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Friday, April 13, 2007

The God-like genius of Whispering Jack Smith

Pinched this from under Rob's nose in the office today. It's a wonderful new compilation called "Songs The Bonzos Taught Us", featuring the original versions of tunes like "Jollity Farm", "My Brother Makes The Noises For The Talkies" and "Hunting Tigers Out India (Yah)". Most of them are novelty songs recorded by British dance bands in the 30s and they all rest on that bobbity locomotion that was sadly bred out of British musicians some time in the 70s. But Whispering Jack Smith is a man apart. Unbelievably, an American, he was best known for his English accent and here he elocutes like the BBC newsman nonpareil (just listen to the way he gets his teeth round "sitting beneath the trees") while the band toot and strum as if they're trying to make sure they don't disturb the sleep of the people in the flat (or should that be "flet"?) downstairs. And this was 1928, so it can only have been recorded direct to disc from one mike. Genuinely extraordinary.
Whispering Jack Smith: All By Yourself In The Moonlight