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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bert Ambrose...Swinging London in the '20s-30s...The Mayfair Hotel Orchestra and more.....

Bert Ambrose

Benjamin Baruch Ambrose (15 September 1896 – 11 June 1971), known professionally as Ambrose or Bert Ambrose, was an English bandleader and violinist. Ambrose become the leader of a highly acclaimed English dance band, the Bert Ambrose & His Orchestra, in the 1930s.

Ambrose was born in the East End of London; his father was a Jewish wool merchant. He began playing the violin while young, and soon after he was taken to the United States by his aunt he began playing professionally — first for Emil Coleman at New York's Reisenweber's restaurant, then in the Palais Royal's big band. After making a success of a stint as bandleader, at the age of twenty he was asked to put together and lead his own fifteen-piece band. After a dispute with his employer, he moved his band to another venue, where they enjoyed considerable popularity.
In 1922, he returned to London, where he was engaged by the Embassy Club to form a seven-piece band. Ambrose stayed at the Embassy for two years, before walking out on his employer in order to take up a much more lucrative job in New York. After a year there, besieged by continual pleas to return from his ex-employer in London, in 1925 he was finally persuaded to go back by a cable from the Prince of Wales: "The Embassy needs you. Come back — Edward".
This time Ambrose stayed at the Embassy Club until 1927. The club had a policy of not allowing radio broadcasts from its premises, however, and this was a major drawback for an ambitious bandleader; this was largely because the fame gained by radio work helped a band to gain recording contracts (Ambrose's band had been recorded by Columbia Records in 1923, but nothing had come of this). He therefore accepted an offer by the Mayfair Hotel, with a contract that included broadcasting.
Ambrose stayed at the Mayfair for six years, during which time the band made recordings for Brunswick RecordsHMV and Decca Records. He teamed up withRichard Rogers and Lorenz Hart, and an American harmony song trio, the Hamilton Sisters and Fordyce (aka,Three X Sisters) to record songs "My Heart Stood Still" and other tunes. This period also saw the musical development of the band, partly as a result of Ambrose's hiring of first-class musicians, including Sylvester Ahola,Ted Heath, Joe Crossman, Joe Jeannette, Bert Read, Joe Brannelly, Dick Escott and trumpeter Max Goldberg.

In 1933, Ambrose was asked to accept a cut in pay at the Mayfair; refusing, he went back to the Embassy Club, and after three years there (and a national tour), he rejected American offers and returned to the Mayfair Hotel in 1936. He then went into partnership with Jack Harris (an American bandleader), and in 1937 they bought a club together (Ciro's Club). For 3 months they even employed Art Tatum[1] there, some think the greatest jazz pianist who ever lived. Ambrose and Harris alternated performances in Ciro's until a disagreement led to the rupture of their partnership. Ambrose then worked at the Café de Paris until the outbreak of World War II, when he again went on tour. His major discovery in the years leading up to the war was the singer Vera Lynn (b. 1917), who sang with his band from 1937 to 1940 and, during the war, became known as the "Forces' Sweetheart". Lynn married Harry Lewis, a clarinettist in the band, in 1939. Other singers with the Ambrose band included Sam BrowneElsie Carlisle, Denny Dennis (who recorded a number of duets with Vera Lynn), and Evelyn Dall.
After a short period back at the Mayfair Hotel, he retired from performing in 1940 (though he and his orchestra continued to make records for Decca until 1947). Several members of his band became part of the Royal Air Force band, the Squadronaires, during the war. Ambrose's retirement was not permanent, however, and he formed and toured with the Ambrose Octet, and dabbled in management.

In the mid-1950s, despite appearances back in London's West End and a number of recordings for MGM, Ambrose was — in common with other bandleaders — struggling; rock and roll had arrived. He was forced to start performing in small clubs with casual musicians, and his financial position deteriorated catastrophically. His situation was saved, however, by his discovery of the singer Kathy Kirby (1938–2011), whom he heard singing at the age of sixteen at the Ilford Palais; he started a long relationship with her, and promoted her career.[2]
It was during the recording of one of Kirby's television programmes (at the Yorkshire Television studios) that Ambrose collapsed, dying later the same night in Leeds General Infirmary. His music was kept alive after his death by, among others, the Radio 2 broadcasters Alan Dell (1924–1995) and Malcolm Laycock, the latter continuing to play his records into the 21st century. His records, especially from his many 78RPM discs, still regularly feature on Australian radio 8CCC-FM's long running nostalgia programme "Get Out Those Old Records" hosted by Rufl.

The music.......(Do, bear with me a bit on these, as some of my sources were in very poor condition, bit rates vary, etc....) 

Instead of three volumes, today, I figured I'd put these in sets. These days it seems every time I find a good source to upload to, the site gets yanked down so fast, I'd best make haste and offer them all at one time.....Geesh.  I'd understand if I were posting The Billboard Top 40, or whatever. But C'mon.......Bert Ambrose and The Hotel Mayfair Orchestra?? really? The evil pirates here on The HMS Anachronist are such outlaws, aren't we? If this were 1933, perhaps, but I digress........*sigh*

On to the music, already.....

Set 1-

A Bench In The Park 

About A Quarter To Nine 
Ah, sweet mystery of life 
All Of Me 
At Eventide 
Auf Wiedersehen, My Dear!
Begin The Beguine
Big Ben 
Blue Turning Grey Over You
Bom ba diddy bop bop 
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams 
Brighter Than The Sun 
Button Up Your Overcoat 
Bye Bye Baby 
College Rhythm
Cotton picker's congregation 
Cryin' For The Carolines
Cuban Pete
Dance Little Lady 
Dancing in the dark 
Deep Henderson 
Didn't I Tell You 
Don't Let That Moon Get Away
Donkey Serenade 
El samba 
Embassy Stomp 
Exactly Like You 
Falling Leaves 
good evening 
Goopy Geer 
Half Caste Woman 
Hang out the wash on the Siegfried Line 
Happy Go Lucky You 
Have you met Miss Jones 
Hide and seek 
Home James, and don't spare the horses
Hors D'Oeurves
How deep is the ocean 
The Free And Easy

Set 2

 'Leven Thirty Saturday Night

I Can Wiggle My Ears 
I Dont Want To Go To Bed 
I surrender dear 
I Want a Little Girl
I Want to Be Bad 
I'll Be Seeing You 
I'll guess i have to change my plan
I'll Never Smile Again 
I'm All In 
I'm an unemployed sweetheart 
I'm Gonna Wash My hands Of You 
I'm In The Market For You 
I'm Just Wearing My Heart Out For You 
I'm On A Diet Of Love 
I'm On A See-Saw 
I'm Riding To Glory 
I'm Thru' With Love 
If I had A Million Dollars 
If Love Were All.mp3
If they ever had an income tax on love 
Indian Summer 
Is I in Love, I Is 
It's Just Too Bad For Nasty Uncle Adolf 
It's The Talk of The Town 
Just One Of Those Things 
La Cucaracha 
Lambeth Walk 
Laughing At Life 
Laughing at the Rain 
Limehouse blues 
Little Old Lady 
London on A Rainy Night 
Looks like Love 
Love Letters In The Sand 
Love Locked Out 
Lullaby Of Broadway 
Lullaby of the Leaves 
Makin' Whoopee 
Miss Annabelle Lee 
Moanin' For You
Mrs. Worthington 
My Baby Just Cares For Me 
My romance 
The longer that you linger in Virginia 

Set 3

(Somewhere) Over The Rainbow 

Nevertheless (I'm In Love With You) 
No Songs About Love 
No! No! A Thousand Times No! 
Oceans of Time 
Okay Toots 
Old Man Of The Mountain 
One Hour With You 
Pardon Me, Pretty Baby 
Rhapsody in blue (two parts) 
Said My Heart 
Selection of Hebrew Dances, No. 2 
She didn't say yes 
She's My Secret Passion 
shoo the hoodoo away 
Singapore Sorrows 
St Louis Blues 
Stormy Weather 
Streamline Strut 
Sweet and Lovely 
Sweet Muchacha 
Swing is in the air 
Take My Heart. 
Ten pretty girls 
The Penguin 
The Punch and Judy Show 
The Show Is Over 
The Sun has Got His Hat On 
Then I'll Be Tired Of You 
There isn't any limit to my love 
There Ought To be A Moonlight savings time 
Till Tomorrow 
To be worthy of you 
Too Many Tears 
Try To Forget 
Two Sleepy People 
Until the real thing comes along 
Wardance of the (for the) Wooden Indians 
What Good Am I Without You 
When You climb those golden stairs 
Willow Weep For Me 
With Plenty Of Money And You 
Without That Certain Thing 
Won't You Come Home, Bill Bailey 
Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams 
Yes, Yes (My Baby Says 'Yes') 
You ought to be in pictures. 
You Ought To See Sally On Sunday 
You try somebody else 
You've Got Me Crying Again 


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