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History - The Singing Postman


Back in 1964, songs from a certain "Allan Smethurst" were to be heard on local (East Anglia, Great Britain) radio and television programs. In December of 1964, four of the songs were released on a "Promotional" EP, by Ralph Tuck Promotions (BEV EP 153)

The track titles of the EP being,
Side 1 - Track 1 - Come Along a Me
Side 1 - Track 2 - Moind Yer Hid Boy
Side 2 - Track 1 - Hev Yew Gotta Loight Boy
Side 2 - Track 2 - A Miss From Diss

See "Close-up" of EP sleeve picture

"Allan Smethurst" (BBC Singing Postman) original EP

In 1966, fame had finally "Cast it's light" on Allan Smethurst. The same four songs used on the promotional EP, were released on a "Commercial" EP, by EMI. Parlophone label (GEP 8956)

The track titles of the EP being,
Side 1 - Track 1 - Come Along a Me
Side 1 - Track 2 - Moind Yer Hid Boy
Side 2 - Track 1 - Hev Yew Gotta Loight, Boy ?
Side 2 - Track 2 - A Miss From Diss

Other than the addition of a comma and a question mark, then the names of the tracks, together with the running order, was the same as that on the original "Ralph Tuck" promotion EP.

The most "Famous" track being "Hev Yew Gotta Loight , Boy ?", received an Ivor Novello award, for the "Best Novelty Song" of 1966. The song was also used for an "Ovaltine" television commercial, in 1994.

I remember saving up enough pocket money, to purchase  my own copy of the "First Delivery" EP, from W. H. Smith's of Norwich. Allan was in the shop, promoting the record and signing postcards for the many fans who turned up on the day, myself being one of them.

See "Close-up" of EP sleeve picture and sleeve notes, also the different  Side Labels

"The Singing Postman's" first EP with EMI

Allan's time with EMI, came to an end in 1970. Some 6 years after the first recordings of "The Singing Postman" were made.

This time, Allan was on the move to another record label nearer to home. The record label being that of Tony Palmer's "City Music". Alan stayed with City Music form 1970 through to 1973, during which time over 30 tracks/songs were recorded. Some being released, others never seeing the light of day.

At this time, the early 1970's, "City Music" were based in Scratby, a village on the outskirts of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk (Great Britain), running a recording facility and offering Demonstration Disc's / Songwriting etc.

The equipment used for "The Singing Postman" recordings, included a trusty old "Revox" 2 track recorder, track bouncing in mono, with the addition of an Akai GX-280D-SS, 4 track (4 channel) recorder, being used for some of the later recordings. A selection of microphones, including those from AKG and Grampian, etc. The Reverb/Echo, coming from a custom unit, designed and constructed by "Brian Adie", an ex-Marconi engineer.

The recordings being engineered by Richard Haylett and Tony Palmer

An example of a "City Music" record label
(Somewhat worst for wear !)



My own association with "City Music's" recordings of "The Singing Postman" began in 1986, during which time, I was recording some "Demo" tapes for Tony Palmer, the founder of City Music.

Whilst taking a break, during a recording session, Tony and I were having a conversation about the history of "City Music" and the various artists that they had recorded. Tony mentioned that he still had nearly all the original "City Music" recordings of "The Singing Postman", made back in the 1970's, and was interested in releasing a new album from some of those old recordings. Unfortunately, the problem being, that Tony did not have any tape machines suitable for playing back the original master tapes.

It appeared that Tony's problem was to be solved. I was in the fortunate situation of having a collection of machines, of various formats, suitable for the task e.g. Otari MX-5050 QXHD tape machine for playing back the 1/4" 4 channel tapes, originally recorded on the Akai GX-280D-SS. The possibility of a releasing a new album, of previously un-released tracks, now seemed quite feasible.

Much of the rest of our conversation was to include stories and antidotes, of Allan's time in the studio and on stage.


An "Original" master tape from the "City Music" era

Once I was in possession of the master tapes, I started transferring all of the original material, un-touched, to my Sony PCM-F1 system, for "Archive" digital copies. Then cataloguing the material available for the new album. Next, came the task of selecting what "Takes" were to be used. Some takes of a particular song, might well have been "Technically" equal, however there would be discrepancies in the lyrics, do to some "Artistic" ad-libbing from very talented Allan.

As the original recordings were made on two different machines i.e. Revox 2 track and Akai GX-280D-SS, 4 track (4 channel), there were some problems in finding the correct playback EQ standards to match the recordings. This was overcome by "Equalizing" (Matching) the recordings by ear. Finally transferring the two set's of "Equalized" analogue recordings to the Sony PCM-F1 for a "Working" digital copy.

One of the tracks featured i.e. "The Old North Walsham Line", was a story all about how Allan use to travel to school via the M&GN joint railway. It therefore seemed only correct to over-dub the sound of a "Suitable" steam train leaving a station, to the start of the track. Alas, the station quoted in the song, no longer exists. However, raiding my own recording "Archive", the problem was soon solved.

The tracks were then "Assembled", in the desired running order, to create the album "Shoont I be on th' Inside". Released in 1987, together with a Promotional Feature in a local newspaper (Eastern Daily Press), the album was available in cassette format only i.e. City Music (CM 02870 LP)

See "Close-up" of cassette Inlay card

The album, "Shoont I be on th' Inside", on cassette



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The year 2000 might well have marked the start of a new millennium, but sadly on 22nd December 2000, Allan Smethurst, "The Singing Postman" passed away at the age of 73. (Allan Smethurst, 1927-2000)

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At this stage, I should also like to pay tribute to the late "Jim West", who was also signed to "City Music". Sadly, Jim died at just 28 years old, after being with "City Music" for some 10 years. Jim's vocal qualities, were often compared to those of the legendary country music singer "Jim Reeve's". Who knows, should Jim West not have left us so young,  he might well have became the "Jim Reeve's" of Great Britain. 

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