jabw_vintage/report no. 36

Let Us Tell You About.....

Douglas Brownsmith

Douglas Brownsmith, composer, arranger (11 April 1902 – 25 October 1965).

this page first published by John Wright, 21 March 2006
last updated 28 August 2012vintage@r2ok.co.uk
Eric Brownsmith has submitted this short biography of his uncle Douglas Brownsmith, compiled by David Ades of Guild Music to which Eric added some personal details. :

Douglas Brownsmith (he preferred not to use his first name which was Reginald) was a pupil at St Paul’s Choir School. His first big success as a composer came in 1927 when Down the Mall - written in collaboration with Tony Lowry - was published. In the following years it was heard frequently in radio broadcasts by organists and light orchestras, and commercial recordings were made by Philip Green (on Guild GLCD5116) and Charles Shadwell.

The newly-formed BBC Dance Orchestra under Henry Hall made its first broadcast (and Columbia recordings) in March 1932, and Douglas Brownsmith was one of a fine team of arrangers, working alongside his colleague Tony Lowry and famous names such as Phil Cardew, Sid Phillips, Peter Yorke, Ronnie Munro and the American Van Phillips. One of his compositions, Hush Hush Hush Here Comes The Bogey Man (credited on the label to Lowton and Benson, actually Messrs. Lowry and Brownsmith) was on the other side of the famous Henry Hall record of Teddy Bears’ Picnic.

Douglas also wrote under the pseudonyms ‘Ray Benson’ and ‘Douglas Hamilton’ which hid the true identity of the composer of other popular songs such as Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (recorded by Jack Payne and the BBC Dance Orchestra) and Wrap Your Arms Around Me (recorded by Henry Hall). It appears that Douglas also occasionally wrote lyrics as well as music: he is reported to have collaborated with Philip Braham, composer of the famous Limehouse Blues.

After the Second World War, production music publishers needed a vast amount of original orchestral compositions to service the requirements of radio, films and the emerging television stations around the world: Bosworth, Boosey & Hawkes, Charles Brull and Francis Day & Hunter all published a number of his works.

During the 1930s Douglas purchased and ran the only bakery in the village of Ticehurst, which he eventually sold and exchanged for a small restaurant in Bexhill-on-Sea. Apart from his music (and his love of cricket) this kept him fully occupied until his death from a sudden heart attack in 1965 at the age of 63.

(c) David Ades/Eric Brownsmith 2006

As always, there is a desire at this website to make discographical listings. Information from Mr Eric Brownsmith, Mike Thomas and the Brian Rust/Sandy Forbes Dance Bands on Record discography, has created this initial listing:

(note pseudonyms Lang, Benson)

Caring For You (Carl Lang)
- recorded Nov 1926 by Billy Mayerl's Vocalion Orch., issued on Vocalion X-9922
- recorded 15/12/26 by Savoy Havana Band, issued on HMV B5191
- recorded ~Dec 1926 by Van Straten's Riviera Club Orch., issued on Duophone UB-2057
- recorded 31/12/26 by Jay Whidden's New Midnight Follies Band, issued on Columbia 4252, vocal Jay Whidden
- recorded Feb 1927 by Alfredo's band, issued on Edison Bell Winner 4628
- recorded ~Feb 1927 by Carmena Dance Orch, isued on Pathe Actuelle 11293
- recorded 17/3/27 by Bert Firman's Devonshire Restaurant Dance Orch., issued on Zonophone 2903

Reading Between The Lines (Carl Lang)
- recorded 17/5/27 by Edison Bell Dance Orch, issued on Edison Bell Winner 4672 (as Regent Dance Orch)
- recorded March 1927 by Billy Mayerl's Vocalion Orch., issued on Vocalion X-9989, vocal Bobby Sanders
- recorded April 1928 by Piccadilly Revels Band, issued on Columbia 4416, vocal Dick Robertson >BR>- recorded 24/3/27 by Savoy Orpheans, issued on HMV 5254, vocal Ramon Newton

Once In A Blue Moon (Carl Lang)
- recorded Nov 1927 by Harry Bidgood's Broadcasters, issued on Broadcast 197, vocal Cavan O'Connor
- recorded ~Aug 1927 by Fred Elizalde's band, issued on Brunswick 119
- recorded 8/3/28 by Rhythmic Eight (dir. Bert Firman), issued on Zonophone 5116
- recorded 7/10/27 by Stan Greening's band, issued on Regal G-9000
- recorded Sept 1927 by Harry Hudson's band, issued on Edison Bell Winner 4760, vocal Chick Endor
- recorded 5/12/27 and 17/1/28 by Syd Roy's Lyricals, issued on Imperial 1836, two takes issued, vocals Eddie Collis, Ramon Newton
- recorded 2/9/27 by Savoy Havana Band, issued on HMV B.5386
- recorded 16/3/28 by Fred Spinelly's Band, issued on Edison Bell Radio 832 (as Harry Hudson)

Every Time I Look At Her I Smile (Carl Lang)
- recorded 10/7/28 by Jack Payne and his BBC Dance Orch., issued on Columbia 4978, vocal Jack Payne

It Wasn't Meant To Be (Steinberg-Endor-Benson)
- recorded by Betty Bolton issued on Columbia 5405
- recorded 24/05/29 by the Piccadilly Players, vocal Harry Shalson, issued on Columbia 5421
- recorded Sept. 1929 by Jay Wilbur's Orchestra, vocal Tom Barratt, issued on Dominion A-189
- recorded 31/10/29 by New Mayfair Dance Orchestra (dir. Ray Noble) not issued

A Bit, A Saddle And A Horse (Sievier-Brownsmith)
- recorded by Raymond Newell issued on Columbia 5612

Close Of Day (Brownsmith)
- recorded 07/09/30 by the Arcadians Dance Orchestra (dir. Bert Firman) issued on Zonophone 5676

Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea (Benson) *
- recorded 13/02/31 by the Rhythmic Eight (dir. John Firman) issued on Zonophone 5883, vocal trio includes Maurice Elwin
- recorded 09/02/31 by the Roy Fox Band, issued on Decca F.2240, vocal group includes Al Bowlly
- recorded Jan 1931, by the Blue Jays (dir. Harry Hudson) issued on Edison Bell Radio 1470, vocal Eddie Gross-Bart
- recorded 28/01/31 by Jack Hylton's Orchestra, issued on HMV B.5966, vocal Pat O'Malley
- recorded 27/01/31 by Jack Payne's BBC Dance Orch., issued on Columbia CB-232, vocal Jack Payne click to listen
- recorded March 1931 by Jay Wilbur's Band, issued on Imperial 2447, vocal Les Allen
- recorded 14/01/44 by Reginald Pursglove's Orch., issued on Decca MW-224

* not to be confused by a song of the same title from 1932 written by Koehler-Arlen

Wrap Your Arms Around Me (Lowton-Benson)
- recorded August 1932 by Ambrose & his Orch., issued on HMV B.6232, vocal Sam Browne
- recorded 24/08/32 and 27/08/32 by Billy Cotton's Band, issued on Regal G-21562 (Aust.) and Regal MR-654 (UK), vocal Cyril Grantham
-recorded 5/7/32 by Henry Hall's BBC Dance Orch., issued on Columbia CB-476, vocals Anona Wynn & Val Rosing click to listen
- recorded 01/09/32 by Nat Star Orch., issued on Sterno 1022, vocal Tom Barratt
- recorded 07/09/32 by Jack Hylton Orch, issued on Decca F-3161, vocal Pat O'Malley, arranged by Billy Ternent

Hush, Hush, Hush Here Comes The Bogey-man (Lowton-Benson)
- recorded 28/9/32 by Henry Hall's BBC Dance Orch., issued on Columbia CB-955 and FB-2816, vocal Val Rosing, arrangement by Tony Lowry

Known arrangements written for Henry Hall's BBC Dance Orchestra

Leave Me Alone With My Dreams, recorded 11/4/32, issued on Columbia CB-445
Rusticanella, recorded 29/4/21, issued on Columbia CB-456
Roses At Dawning, recorded 9/5/32, issued on Columbia CB-457
Good Evening, recorded 24/5/32, issued on Columbia CB-461
Little Romany, recorded 24/5/32, issued on Columbia CB-466
Help Yourself To Happiness, recorded 5/7/32, issued on Columbia CB-478
Let's All Dance The Polka, recorded 28/8/32, issued on Columbia CB-505
I Beg Your Pardon Mademoiselle, recorded 28/9/32, issued on Columbia CB-505
Standing On The Corner, recorded 11/1/33, issued on Columbia CB-554
Sad Is The Willow, recorded 1/3/34, issued on Columbia CB-737
Sing As We Go, recorded 11/10/34, issued on Columbia CB-795
Dust On The Moon, recorded 30/11/34, issued on Columbia CB-810

Earlier, Douglas Brownsmith and Tony Lowry worked with Jack Payne's BBC Dance Orchestra, from early 1930 up until September 1931. Mike Thomas has read in a contemporary Melody Maker that Lowry arranged waltzes while Brownsmith concentrated on foxtrots. At the moment we can only confirm Brownsmith arranged Love For Sale recorded 27/06/31

Light music compositions by Douglas Brownsmith

Music issued on the Bosworth record label

Sea Pegasus - National Light Orchestra (BC.1314)(2'47")
Time For Fun And Games - National Light Orchestra (BC.1314)(3'02")
Masked Dance - Bosworth's String Orchestra (BC.1320)(2'46")
Kindergarten Story - Bosworth's String Orchestra (BC.1321)(2'36")
See-Saw - International radio Orchestra (BX.540)(1'46")
Storm-Bound Coast Line - International radio Orchestra (BX.540)(1'12")
Gangster's Lair - International Radio Orchestra (BX.542)(1'38")
Royal Welcome - International radio Orchestra (BX.542)(1'21")
Someone In A Hurry - International Radio Orchestra (BX.544)(1'34")
Afternoon Siesta - International Radio Orchestra (BX.544)(1'22") click to listen

Music issued by Boosey & Hawkes

Romantic Meeting - The New Concert Orchestra (BHP.38)(2'54") *
Aperitif - The New Concert Orchestra (BHP.55)(2'31") **
Frills And Furbelows - The New Concert Orchestra (BHP.114)(1964)(2'52") **
Happy Birthday Party - The New Concert Orchestra (BHP.114)(1964)(2'27") **
Breath Of Fresh Air - The New Concert Orchestra (BHP.132)(1961)(2'43") ***
Lucky Charm - The New Concert Orchestra (BHP.132)(1961)(2'59") ***
Nature Study -The New Concert Orchestra (BHP.204)(1964)(3'22")
Wedding Reception - The New Concert Orchestra (BHP.204)(1964)(2'58") click to listen

* conductor R. de Porten
** conductor 'Nat Nyall' (Dolf van der Linden)
*** conductor Paul Hamilton
dates of first publication shown where known

other known light music recordings include

Continental Holiday - The Symphonia Orchestra - Harmonic (CBL.359A) (2'37") +
New Buildings - Mood Music Library - Harmonic (CBL546-B) (1963) (2'41")
Seascape - Queens Hall Light Orch - Decca F.10042 (1952)(2'44") ++
Down The Mall - Charles Shadwell & his orch (2'37")
Village Hop - white label FDH.151 (2'27")

+ conductor Theo Arden, private recording for Charles Brull
++ conductor Robert Farnon, theme from 'Windjammers', Brownsmith & Lowry

Eric Brownsmith is fortunate to have had many of the recordings listed above re-mastered professionally by Peter Harrison at http://www.disk2disc.com. For more information check the disk2disc entry at http://www.r2ok.co.uk/copycd.htm

There is an active discussion group where you can talk about Douglas Brownsmith and other composers and musicians of the 1920's-1950's:

Subscribe to British dance bands group

or check out the group site first at http://www.yahoogroups.com/group/british-dance-bands/

E-mail John Wright me if you want to contribute information or scanned photographs to this page

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