Monday, July 23, 2007

Appeal To Blogland: Layton & Johnstone - 'Oh Donna Clara!' (1931)

Which reminds me! I've been searching for some years for the recording of 'Oh Donna Clara!' by a now extremely obscure black vocal duo from the 1930s Layton & Johnstone. (edit: Just tonight discovered I'm looking for Layton and not Leyton) I once saw a compilation of their work in the late lamented giant Tower Records store in Piccadilly Circus. Sadly I did not realise its rarity, and as it didn't contain the track I wanted, I didn't get it.

I've been into big band and early recorded black and jazz music since I was 15 or so (other kids were into RHCP and RATM, I was into Krupa & O'Day!) though its not a main passion anymore. I was struck by the delicacy of this version, completely unlike the more familiar, rambunctious German versions. It also has sentimental significance for a member of my family.

In 2000, John Peel played four tracks from every year from 1900 to 1999 as part of a feature of his BBC Radio 1 show called the Peelenium, one of which was this track. (I contacted Gary Walsh of John Peel Everyday for this and the Bing track but he could only locate the latter) So there's probably a fairly good chance someone out there has got it in mp3 format, if not as a vinyl rip. There have been a few cd reissues which I'll try to track down but no joy so far. Obviously if anyone could upload a cd that would be fantastic. If anyone would like to sell me a copy of a cd featuring L & J's version of 'Oh, Donna Clara' that would be great too, preferably through EBay or something.

My email is

Incidentally, feel free to contact me on any issue regarding this blog and music in general.

Finally, I stumbled across a rather interesting article about L & J on Musicweb International.

It says that the text may not be reproduced so you will have to click on the link if you want to read about them.

The artwork of Peel is by Peter Blake.

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