The Al Bowlly Circle
Click on these links to take you to special pages for Al Bowlly enthusiasts
THE AL BOWLLY CIRCLE
The Al Bowlly Circle was founded in 1968 and is the world-wide appreciation Society for enthusiasts of Britain’s greatest popular singer of the 1930s (some would say the greatest of all time). The Circle is featured in every edition of Memory Lane which was founded in memory of Al. Every edition contains features and news about Al including reviews of all his new CDs.
The links above will take you to the Al Bowlly Story, a potted biography, the Al Bowlly Discography, probably the most comprehensive version ever produced, Al Bowlly publications which describe current publications devoted to Al including how to get them and Special Features, a selection of articles written in recent years about Al.
Research into Al’s life and work continues and the results are published in Memory Lane. The Al Bowlly Circle has been responsible for the publication of Goodnight Sweetheart, the luxury hardback biography (now out-of-print), Al Bowlly on LP and EP Records and Al Bowlly on CD . A second edition of Goodnight Sweetheart is in the course of preparation - watch this space for details.
Subscribers to Memory Lane are automatically members of the Al Bowlly Circle. More information can be found at the Memory Lane Home Page and to subscribe use the link above "Subscribe to Memory Lane".
The quality that makes Al Bowlly stand apart is his much acknowledged gift of sincerity, something that seems in short supply in the world today. For the two or three minutes that Al sang the song, he lived the words. He was that lover calling for his beloved to come back; he actually did think of her night and day; she really did get under his skin.
And that's why we love his singing so much and always will. Al Bowlly had a wonderful singing voice, tremendous sincerity and an endless capacity for charm. The world will not see his like again in many a long year.
Fans of Al Bowlly will be delighted to learn that English Heritage has short listed Al Bowlly for a Blue Plaque in London. A number of buildings have been suggested for the Al Bowlly plaque, but the most likely one at the moment is probably Dukes Court, on the corner of Duke Street and Jermyn Street.
Interestingly enough, although a number of people associated with Memory Lane and the Al Bowlly internet sites and e-groups have mentioned nominating Al for a plaque, English Heritage tells me that it was a member of the public, a Mr Davis, who sent in the nomination. If he is reading this, I would be very pleased to hear from him. Meanwhile, I have contacted English Heritage confirming my support for the Blue Plaque and offering any assistance needed to achieve the desired outcome.
Al will be the third person from the English dance band world of the 1930s to be considered for a plaque, the others being bandleaders Henry Hall whose plaque was installed at 38 Harman Drive, Cricklewood, NW2 in 2003 and Ambrose whose Plaque was installed at the May Fair Intercontinental Hotel in Stratton Street, in 2005.
Each nominated person for a Blue Plaque has to meet basic selection criteria before they can be considered. Most importantly, they must have been dead for 20 years or have passed the centenary of their birth, whichever is the earlier. English Heritage's Blue Plaques Panel considers all the suggestions which meet the basic criteria; on average, around 1 in 3 proposals are accepted.
Detailed research is carried out into the surviving addresses of shortlisted candidates. As only one plaque is allowed per person, the building to be commemorated has to be chosen very carefully. Factors which are considered include length of residence and the accomplishments of a candidate during the relevant years. A significant place of work can also be considered. Unfortunately, there will be a wait of a few years before a full historical report is produced on Al Bowlly by one of the English Heritage historians and a final decision made.
Any further news will appear first in Memory Lane.
Say, Don't You Remember…?
You Sang; I had no share in all your years,
Your years were spent and gone before mine came,
You rolled along the prairie moon and stars,
Made moments sparkle like glass chandeliers,
When wireless sets broadcast your crackling fame
Amid romance, gardenias and guitars.
Then, from West End hotels, on radio,
Those bands played through the palms and polished plants,
Starched Maestros cued you to the microphone,
And Marcel-waves would waft by Art Deco,
When shining pairs slid smoothly to the dance,
As you embellished Noble, Fox and Stone.
And hardship looked for something in the air,
From warmed-up valves and sun-rayed Bakelite.
They sailed Hawaii's Blue to Capri's Isle,
Drab drudges dancing tangos from despair,
Transported on the music of the night,
Your Valentino charm and Latin smile.
Paris perhaps, for some, by 'Handley- Page',
Or first class north, aboard 'The Flying Scot'
On a steamer, underneath an ocean moon,
All evidence of ordered, golden age.
For most the grindstone ground each meagre lot
Between, an hour of dreams; - a time to croon.
All through that dark and disparate decade
You conjured Moon- love from a grey world's gloom;
A dinner date, A midnight rendezvous,
'Goodnight Sweetheart',- 'A Penny Serenade.'
When glitter-balls rushed rainbows round the room;
Those dancing days…The very thought of you.
Ephemeral, you stood at the abyss,
(Though life and love and melodies were sweet),
As callous fate blew cruel winds along
To you, in London on a night like this;
Springtime, Wartime .... Landmine - Jermyn Street
Reverberates, the echo of a song.
And so, I'll stroll once more down Memory Lane,
And moonlight on the highway I shall find:
Be still my heart, I hear faint harmony…
It's you, you sing again, "Auf Wiedersehen,"
Both night and day, around and through my mind.
Old phantom Philomel…You're haunting me.
© Robin Richardson