May 2000 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Collection: Gracie Fields
Sing As We Go

NIMBUS NI 2005 [62:29]
Purchase from: Crotchet  Amazon UK

1. Sally
2. Oh sailor behave
3. Just one more chance
4. It isn't fair
5. Bargain hunter
6. Mary Rose
7. My lucky day
8. There's a lovely lake in London
9. Walter Walter lead me to the altar
10. Chapel in the moonlight
11. Sing as we go
12. It's a sin to tell a lie
13. I'll never say never again
14. Pity the poor goldfish
15. In my little bottom drawer
16. Laugh at life
17. I took my harp to a party
18. Mockingbird went cuckoo
19. Fred Fanna
20. Stop and shop in the Co op shop
21. We've got to keep up with the Joneses
22. Have you forgotten so soon
23. Roll along prairie moon
24. Goody goody
25. Daisy daisy
26. Light in the window

Eee! It’s grand to hear our Gracie again – and in such wonderful sound too! Stereo sound from original mono 78s? Well imagine that! These clever folk nowadays can work miracles with all their hi-tech gadgetry and Gracie sounds just like she did in the old days when we heard her on the radio cheering us all up in the dark days of the 1930s depression and the war -- better in fact!

Born on 9th January 1898, Gracie Fields was an institution. Her irrepressible, sparkling personality endeared her to all in this country – and further afield - even during the war when she was vilified by the press for leaving the UK so as to avoid internment for her second husband, comic/dancer/director Monte Banks (Mario Bianchi) who was an Italian subject. In fact, Gracie spent a lot of her time entertaining the troops through the war years.

Gracie faced enough tragedy in her life: she fought against cancer, endured a frightful first marriage and lost Monte in 1950 when he died from a heart attack. She settled in Capri, with her third husband, Boris Alperovici, where she opened her famous bathing complex restaurant called La Canzone Del Mare (The Song of the Sea), that was frequented by the rich and famous. Gracie was created Dame of the British Empire by her old friend the Queen Mother on 20th February 1979. She died in the September of that year.

With John Loder in a scene from Queen of Hearts (1936)

Gracie, of course, made numerous films in the 1930s and 40s most famously, perhaps, Sally in Our Alley (1931), Sing As We Go (1934) and Holy Matrimony (1943).

Her larger than life, warm-hearted personality spilled over into her songs and you can ‘hear her smiling’ as she joyfully pushes hard on those top notes and adds her inimitable yodelling and other ‘Gracie’ mannerisms. She had a lovely and impressive wide-ranging voice. You only have to listen to the way she delivers that beautiful song, ‘Did I Remember’ to be moved almost to tears. But it was her comic songs that will be remembered: The Biggest Aspidistra in the World that became a danger to passing aircraft, or "we ran out of confetti and had nothing to throw; so we threw the Little Pudden Basin that belonged to Auntie Flo", or "I took my harp to a party – but nobody asked me to play". And of course there was the sentimental Sally and those wonderful rousing numbers that chased our blues away: Sing As We Go through the depression years and Wish Me Look (as you wave me goodbye) at the beginning of the War.

A bumper bundle of 31 golden memories, twelve of which come from stage performances circa. 1947 and 1968.

Admittedly Gracie is now really only remembered by a diminishing and ageing audience but for those of us (over the age of say 50) who do remember her, then of course the rating for this album could only be-


Ian Lace


Ian Lace

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