The genre started in the pubs and streets of London in the mid-19th century and grew into the first form of mass entertainment to be created by the working classes. By 1900 it regularly drew huge audiences from across the whole spectrum of society, from prostitutes to princes, all singing along with superstar performers in gorgeous theatres (some of which still survive).
Like its American cousin Vaudeville, Music Hall featured magicians, acrobats, and ventriloquists – elements that we still see today in musical theater and cabaret shows. One of the most fascinating of the Music Hall performers was Max Champion. We know little about him, except that he was born in London in 1882. Champion was almost completely forgotten until the sheet music of his songs was found in Valletta, Malta, in
2014. How it got there is a complete mystery.
“What A Racket!” presents eleven of Max Champion’ssongsforthe first time in more than a century. According to producer Joe Jackson, ‘These were wonderful songs in their time, but they’re surprisingly modern, too. Sometimes it’s almost as if Max is speaking, from his London of the early 20th century, directly to us in the early 21st’.
What may sound different to the Joe Jackson you know at first listen, in fact corresponds to his consistent artistic development. This record is 100% Joe Jackson. And perhaps you already guessed it: Joe Jackson and Max Champion have more in common than it appears at first glance.
1. Why, Why, Why?
2. The Sporting Life
3. Dear Old Mum
4. Monty Mundy
5. Shades Of Night
6. What A Racket!
7. The Bishop And The Actress
8. Think Of The Show!
9. Never So Nice In The Morning
10. Health And Safety
11. Worse Things Happen At Sea