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George Formby - It's Turned Out Nice Again.

Original Recordings 1932-1946

NAXOS NOSTALGIA 8.120837 [60:26]


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The Old Kitchen Kettle
I Told My Baby With The Ukulele
If You Don't Want The Goods Don't Maul 'Em
Levi's Monkey Mike
With My Little Ukulele In My Hand
She's Never Been Seen Since Then
You Can't Keep A Growing Lad Down
Madame Moscovitch
Fanlight Fanny
The Isle Of Man
Oh Dear, Mother
Keep Your Seats Please
The Lancashire Toreador
It's In The Air
It's Turned Out Nice Again
You Can't Go Wrong In These
The Barmaid At The Rose And Crown
They Laughed When I Started To Play
The Mad March Hare
You Don't Need A License For That
George Formby
Jack Hylton and his Orchestra, Beryl Formby and orchestra and anonymous orchestras

This is the second of Naxos’s Formby volumes. There’s no Lamppost here but there are Lancashire Toreadors, Ukuleles in Hands and Growing Lads. A number of the better-known titles derive from Formby’s very popular films - It’s In The Air, South American George and his trademark It's Turned Out Nice Again. This must surely mean there’s still clearly a big and healthy market for the incorrigible Lancastrian’s saucy songs.

In the earlier tracks Formby had the advantage of backing from Jack Hylton’s band; later on there were anonymous orchestras on Regal Zonophone and Decca. Formby naturally essays one or two banjolele solos – one of the best on I Told My Baby With The Ukulele – but in the main it’s his voice that we’re listening for. Most will know that With My Little Ukulele In My Hand was banned by the BBC – but I wasn’t aware that Decca F3615 was actually withdrawn but the discographical notes have it thus. It is pretty smutty for the time, though perhaps the stiff - if one can use the word – martial rhythm gave it a patina of respectability, at least for a while.

Actually other songs are more interesting. She's Never Been Seen Since Then is a nastily gleeful number celebrating the illicit pleasures of wife killing. Fanlight Fanny isn’t one of Max Miller’s Fan Dancers – she’s a blowsy barmaid who gives, shall we say, as good as she gets. A more sedate vision of this old standby comes in the shape of The Barmaid At The Rose And Crown which is probably the funniest song in the set and a Formby original. Along with these stock characters – the nagging wife, the saucy barmaid, the gormless lad and others we have funny foreigners in the shape of Madame Moscovitch and the lure of the exotic in The Lancashire Toreador which is topped with a very English castanets-testicles gag. There’s also the Alice in Wonderland inspiration in The Mad March Hare and the perennial subject of taxes and licences in You Don't Need A License For That.

The transfers are very reasonable with matching notes. A third volume I assume will take Formby well into the post-War years.

Jonathan Woolf


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