This year, they weren't onstage for more than a few minutes before Bob Woodruff gleefully announced, "Bruce is back!
For more than a century now, the British people and their offspring overseas have been singing the songs of Fred Godfrey. Yet, like virtually leeds nightly business report the songwriters of the Music Hall and early days of Variety in Britain, and unlike many of his American contemporaries, Godfrey worked in obscurity — a familiar figure to the stars who bought his material but totally unknown to the general public.
Indeed, one rarely meets with his name even in the usual histories of the Music Hall. Who, then, was Fred Godfrey? He hoped Llewellyn would join him in that profession, as an elder brother, Lewis, had done. Evidently, however, Robert Williams was less than a successful businessman, for in he appeared before the Swansea Bankruptcy Court: The debtor lives at 39 Gorse Lane, Swansea [presumably opposite St.
Williams and Son, dealer in fancy goods and travelling auctioneer. He commenced business about 30 years ago without any capital, trading at the Swansea Market, at the Arcade, and at High-street, while for the last six months he had been travelling the country in waggons, and selling goods by auction.
In a follow-up appearance by Robert in Octoberthe newspaper reported: He liked to claim in later years that his mother had been Irish, the idea no doubt being to lend some authenticity to the considerable number of songs he wrote with Irish themes.
Whatever her heritage, however, there is as yet no evidence of an Irish connection. Robert and Maria were married in in Caernarvon, and their first four sons were born in various towns in North Wales.
By the time Llewellyn Fred arrived inthe family had moved south to Swansea. One can speculate, however, that he must have taken to music at an early age, and it is likely that the family always had a piano in the parlour wherever they moved. Was this a teenaged Llewellyn Fred entertaining on the piano to draw in customers?
It is not known whether Fred had any formal musical training, but he certainly knew enough, or learned enough, to be able to write his own music scores, band parts, and arrangements, and he was known for his skill as a pianist.
Music was not steady work, not a trade likely to bring money into the house. On a Southampton golf course, ca.
Documentation Collection, National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra, Australia It is, then, no surprise that Fred removed himself from such a constraining atmosphere at the earliest opportunity.
That came inwhen, on 1 July, a couple of months shy of his twenty-first birthday, Fred married Bertha Lloyd, the daughter of a railway worker in Treherbert, in the Rhondda Valley.
The Lloyds had been sheep farmers in the Vale of Glamorgan. Despite their straitened circumstances, some of the Lloyds had literary pretensions. Bertha herself was, by all accounts, an unpretentious, no-nonsense type with a typical singsong South Wales accent unlike Fred, who apparently divested himself of any regionalism.
How Fred and Bertha came to meet is unknown, but it is likely that Fred and his father had been auctioneering in the Treherbert area. Except for brief summer holiday visits and the occasional family funeral, Fred made metropolitan London the core of his universe thereafter.
But write them he did — nearly in an incredibly prolific career that lasted well into the s. She might have been right about the date, although she also believed the title was Blue Eyesa song that actually dates from The earliest known Godfrey songs date only from Research Resources.
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