Arthur Lally Articles

Arthur Lally

“When My Dreams Come True” (1929)

“When My Dreams Come True.” Composed by Irving Berlin for the Marx Brothers film The Cocoanuts (1929). Recorded by Philip Lewis and His Orchestra (a.k.a. the Rhythm Maniacs) under the musical direction of Arthur Lally with vocalist Elsie Carlisle on September 14, 1929. Decca F. 1539.

Personnel: Arthur Lally cl-bas-bsx dir. Sylvester Ahola-t / Danny Polo-cl-as-ss / Johnny Helfer-ts / Claude Ivy-p / Joe Brannelly-g / Max Bacon-d-vib

When My Dreams Come True – Elsie Carlisle w. Philip Lewis & his Dance Orchestra

Philip Lewis and His Orchestra – “When My Dreams Come True” (1929)

Video by David Weavings (YouTube)

It is not infrequently that I hear a rare Elsie Carlisle recording for the first time on the YouTube channel of collector David Weavings, a.k.a. “jackpaynefan.”  The other day David gave me an extremely pleasant surprise when he uploaded a 1929 Decca side incorrectly listed in Rust and Forbes’s British Dance Bands on Record as featuring the voice of Maurice Elwin and which is absent from other discographies focusing on Elsie Carlisle or female singers in general (although Dick Hill’s 1993 Sylvester Ahola discography correctly identifies Elsie’s role in the recording).1 As it turns out, Decca F. 1539’s “When My Dreams Come True” pairs Elsie’s voice nicely with the rich sound of the Rhythm Maniacs (as Philip Lewis and His Orchestra).

“When My Dreams Come True” is the recurring theme of Paramount’s 1929 The Cocoanuts, the first Marx Brothers feature. The song is introduced by Oscar Shaw and Mary Eaton but performed throughout by a number of characters (twice by Harpo, on clarinet and harp). The Cocoanuts can be considered a successful comedy, but it suffers from the awkwardness of other early sound films, which faced the novel problem of trying to figure out how to integrate dance routines with non-musical material. Elsie Carlisle’s recording with the Rhythm Maniacs lacks any such awkwardness: she sings with confidence and ebullience, especially when we compare her singing on this record to her excellent but admittedly slightly flawed first session with that band.

“When My Dreams Come True” was recorded in America in 1929 by Franklyn Baur, Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra (with vocalist Jack Fulton), Hal Kemp and His Orchestra (with vocals by Skinnay Ennis), and Phil Spitalny’s Music (with the Pauli Sisters). It was made popular in Britain in 1929 by Bidgood’s Broadcasters (as Al Benny’s Broadway Boys, with vocalist Cavan O’Connor), The Gilt-Edged Four (with vocals by Norah Blaney), Betty Bolton, and by Stanley Kirkby and Rene Valma. In March 1930 it was recorded by Harry Hudson’s Radio Melody Boys (with vocalist Sam Browne).

"When My Dreams Come True." Original sheet music (1929).

Notes:

  1. Hill, Dick. Silvester Ahola: The Gloucester Gabriel, “Discography,” especially pp. 151-155 (Metuchen, New Jersey, 1993). My thanks to John Wright and Barry McCanna, who referred me to this fascinating volume.

“Just One More” (1932)

“Just One More.” Words by Stanley Lupino, music by Noel Gay. Composed for the film Sleepless Nights (1932). Recorded by Stanley Lupino and Elsie Carlisle in London on December 1, 1932. Decca F. 3319 mx. GB5275-3.

Stanley Lupino & Elsie Carlisle – "Just One More" (1932)

Stanley Lupino & Elsie Carlisle – “Just One More” (1932)

“Just One More” is the flip side of “I Don’t Want to Go to Bed” and is another Stanley Lupino/Noel Gay collaboration for the musical comedy Sleepless Nights. This Decca recording has Stanley Lupino singing a duet with Elsie Carlisle (who did not appear in the movie) and involves some remarkable spoken banter:

– “Hello, Elsie! How did you get on this side of the record?”
– “I came through the hole in the label!”

– “Wonderful! Lovely! Gorgeous!”
– “To what are you referring?”
“You.”
– “You don’t mean that.”
– “I do!”
– “Oh, you haven’t seen me in the morning!”
– “Oh, may I???
“Oh, Mr. Lupino!”

– “I love that curl on the back of your neck.”
– “Do you?”
– “Yes. May I kiss it?”
– “Oh, no.”
– “Ah, yes!
– “Oh, no!”
– “Ah, yes!”
– “Oh, no…”
– “I shall!”
– “You have!

There is a sound at end of the recording that is especially precious.  Listen for it, and Happy New Year!

“I Don’t Want to Go to Bed” (1932)

“I Don’t Want to Go to Bed.” Words by Stanley Lupino, music by Noel Gay (1932). Recorded by Stanley Lupino and Elsie Carlisle on December 1, 1932. Decca F. 3319 mx. GB5274-3.

Stanley Lupino & Elsie Carlisle – "I Don't Want to Go to Bed" (1932)

Stanley Lupino & Elsie Carlisle – “I Don’t Want to Go to Bed” (1932)

An anthem praising the nightlife and its frolicking “nightbird company,” “I Don’t Want to Go to Bed” is part of the score of the 1932 movie Sleepless Nights.  Its lyrics were penned by comic actor Stanley Lupino (father of Ida Lupino), who was also the star of the film.  Elsie Carlisle joins him in a vocal duet in this Decca recording of the song — she did not act in the movie — and while she only sings for fifteen seconds, hers is a memorable contribution.  Particularly funny is her perky comment in the debate as to whether the merrymakers will go home or not:

“I appeal to you, Miss Carlisle!”
“Not to me! Tonight, I’m one of the boys!”

A photograph of the recording session makes it seem likely that Arthur Lally was the musical director. Elsie would record “I Don’t Want to Go to Bed” again later the same month in a duet with Sam Browne, accompanied by Harry Hudson’s Melody Men (as Rolando and His Blue Salon Orchestra).

Other 1932 recordings of the song were made by Billy Cotton and His Band (with vocalist Fred Douglas), Henry Hall’s BBC Dance Orchestra (with vocals by Les Allen), Harry Bidgood’s Broadcasters (as the Rhythm Rascals, with Tom Barratt singing), Ambrose and His Orchestra (with vocalist Sam Browne and spoken parts by Ambrose and Max Bacon), Tommy Kinsman and His Band (as the Fifteen Crimson Dominoes, with vocals by Fred Douglas and a spoken part by Tom Barratt), Roy Fox and His Band (Roy Fox and Les Lambert, vocalists), Harry Roy and His R.K. Olians (with vocals by Harry Roy, Bill Currie, and Ivor Moreton), the Durium Dance Band (with Sam Browne), and Jack Payne and His Band (with singing by Billy Scott Coomber, Jack Jackson, and Bob Easson, and spoken parts by Jack Payne and Leslie Holmes).

Stanley Lupino
Stanley Lupino

“Come On, Baby” (1929)

“Come On, Baby.” Composed by Sidney Clare, Archie Gottler, and Maceo Pinkard (1928). Recorded by Elsie Carlisle with the Rhythm Maniacs at the Chenil Galleries Studios in Chelsea on August 23, 1929. Decca F. 1528.

Personnel:  Arthur Lally-cl-as-bar dir. Sylvester Ahola-t / Danny Polo-Johnny Helfer-reeds / Joe Brannelly-bj-g / Max Bacon-d-vib1

COME ON BABY! – THE RHYTHM MANIACS

 The Rhythm Maniacs (w. Elsie Carlisle) – “Come On, Baby”

Video by Enrico Borsetti (YouTube)

On August 23, 1929 Elsie Carlisle recorded three songs for Decca (“Why Can’t You?” “Come on, Baby,” and “He’s a Good Man to Have Around”) with a band known variously as the Rhythm Maniacs and as Philip Lewis and His Dance Orchestra. This was a studio band, and Philip Lewis the recording manager for Decca; it was really the great  Arthur Lally (pictured above) who led the sessions. An Ambrose Orchestra saxophonist, Lally also directed a great many sessions at Decca and Filmophone between 1929 and 1932 under various band names and oversaw the making of some of the “hottest” dance band music of the period.

“Come On, Baby” begins and ends with primal, saxophone-dominated instrumental segments, with Elsie singing for a mere 42 seconds in the middle of the song. She delivers the flirtatious lyrics with considerably more fervor and desperation than other contemporary singers. Her final appeal, “Come on, and let your conscience guide you,” concluding with “Oh BABY, come on!” conveys an impression of passionate urgency.

We have an earlier take of this song made the same day, and it is interesting to hear the development that the band and Elsie make over the course of the session. The first take is instrumentally weaker; it lacks the punch of the final recording as issued by Decca. Elsie begins on the wrong note – it is humbling to hear her make such a mistake – but she recovers admirably. There is also an alternate take from that session of “He’s a Good Man to Have Around,” in which she noticeably sings a note natural when it should be flat. Here we have, perhaps, a glimpse into the fast-paced life of these recording artists, who could have a weak start to a session but still turn out an excellent final product.

“Come On, Baby” had been popular the previous year in America. Between September and December 1928 there were versions by Allister Wylie and His Coronado Hotel Orchestra, Lou Gold and His Orchestra, Ted Weems and His Orchestra, Fred Hall and His Sugar Babies, Ernie Golden, Meyer Davis and His Orchestra (as The Park Inn Good Timers, with vocals by Smith Ballew), and Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra.

British recordings of “Come On, Baby” date from September 1929 to January 1930, with versions by the Rhythmic Eight, Ray Noble’s New Mayfair Dance Orchestra (in a “Paul Jones” medley), Ray Starita and His Ambassadors’ Band (Eddie Grossbart, vocalist), Jack Hylton and His Orchestra (Sam Browne, vocalist), Bidgood’s Broadcasters (vocalist Tom Barratt), Arthur Roseberry and His Dance Band (as Barry Bryan and His Syncopators, with Pat O’Malley and possibly Len Lees doing the singing), Jay Wilbur and His Orchestra (as the Brooklyn Broadcasters, with Tom Barratt as vocalist), Cecil and Leslie Norman (as Norman Sissel and His Rhythm Twisters, with Cavan O’Connor doing the singing), Hal Swain and His Band (vocalist Hal Swain), Ronnie Munro’s Parlophone Variety Company (in their “Talkieland Selection”), Nat Star and His Dance Orchestra (as Eugene Brockman’s Dance Orchestra), Jay Whidden and His Band (vocalist Jay Whidden), and Harry Hudson’s Plaza Band (with vocalist John Thorne). There were also recordings of the song by the Trix Sisters in August 1929, and by Miriam Ferris in October 1929. Comedienne Dorothy Ward was noted for her performance of it in a Julian Wylie pantomime of “Robinson Crusoe” at The Palace, Manchester that same year.

It has always seemed odd to me that a song entitled “Come On, Baby” would not actually have that phrase in its lyrics (“Oh, baby, come on!” is as close as it gets). Such is human perversity.

"Come On, Baby!" sheet music featuring a photograph of Jack Hylton
“Come On, Baby!” sheet music featuring a photograph of Jack Hylton

Notes:

  1. According to Brian Rust and Sandy Forbes’s British Dance Bands on Record (1911-1945) and Supplement, p. 537.

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

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