The Three Ginx - On A Steamer Coming Over (Pig's Big 78)

On A Steamer Coming Over

The Three Ginx were one of the most successful British vocal groups of the 1930s. They began their career as instrumentalists (Ivor Robinson, saxophonist; Jack Joy, pianist; and Eric Handley, drummer.) and met while playing with the New Mayfair Orchestra. Later they joined Sidney Kyte's orchestra, where they were regularly featured as vocalists, with such success that in 1933 they decided to concentrate on singing full-time. They also sang on records by stars of the day, such as Al Bowlly, Jessie Matthews and Betty Balfour, and can be seen in the closing scene of the 1934 British film Road House[1]. Handley emigrated to Canada in the 1940s and had one daughter, who is still alive.

Links to Peel

The Three Ginx's version of "On A Steamer Coming Over" was one of Peel's favourite 78s. He featured it five times in the Pig's Big 78 slot on his shows, and it was included on The Pig's Big 78 CD compilation on Trikont Records. The song, composed by Joe Goodwin, Lou Handman and Henry Bergman, was introduced in 1933 by Ada Ward in the 23rd edition of


Three Ginx Issue Title - Making Good (1939)-0

the Cotton Club Parade and recorded by, among others, the Ray Noble Orchestra with Al Bowlly [1]. Peel said of it:

"It is such a great song! I find myself singing it not constantly, obviously, but an awful lot." (16 January 2003)

On 09 January 2003 he mentioned that he had sent a copy of the record to Laura Cantrell so she could play it on her own radio programme in New Jersey.

In the film Road House (mentioned above) the Three Ginx, as part of Geraldo's orchestra, provide supporting vocals on a version of Harry Woods's song "What A Little Moonlight Can Do"[2], sung by music-hall veteran Violet Loraine, who also appears in the Peelenium 1914. Another reference to John Peel, on this occasion the famous huntsman, can be found in a song which the Three Ginx performed in a short film for British Pathé in 1939.

Festive Fifty Entries

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Other Shows Played

(All tracks Pig's Big 78 selections)

(JP: “This is the third time I’ve played this one. It’s the only one that’s been played more than once, but it is so good, it is such a nice song, and I’m really grateful to whoever it was who sent us a whole bunch of records from Holland which included this, which otherwise I would never have heard.”)
(JP: "I'd never heard that until a couple of years ago, but I think if they were to ask me to do Desert Island Discs again then I'd include that in it.")


  1. This version was played by Peel on 16 January 2003.
  2. This song was recorded in 1935 by Billie Holiday. It was one of her earliest successes and is still the best known version today.

External Links

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