Bands & Directors

Elsie Carlisle in “Pennies from Heaven”

I wonder how many people first encountered Elsie Carlisle’s music through the 1978 Dennis Potter BBC television series Pennies from Heaven (or through the 1981 movie based on it)?

This clip has Cheryl Campbell miming “You’ve Got Me Crying Again”:

Dennis Potter's 'Pennies From Heaven' – 'You've Got Me Crying Again'

Dennis Potter’s ‘Pennies From Heaven’ – ‘You’ve Got Me Crying Again’

Video from songanddanceman1234 (YouTube)

And here is Bob Hoskins miming “The Clouds Will Soon Roll By” (the Ambrose version):

Dennis Potter's 'Pennies From Heaven' – 'The Clouds Will Soon Roll By'

Dennis Potter’s ‘Pennies From Heaven’ – ‘The Clouds Will Soon Roll By’

Video from songanddanceman1234 (YouTube)

“Ambrose’s Jubilee Cavalcade” Side 2 (1935)

“Ambrose’s Jubilee Cavalcade” continues on side two with Elsie Carlisle singing Irving Berlin’s “What’ll I Do?” There are also other songs of the ’20s and ’30s sung by Sam Browne and the Rhythm Sisters.

AMBROSE`S JUBILEE CAVALCADE – Countinued – EMBASSY CLUB LONDON

Ambrose’s Jubilee Cavalcade, Continued – Embassy Club, London

Video by Gernot Klawunn (YouTube)

“Ambrose’s Jubilee Cavalcade” Side 1 (1935)

On March 7, 1935, Ambrose and His Orchestra celebrated the twenty-fifth year of the reign of King George V with selections of songs popular since his accession to the throne. The first side of “Ambrose’s Jubilee Cavalcade,” which covers the years 1910-1923, features Elsie Carlisle singing “Lady Friend” (about a minute into the recording). Sam Browne and the Rhythm Sisters can also be heard in this recording.

AMBROSE`S JUBILEE CAVALCADE – EMBASSY CLUB LONDON – DECCA 12"

Ambrose’s Jubilee Cavalcade – Embassy Club, London – Decca 12″

Video by Gernot Klawunn (YouTube)

Happy 110th Birthday, Ray Starita!

Ray (Renato) Starita, an Italian-American, along with his brothers Al and Rudy (and the less well-known Julio) were influential in British dance band music in the 1920s and early 1930s.  Ray, a saxophonist and clarinetist, led the Piccadilly Revels Band and the Ambassadors’ Band.

John Wright has compiled some interesting historical data regarding the Starita family, drawing on the accounts of their children, and he provides a unique photo gallery of Ray Starita‘s career in England and later life in the United States.

Elsie Carlisle made a number of noteworthy recordings with Ray Starita and His Ambassadors’ Band in 1932, including “Let That Be a Lesson to You,” “I Heard,” and Noël Coward’s “Mad About the Boy.”

Ray Starita and His Ambassadors' Band c. 1930
Ray Starita and His Ambassadors’ Band c. 1930

“My Old Flame” (1934)

“My Old Flame.” Composed by Arthur Johnston (who also wrote “Pennies from Heaven”), with lyrics by Sam Coslow. Elsie Carlisle with Ambrose and His Orchestra (Embassy Club, London, November 1, 1934). Decca F 5293.

My old flame – Ambrose and his orchestra with Elsie Carlisle

“My Old Flame” – Ambrose and His Orchestra with Elsie Carlisle

Video by Julian Dyer (YouTube)

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