Tag: Herbert Payne

Ernest Pike at firstworldwar.com

The Guardian newspaper has recently been running a fascinating series of booklets on the First World War, and recommended a site called firstworldwar.com.  Checking them out they have a great range of vintage recordings, by famous names such asRead More »

Open All Hours

Knew I’d heard it before, but the penny just dropped (as the saying goes). “Alice Where Art Thou” is the theme to the classic Ronnie Barker/David Jason sitcom “Open All Hours“.

Spaceman Spiff notes that the Bizzarotron has been reading a little low lately…

From Herbert Payne to wax cylinders

Years ago, I used to collect 78 rpm records.  And through them, I discovered a singer called Herbert Payne.  He used to sing very odd things – “Amazon, River of Dreams”, “The Lisp of a Baby’s Prayer” – and at the age of about nine or ten, I really enjoyed them.  A few years ago I came across a tape of them I made and guess what…  I still like them.

So, bearing in mind these recordings are almost certainly public domain by now, where to find them?  Well, they’re easier to find than you think…  Turns out he is not only a lot more prolific than I thought, he started recording earlier than I thought – on wax cylinders, no less.

The obvious place to start was The Internet Archive, but from there I got fortuitously distracted by The Cylinder Archive, Norman Bruderhofer’s lovingly put together archive of wax cylinder recordings.  From there I found Glenn Sage’s excellent site tinfoil.com, then UCSB’s archive.  UCSB had several recordings from Herbert Payne and one by Ernest Pike which mentions – in passing – “a.k.a Herbert Payne”.

So there it was.  Turns out Payne was Pike after all.  Turns out Pike was involved in the first recording of
HMS Pinafore, released on eleven cylinders in the early 1900s.

So, after twenty years or so, I now actually know more one of my favourite singers than I did before.  And if you want to hear him in action, I can recommend Roses of Picardy.