Berliner and his talking machine

The Hound heartily thanks Mr Lester Smith for providing this little known image of Emile Berliner standing by his first machine.

Publication CONQUEST , May 1921.

Publication CONQUEST , May 1921.

Frank Bates jazz legend commemorated

Last Sunday a plaque was unveiled in Southwark  in memory of one of Britain’s earliest black jazz musicians Frank Bates.

Frank Bates was a singer in the Southern Syncopated Orchestra which performed in London clubs after the First World War.

Frank Bates was a singer in the Southern Syncopated Orchestra which performed in London clubs after the First World War.

The Southern Syncopated Orchestra was formed by the American composer Will Marion Cook and comprised 27 musicians and 19 singers.  The musicians came from, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Guyana, Barbados, Antigua and Ghana among other places.

The Southern Syncopated Orchestra

The Southern Syncopated Orchestra

The  orchestra had made a deep impression across Europe. It had very quickly become a staple on the London club circuit. So taken were revellers by this new style of syncopated music and the extraordinary talents in its midst that it wasn’t long before the Prince of Wales (future King Edward VIII) had invited them to perform on the 19th August 1919 at Buckingham Palace.

 Frank had lived in Hichisson Road in Peckham Rye where the plaque was unveiled.

Frank had lived in Hichisson Road in Peckham Rye where the plaque was unveiled.

Tragically Frank, and seven other members of the SSO, died in 1921 in a shipping disaster.

Extracts taken from Kurt Barling  original article for BBC London , to read more go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2006/10/09/orchestra_feature.shtml

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HMV 363 Oxford Street

This was the Daddio of record shops. HMV 363 Oxford Street, London in the late 1950’s:

The shop plays a part in The Beatles story. HMV, which was then part of EMI, had a small recording studio that members of the public could record songs for their sweethearts. In February 1962 Brian Epstein was in London doing the rounds of the London record companies trying (unsuccessfully) to get a record deal for the boys. He stopped at HMV Records at 363 Oxford Street to get some acetate discs made from the (unsuccessful) reel-to-reel Decca demo. The disc-cutter was Jim Foy who mentioned the group to publisher Sid Colman who in turn mentioned them to George Martin at E.M.I.’s studios in Abbey Road NW8. George gave The Beatles a recording test some months later and the rest is history.

People also bought music there!

You can browse more wonderful photos from HMV in the 1960’s here

The original HMV shop burnt down in 1937 to be rebuilt and reopened 2 years later on 8th May 1939. Sir Thomas Beecham, the famous conductor, opened the store. Here is his speech and photos of the fire.

The original shop was opened in 1921 by Sir Edward Elgar (who also opened Abbey Road Studios ten years later)

The shop closed down on April 2000. A certain George Martin was there to send it on its way with a Blue Plaque.