Born Leonard Yeomans, he became a chorister at St. Barnabas', Hackney from where he was discovered and put on the stage of the Pavilion Theatre, London [March-June 1933] with the stage name of Master Leslie Day. His manager appears to have been Lilly Denville. According to a review, audiences clamoured nightly for encores. Aged fourteen or fifteen, Leslie Day made four records and later appeared in two films, Television Follies English, in 1933 - in which he sang several songs including Love's Old Sweet Song, and Musical Medley Mancunian, in 1935 as a young baritone. So far, just "Musical Medley" has been located but this gives a 'flashback' clip from "Television Follies" showing Day singing 'Loch Lomand'.
Leslie Day's remarkable story will be told in a major feature by Stephen R. Beet in the near future.
"The Era" (London) refers to the singer Leslie Day at the London Pavilion as "a boy whose pure tones of song are a joy to hear" (29 March 1933), and a "boy of superb voice" (3 May 1933). The same journal also notes that he was unable to appear in a concert at the Prince of Wales Theatre on 24 September 1933 as his voice had broken (27 Sept. 1933).
During World War II, Leonard Yeomans was a sonar operator searching for U-boats and Japanese submarines. He served in all of the theatres of war and also in other theatres entertaining the troops.
He was also a singer and a member of ENSA (entertainment group) and performed at ports all over the globe under the guise of Les Day. SRB & BJP
Master Leslie Day A: Come Back (incipit: Like a golden dream in my heart, ever smiling.) (serenade: Engl. wds R.H. Elkin, 1923 - music Enrico Toselli (1883-1926): "Serenata", 1900) (matrix CA13738-1) B: A Brown Bird Singing (incipit: All through the night there's a little brown bird singing.) (song, 1922: wds Royden Barrie (pseud. of Harry Rodney Bennett, 1890-1948) - music Haydn Wood (1882-1959)) (CA13741-1) Both rec. 22 June 1933 with orch. accomp. & harp or piano. Original disc deleted March 1942. The two songs are now on Amphion CDs "The Better Land" vols. 4 & 5 resp.
This disc was priced at 2/6 and a review in The Talking Machine and Wireless Trade News (London, Aug. 1933, p. 152) commented on the "clear, if rather reedy tone".
Master Leslie Day A: I hear you calling me (incipit: I hear you calling me; you called me when the moon had veiled her light.) (song, 1908: wds Harold Harford (pseud. of Harold Lake) - music Charles Marshall (1857-1927)) (matrix CA13614-1) B: For you alone (incipit: Take thou this rose, this little tender rose.) (song, 1909: wds P.J. O'Reilly (c.1876-1924) - music Henry Ernest Geehl (1881-1961)) (CA13617-1) Both rec. 28 Apl 1933, with piano accomp. Original disc deleted Jan. 1939. Both pieces are included on Amphion CD "The Better Land" vol. 1.
In "The Gramophone" (July 1933, p. 61) the reviewer C.M. Crabtree commented: "[Day] has apparently gone from church choir to music-hall at the age of fourteen. He seems to have a very good voice and a strong sense of style, and to have had some very good training, though not without acquiring a slight tendency to force his voice in modern fashion and some hints of certain bad habits."
Master (Arthur) Iwan DaviesMaster Leslie Day Exact content not known. Artists are: Mary Hagan ("child comedienne"), Iwan Davies (boy soprano) (in Part 1), Wilfred Worden (piano), "Little Leslie Day" (boy soprano) (in Part 2), Louis Cabrelli (accordian) and the Terry Juveniles. Music composed or arranged by H. Hudson. (matrices GB5086-87) Both sides rec. 30 Oct. 1932.
Mary Hagan, 12 years old, was said in Decca publicity (June 1932) to support her unemployed ex-boxer father, invalid mother and little sister, with pennies earned by singing in the streets of Newcastle. She was discovered and brought to London by the boxing trainer Ted Broadribb and sang at boxing matches in the Albert Hall before being introduced to Horace Sheldon, musical director of the Victoria Palace, who secured her engagements to appear in the London music halls.
You can order the Better Land CDs directly from producer Stephen Beet for £10.00 plus post and packing. £55 for the set of 6 CD's (which includes, as a special offer, Stephen R. Beet's book "The Better land - in search of the lost boy sopranos" E-mail for postage quotes: StephenRBeet@gmail.com
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Master Derek Barsham Recorded 30 Apl. 1947 (AR11093 & 11094), with Gladys Palmer, contralto, Norman Lumsden, bass & London Symphony Orchestra cond. Stanford Robinson. Issued June 1947 on Decca K.1601. ["Better Land" the two parts separately in vols. 3 & 4]
Available from the producer at £10 plus postage, or £55 plus postage for the set of 6 CD's (which includes as a special offer Stephen R. Beet's book "The Better Land - in search of the lost boy sopranos"
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Individual CD's £10 each plus postage. The Better Land set of 6 CD's is available from StephenRBeet@gmail.com
Price £55 plus postage. Included in this offer is a FREE copy of "The Better Land - In search of the Lost Boy Sopranos" (retail value £10)
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As well as chapters on Iwan Davies, Derek Barsham, and Denis Wright, amongst others there are also chapters under the following headings: The Temple Boys, The Manchester Boys, The Music Hall Boys, The Fleeting Boys, and The Broadcast Boys.
This book is available directly from the author: Contact StephenRBeet@gmail.com
Price Seven Pounds Sterling plus postage
This book is available for the cost of postage and packing only if the set of six The Better Land CD albums is ordered.