Bands & Directors

“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)

“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.