More smutty innuendo from East Anglia.
I think I first heard this sung in the early 1980s by Dave Townsend, although I remember that Ramsbottom, who were going at around the same time, also used to do it. I learned the song, as I assume Dave had done, from the Topic LP Sing, Say and Play – a companion album to The Earl Soham Slog, featuring traditional songs and dance music from Suffolk recorded by Keith Summers.
The singer of this song was Jimmy ‘Holy Jim’ Knights, born in 1880 in the village of Debach, and recorded by Keith in 1975 at his home in Little Glenham. You can read about Jimmy in Chapter 4 of Sing, Say or Pay, Keith’s survey of East Suffolk Country Music, reprinted on the Musical Traditions website. And you can hear Keith’s recordings on the British Library Sounds website. The songs available include two recordings of ‘The Fellow Who Played the Trombone’, and there are interviews with the singer – then well into his nineties but sounding very much full of life. Go to http://sounds.bl.uk/Search and search for Jimmy (‘Holy Jim’) Knights.
The song itself was apparently written in 1896 by the music hall performer Walter Kino.
The Fellow Who Played the Trombone