Monday, 27 May 2013

Retro Vinyl: Gracie Fields - Stage and Screen (World Record Club, 1978)

Gracie Fields was always a bit of a legendary character as I was growing up in the 1970s, I particularly remember her for her older persona and singing her famous song Sally on various special appearances on television.

Gracie however had been entertaining audiences since the early 1900s and was known for a mix of a soprano singing style with cheeky Northern delivery (which tied in neatly with her Lancashire roots).

"Our Gracie" as she became affectionately known was a huge draw on stage and screen in the 1930s and 40s and this collection released by World Records in 1978 entitled Stage and Screen is a fine example of her work in both mediums.

The majority of Side 1 is culled from a 6-sided 78 release of a 20 minute act recorded at The Holborn Empire, London in 1933.

Gracie At The Holborn Empire is a slice of music hall entertainment capturing Gracie at her peak belting out classics like Stormy Weather and Sally ("I'll still be singing this when I'm 70!" a young Gracie exclaims - she was right!) as well as making the audience laugh with comic routines and gestures.

The remainder of the album is made up of songs from her films including Sing as we Go and Wish Me Luck (As You Wave Me Goodbye).

The sound quality appears to be pretty good considering the vintage nature of the material and in some cases (comparing later CD releases) sounds better. Wish Me Luck sounds muffled on certain CD issues but is quite clear on this release giving it a definitive energy, maybe that's how we should continue to listen to Gracie!

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