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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The Umbrella Song

In my randomly occasional series of songs that could be picture books, I turn to an old song. I heard this one performed on CBeebies show "Show Me, Show Me" recently, so it has credentials. It is also the song my dad remembered his mum singing to him as a bedtime song. I'm guessing they had a leaky roof!
An umbrella, just in case.

Long before Rihanna was even thought of, Flanagan & Allen were singing about umbrellas and the thingamujigs that were used to mend them.

Written by James Cavanaugh, Vincent Rose and Larry Stock, it dates back to 1924 and as far as I know is the only song with the word "thingamujig" in it. Rose & Stock also co-wrote the song Blueberry Hill, amongst many other credits.

Bud Flanagan & Chesney Allen were the most famous British stars in the early 20th century, comedians, singers, actors, they were stars of stage, screen and record. The Umbrella Man was one of Flanagan & Allen's most successful recordings.

The image conjured up of the Umbrella Man when sung by Bud & Ches is that of a lowly East End London worker patching up poor people's umbrellas so they can continue to wander the streets a little drier than normal. As they go on their way to spend another night Underneath The Arches.

I'm cheered by a song that is about a man who repairs umbrellas, possibly a profession that no longer exists judging by the umbrella skeletons I've seen abandoned in the streets.

Here's a recording of Bud & Ches



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