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Sep 03

WINIFRED ATWELL – “Let’s Have Another Party”

Popular9 comments • 2,811 views

#26, 3rd December 1954

This is also a knees-up party record but of a whole different order. It’s a medley – nay, a megamix – of music-hall hits instrumentalised, mashed together and played sped-up on a piano. I imagine Grandma out of Giles cackling away as she thumps the ivories at some family bash. Winifred Atwell recorded about 800 of these. They all sound the same – think a one-woman 50s Scooter – and it was a devil to track the right one down. They’re pretty good though: you can tell why she had the Christmas party scene in a headlock this year. The version I found goes straight into its B-Side which has, rather wonderfully, a guitar overdub halfway through that took me absolutely by surprise. It’s there for no reason at all, it just plays along with a few notes then drops out again. I love it: it’s one of the first sightings of something great in British pop, the joy in a new noise for its own sake.

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Comments

  1. 1
    Marcello Carlin on 20 Oct 2006 #

    I said this originally on Haloscan, but Joe Meek was in the control booth engineering (thus the guitar drop-in), so a prescient last remark there.

    Additionally B Watson has reminded me that Atwell was the pop parallel to John Cage in terms of using prepared pianos (or her “Other Piano” as she called it, i.e. the rickety pub upright) remembering that Cage’s piano pieces were originally intended for dancing etc.

  2. 2
    Pete Baran on 20 Oct 2006 #

    I always love playing Atwell at Popular (Poor People Of Paris usual, but this one maybe next time on the 10th). I think what Tom says about joyous noise comes right through all of her playing, and it is about the only artist I demonically air piano to.

  3. 3
    rosie on 21 Oct 2006 #

    The first black performer to top the UK charts?

  4. 4
    Matthew on 10 Jan 2009 #

    Wonderful, and as you say ahead of its time, though interestingly the first comment on the YouTube video of this I am listening to is “she would have had a longer career had she been doing this back in the 30’s”. Maybe the Fifties just == Death.

    I am also sad that no-one is called Winifred any more.

  5. 5
    Billy Smart on 19 Mar 2009 #

    Light Entertainment Watch: Winifred Attwell has been ill-served by posterity. This performance survives;

    JACK HYLTON’S MONDAY SHOW: with Hughie Green, Winifred Atwell, Billy Ternent And His Orchestra, Laurence Harvey, Donald Campbell, Jack Hylton, Ronnie Renalde (1958)

    While all of these are missing;

    INTERNATIONAL CABARET: with Kenneth Williams, Alyn Ainsworth and his Orchestra, Vera Lynn, Winifred Atwell, Robby Royal (1968)

    THE KEN DODD SHOW: with Kenneth McKellar, Winifred Atwell, Johnny Hackett, Graham Stark (1966)

    THE SHOW BAND SHOW: with The Stargazers, Michael Holliday, Shirley Wilson, Winifred Atwell (1956)

    SUNDAY NIGHT AT THE LONDON PALLADIUM (VAL PARNELL’S …..): with Bruce Forsyth, The Daily Mirror Disc Festival, Winifred Atwell, Eddie Calvert, Alma Cogan, Lonnie Donegan With His Skiffle Group, Ted Heath, Ronnie Hilton, Ruby Murray, Anne Shelton (1956)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Winifred Atwell, Ray Bennett, The Beverley Sisters, Craig Douglas, Mike Sarne, The Shadows, Rosemary Squires, Norman Vaughan, Bob Monkhouse (1962)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Joan Regan, Matt Monro, Micky Ashman’s Ragtime Jazz Band, Jimmy Justice, The Alberts, Winifred Atwell, Sam Costa (1962)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Adam Faith, The King Brothers, Gene Vincent, Winifred Atwell, The Roulettes, Annie Ross, Rolf Harris, The Dave Clark Five, Frenesi Watson (1963)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Adam Faith, Winifred Atwell, Gerry And The Pacemakers, Jess Conrad, The Eric Delaney Band, Wes Sands, Pete Murray (1963)

    THE WINIFRED ATWELL SHOW (All nine episodes, 1956)

  6. 6
    Hachittee on 1 Apr 2009 #

    А пачму комменты не сразу добавляются?

  7. 7
    Victoria on 7 Feb 2010 #

    I genuinely like this. The first no.1 I’ve come across chronologically that has me shimmying in my seat!

  8. 8
    Eli on 20 Dec 2010 #

    Another party record that still sounds quite fun. Winnie was pretty darn good at what she did, it has to be said.

    And I had no idea Joe Meek was present…

  9. 9
    Brendan F on 4 Jan 2013 #

    Back in the days of Chartstats (R.I.P) I played every song that made the charts in the ’50s that I wasn’t already familiar with and the series of hits by Winifred Atwell were a breath of fresh air within the morass of po-faced ballads that was the chart’s staple before rock ‘n’ roll. The fact they were so interchangeable would make her the S/A/W of her day had the charts of the S/A/W era been otherwise entirely populated by proto-Westlife numbers or novelty records, and the songs that actually made the late 80s bearable hadn’t existed.

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