Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Mother's Old Rocking Chair

Swingin' Granny
and The Skyliters Band

Irral Berger, Duane Music (BMI)

Irral 800 

Irral Berger, born Fredericks, was no stranger to the world of show biz. In 1908, she worked as an extra in silent films.  Later she was a model and a soprano on the famed Orpheum circuit.   She wrote songs since at least the thirties (Little Gypsy Mine, 1932) and with her husband, Johnny Berger, some patriotic songs such as "United Victory" and  "Halted Victory" in 1943.   She was friend with Garrie and Clara Thompson, talent scout and promoters in Sunnyvale, California who managed Benn Joe Zeppa and Joe Simon. 

Mrs. Irral Berger, 80, better known as "Swingin' Granny"

Swingin' Granny to Sing for San Quentin SNOQUALMIE, Wash.- - The boys at San Quentin prison are in for a New Year's treat with an old-fangled beat.   Prison officials have booked "Swingin' Granny" as head-liner for their New Year's Eve show. 
Granny, or off-stage Mrs. Irral Berger, 80, may give them a little "Hard Day's Night" or flip into some of her originals,   "Mother's Old Rocking Chair" and "Alwaiys of You Alone."   "I don't really like to go on the road, but I keep getting all these bookings," Mrs. Berger explains.   
The gently - smiling great-grandmother would seem an unlikely entertainer for prison inmates, but her piano ditties and tinkling voice are a favorite in the Northwest and have already drawn two television appearances. 
Mrs. Berger says she was born in Peshtigo, Wis., and left there as a baby with her mother to join her father, employed in Washington as a section foreman.   She says she has no relatives living in Wisconsin now. She began having unlikely experiences right after the move.  "My parents moved to Issaquah (Wash.) before the turn of the century.   We were here only a few days when some gypsies stole me."   The gypsies returned her a year later, Mrs. Berger said, leaving her with a wandering spirit.  
She and her husband settled near here and built a log cabin, in which she still lives.   She tried her hand at nursing, switched to teaching music, and when her husband died 16 years ago, began doing road shows.  
"One day my daughters asked me to record some of my songs for my great-grandchildren," she says.   The record was played for some show-business producers "and before long I was touring the country."   What are the inmates likely to hear as the old year fades? The little, white-haired lady pulled her crocheted shawl over her shoulders and began beating out her newest tune, "Do Dipty."

Irral Records was a vanity label set up by Irral Berger with the help of Garrie and Clara Thompson


777 - Tom And Jerry And The Skyliters       
778 - Joe Simon And Eugene Blacknells Band
779  - Tom And Jerry The Skyliters Band
800 - "Swingin' Granny" And The Skyliters Band
801 - "Swingin' Granny" With Hugh The Drummer Boy And The Galunts  
GSR-702/GSR-7695 -  Irral Berger
810 "Swingin' Granny" LP

No comments:

Post a Comment