Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sir Harry Lauder - The Immortal Harry Lauder

Much of the time I find myself sifting through a lot of new releases and struggling to enjoy the bulk of what I find; it may in fact be the case that at this point, with it being so easy to start a band and release music, there simply are too many choices, making it difficult to find music that's suited to you when you could truly look in any direction and find something. This isn't a profound point – it's been said many times before. Mostly by other luddites, I think. All these options don't get me excited about new music, nearly as much as they make me want to hole up and get comfortable with my tried and true records, the ones that felt special when I purchased them, and the ones I continue to take pride in owning.

That said, I was very lucky to have received a USB turntable this past Christmas, and to break up the process of trying to find the right words to describe a new band here or there that I'm not quite sure I'm mad about, I'm going to start uploading some of the vinyl that's been occupying my living room and going unnoticed. I'd spent a few hours and approximately 20 percent of my paycheck each month sifting through the vinyl bins at local record stores during college, quickly building up a collection, and at the time, it was a rewarding process to find a gem because I could share it during a weekly radio show (whether listeners liked it or not, really). Since then, all these finds have been sitting. No more of that, then. I'm excited to share what's here and anticipate a few geek-out sessions.

The first record to share, then, is The Immortal Harry Lauder, credited to “Sir Harry Lauder with Orchestra.” Sir Harry Lauder was a Scotsman born Henry Lauder in Edinburgh in 1870, the son of a potter, who allegedly was at one point the highest paid performer in the world. He entertained Scottish troops in France throughout WWI, during which his only child was killed, and used concerts to raise money for charity, leading to his receipt of knighthood in 1919. He retired in 1935 but entertained troops during WWII, and died in 1950. This is marvelous if your favorite song off the Mary Poppins soundtrack is “I Love to Laugh.” It should also be noted that Lauder rolls a hearty “arrrr.”

According to this article from a 1930 issue of TIME:

Sir Harry Lauder, Scottish clownster, stepped out of a bath tub in a Chicago hotel, slid, flip-flopped, broke his right ninth rib. Continuing to fulfill remunerative engagements, he said: "Bathrooms be a wee bit dangerous at times."

Harry Lauder – There is Somebody Waiting For Me
Harry Lauder – Oh, How I Weary, Dearie, For You
Harry Lauder – Breakfast in Bed on Sunday Mornin'
Purchase The Immortal Harry Lauder (vinyl, iTunes)

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