Referred to as both "Jimmy" and "James" in the record company catalogues of the time. He was James Percival Phelan, born at 103 Lupus Street, Pimlico, London, on 21 May 1920, who died at Wandsworth (south London) on 15 May 1997. (BJP)
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Master James Phelan A: Still Night, Holy Night (carol: wds Josef Mohr (1792-1848), wr. c.1817 - music Franz Xaver Grüber (1787-1863), comp. c.1820; Engl. trl. by ?) (matrix 0EA1023-1 rec. 29 May or -2 rec. 31 May 1935) B: O Come, all ye Faithful (carol: Latin wds & tune by c.1743, attrib, to John Francis Wade (c.1710-86), possibly arr. from a Portuguese folktune; Engl. transl. evolved 1841-84) (0EA1024-2) Both rec. on 31 May 1935 according to Smith & Andrews HMV-BD discography (2007). With male quartet & organ accomp. by "Reginald Foort" [but query not Dawson as C.2766 - especially as Foort was a Columbia artist - the catalogues do not name the organist.]
Master James Phelan A: Ave Maria (tune adapted from J.S. Bach's Wohltempierte Klavier BWV846 by Charles Gounod (1818-93), 1853-59) (matrix 2EA1026-1) B: Ave Maria (F.P. Schubert (1797-1828) orig. set Walter Scott's poem from canto iii of "The Lady of the Lake" in a Ger. trl. by P.A. Storck as Ellens Gesang III D839 (Hymne an die Jungfrau) op.52,no.6, Apl. 1825; here the melody has been used to set the Latin prayer in an apparently anon. arr. made by 1886) (2EA1025-1) Both sung in Latin, rec. 29 May 1935 at Kingsway Hall, London, with Herbert Dawson, organ.
RW in The Gramophone (Sept. 1935, p. 154) wrote that the "lower notes [in the Gounod] are scarcely audible and his breathing leaves much to be desired. Both songs are entirely without emotion which, unfortunately, must always be the case with boy singers."
Master James Phelan A: Rock of Ages (wds Augustus Montague Toplady (1740-78), publ. 1776 - tune "Petra" Richard Redhead (1820-1901), publ. 1853) (matrix GB7116 [2 takes]) B: O Worship the King (wds Robert Grant (1785-1838), publ. 1833 - tune "Hanover" publ. 1708, named 1730, attrib. to William Croft(s) (1678-1727)) (matrix GB7115 [2 takes]) Both rec. 4 May 1935 with male chorus, violin & piano accomp.
A review signed "F sharp" in The Gramophone (June 1935, p. 12) noted "one of the sweetest soprano voices you could hear in a month of Sundays" and added "Do not miss this if you like a boy's voice".
Master James Phelan A: Ave Maria (motet by Franz Abt (1819-85)) (matrix GB7118 [2 takes]) B: Ave Verum Corpus (motet set by Edward Elgar (1857-1934), op. 2, no.1, 1887) (GB7117 [2 takes]) Both rec. 4 May 1935 with violin & piano accomp.
"Capital vocal intonation in two devotional pieces by a little solo boy who should go far in the gramophone world if his voice will stand up to the recording work involved. Elgar's Ave Verum is excellently sung." (Review by Hubert S. Ryan in The Talking Machine and Wireless Trade News, July 1935, p. 122) This record retailed at 1/6.
The Gramophone (July 1935, p. 66) noted "sweet tremulous singing, with the occasional slip-up one looks for in a child's voice. But it never slips up on intonation." Presumably both items are sung in Latin.