Posts Tagged ‘Howard & Co (publishers)’


Gus Elen, ‘E Dunno Where ‘E Are

July 14, 2013

Gus Elen (1862-1940), coster comedian and British music hall star
(colour lithograph song sheet cover, published by Howard & Co, London, 1893)

”’E don’t know where E are,”
‘enormous success.
”’E don’t know where E are,”
”’E don’t know where he are,”
‘by Harry Wright and Fred Eplett.
‘A second ”Never introduce your Donah to a Pal.”
‘Read what the Umpire, Sunday, April 9th [1893], says:-
‘I won’t go so far as to say that the fortune of Mr Gus Elen was made by that popular ditty, ”Never introduce your Donah to a Pal,” but it certainly brought him suddenly to the front, and I can readily understand his desire to obtain another song which should rival in popularity that most entertaining coster wail, set, as it is, to one of the very best and freshest melodies of its day. That much desired song Mr Elen seems to have obtained in a lay in which he describes with disgust how a coster friend came into a little money, and at once put on airs, wore a collar and tie, took in daily his ”Sportsman” and his ”Telegrapht,” where formerly he had been contented with the ”Star,” which plainly showed ”E dunno where E are.” The song hasn’t an objectionable line in it, and, like the earlier ditty, it is wedded to a charming melody. ‘MR. GUS ELEN, ‘the Famous London Comedian, ‘concludes To-night a most genuine success at the Palace, Manchester, Topping the Bill Second Week.
‘Manchester Courier, April 4th 1893,
”’And Mr Gus Elen, a clever, humorous artiste of the English music hall type, is gain in the arena of former triumphs.”
‘Manchester Spy, April 8th, 1893.
”’Mr Gus Elen has a new song ”E don’t know where E are,” which catches on in grand style.”
‘P.S. – Have you read the ”Openshaw Romance” in the Spy of April 1st issue (two columns), get it, it’s funny?
”’Never Introduce your Donah to a Pal.”
‘Booked at Pavilion, Tivoli, Oxford [music halls], for Three Years.
‘Sole and Exclusive Agents, Hugh J. Didcott and Co.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 15 April 1893, p. 27c, advertisement)

The Oxford music hall, London, October 1893
‘Mr Gus Elen seems very fortunate in his choice of songs, ”Never intoduce your donah to a pal” was whistled by every street boy; and now ”’E dunno where ‘e are” threatens to become one of the carols of Cockaigne. So great, indeed, is the popularity of the singer that in every postal district in London the peculiarities of Jack Jones, who, since he has ”tumbled into a bit of brass, ‘as the cheek and imperdence to call ‘is muver ‘is ma,” are heartily laughed at.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 4 November 1893, p. 16a)


February 2, 2013

lithograph portrait of Jolly Little Lewis (George W. Lewis, d.1893),
English music hall singer and pantomime actor,
on the song sheet cover of ‘I Traced Her Little Footmarks in the Snow,’
written and composed by Harry Wright, which he sang with success in the late 1870s
(published by Howard & Co, London, circa 1876)

The long-forgotten Jolly Little Lewis, whose real name was George W. Lewis, appears to have begun his career as a music hall singer in the late 1860s. He was still popular in the late 1870s and 1880s when he was singing ditties such as Harry Wright’s ‘I Traced Her Little Footmarks in the Snow.’ A version of the latter, ‘I Traced Her Little Footprints in the Snow,’ was recorded by Bogue Ford for Sidney Robertson Cowell, a collector of folk songs, during a field trip on 3 September 1939 to Boomtown, Shasta County, California (The Library of Congress).

For further information about Lewis, with a list of titles of some of his other songs, see Michael Kilgarriff, Sing Us One of the Old Songs, Oxford University Press, p.261.