Posted 20 hours ago

Ena Dayne The brief shining of a music hall star.

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Your post above mentioning the people from Ghana recognising it as one of their own trad songs with a different rhythm could mean that it originated in Ghana and was "calypsified" in the West Indies before being translated into English. But I can't find any connection, through Google, between Eva Dayne and Nadia Cattouse, other than the Mudcat thread containing the message linked to by Mr Happy above. The best version I ever heard of this long is by Nancy Ames from the album "The Incredible Nancy Ames." I believe this album was released in 1961. Anyway, that is when I first heard it on radio in Guam on a radio show called "Hit Corral.". I bought it on LP in 1963 when I entered college in the US mainland (Dayton, Ohio).

In 1949 "Cruising Down the River" became the first British composition to top The Billboard charts.I really like the Nadia Cattouse version. She sings it with a little bit of an accent, which really enhances the song. Her pacing is slower and more deliberate than the Nancy Ames version, but excellent in its own way. I later discovered it on an album by Nina & Frederik. The Nina & Frederik version was later released on a CD of their greatest hits. The Nancy Ames version was never released on a CD. However, I copied most of the songs on that album over to reel to reel tpe, then to CD, then now to MP3. However, there is a little bit of hiss and a few pops in the song since the album was a little bit worn by the time I copied it to tape.

And thanks to Mr Happy for requesting the words - since transcribing it, I've sung it out twice, with very favourable reception!


Cruising Down the River" is a 1946 popular recording song, which became the winner of a public songwriting competition held in the UK. Words and music were entered by two middle-aged women named Eily Beadell and Nell Tollerton. The words had been written by Eily in the 1920s, and the melody composed by music hall artist Ena Dayne; as she could not read music, it was transcribed by Tollerton. It was sung in concert parties throughout the 1930s, mainly by Charles Ray. One of the original early recordings of this song, issued in the UK in January 1946 on the Columbia record label (FB 3180), was by Lou Preager and his Orchestra, with vocals by Paul Rich. This was immensely popular on radio, with record and sheet music sales making it one of the biggest hits of 1946 in the United Kingdom.

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