Cockney Kings of Music Hall compiles 25 songs that were recorded in London between 1899 and 1931. As can be expected due to the age of these recordings, the sound quality of most of the tracks ranges from poor to really dreadful. Yet it's incredible to hear these early music hall numbers that are quite funny and entertaining. Some of the highlights include Ernie Mayne's rendition of "And the Fog Grew Thicker and Thicker" (1914), Charles Austin's hilarious delivery of "I've Only Been Married a Week" (1911), Fred Lay's excellent sense of comic timing (he knew when to whistle instead of sing, leaving the lyrics to the audience's imagination) during "The Penny Whistler" (1901), and one of the most recent tunes on the compilation, Nat Travers' "Won't Yer Buy Some Beer?" (1930). The accompanying liner notes also include a brief perspective on "stage costers and cockneys" with information on the specific artists heard here.
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AllMusic Review by Joslyn Layne