Goodnight Sweetheart (OEX 9558 – 1970 )

E.M.I. (Australia)

It is rare indeed that the talent of any one artist is held in the high esteem that has been awarded to Al Bowlly. This vocalist, who became the most popular and sought after entertainer of the 1930’s, rivalled the great Bing Crosby in stature. Al Bowlly is regarded as a form of phenomenon in his field. His reputation as a singer not only placed him as one of the most famous ‘Crooners’ in his own lifetime, but appeared to grow and mellow long after his ‘Good-night Sweetheart’ days became a part of popular music history. The merits of Al Bowlly continue to gain strength and importance as each generation strives to find the ‘roots’ for it’s particular form of musical identification.

The warmth, spontaneity and unabashed love for life that Al contained in his vocal interpretations of such modern classics as ‘Love Is The Sweetest Thing’, ‘All Is Forgotten Now’ and his signature tune ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’ has endeared him to generation after generation of music fans. It is no wonder that Al has commanded such respect from music critics the world over. The concentrated ‘romanticism’ that one could quite appropriately call ‘his style’ has become one of the most imitated vocal deliveries to emerge from the pre-war depression days of the 20’s and early 30’s. Even today, the honey-smooth, wholesomeness that people identified with Al has once again entered into a new revivalist period. Indeed, the number of vocalists who have quite blatantly employed this effect, reads like the who’s who of our current batch of budding balladeers!

Al specialised in the ‘Romantics’. He achieved the ultimate success with this ‘Formula’. The songs contained the sweet, dramatic and love-lorn pinings that fills the vast majority of both writers and vocalists’ waking hours. However, Al has one precious, priceless asset that placed him far above his competitors, he imbued his material with a flair for communication. He had the qualities that made people believe and react to the lyrics. He could lift a banal lyric line into an emotional experience, without falling into ‘Unreasonable dramatics’, to force the message across. This was Al Bowlly, and as far as most critics are concerned, still is.


— Michael Delaney

Side One

  1. WITH ALL MY LOVE AND KISSES (Gottler-Nicholls)
  2. I’M GLAD I WAITED (Youmans)
  3. YOU’RE MINE, YOU! (Green)
  4. MIDNIGHT, THE STARS AND YOU (Woods-Campbell-Connelly)
  5. IT’S BAD FOR ME (Cole Porter)
  6. IT’S ALL FORGOTTEN NOW (Ray Noble)
  7. LOVE TALES (Davis)
  8. WHAT MORE CAN I ASK? (Noble-Anona Winn)

Side Two

  1. LOVE IS THE SWEETEST THING (Ray Noble)
  2. GOODNIGHT SWEETHEART (Noble-Campbell-Connelly-Vallee)
  3. HANG OUT THE STARS IN INDIANA (H. Woods)
  4. HUSTLIN’ AND BUSTLIN’ FOR BABY (H. Woods)
  5. REMEMBER ME (Miller-Seymour)
  6. WHAT NOW (Green-Dyrenforth)
  7. LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE (Flynn) 8. THIS IS ROMANCE (Heyman-Duke)

Ray Noble – Al Bowlly Vol. II (MES 7021 – 1972 )


FROM THE PRODUCERS:

Ever since the release of our AL BOWLLY/RAY NOBLE album (MES/6816) approximately one year ago, we have received a great many letters commending us for re-issuing this material, as well as for the selection of sides and the quality of the sound. These letters came from all over the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and even Florence, Italy. Also received, with and with-out request on our part, were a lot of suggestions concerning this follow-up album, plus discographies of 78’s either owned by the various collectors, or known to have been recorded by HMV.

Four persons who contributed directly to the planning of this second LP were Mr. Rudy Leuthauser, who furnished a tape of some forty sides, Mr. Paul Copeland, who sent four Australian LP’s which introduced us to several titles we had never heard before, Mr. Bill Stanton, who compiled by far the most complete Noble discography we have ever seen, and Mr. John E. Martin, who also sent a discography and gave us some excellent suggestions. Many thanks!

Several correspondents urged the inclusion of such semi-spoken Bowlly vocals as WHO WALKS IN WHEN I WALK OUT? and SEVEN YEARS WITH THE WRONG WOMAN. We were also asked to include certain instrumentals: TIGER RAG, JAPANESE SANDMAN, THE BLUE DANUBE, and others. However, after due consideration, we felt that Al Bowlly at his best was so central to the magic of the Noble English band that we chose what to us are the finest sides not previously re-issued on either our first M-E album or the 1962 2-LP Capitol set.

The response to the re-emergence of NOBLE/ BOWLLY on LP, both from the critics and the cognoscenti, has been such that perhaps a third M-E album could be in the prospect for the future. If so, it would derive primarily from the now-deleted Capitol set which, after all, we helped Dave Dexter assemble. Hopefully the sound quality would be more faithful to the original 78’s, and possibly it could include a few unreissued sides. To return to the fan mail: perhaps the most moving letter received was from Mr. Syd Deekes, Bushey Road, Sutton, Surrey, England. He wrote in part as follows: “Dear Sirs : I must give credit where it’s due — we have nothing here to come up to the wonderful job you’ve done . . . I was a personal friend of Al Bowlly and I’m sure he would have been very pleased to know the interest and trouble you went to to get perfection on your LP.”

SIDE ONE

  • 1. IT’S WITHIN YOUR POWER (recorded May 3, 1933) (Gordon-Revel) DeSylva, Brown & Henderson
  • 2. A COUPLE OF FOOLS IN LOVE (recorded June 20, 1933) (Valentine-John-Broones) Chappell, Inc.
  • 3. GUILTY (recorded November 14, 1931) (Kahn-Akst-Whiting) Leo Feist, Inc.
  • 4. THE BEAT OF MY HEART (recorded May 31, 1934) (Spina-Burke) Irving Berlin, Inc.
  • 5. EXPERIMENT (recorded October 12, 1933) (Cole Porter) Chappell, Inc.
  • 6. BLUES IN MY HEART (recorded February 12, 1932) (Carter-Mills) Gotham Music, Inc.
  • 7. THAT’S WHAT LIFE IS MADE OF (recorded May 10, 1933) (Noble) Harms Inc.
  • 8. THE ECHO OF A SONG (recorded June 8, 1932) (Peter Mendoza) Harms Inc.

SIDE TWO

  • 1. IT’S GREAT TO BE IN LOVE (recorded February 12, 1932) (Friend-Connelly) Robbins Music Corporation
  • 2. MY SWEET (recorded April 27, 1934) (Peter Mendoza) H. Fox (Biem United Music Pub.)
  • 3. DINNER AT EIGHT (recorded October 12, 1933) (Fields-McHugh) Robbins Music Corporation
  • 4. HERE LIES LOVE (recorded December 8, 1932) (Robin-Rainger) Famous Music Corp.
  • 5. I ONLY WANT ONE GIRL (recorded June 20, 1933) (Valentine-John-Broones) Shapiro, Bernstein Inc.
  • 6. UNLESS (recorded February 1, 1934) (Hargreaves-Damerell-Evans) Francis, Day & Hunter, Inc.
  • 7. NOT BAD (recorded March 12, 1934) (Green-Dyrenforth) Harms Inc.
  • 8. A BEDTIME STORY (recorded October 11, 1932) (Towers-Leon-Nicholls) Harms Inc.


MONMOUTH-EVERGREEN RECORDS. 1697 BROADWAY, NEW YORK, N.Y. 10019

MES/7021

Printed in U.S.A.

Al Bowlly and Ray Noble (OEX 9710 – 1972 )

OEX 9710 Front
RAY NOBLE and AL BOWLLY, two men whose careers span one of the greatest eras of change the world has ever known, are heard again in this nostalgic, unashamedly romantic album of the music of their time.

To people accustomed to accepting discordancy as the norm and cacophonous screeching as good music, this album may come as something of a shock: but it will provide many happy hours for lovers of soft, sweet music, whose ear-drums crave for a revival of the clean, rich sound of a good band and the vocalising of a honey-tongued singer with a leaning towards a love-torn lyric.

Such a singer was Al Bowlly who , a generation ago in a world of jazzy parties, cats whiskers, crystal sets and flickering early movies was rivalling  that old maestro Bing Crosby in popularity .

We Danced All Night (CDN 5131 – 1958 )

cache_17365968Ray Noble, born in Brighton in 1907, is unique in the history of modern dance music. He is the only English bandleader to have become popular on both sides of the Atlantic through having lived and worked on both sides of the Atlantic.

Various British bandleaders, such as the late Jack Hylton, have visited the U.S.A., and some even recorded somewhat fleetingly there, and of course during the inter-war years, when dance music reached its zenith, many Americans visited us, some stayed, some left. Few are remembered now anyway. Yet the doctor’s son who at nineteen won a contest in the infant Melody Maker for arranging a long-forgotten tune called There’ll Come A Sometime became the Musical Director for the Gramophone Company at 22, having already won his spurs as arranger for Jack Payne’s resident B.B.C. Dance Orchestra.

After five years of directing every conceivable recording session, from light classics to low comedy, from salon and dance music to accompanying the great theatrical personalities of the day, Roy Noble received and accepted an offer to go to the U.S.A., taking with him his Irish drummer, Bill Harty, and his South African vocalist, Al Bowlly, then regarded as Britain’s answer to Bing Crosby. He formed a new band of American talent — and what talent! His personnel reads like a mid-thirties Who’s Who of Swing.

He had Sterling Bose, trumpet-playing hero of a hundred sessions all the way from New Orleans to New York via St. Louis; Glenn Miller, the dour trombonist from the crumbling Dorsey Brothers’ Orchestra, and even in 1935 giving broad hints of the fine dance-music arranger to come; Bud Freeman, to this day still very active and regarded as the greatest white tenor saxophonist in jazz; Johnny Mintz (also spelt Mince and Meuenzenberger) on clarinet, afterwards a shining light in Tommy Dorsey’s great band; Claude Thornhill, one of the most forward-looking of arrangers, on piano; so it goes on, almost a case of “You name them, Ray Noble used them.”

It had been the same in England; he used the very cream of talent available in London, the resulting records were hailed then as masterpieces of their kind, and they have since become connoisseurs’ items.

Not only a great arranger, Ray Noble composed many songs during the thirties that have passed into the standard category, Goodnight, Sweetheart, Love Is The Sweetest Thing; The Very Thought Of You, I Hadn’t Anyone Till You, and Cherokee, the number which in 1939 inspired the late Charlie Parker to begin his experiments and create an entirely new conception of modern rhythmic music.

Two more Ray Noble songs are heard on this record, admirably sung by Al Bowlly, who charmed the American girls but who returned to this country in 1937 and was killed by a Nazi bomb in 1941.

As a light comedian in Edgar Bergen’s Charlie McCarthy show, Ray Noble showed yet another facet of his many-sided abilities, yet despite many years in the forefront of American show-business, he has never lost his British accent and demeanour.

At a time when it was generally accepted the world over that the American bands were far superior to all others, Ray Noble quietly but impressively proved the theory wrong. After all, as I have said, he is the only British bandleader to have proved good enough for the Americans to keep.

Brian Rust

Hollywood,Mayfair And All That Jazz – The Roy Fox Story (1975)

………. IMG_1937Back in London I started immediately to form my new recording band. First of all I had to find someone who knew the best musicians and could help me by suggesting the kind of boys I needed. I’d heard of a very fine arranger who was a pianist named Lew Stone, and a top drummer called Bill Harty. I got together with them and, after they had agreed to join me, they told me of a vocalist who had been out of work for quite some considerable time and was finding it pretty difficult to make both ends meet. I thought that if this singer was all that good why wasn’t he working. But Lew and Bill pressed the point and, at last, I asked this man to come along and give me an audition. When he arrived, I noticed he made a good appearance – most necessary, of course – and he had a pleasing personality. Lew Stone accompanied him at the piano and when he started to sing I was sure he was the person I was looking for. His name was Al Bowlly. I soon made up the band with the best musicians I could find and we started turning out records for Decca by the dozen.

We recorded at least twice a week, making four titles at each  session and that was the very beginning of the hundreds and hundreds of discs I made during my career. The new band was an instant hit on records and, sure enough, I have never seen such publicity as Decca gave me. My photographs and records were in the windows of nearly every record shop, we had the full front page of the Daily Mail, and our records were played by the BBC almost every time you listened and also on the Continent. Yes, we were on our way. One of the very first things we did was a recording of The Peanut Vendor. It was just one of the many sides Al Bowlly did with that first band, which started him on the road to being one of the most famous of all British vocalists.

The Peanut Vendor was recorded in February 1931. So popular were our records becoming that one day I was asked by a man who was building a new club in the West End to come to see him. His name was Mr Upson and he owned the Dolcis Shoe Company. He told me the new club was going to be the smartest thing in London and would be exclusive. He said he had found when he went to other clubs they were generally too crowded to dance and that was why he was opening his own club so that he could provide a bit more comfort. He was going to call this new night spot The Monseigneur. It was right in the heart of Piccadilly. Would I be interested in opening with my band? He made it sound so worthwhile with the amount of money he offered and the fact that I wanted some place to be seen by the public apart from just making records, I had no hesitation in accepting. There would be only a few short weeks before the opening and there were one or two changes I intended making in the band. I engaged the brass section from the Billy Cotton Band and when it was time for the opening, the personnel in the band were Al Bowlly (vocalist), Lew Stone (piano), Bill Harty (drums), Don Stuteley (bass), Syd Buckman, Nat Gonella (trumpets), Joe Ferri (trombone), Ernest Rine, Jim Easton, Harry Berly (saxophones).

Opening night was really something! The Prince of Wales, the Duke of Kent, King Alfonso (of Spain), they were all there and the room was decorated so beautifully. All the walls were dark blue and draped with red silk and a large painting of Monseigneur hung near the cocktail bar – very French and in the most excellent taste.

When thinking of Al, I can’t help recalling that when we finished our first week and he received his first cheque , he was so happy to have had the chance of working again after so many ups and downs that to  show his gratitude, he invited Dorothea and  me to a little Italian restaurant in Soho  . We went along with him and he ordered a very special dish he thought we would both like and during the course of this delicious chicken entrée, I thought I heard a most peculiar kind of sound. After much detective work I discovered Al was chewing on a chicken bone. I queried this and he said: ‘Boss’ (he always called me Boss), `haven’t you ever tried chewing chicken bones? They’re the best part and very good for the teeth.’ Well, I knew Al had beautiful white teeth but I never realized how he kept them looking that way.

IMG_1938