Vivian Ellis was one of Britain’s most prolific twentieth century composers, yet his name is now perhaps most associated with the musical award bearing his name. His many successes include the hit West End musicals Mr. Cinders and Bless the Bride. The latter show was a collaboration between Ellis and A. P. Herbert, the politician and writer.
The Water Gipsies was originally a film in 1931 in which Ellis contributed music to a song “Little Boat” with lyrics by Herbert. It was to this the pair returned in 1955 for an updated musical version for which the “Little Boat” song was retained.
The Water Gipsies is set on a barge moored on the Thames at Hammersmith in London. Albert, the owner, has two daughters – good-time girl Lily and light headed Jane. Both girls have issues with their men, but all ends well. The show was staged at London’s Winter Garden theatre and ran for 239 performances, a run much shorter than anticipated since Dora Bryan, who stole all the notices playing Lily, fell pregnant and had to leave.
In addition to the original cast recording here, for bonus tracks we have found some very rare Ellis compositions recorded in the 1920s and 1930s. Also included are tracks performed on the piano by Vivian Ellis. The 16 page CD booklet contains production shots and photos of some cast members.
1. Overture – Orchestra
2. Why Did You Call Me Lily? – Dora Bryan
3. Clip-Clop – Laurie Payne
4. I Should Worry – Roy Godfrey & Dora Bryan
5. When I’m Washing Up – Pamela Charles
6. Jane’s Prayer – Pamela Charles7. Lily’s Tale – Dora Bryan
8. He Doesn’t Care – Pamela Charles & Peter Graves
9. Castles And Hearts And Roses – Laurie Payne
10. (i) Peace And Quiet – Ernest Butcher (ii) Little Boat – Pamela Charles and Laurie Payne
11. Why Should Spring Have All The Flowers? – Doris Hare & Jerry Verno
12. This Is Our Secret – Peter Graves & Pamela Charles
13. It Would Cramp My Style – Dora Bryan & Roy Godfrey
14. You Never Know With Men – Dora Bryan
15. Here’s Mud In Your Eye – Chorus
16. I’m Not A Jealous Woman – Joan Sims
17. Finale – Chorus
18. I’m So Terribly In Love With You – Robert English
19. HI Never Dreamt (You’d Fall In Love With Me) – Lido Dance Orchestra
20. My Heart Is Saying – The Four Bright Sparks with Billy Milton
21. “Little Tommy Tucker” Selection – The Million-Airs
22. You Looked At Me – Olive Groves & Cliff Connelly
23. My Heart’s A Compass – Olive Groves & Cliff Connelly
24. You Have That Extra Something – Phyllis Stanley & Arthur Riscoe
25. Three Songs from “Big Ben” – Vivian Ellis at the Piano
26. Three Waltzes from “Big Ben” – Vivian Ellis at the Piano27. Selections from “Tough At The Top” Part One – Vivian Ellis at the Piano
28. Selections from “Tough At The Top” Part Two – Vivian Ellis at the Piano29. The Music from “And So To Bed” Part One – Vivian Ellis at the Piano30. The Music from “And So To Bed” Part Two – Vivian Ellis at the Piano