Saturday, March 07, 2015

Sepia Saturday 269 : A Song, A Smoke And A Sepia Post

It's music week this week on Sepia Saturday and the theme image is some old sheet music for some little piece of whimsy called The Violet Polka. I do have a small collection of sheet music I inherited from my Uncle Harry (or "poor Uncle Harry" as he was always referred to in the family but that is another story best left until after the watershed) and I dipped into that to find something suitably uplifting.

In amongst his music is a small volume entitled "The Music Lovers' Portfolio Of The World's Best Music" which was published as a part series in England in the 1920s by Georg Newnes Ltd. I only seem to have Part 1, so perhaps Uncle Harry ran out of money after the first week or maybe the selection wasn't to his liking.

The selection in Part 1 is certainly, as they say these days, "aspirational". There is  some Rachmaninoff, some Mendelssohn and even the 1st Movement of Beethoven's Fifth. But I needed something even more culturally weighty to stand up against the Violet Polka, so I give you, from towards the end of the portfolio, "Love's Cigarette" by H Fraser-Simson , Harry Graham and Adrian Ross.

I am probably in breach of some copyright law by reproducing this piece of music here, but I will defend myself at the bar of public opinion by stating that this is a work that should be more widely known. In case you can't quite pick out the words from the tobacco stained paper, let me quote you the lyrics of the first chorus.

Cigarette, cigarette,
You are warmer and truer
Than any fond wooer
I've met
And you're rapture
Ought to kindle and capture
The coldest Coquette
And the whirls
Of your curls
They have taken my heart in a net
It's a pleasure divine
When your lip is on mine
And I'm kissing my own Cigarette

I am aware that a post about music which contains only words and images is a bit like a fine Cuban cigar without a match to light it, so I have searched YouTube to find a rendition of this wonderful tune I could share with you. The best I could find was the following piano roll which appears to be by the same writers and share the same title, but whether it is the precise tune in the sheet music is a question which will have to be answered by those with a greater musical sense than me.

Whilst you whistle away to this catchy - I could even say addictive - tune, why not dance on over to the Sepia Saturday Blog to see what other Sepians are singing about this week.


  1. The music is not quite what I expected after reading the words. Quite a catchy little tune to dance around with, perhaps, a cigarette dangling from the corner of your mouth.

  2. What fun. A lot of notes heard on the music roll, I think it is the same song. It would be quite tricky to play and to sing. Thank you for sharing. If your Uncle Harry liked the Cigarette Somg perhaps he found the Music Lovers' selection a bit serious. All of it would have taken some talent and practice to play.

  3. I think it's the same song too and it is catchy. I can hardly wait to hear about poor uncle Harry.

  4. Anonymous10:18 PM

    Words fail me. I need a word that says " This is not what I expected when I started reading the post". i just love the rhyming. I love the twist at the end. And I love the memories of Mrs Rassie's pianola. Thanks Uncle Harry.

  5. Anonymous12:03 AM

    Bravo! I love piano music; and this is a tune that I could have playing in the background of just a day a home. Of course it brings back memories of days gone by. But that's the purpose of this page, isn't it? Great post -- as usual..

  6. The title of the piece says it's the chorus of the song so listening to the piano roll, one has to wait while the verse is played, but once the chorus began I could sing it. The first time through was a little rough, but by the second time, I had it. Fun!

  7. What a song! And I thought I had some good ones!?!!

  8. What fun to have that catchy tune, which the piano roll definitely embellished all over the sure beat out the polka!

  9. Very well done finding that amazing song on a piano roll!

  10. I'm not a smoker, but I rather like this ode to the cigarette!

  11. A brilliant post, Alan. The tune is wonderful music and as LaNight'l says it is the same chorus as the printed music. The lyrics though, are something else!
    If I am correct the video is of a pianola which was a type of player piano that required real effort to play. First there was continuous pumping on foot pedals to run the pneumatic system. Then the knees controlled levers for speed and dynamics which was indicated on the roll. And of course one was singing along to to the roll of words. It needed some mechanical skill if not musical talent.

  12. It’s a pity about the subject matter as the tune is such a jolly one and the rhyming such fun.

  13. Quite a love? song...(chuckle)...Oh Alan, the song in my post seems to be Scotland Pet written by H.S. Riddel and put to music by Peter MacLeod. Then again, it could be Auld Lang Syne.

  14. I do like the music, and can nearly match words to tune.... just about! Absolutely, a fun tune!

  15. What clever lyrics. Yeah, much more fun than Mendelssohn.

  16. Hayley's family had a "poor" relative. "Poor Cynthia," and again, a story best left till after the watershed.


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