Songs For Soho Blondes
From the era of Peeping Tom and the Profumo Affair, from the London of Colin Wilson and Christine Keeler, here’s a collection redolent of red lights and girls names on Brewer Street buzzers. Compiled by film producer, journalist and Saint Etienne band member Bob Stanley, It’s A Scandal! recreates the heady world of Soho clubland, which was the milieu for many of the characters caught up in the Profumo Affair.
On 5 June 1963, Secretary of State for War John Profumo was obliged to resign from the cabinet over a brief affair some two years earlier with showgirl Christine Keeler, who was allegedly also having an affair with a Soviet naval attaché. Quite apart from the question of moral probity, at the height of the cold war this was viewed as a threat to national security, and the press and satirists had a field day.
At the time, independent record label Ember released the opportune single “Christine”, credited to Miss X. The performer’s actual identity was singer-dancer Joyce (sister of Lionel) Blair and the producer was John Barry. Ember also released an EP of songs by Mandy Rice-Davies, an associate of Christine Keeler caught up in the unfolding story. The Profumo Affair has continued to fascinate, and was portrayed in the 1989 film Scandal, whilst Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Stephen Ward opens in the West End this December. A recent issue of Mojo magazine ran a feature on the Miss X single.
Bookended by both sides of the Miss X single and also including a Mandy Rice-Davies vocal, the majority of tracks featured on It’s A Scandal! date from the late fifties/early sixties and are by female singers tackling often risqué material, including “Sex” by Shirley Bassey and “Roller Coaster Blues” by Diana Dors. Most of this material is hard to find on CD and it will be of considerable appeal to aficionados of burlesque repertoire. With cool jazz vocals, laidback piano and leering brass, this is strip club music, from the camp to the carnivorous!
- Christine (Miss X)
- Close Your Eyes (Mandy Rice-Davies)
- Sex (Shirley Bassey)
- Chinchilla (Lucille Mapp)
- Roller Coaster Blues (Diana Dors)
- Make Mine Mink (The Knightsbridge Chorale)
- Be Not “Notty” (Elke Sommer)
- Love Is (Anne Heywood)
- Lola’s Heart (Maxine Daniels)
- Why Don’t You Do Right (The Barry Sisters)
- Piccadilly Third Stop (Eric Winstone Orchestra)
- Shakedown (Sheila Buxton)
- Demon Lover (Lynn Cornell)
- Run (Jeri Southern)
- The Sphinx Won’t Tell (The Beverley Sisters)
- Say When (Valerie Masters)
- The Jazz Scene (The Jazz Stars)
- Moanin’ (Beryl Bryden)
- Ooh, What A Lover (Linda Laurie)
- An Occasional Man (Marion Ryan)
- Mr Big Wheel (Anita Lindblom)
- Send Me (Toni Eden)
- Love Me Now! Love Me Now! Love Me Now! (Sylvia Sands)
- Wimoweh Cha Cha (Eve Boswell)
- S-E-X (Miss X)