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9 TREBLES Featured Boy Sopranos | All Trebles | Boy Altos | Soloist Recordings | Chorister of the Year | 78 RPM | Pop Singles

  Graham Payn   [Graham Payne]    (b. 25 April 1918) Boy Soprano Soloist 
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Graham Payn Graham Payn was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1918 . He had been taught piano from an early age and his teacher found that he had a good singing voice. He started entering competitions and by the age of about eleven had won three singing competitions in a row.

In 1932, when he was fourteen Graham went to the Adelphi Theatre to audition for Noel Coward's new review, Words and Music. 'I knew I wouldn't get long to audition on stage so I sang Nearer my God to Thee and did a tap dance at the same time! Noel was sitting in the stalls and said ''We must have that boy in the show''. So that's how I got into Words & Music.'

-- Bio and picture from Betterland.boychoirs.org

Graham was born at Pietermaritzburg, in Natal, South Africa, (according to the long obituary in The Times [London], 8 Nov. 2005), and he was educated there, and privately in England. He started out at the age of 13 as Curly in Peter Pan at the London Palladium, progressing to films as a boy soprano in 1932 when he was 14. (For his theatrical career as an adult please see the obituary.) He died in Switzerland on 4 Nov. 2005, aged 87.
Related Sites
British Pathe Films
Footage of Graham from 1931-1932: Meadowsweet, In an old fashioned town, I hear you calling me.
British Pathé presenting: Graham Payn - I Hear You Calling Me
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Featured Recordings Compact | Full
Graham Payn - The hymn that I sang as a boy / As I knelt beside that old arm-chair
The hymn that I sang as a boy / As I knelt beside that old arm-chair (Rex (Black Label) 8028 (10-inch), 78 RPM) Oktober 1933
Featuring Graham Payn  
Budget-priced disc retailing at 1/=.
A: The hymn that I sang as a boy (song, 1933: wds Sonny Miller - music John Burnaby) (matrix F.530)
B: As I knelt [or kneel] beside that old arm-chair (song, 1933: Arale & D. Dene) (F.531)
with Wurlitzer organ accomp.

"Emotional listeners will probably come all over soulful when hearing this disc, for the combination of Master Payn's pleading treble and the Wurlitzer organ may well prove too much for them."
(Review in The Talking Machine and Wireless Trade News, London, Oct. 1933, p. 231.)
  Side A -   The hymn that I sang as a boy (Miller-Burnaby)  
  Side B -   As I knelt beside that old arm-chair (Arale-Dene)  
no cover
Don't Go Down In The Mine Dad / That Old Fashioned Mother Of Mine (Broadcast 953 (9-inch), 78 RPM) April 1933
Featuring Graham Payn  
Organ acc. by Bruce Wendell.
This record retailed at one shilling. For details of these two songs, please see the full entries under the recordings by Teddie Harcourt & Thomas Criddle.
  Side A -   Don't Go Down In The Mine Dad (Donnelly-Geddes)  
  Side B -   That Old Fashioned Mother Of Mine (David-Nicholls)  
no cover
Voice in the Old Village Choir (HMV B6178, 78 RPM) Mai 1932
Featuring Graham Payn  
Graham Payn singing with Bert Ambrose and his Orchestra.
no cover
Cast thy burden / Nearer, my God, to Thee (Zonophone (Green Label) 6033 (10-inch), 78 RPM) Februar 1932
Featuring Graham Payn  
"Master Graham Payne", accompanied by Herbert Dawson on the Binns organ at Kingsway Hall, London. Both items recorded ca. 24 Dec. 1931.
Retail price 1/6. Disc deleted Jan. 1942.
A: Cast thy burden (sacred song, 1917, by Bernard Hamblen (1877-1962) to wds by Wesley Durham) (matrix OY1548-2)
B: Nearer, my God, to Thee (wds Sarah Fuller/Flower Adams (1805-48), publ. 1841 - music Lewis Carey (pseud. of Lucie or Lucy Johnstone, d. 1925), 1902) (OY1549-2)
"In this youngster we have a chorister with an agreeable little treble voice, not altogether under perfect control but commendably in tune and of mellow texture. He has naturally still a lot to learn, but there is great promise in his singing on this disc and I hope to hear more of him."
(Review by Hubert S. Ryan in The Talking Machine and Wireless Trade News, London, Feb. 1932, pp. 522f)
  Side A -   Cast thy burden  
  Side B -   Nearer, my God, to Thee  
Other Recordings Compact | Full
Graham Payn - The Better Land Volume 4 - Great Boy Sopranos Recorded 1927-1954
The Better Land Volume 4 - Great Boy Sopranos Recorded 1927-1954 (Amphion PHI CD 168, CD) Juli 2001
Featuring The Better Land Series   Derek Barsham   John Bonner   Master John Brookman   Master Leslie Day   Robert Harris   Beverley Jones   Raymond Kinsey   Harold Langston   Ernest Lough   Brian Moody   Billy Neely   Graham Payn   Robert Regent   Trevor Schofield  
* denotes recordings published for the first time. This volume will shortly deleted and replaced by the double CD volume The Better Land Volumes 3 & 4. Hurry to order now while stocks last.
  1.   Come Back (Toselli's Serenade. Words R.H. Elkin) (L)   Master Leslie Day 1933
  2.   Abide with me (Lyte-Liddle) (L)   Master John Bonner 1929
  3.   Five Eyes* (Gibbs-Cecil Armstrong) (L)   Master Billy Neely 1949
  4.   The Fairy Tree* (Vincent O'Brien)   Master Billy Neely 1949
  5.   I will sing of Thy Great Mercies O Lord* (Mendelssohn)   Master Harold Langston 1929
  6.   Pierrot at the dance (Lockton-Drummond)   Master Trevor Schofield 1929
  7.   One night of love (Kahn-Schertzinger) (L)   Master Robert Harris 1933
  8.   Hark! Hark! the Lark* (Schubert)   Master Brian Moody 1944
  9.   Slumber dear maid (Handel)   Master John Bonner 1929
10.   My heart ever faithful (Bach) (L)   Master Raymond Kinsey 1933
11.   The Old Church Bells* (H.M.Farrar)   Master Robert Harris 1934
12.   Love's old sweet song (Bingham-Molloy) (L)   Master Robert Harris 1933
13.   The Trout* (Schubert)   Master Brian Moody 1944
14.   Nursery Scene, Boris Godounov (Moussorgsky)   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]
15.   Hear my prayer* (Mendelssohn) (L)   Master Billy Neely 1950
16.   Star of Bethlehem (Adams)   Master John Brookman 1934
17.   A Brown Bird Singing (Barrie-Haydn Wood) (L)   Master Robert Regent
18.   I know that my Redeemer Liveth (Handel) (L)   Master Ernest Lough 1927
19.   Hear ye, Israel (part1)* (Mendenssohn) (L)   Master Ernest Lough 1927
20.   Kitty my love will ya marry me?* (Trad. - arr. Hughes)   Master Billy Neely live 1950
21.   Birdsongs at Eventide* (Barrie-Coates) (L)   Master Graham Payn 'Live' 1932
22.   Let the bright Seraphim (Handel) (L)   Master Raymond Kinsey
23.   Angels guard thee (Reilly-Godard) (L)   Master John Bonner 1929
24.   A song of wisdom* (Charles V. Stanford) (L)   Master Beverly Jones 1954
Email   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" Contact StephenRBeet@gmail.com Paypal: beetstphn@aol.com
Graham Payn - The Better Land Volume 2: Great Boy Sopranos 1930 - 1950
The Better Land Volume 2: Great Boy Sopranos 1930 - 1950 (Amphion PHI CD 159, CD) 2000
Featuring Derek Barsham   The Better Land Series   Billy Neely   Denis Barthel   Harold Langston   Thomas Meddings   Graham Payn   Temple Church Choir   Denis Wright  
This volume is now deleted but replaced by the double CD volume The Better Land Volumes 1 & 2. See above.
  1.   Jerusalem (Parry-Blake) (L)   Master Denis Barthel
  2.   Silent Worship (Handel-Somervell) (L)   Master Derek Barsham
  3.   Passing By (E. Purcell-Herrick) (L)   Master Derek Barsham
  4.   Ninepenny Fiddle (Trad- arr. Moore) (L)   Master Billy Neely (1950)
  5.   Lark in the Clear Air (Trad) (L)   Master Billy Neely (1950)
  6.   Cradle Song (Schubert-Claudius)   Master Denis Wright
  7.   I'll Walk Beside You (Murray-Lockton) (L)   Master Derek Barsham
  8.   Beyond the Dawn (Sanderson-Weatherly)   Master Derek Barsham
  9.   The Birds (Britten-Belloc) (L)   Master Billy Neely
10.   Child & the Twilight (arr Moore)   Master Billy Neely (1950)
11.   Remember now thy Creator (Sterndale-Bennett)   Masters Harold Langston & Denis Barthel, with the choir of the Temple Church, London.
Recorded July 1930. Acc. Dr. George Thalben Ball. Unpublished recording 3rd. July 1930.
12.   Lullay Myn Lyking (Trad 15th Cent-Terry) (L)   Master Denis Barthel
13.   Uncle Mac's Favourite Hymns: All Things Bright & Beautiful, There's a Friend for Little Chil   Master Denis Wright with the Greenbank Children's Choir
14.   Hymn that I Sang as a Boy (Miller-Burnaby)   Master Graham Payn
15.   Meadowsweet (April)   Master Graham Payn (1933)
16.   Anchor Song (Smith)   Master Derek Barsham
17.   A Fairy Story by the Fire (Merikanto)   Master Billy Neely
18.   Vergin Tutt 'Amor (Francesco Durante) (L)   Master Billy Neely
19.   Star of Bethlehem (Adams-Weatherly)   Master Derek Barsham
20.   As Pants the Hart (Spohr) (L)   Master Thomas Meddings with the choir of the Temple Church
21.   Il Mio Bel Foco (Benedetto Marcello-Baker)   Master Billy Neely
22.   "The Libertine: Nymphs & Shepherds"   Master Derek Barsham.
Transcription disc of B.B.C. Children's Hour broadcast, with Nancy Phillips, violin. First issue on "Better Land" vol. 2.
23.   Cherry Ripe (Hurn-Herrick) (L)   Master Billy Neely (1949)
24.   Halleluja (Easter Hymn dating from 1623)   Master Denis Barthel
25.   Star of God (Coates-Murray) (L)   Master Derek Barsham.
Recorded 3 or 4 May 1946 with piano accomp. Live direct-disc recording at the Royal Albert Hall during the Boys' Brigade Annual Display, Physical Phantasmagoria. First issue on "Better Land" vol. 2.
Review at   The Better Land
Email   Purchase from Stephen Beet
Graham Payn - The Better Land Volume 3 - Great Boy Sopranos Recorded 1927-1969
The Better Land Volume 3 - Great Boy Sopranos Recorded 1927-1969 (Amphion PHI CD 167, CD) 2000
Featuring The Better Land Series   Derek Barsham   Donald Collup   Robert Harris   Michael Morley   Billy Neely   Graham Payn   Kenneth Purves  
* denotes recordings published for the first time. This volume will shortly be deleted and replaced by the double CD volume The Better Land Volumes 3 & 4. Hurry to order now while stocks last.
  1.   Bless this House (H. Taylor-May H Brahe) (L)   Master Michael Morley
  2.   Beyond the Dawn (Sanderson-Weatherly)   Master Derek Barsham
  3.   Hear Ye Israel* (Mendelssohn) (L)   Master Kenneth Purves
  4.   The First Mercy (Blunt-Warlock) (L)   Master Billy Neely
  5.   Christopher Robin is saying his prayers* (A.A. Milne-H Fraser-Simpson) (L)   Master Billy Neely
  6.   On wings of Song (Mendelssohn-Elkin)   Master Derek Barsham
  7.   Somewhere a Voice is calling* (Newton & Tate)   Master Graham Payn
  8.   By that old armchair (Arale Dene)   Master Graham Payn
  9.   Angels ever bright (Handel) (L)   Master Kenneth Purves
10.   Children's Songs (Arensky) a) The Robin, b) A Fable, c) Sad little bird, d) Child & the butterfl   Master Billy Neely
11.   Hark Hark, the lark (Schubert) (L)   Master Michael Morley
12.   Hear my prayer/O for the wings of a dove (Mendelssohn- arr. Leslie Woodgate) (L)   Master Derek Barsham with the High Wycombe Orpheus Male Voice Choir
13.   The Lass with the delicate air (Michael Arne)   Master Michael Morley
14.   How Lovely are Thy Dwellings (Liddel)   Master Kenneth Purves
15.   Exultate Jubilate* (Mozart) (L)   Master Donald Collup
16.   Birdsong at Eventide (Barrie-Coates)   Master Robert Harris
17.   Nursery Scene, Boris Godounov (Moussorgsky)   Master Derek Barsham & Norman Lumsden, bass
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]
18.   Father who hast made us brothers (Baron)   Master Derek Barsham
19.   Coventry Carol (Traditional, arr. Moore) (L)   Master Billy Neely
20.   The Holy City (Adams-Weatherly) (L)   Master Derek Barsham
Email   Available from the producer, StephenRBeet. See special offer. StephenRBeet@gmail.com
Books Compact | Full
Graham Payn - My Life with Noel Coward
My Life with Noel Coward (Applause Books 1557832471, Book) Februar 2000
Featuring Graham Payn  
by Graham Payn, 320 pages. Boy soprano Graham Payn first met Noel Coward at age 13, when he auditioned for the playwright by tap dancing while singing "Nearer My God to Thee."
Available at   Amazon US
Graham Payn - Better Land, The: In Search of the Lost Boy Sopranos
Better Land, The: In Search of the Lost Boy Sopranos (Rectory Press , Book) April 2005
Featuring The Better Land Series   Temple Church Choir   Clifford Adams   Derek Barsham   Denis Barthel   John Bonner   Richard Bonsall   Alan Bradbrook   Master John Brookman   Richard Brown   Master Gordon Carter   Master (Arthur) Iwan Davies   Master Leslie Day   Robin Fairhurst   Frederick (John) Firth   Michael Ginn   John Gwilym Griffith(s)   Robert Harris   Michael Hartnett   Aled Jones   Beverley Jones   Raymond Kinsey   Harold Langston   Ernest Lough   Robin Lough   Thomas Meddings   Brian Moody   Billy Neely   Graham Payn   Robert Duncan Peel   Kenneth Purves   The Choir of the Queen's Chapel of the Savoy   Steffani and his Silver Songsters   Thomas Tweedy   Denis Wright  
By Stephen Beet. Features much newly-discovered material, telling the often very human stories of the boys behind the voices, at the height of their singing careers and in their later lives. Copiously illustrated with many previously-unpublished photographs and manuscript samples, with a Foreword by Peter Purves.

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 £10 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.
Email   Stephen Beet The book costs £10 plus postage. Cheque or PayPal.
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