Charlie Kunz – Old Time Music Hall Songs (1958)

FrontCover1.jpgCharlie Kunz, “the Medley King,” was born in Allentown, PA, on August 8, 1896. His father was a master baker who blew the French horn. As a youngster Charlie played piano, church organ, and E-flat alto horn. In 1914 he switched from playing classical to popular dance music. He worked as a milkman, cobbler, ribbon weaver, bookseller, and mechanic. During the First World War he was a boiler riveter and a bombshell builder. By the age of 19 Charlie Kunz was leading his first band and opening for Paul Whiteman and Vincent Lopez at a ballroom in Allentown. He came to England in 1921 with a group led by percussionist Ed Krick. The following year he led Paul Specht’s Criterions at the Trocadero Restaurant in Piccadilly. Remaining in England after his friends had all gone home, Kunz formed his first all-British band and began performing at the Lyons Corner House in Piccadilly Circus. He then expanded his ensemble to 14 pieces and played the Grafton Galleries. Kunz sat in on piano with the Dix Band at the Olympia Dance Hall in West Kensington and tickled the ivories at Ma Merrick’s 43 Club, an infamous sporting house and all-night den of iniquity operating on Gerrard Street, Piccadilly. Kunz then played the Chez Henri Club in Long Acre, found it to his liking, and stayed on for eight and a half years.

CharlieKunz01.jpgIn late 1928 and early 1929, Charlie Kunz & His Chez Henri Club Band made a handful of recordings for Columbia. The next phase of Kunz’s career was inaugurated by nationally renowned dance instructor Santos Casani, who heard the band at Chez Henri and liked it so much that he lured Kunz away to his own Casani Club, which opened in March 1933 in Imperial House, Regent Street, London. Kunz became immensely popular as a result of BBC radio broadcasts that were transmitted from this location. His featured vocalist at the Casani was Vera Lynn; other singers who performed live and on record with Kunz were Dawn Davis, Dorothy Squires, George Barclay, Harry Bentley, Eve Becke, Phyllis Robins, George Buck, and Bobby Comber. Kunz’s three mainstay instrumentalists were drummer and xylophonist Tommy Blades, bassist Frank Davis, and guitarist Ernie Penfold. The band’s theme song was, naturally enough, “Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie”; their sign-off theme was “Pink Elephants.” Although he would make quite a slew of records for the Sterno and Rex labels with his Casani Club Orchestra between the years 1933 and 1937, Charlie Kunz played the Holborn Empire alone in 1934 and henceforth toured regularly as a solo act, invariably remaining in England rather than crossing the Channel to mainland Europe.

CharlieKunz02.jpgBetween 1939 and 1945 Kunz did a lot of work for charity and for the war effort. During the last 15 years of his life he became the unrivaled king of the piano medley, performing alone or with subtle rhythm accompaniment. Kunz was married thrice, to one Amanda Dysher, to fashion model Eva Dorothy Lloyd, and finally to Pat Sparkes. A heavy smoker, Kunz was plagued by debilitating illnesses throughout much of his life. He had a diseased lung removed in 1945, and suffered from spinal tuberculosis, crippling contraction of the ligaments in his hands, and bronchial asthma. His later recording projects were completed only with great difficulty; an album of melodies from My Fair Lady was left unfinished. Charlie Kunz died of a heart attack at his home in Middleton-on-Sea, West Sussex, England, on March 16, 1958. (by arwulf)

Okay … here you can jump into the music of long forgotten decades of the British Music Hall scene. A nice sentimental journey, again.


Charlie Kunz (piano)



01. Old Time Music Hall Songs (Part 1): (15.36)
01.01. Let The Great Big World Keep Turning
01.02. Daddy Wouldn’t Buy Me A Bow-Wow
01.03. The Galloping Major
01.04. I’m Shy, Mary Ellen
01.05. Katie Connor
01.06. Get Out And Get Under
01.07. If I Should Plant A Tiny Seed Of Love
01.08. The Army Of Today’s All Right
01.09. Ship Ahoy
01.10. In The Twi-Twi-Twilight
01.11. She’s A Lassie From Lancashire
01.12.  Lily Of Laguna
01.13. You Made Me Love You
01.14. Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay
01.15. I’ll Be Your Sweetheart
01.16. Brighton
01.17. For Months And Months And Months
01.18. Goodbye, Dolly Gray

02. Old Time Music Hall Songs (Part 2): (16.32)
02.01. On The Good Ship “Yacki-Hicki-Doo-La”
02.02. Wait Till The Clouds Roll By Darling Mabel
02.03. The Ship I Love
02.04. Hold Your Hand Out, Naughty Boy
02.05. I Was A Good Little Girl ‘Till I Met You
02.06. In The Good Old Summer Time
02.07. Oh! Oh! Antonio
02.08. Flanagan
02.09. Following In Father’s Footsteps
02.10. After The Ball
02.11. Two Little Girls In Blue
02.12. I Used To Sigh
02.13. Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly
02.14. P. C. 49
02.15. Three O’Clock In The Morning
02.16. Are We To Part Like This
02.17. Waiting For The Robert E. Lee




Charlie Kunz (August 18, 1896 – March 16, 1958)