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George Formby – ‘When I’m cleaning Windows’
His finest 1932-1946
RETROSPECTIVE RTS 4104 2CDs [2hrs 33 mins]


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Disc One: When I’m Cleaning Windows; Chinese Laundry Blues; Why Don’t Women Like Me?; Sitting on the Ice in the Ice Rink; With My Little Ukulele in My Hand; Swimmin’ With the Wimmin; It’s No Use Looking At Me; Fanlight Fanny; We All Share and Share Alike; Pleasure Cruise; The Isle of Man; Riding in the TT Races; Oh Dear, Mother; With My Little Stick of Blackpool Rock; Hindoo Man; The Lancashire Toreador; My Plus Fours; Easy-Going Chap; I Don’t Like; Leaning on the Lamp Post; Hi-Tiddly-Hi-Ti Island; You Can’t Stop Me From Dreaming; Like the Big Pots Do; I Blew a Little Blast on My Whistle; Springtime’s Here Again: Noughts and Crosses.    
Disc Two: In My Little Snapshot Album; Our Sergeant-Major; They Can’t Fool Me; It’s in the Air; I Wonder Who’s Under Her Balcony Now?; Hill Billy Willy; It’s Turned Out Nice Again; Hitting the High Spots Now; It’s a Grand Healthy Life; I’m Making Headway Now; I Couldn’t Let the Stable Down; The Lancashire Hot Pot Swingers; Grandad’s Flannelette Nightshirt; Mr Wu’s a Window Cleaner Now; Count Your Blessings and Smile; Oh, Don’t Blow Cold; On the Wigan Boat Express; On the Beat; Bless ‘Em All; I Wish I Was Back on the Farm; Delivering the Morning Milk; Auntie Maggie’s Remedy; You’re Everything To Me; Andy the Handyman; You Don’t Need a Licence for That; It Could Be!.   

Who could forget George Formby with his crazy, gormless persona, his slapstick comic routines and his sunny, virtuoso banjo-strumming, and that trademark wide toothy grin? George was born in Wigan, Lancashire, England, on May 26 1904, into a stage-struck family. He was to become a top British and Commonwealth box-office hit and favourite British screen comedian between 1935 and 1945. His wife Beryl, something of a shrew, “kept a dauntless watch” over the comedian’s many female film partners. This celebration of his talents comprises 52 recordings from 1932 to 1946.    

In ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’, featured in the 1936 film Keep Your Seats Please, George confided, “…I see honeymooners bill and coo, you should see what they get up to, when I’m cleaning windows…” In unusually straight romantic mood, in another  of his big hits he confesses that he is ‘Leaning on a Lamp Post’…”in case a certain little lady goes by there’s no other girl I’d wait for but this one I’d break any date for..”

In another sad romantic song, with a few malicious little digs he wonders ‘I wonder who’s under her balcony now?’ and hopes that “…I hope he catches the lot when she empties her geranium pot…”

But it’s those saucy seaside-postcard innuendos that one remembers. For instance, a young girl who goes walking with the naïve George tells him, “… Your love just turns me dizzy come along boy get busy” but, in reply, George confesses that …”I kept ‘My little ukulele in me Hand’” He’s also in trouble on holiday, ‘With My Little Stick of Blackpool Rock’, because ‘…In the ballroom I went dancing each night no wonder every girl I danced with stuck to me tight with my little stick of…”   Then there’s ‘Fanlight Fanny’ - the night club queen: “...full of charm and beer and stout as well…”  And in  ‘Mr Wu’s a Window Cleaner Now’ George relates how Mr Wu’s laundry business failed  so he became a window cleaner and that -  “he polishes the windows with ladies worn out blouses…”  

Just a few lines from the many risible treats here.

George died of a heart attack in March 1961

Fabulous Formby

Ian Lace

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