butter, whose butter would you pinch?

"The Idol of the Radio." British dance band singer of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.