Primo Scala was a bestseller on Rex Records with his Accordion Band but he did not really exist. The name was a pseudonym for musical director/producer Harry Bidgood (b. 1898, London, England, d. 1955), who recorded much anonymous dance music in the 20s and 30s. He was pianist with De Groot’s salon orchestra at the Piccadilly Hotel, and recorded on HMV Records with its offshoot, the Piccadilly Dance Band. When De Groot left the hotel, his light music was replaced by an orthodox dance band with Bidgood as pianist. After visiting Berlin in 1924, where the band recorded for Vox, Bidgood resigned, going to Vocalion Records as recording manager and musical director. He made records with his house band, releasing them on the various Vocalion labels (Aco, Beltona, Guardsman, Broadcast, Coliseum, etc.) under names such as the Midnight Merrymakers, Riverside Dance Band and Kentucky Revellers. In the late 20s his regular pool of musicians included Ted Heath, who played for him at the Ritz Hotel and Ciro’s Club. Vocalion dropped all their other labels and concentrated on Broadcast, a more expensive product with a retail price of 2/- (10p). In 1932 the company was taken over by Crystalate, who inaugurated the Imperial, Rex and Eclipse labels, the latter sold by Woolworth’s at 6d each (two-and-a-half pence). Bidgood built up an all-accordion band for Imperial as Roma’s Accordion Band, whose records were also issued on Eclipse under the name of Don Porto. When he decided Rex too should have some of this music, it was released under the name of Primo Scala’s Accordion Band; then Crystalate discontinued Eclipse Records and introduced Crown, another 6d record label, on which Bidgood/Porto/Scala/Roma became Rossini’s Accordion Band. Though they were all the same band it was Scala on whom Bidgood concentrated his efforts, taking the band on radio and music-hall tours. In a more musically ambitious and challenging vein he spent part of the World War II years conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in film music in his capacity as Musical director for British Columbia Pictures. He disappeared from the music scene soon afterwards.
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