Last night I was peripherally involved in a conversation on twitter. One of the participants mentioned Jiminy Cricket, and I chimed in that I remember the animated cricket's song beginning with the line "I'm no fool, nosiree, I wanna live to be 103", from cartoons I watched as a child in the 1950s. I was wrong about the first line of the song. In the youtube video I later watched, his aspiration was actually to reach 93.
But one of the people in the twitter conversation mentioned that Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards had been the voice of Jiminy Cricket.
I love old novelty songs, and have everything from "With her head tucked underneath her arm (the Anne Boleyn song)" to "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" in my repertoire. As I browsed through youtube videos of Edwards, I discovered that he had recorded the first hit version of "Singing in the Rain" (over 20 years before the movie made the song even more famous), the great Yip Harburg / Harold Arlen song "It's Only a Paper Moon", and dozens of other popular songs of the 1920s and 1930s.
Edwards had a tragic personal life, with poor money management and alcohol and drug addiction. His career declined, and he died in 1971, leaving behind an impressive body of work.
I'm going to conclude with a few selections from that work, foraged from youtube.