Gracie Fields and ‘The Thing-Ummy-Bob (That’s Going To Win Us The War)’ brings to mind that hard working girls and men working in the munitions factories up and down the country for the war effort. This comprehensive 2-CD set is an amusing and evocative double album of music from the Second World War. Superb value with 51 tracks.
“Dare I say this is one of the greatest compositions of WWII. Its got a lot of staple 40s sounds and plenty of groove!” S Bounds
During ‘The Phoney War’, the early months of World War II, there appeared a rash of comic, almost infantile songs which poked fun at Hitler and his cohorts in most uncomplimentary ways. They fulfilled a need for the moment at a time when many people thought that the hostilities, if not exactly “all over by Christmas” would finish within a few months. At the same time, and for the most part more substantial, were patriotic (sometimes jingoistic) songs which reflected the prevalent mood. Then again there were the topical songs about black outs, rationing and of course the armed forces. Finally there were the songs which, while not alluding to the war per se, have become forever associated with that dark period in our island’s history.
Noel Gay (born Reginald Armitage) was one of the most prolific British songwriters of the Thirties and early Forties. He is responsible, with Ralph Butler, for our two opening numbers. Leon Cortez & His Coster Pals begin with a good, punchy version of The Girl Who Loves A Soldier followed by a song forever associated with its creators, Flanagan & Allen. This is Run, Rabbit, Run. Both of these numbers featured in the George Black revue ‘The Little Dog Laughed’ which opened at the London Palladium on 11 October 1939 at a time when many of the major London theatres were still closed, as instructed by the Home Secretary on the declaration of war. Impresario Black commissioned another new song for the show from songwriters Jimmy Kennedy and Michael Carr. Inspired by a cartoon in the ‘Daily Express’, they came up with the well remembered (We’re Gonna Hang Out) The Washing On The Siegfried Line delivered with much verve by the popular double act The Two Leslies (Leslie Sarony & Leslie Holmes). With The Crazy Gang at their best and a show with a high quality and peppy score, ‘The Little Dog Laughed’ ran for 461 performances. The Siegfried Line was in fact a line of fortifications built by the Germans before and during the war.