Eclipse Record – Wartime songs of 1914

I selected this to play as part of a performance at the Glynn Vivian gallery in Swansea for the ‘End of Empire‘ exhibition preview.
The record includes the famous wartime songs (mentioned in this previous post) ‘Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag’  written by Welshmen George Asaf (aka George Henry Powell) and his brother Felix Powell, and ‘Take Me Back To Dear Old Blighty’  written by Swansea born Fred Godfrey (aka Llewelyn Williams).

1930s 8 inch Eclipse gramophone record playing on a Numark PT01.

At first manufactured by the Crystalate company (later taken over by Decca) for the Woolworth store chain, Eclipse was launched as a replacement for the Victory label. It was the first to be packaged in a brown paper sleeve, and featured dynamic promotional designs. Even so, the product was still pegged at a low price, even through the ‘slump’ or depression-era years of the early 1930s, finally disappearing in 1935.
Text from http://www.tedstaunton.com

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Untitled mix for the End of Empire #1

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Photo by Kathryn Campbell Dodd

Despite a few technical hitches I really enjoyed playing with records at the Glynn Vivian for the End of Empire preview.  My audio recorder failed unfortunately so I decided to continue working with the selection of records in the studio and post some recordings of them as I go.  This first mix from the studio uses 3 Swansea based Welsh Teledisc records and ‘Freedom Fanfare’ by the Band of the Nigeria Police, recorded to celebrate Nigerian independence.

Time wasn’t on my side and I didn’t get to play a number of things that I’d hoped, one was this Vistasound postcard record with a view of Snowdon from Llyn Llydaw.

Vistasound Postcard Record - There'll be a welcome in the valley

On the balcony above where I was situated in the atrium is a series of landscape paintings by Sir Kyffin Williams, including views of Snowdon.  I had planned to play this on a portable record player with them, here it is playing in the studio instead..

Cymanfa Ganu 1969, Morriston and the Morriston Orpheus Choir

The Cymanfa Ganu, hymn singing festival, is an enduring tradition in Wales and around the world.

‘Wherever Welshmen congregate, be it at a rugby international match in Cardiff, or as a group of exiles in some distant corner of the earth, one thing is certain – there will be singing.’ (Gwyn Griffiths, Cymanfa Ganu 1969 sleeve notes).

I have at least 12 copies of this 1969 Cymanfa Ganu Morriston record and have used it repeatedly over the years.  It was a staple part of the Vinyl Altar mixes during the GWRANDO Capeli project and I used some of the covers for a work in Oriel Blodau Bach in 2015.

Cymanfa Ganu 1969

Formed in 1935 the Morriston Orpheus choir has an international reputation and an impressive back catalogue of recordings!

Here’s a few…

Morriston Orpheus Choir - Land of my Fathers

Morriston Orpheus Choir - Land of my Fathers

The Morriston Orpheus Choir - Songs from the green hills

The Morriston Orpheus Choir

Florrie Forde – Selections of Old Time Hits

Florrie Forde - Selections of Old Time Hits

Australian born Florrie Forde was a popular singer and music hall entertainer in the UK. ‘During World War I, her most famous songs were some of the best known of the period, including “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag”, “It’s A Long Way To Tipperary” and “Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty”.

Florrie Forde

I was interested to find that not only was the 1915 ‘Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag’  written by Welshmen George Asaf (aka George Henry Powell) and his brother Felix Powell, but ‘Take Me Back To Dear Old Blighty’ was written by Swansea born Fred Godfrey (aka Llewelyn Williams).

Florrie Forde - Selections of Old Time Hits

The Decca Junior “Trench” gramophone

Eos yng Nghapel y Graig - A Nightingale in Capel y Graig

The Decca Junior gramophone.
8″ high, 10.75″ deep, 9.5″ wide.

This type of gramophone employs “Bowl-in-lid” amplification by which sound is reflected forward from the lid.  Sometimes this design is apparently called a “Trench” gramophone because in World War One British Troops were supplied with gramophones based on this design for use in the Trenches.

The Decca Junior along with the Crescendo Junior Soundbox was introduced in 1923. The motor is Swiss made. Decca never made their own Motors or Soundboxes, the Crescendo Soundbox was also made in Switzerland.

This 8inch Eclipse record dates from the 1930s

Eclipse - Wartime songs of 1914