Harry Champion (real name William Crump) was one of the most famous of all the old-time Music-Hall performers. He was born in 1866, and started his career in 1882 as a blackface comedian: in 1888 he abandoned the makeup and began a long career as a Cockney comedian, sing rapid-fire songs at tremendous speed and with tremendous energy. His most famous songs are still remembered today, including 'Boiled Beef and Carrots', 'Any Old Iron' and 'I'm Henery the Eighth'.
He continued working into the 1940s; a performer who worked on a bill with him in the early 1940s told me: 'You know, that man couldn't sing, that man couldn't dance - he looked like a cabbie and he danced like Donald Duck; but Harry Champion went on that stage - and Whoomph! - he had the audience in the palm of his hand and they loved him every minute of his act.'
His records mostly date from before electrical recording: because of the sheer speed of his delivery he's not always easy to understand, and the variable recording quality doesn't help: but you can certainly hear his tremendous presence and energy. He was still working occasionally right up to his death in 1942. (Mouse over the list for notes.)
GINGER, YOU'RE BALMY (Murray) COLUMBIA-RENA 1490 recorded c. May 1910
HENERY THE VIIIth (not credited) HOMOCHORD 4042 recorded c. May 1911
I ENJOYED IT (Murray & Lee) REGAL G7772 recorded March 1922
C.A.R.R.O.T.Y (Long) FAVORITE 547 recorded c. October 1912
WOTCHER! MY OLD BROWN SON (Collins & Shepherd) REGAL G6701 recorded c. December 1913
YOU CAN'T HELP LAUGHING, CAN YER? (Lawrence & Carter) REGAL G6701 recorded c. September 1913
HAVE A DROP OF GIN JOE (Collins & Tabrar) FAVORITE 547 recorded c. October 1912
DON'T DO IT AGAIN, MATILDA (Murray) COLUMBIA-RENA 1490 recorded c. May 1910