“I’m a Little Prairie Flower.” Composed by Leslie Sarony and Leslie Holmes (1937). Recorded by Jack Harris and His Orchestra with Elsie Carlisle as vocalist on October 25, 1937. HMV BD-5289 mx. 0EA-5109-1.
Personnel: Jack Harris-vn dir. Alfie Noakes-Doug Holman-t / Lewis Davis-Don Binney-tb /Harry Karr-cl-as-f / Freddy Williams-cl-as / Harry Smith-cl-as-ts / George Glover-bar / Max Jaffa-Bill Sniderman-vn / Bert Read-Jack Penn-p-a / Cyril Halliday-Joe Brannelly-g / Alf Gray-d
“I’m a Little Prairie Flower” was composed by Leslie Holmes and Leslie Sarony in 1937, although the refrain is taken from an older song (anthologized by E. O. Harbin in 1927), with possibly some connection to the 1925 Jack Gardner tune “I’m a Little Prairie Flower (I’m Wild, I’m Wild).” It is a silly song that bases its comic effect on an extended but distracted botanical metaphor. The Two Leslies recorded it themselves in 1937:
They even performed it in a 1938 short (probably filmed at Pathé Studios in London), with Leslie Holmes singing at the piano and Leslie Sarony dancing and gesticulating:
British Pathé Video (YouTube)
Elsie Carlisle made her recording of “I’m a Little Prairie Flower” on October 25, 1937 with Jack Harris and His Orchestra, with altered lyrics. There were also versions done in November 1937 by Billy Cotton and His Band (with Alan Breeze as the vocalist) and by Jack Jackson and His Orchestra (with vocals by Helen Clare, Jackie Hunter, Jack Jackson, and Jack Cooper).
Elsie recorded five other songs with Jack Harris and His Orchestra in late 1937 and did radio broadcasts with them in 1938. Harris was an American bandleader who moved to England in 1927 and was an important figure in British dance band music through the 1930s. He even co-owned Ciro’s Club for a while with Ambrose. When war broke out in Europe, however, he went back to America, and was not able to return to Britain for want of safe passage.