Bobbie McGhee Articles

“What’s Good for the Goose Is Good for the Gander” (1934)

“What’s Good for the Goose Is Good for the Gander.” Lyrics and music by Cliff Friend (1934). Recorded by Sam Browne and “Girl Friend” (i.e. Elsie Carlisle) with piano accompaniment by Eddie Carroll and Bobby McGhee in London on March 2, 1934. Regal Zonophone MR 1254.

Sam Browne & Elsie Carlisle – “What’s Good for the Goose Is Good for the Gander” (1934)

In “What’s Good for the Goose,” Sam Browne and Elsie Carlisle take on the roles of a man and a woman who clearly have a history together. As each contemplates the possibility that the other is seeing other people, they begin to engage in an extended threat of tit-for-tat reciprocity by way of commonplace expressions, many involving barnyard animals (“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander”; “the little red hen”; “till the cows come home”). Sam and Elsie were famed for their songs of vituperation during this period (compare “I’m Gonna Wash My Hands of You”), leading the comedian B. C. Hilliam (“Mr. Flotsam”) to write in Radio Magazine

A crooner named Elsie Carlisle
Is a girl with a very nice stisle;
But the cheek that she gets
From Sam Browne in duets —
Now how can this chap be so visle?”

Songwriter Cliff Friend was a productive Tin Pan Alley composer remembered particularly for “My Blackbirds Are Bluebirds Now” and “The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down,” which provided the theme for Looney Tunes.

“What’s Good for the Goose” was recorded in February 1934 in New York by Chick Bullock, by Ozzie Nelson (as Owen Fallon and His Californians, with vocals by Ozzie Nelson and Harriet Hilliard), and by Dick Robertson. In London there were also versions done by the B.B.C. Dance Orchestra under the direction of Henry Hall (with vocals by Len Burmon), Harry Roy and His Orchestra, Jack Jackson and His Orchestra, and Howard Flynn and His Orchestra.

"What's Good for the Goose Is Good for the Gander" sheet music
“What’s Good for the Goose Is Good for the Gander” sheet music

“Gee, Oh Gosh, I’m Grateful!” (1934)

“Gee, Oh Gosh, I’m Grateful!” Words by Michael Carr, music by Max and Harry Nesbit (1934). Recorded by Sam Browne and “Girl Friend” (i.e. Elsie Carlisle), accompanied on the piano by Eddie Carroll and Bobbie McGhee, in London on March 2, 1934. Regal Zonophone MR-1254 CAR-2593-1.

Sam Browne & Elsie Carlisle – “Gee, Oh Gosh, I’m Grateful!” (1934)

“Gee, Oh Gosh, I’m Grateful!” was a collaboration between composer Michael Carr, who wrote other songs that Elsie Carlisle recorded, including “The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot” and “You’re in My Arms,” and the music hall comedian brothers Max and Harry Nesbit. In this 1934 Regal Zonophone recording, the song is a duet between “Sam Browne & Girl Friend.” The identification of “Girl Friend” as Elsie Carlisle is universally accepted on the strength of aural evidence, and the pair performs “What’s Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander” on the other side of the record.

The scenario laid out in the lyrics of “Gee, Oh Gosh, I’m Grateful!” is a light and simple one: a bachelor and a single woman are out walking when their sudden attraction to one another coincides with a rainy downpour. No sooner has the chivalrous man shared his umbrella with the woman than…they are married with a house and baby — a quick and amusing transition. A comparable use of weather to bring potential lovers together can be found in the following year’s “Isn’t This a Lovely Day (To Be Caught in the Rain)?” sung by Fred Astaire in the Irving Berlin musical film Top Hat.

“Gee, Oh Gosh, I’m Grateful” was recorded soon afterwards by Ambrose and His Orchestra (v. Sam Browne) and by Roy Fox and His Band, with Denny Dennis as vocalist.

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