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Charles Coborn

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Biography

Coborn, whose real name was Colin McCallum, was born in 1852, and had one of the longest careers of any music hall performer, from 1872 until his death in 1945. He was the classic example of a performer whose fame rested very largely on only two songs, the one chosen here and ‘Two Lovely Black Eyes’. In the days before radio and TV, performers would only visit the same area at intervals of several years, so they didn’t need to keep changing their material, and many of them had only a small number of songs which kept them going throughout their careers.

Coborn did perform a few other songs, but the two mentioned above were his mainstay. he wrote ‘Two Lovely Black Eyes’ himself - the tune, if not the words, is still remembered today - and Fred Gilbert wrote ‘The Man Who Broke The Bank At Monte Carle’. The latter isn’t really a funny song, more of a sing-along for the audiences to join in the chorus - and of course a piece of wish-fulfilment (the equivalent of winning the lottery today).

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