Anna Russell: Folk Songs (1952)

 |   |  <1 min read

Anna Russell: Folk Songs (1952)

With her beautifully modulated tones and remarkable voice -- which went from a soprano squeal to a screech quite effortlessly -- Anna Russell was an enormously popular comedy-cum-classical act in the Fifties.

She would poke fun at Wagner and contemporary classical music equally: of the latter she said it was music for the singer who was tone deaf, because in a contemporary song it's very hard to follow the melody -- and if you don't, no one is going to be any the wiser.

She took her act to theatres across Britain the States, and her album Anna Russell Sings? -- from which this track is taken, that question mark intentional -- was a best seller in the mid Fifties. She takes apart German leider and French popular songs, as well as British songs ("pure but dull").

Her dissection of Wagner's Ring Cycle (on Anna Russell Sings Again?) is witheringly funny.

But earlier in life had been a straight-ahead opera singer, and even appeared as folk artist from time to time in the Thirties. So when she parodies "authentic folk" thing she knows what she is talking about.

Russell died in 2006. 

This is a bit tame these days of course, but amusing nonetheless.

One for me to now put back in the Vaults

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory use the RSS feed for daily updates, and check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Juanes: La Camisa Negra (2005)

Juanes: La Camisa Negra (2005)

Unless you follow Latin pop then La Camisa Negra/The Black Shirt might be the biggest hit you never heard by a global star don't even known about. Juanes from Colombia has sold 15 million... > Read more

Dread Zeppelin: All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth (1990)

Dread Zeppelin: All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth (1990)

Christmas is upon us. And in the spirit of the day here is one of the funniest bands ever. Whoever thought pulling together reggae rhythms and Led Zeppelin riffery was an odd fish . . . but... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE KNOW-IT-ALL by AJ JACOBS: Smartening up

THE KNOW-IT-ALL by AJ JACOBS: Smartening up

Some men cross deserts of ice and others sail solo around the world, but New York journalist Jacob’s endurance test was more demanding. Because he felt he had been smarter at university than... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE JAZZ QUESTIONNAIRE: Benny Lackner

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE JAZZ QUESTIONNAIRE: Benny Lackner

Now we here at non-profit (actually none-profit) Elsewhere don't have a lot of time on our hands. So when NYC-based German keyboard player Benny Lackner -- who is returning to Auckland with his... > Read more