Sing Along. You Want To. Yes You Do…
Music Hall was a British form of entertainment that lasted about seventy-five years, finally yielding to the onslaught of radio, movies and its step-child, variety. The British laboring poor of the mid-nineteenth century flooded into the cities to find work. As a group they had neither the money nor the inclination to attend theaters. Any leisure time would usually be spent in pubs - drink was better value than art. The story began in the Canterbury pub in London. Charles Morton opened a space for entertainment which he called a 'singing room'. He charged no entrance fee, making his money from food and drink. The venture was successful. In 1854, he put up a new building next door - The Surrey Music Hall. Within a few years music halls could be found throughout Britain. Initially they catered to local audiences who had their own tastes and heroes - an artist who might have them in the aisles in London could 'die' in Birmingham, and Scotland developed its own favorites, often impenetrable to anybody south of the Tweed. But eventually, a national taste evolved. The variety of acts ranged through acrobats, jugglers and 'specialist' acts to comedians and full-blown comic sketches. The advent of recorded sound just as music hall was enjoying its Golden Age was fortunate. Many Music Hall artists were captured on cylinders and discs. It is through its singers that music hall is mostly remembered. Music hall crowds loved to sing along, and this led many singers featuring 'chorus' songs in their acts. These choruses entered the common awareness. The stars of the Golden age are now largely forgotten - even the most famous like Harry Lauder, George Robey and Gus Elen. Perhaps the only performer who retains any reputation is Marie Lloyd, who is sometimes invoked to represent an age. Here they are, tribunes from a lost era, whose vitality, skill and ability to communicate transcends the sterility and discipline of the recording studio
Label: JSP Records
Release Date: 04/03/07
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