“They’re Changing Guards at Buckingham Palace”

by Johnny Foreigner

Anytime I see a photo of the “Changing of the Guards” in London, I’m reminded of the children’s song “Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace,”  inspired by Winnnie the Pooh author A. A. Milne and made into a hit song by young Ann Stephens in 1941.

London-born Ann Stephens (21 May 1931 – 15 July 1966) was the first to record “Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace.” Stephens  was a British child actress and singer, popular throughout the 1940s.

Like most many American baby boomers, I first heard this song on the Captain Kangaroo Show. That version was made in 1959 by late British variety performer Max Bygraves.

Bygraves’ onstage catchphrase “I wanna tell you a story,” is only slightly better than Marty Allen’s “Hello Dere!” – but Bygraves is a much better singer. Give a listen to this video we nicked.

Which version do you like better?

Max Bygraves’ 1959 version “They’re Changing Guards at Buckingham Palace”

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Serenity Now: Music And A Conversation With Joan Shelley

The Hobbledehoy is vey much looking forward to hearing Joan Shelley perform in Boston on Friday night. Though she hails from Kentucky, Joan’s music borrows quite a lot from British traditional folk sounds, and English vocalists like June Tabor, who she frequently cites as a major influence. Give a listen to NPR’s All Songs Considered interview below.

In this All Songs Considered guest DJ session, Joan Shelley talks about her latest album, Like the River Loves the Sea and shares songs by some of the other artists who’ve inspired her over the years.

Joan Shelley makes music that lulls my soul. Her new album, Like the River Loves the Sea, is a serene experience. It’s music with a deep connection to British folk music from the ’60s and ’70s but with influences from this side of the world and her home of Louisville, Kentucky.

On this edition of All Songs Considered, Joan Shelley is joined by her musical partner and Louisville companion, guitarist Nathan Salsburg to play DJ. You can hear the roots of the music they make in the songs they chose to share, from American banjo legend Roscoe Holcomb to English folk singer June Tabor and the contemporary music of Bonnie “Prince” Billy.

Joan Shelley tells the story of recording Like the River Loves the Sea in Iceland and how they had to forgo adding banjo to the album because they couldn’t locate one in Iceland. We also hear Joan Shelley’s early trio called Maiden Radio, Joan and Nathan’s new collaboration with Bonnie “Prince” Billy and how she met him at an ugly sweater party in Kentucky [ . . . ]

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW with JOAN SHELLEY at: Serenity Now: Music And A Conversation With Joan Shelley

Review: The Great British Bake Off, Series 10 finale – bittersweet end to a divisive series

Tenth anniversary marred by quixotic judgments and unfeasible challenges. TV review by Jillian Chuah Masters

And that’s a wrap: last night concluded 10 years of The Great British Bake Off. This show is the nation’s TV equivalent of comfort food. In the past, it has stuck to a well-worn recipe — the result was fun to fight over but easy to love.

This series (on Channel 4) has been more divisive than most. The opening episodes delivered the usual comforts: dramatic spills, over-egged puns, and (most importantly?) some breathtaking baking. Arguably, this year’s contestants were less representative than usual, with more than half of the bakers still in their twenties. But they won us over quickly. Crowd favourites included goth queen Helena (with her spookily good Halloween bakes), loveable Michael (whose dimples conquered Twitter) and witty Henry (the church organist who promised to strip onscreen at least twice).

Despite a strong start, the cracks appeared early. Some technical challenges were unfeasible. Some judgments were weirdly brutal. Phil, the likeable truck driver, was axed sooner than he deserved. Then Helena was gone. Then Michael and Henry were gone, and the show took on that distinct feeling of a party where it’s getting late and your best mates have already left. It didn’t help that the hosts — Noel Fielding (quite tall) and Sandi Toksvig (quite small) — spent their screen-time squeezing the life out of one joyless joke. These minds gave us The Mighty Boosh and school us regularly on QI. Surely, on a baking show, they can still give us something to sink our teeth into.

Last night’s episode, the finale, was bittersweet. Continue reading