This was $3.00 or was it $2.40? I can’t remember when I got it. If I were a gambling man, I would assume I got it during the Memorial Day Sale of ’15. In retrospect, I should have done a better job of documenting records when I bought them.
Ian Whitcomb, a pianist from Surrey, had a US hit in 1965 with “You Turn Me On”. Riding the British Invasion, it led to opening for the Beach Boys, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, and Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs.
He followed up that success with this album, a collection of tunes from the American rag time and the British music hall eras. That was a bit of a calculated gamble but it did bring some success with the single “Where Did Robinson Crusoe Go With Friday On A Saturday Night”. It featured the ukulele, an instrument he helped popularize before Tiny Tim. I find it an odd career choice, but that was where Whitcomb’s passion lies. He was never a fan of rock and roll. Also, he was never really big in the UK.
He released several other albums. Well, more like over twenty. From what I can make out, he is a leading expert on Tin Pan Alley rag time. He wrote numerous books, both novels and music history ( he has a degree in History from Trinity College in Dublin). He scored the music for the movie Bugs Bunny: Superstar which was narrated by Orson Wells ( I believe I saw this in the theater as a kid). He also is produced Mae West’s version of “Great Balls of Fire” and released an album of music played on the Titanic, for which he won a Grammy (for packaging). He currently resides in Southern California, hosts both television and radio, and still plays performances.
Web page for Ian
This album, released in 1966, is, if you did not read above, a collection of songs from American rag time and British music hall. Both styles played out about the same time and are very similar with the difference being perhaps that music hall was more raunchy, by 1900 British standards. Anyway, this album showcases Whitcomb’s talent and appreciation of these styles. Some critics have labeled this album corny. That is not particularly untrue. However, it is a good easy collection of period music with songs ranging from common to obscure.
For a sample, I went with “The Awful Tale Of Maggie May”. This was a street song from Liverpool about a harlot who steals from her johns. A verse and half a chorus can be heard on the Beatles’ Let It Be. This was a nod to the Quarrymen (pre-Beatles) who used to perform this number. In contrast, Rod Stewart’s version is pretty far removed from the source.
Eh. I could go both ways on this album, I will give this satisfactory. I mean, it is corny, but you know what you getting into when you buy it so I am not going to harp any further.