Remembering The Robert Farnon Society
Members of The Robert Farnon Society explain how their love of Light Music has been enhanced by the Society’s activities since 1956.
These articles all appeared in the December 2013 issue of ‘Journal Into Melody’.
JOURNEY INTO MEMORIES
As a schoolboy in the mid-1940s, my main hobby was collecting records - 78s. I was fortunate in having a local record shop in South Woodford, Essex, where I could visit within walking distance, tell the lady in the store the music title, which I would have heard on the Light Programme earlier in the morning, she would then phone the BBC and find out the artist and label and order the disc for me. Another 4/8d from my pocket money!
The artists were of course the likes of Robert Farnon, Sidney Torch, Charles Williams, Eric Coates, Ron Goodwin and Ray Martin. So began my appreciation of light music. The first I heard of the Robert Farnon Appreciation Society was through small ads in The Gramophone and Melody Maker in the late 50s during my last years at school. I applied to Ken Head for membership and received my membership card (a real cardboard card with rounded corners, which I still have today). It was dated 18th January 1960.
My brother-in-law was a partner in an accounting firm in the West End of London and apart from having some showbiz clients such as Gracie Fields and Stanley Holloway it also administered several film companies. This enabled me to purchase, through the firm, copies of library music 78s from Chappell, Paxton and others. What a treat! I was now working and could afford a few discs every few months.
My career was destined to be in our family's wool business, based in the East End of London. I did apprenticeship in the City, the London Docks and two years in Bradford, Yorkshire, learning to grade and sort raw wool in mills there. Having completed this and returning to work in the factory in London, I made periodic visits to Yorkshire to sell wool to mills there. After a couple of years I realized that this wasn't really for me and in 1965, I contacted Bob Farnon to see if he had any ideas for me in the music business.
My only talents were a good musical ear, an ability to sing and some management experience. Bob replied and invited me to meet him at the Shepherds Bush Empire where he was recording a programme for the BBC. We chatted in the break and he said that there was a possible opening at Chappells following Pat Lynn's retirement and Bob arranged for me to meet Teddy Holmes, who was the director responsible for the music library. To my surprise and joy, I was given the job as manager.
Breaking this news to my family was difficult, but the family business was suffering at that time from the numerous London dock strikes, which eventually forced the company to close in 1966 when the docks themselves also closed down completely.
My nine years at Chappell were wonderful. I enjoyed the challenges of organizing repertoire, transferring the original 78 rpm disc library to LP, dealing with all the great writers - Len Stevens, Charles Williams, Peter Yorke, Wally Stott, Frank Cordell and all the others, not forgetting the Guvnor, Robert Farnon.
The Musicians Union ban on recording in the UK was still in effect at that time, so we frequently went to Hilversum, Copenhagen and Stockholm to record sessions. Bob Farnon was always the conductor during that time and we had lots of fun, enjoying the sessions, breakfasts, dinners and drinks. Of course, I was also lucky in being invited to Bob's own commercial sessions at CTS and Walthamstow Town Hall. During this time, I was responsible for the sound system at the RFS meetings at the Bonnington Hotel. I was living in Bayswater, so it wasn't far to travel by car, but hi-fi equipment (speakers, tape recorders, amps, etc,) were heavy in those days! But I think the society was grateful that I could provide new Chappell recordings "hot off the press".
In the early 70s, many libraries were beginning to record in London again. The musicians needed the work! But they were still done under the guise of "commercial" LPs or film sessions. One production I instigated and of which I am very proud was the LP later to be known as "Showcase for Soloists". The sessions went so quickly with such great musicians involved that we were also able to make new recordings of How Beautiful is Night and Blue Moment without going into overtime. The album was recorded at Chappells Studio and John Timperley was the engineer. John, Bob and I produced the final mix. To avoid any union problems, we managed to persuade Sidney Thompson to release the LP on his "Invicta" label.
One interesting story from these sessions: In the title Two's Company, the two solo trombonists were Don Lusher and Bobby Lamb. Bob Farnon gave the solo parts to all the soloists so they could practise before the sessions. Regrettably a mistake was made in that Bobby Lamb was given Don Lusher's part and vice versa. Don had far better reach on high notes than Bobby Lamb. During the middle, in Bobby's part, there was a fluff or break on a very high note. The only way we could try to hide it in the mix was by increasing the level of the strings in that section. I shouldn't be giving trade secrets away!
In the early 70s, Chappells was purchased by the Philips/Phonogram group and the Dutch accountants moved in, not knowing anything about library music and time it takes to produce income. They only knew about record sales in stores. For me, that was the writing on the wall together with the dire economy (coal miners’ strike, three-day workweek, which some older UK members may remember). I made a trip to Toronto, Canada in 1972 for my niece's wedding (my sister lived there) and met my current business partner Chris Stone, who had a small music consultancy service in Toronto and who received Chappell LPs from me in London. We spent one very long boozy night discussing how we could possibly expand a business involving his sales clients (film, TV, advertising) and my music production skills. This all materialised over the ensuing months and I applied for Canadian immigration late in 1972 and arrived there the next year.
We formed a company to handle Canadian representation of many European and American libraries for distribution in Canada and formed Parry Music Library - all this in 1974. The library was helped in its formation by my contacts with the British writers I had been working with at Chappells and in no time we had started producing LPs and distributing them worldwide. When CDs came on the scene in the early 1980s, we had produced 171 LPs and we now have about 350 CDs in the library.
As you would expect, I had to have some Farnon works in the library. The first titles were recorded in Johannesburg, South Africa, with Michael Hankinson conducting (The Wide World, etc.). The second batch was recorded in Los Angeles with Charles Yates conducting (Hockey Night, etc.), the third batch recorded in Toronto with Paul Zaza conducting (The Magic Island, etc.) and finally the recordings in Bratislava conducted by Peter Breiner and David Farnon (Cascades to the Sea, etc.). Thanks to Mike Dutton, all the above recordings were issued on his Vocalion label for posterity. Cascades to the Sea was a very expensive piece to record and it will probably never recoup its cost in royalties, but I offered to finance the recording of this piece as a "Big Thank You" to Bob Farnon for making my life happier through his music and for helping me achieve some success in the music business.
I hope that the Robert Farnon Society can continue in a web-based format to keep those of us, and hopefully some younger ones too, involved in the music we love and to hear of new releases and re-issues of our favourites.
THE LAST SOCIETY CENTURY
Hucklebuckle looks back to Journal Into Melodys 96-100
With JIM 96 (September 1989) we were still in the land of coloured covers, this one being blue; we now knew the Secretary’s new address and the issue began with Jumping Bean and a look at the Robert Famon Scene.
News of a George Benson recording session followed and a look at one or two new books preceded a Big Band Round Up and Part 3 of Serge Elhaïk’s tribute to U.S. musician Glenn Osser. A page of letters led into an update on the music of John Scott and the third part of an extensive research into that of Henry Mancini. A shoal of obituaries brought the issue almost to a close.
Pink was the look for issue 97 and two American composers were remembered, first with a piece on Irving Berlin (when I was a boy I thought he was German!) and then with George Gershwin and ‘Porgy and Bess’, Bob’s recording having been recently released on CD. Peter Copeland contributed a piece on ‘Modern Sound Recovery’ and page 14 brought us a report on the April 1989 London meeting. Nostalgia took over with a page from a 1945 Radio Times and a Jim Palm ‘Anno Domini’ offering relating to 1948. More on the work of John Scott followed plus a report by Peter Bunfield on a concert he had attended in Hull. ‘Keeping Track’ took a look at some of the new records as this issue came to a close.
Mellow yellow was the theme for issue 98 with a photo of Bob and members of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet beaming out at us; the Famon Scene occupied page 3 and obituaries for Freddy Clayton and Henry Hall followed, together with discographies for Monty Kelly and John Scott. The ballet ‘Anne of Green Gables’ filled the centre pages and a report on the November 1989 London meeting did the same for pages 14 and 15. News of new records filled several pages more, and readers’ letters wound up this 24-page issue.
Things were looking green with issue 99, proclaiming ‘A Busy Year Ahead for Bob’, and a more general survey looked at the wider scene with that Jumping Bean. A slightly blotchy photo taken in 1957 invited us to name some of the people pictured - which could have been a bit dfficult especially when, in one case, all you could see was the top of somebody’s head. Even so, one reader DID identify the member concerned!
A string of obituaries and tributes followed and this issue concluded with news of 2 Bosworth LPs which were available to members and half a dozen or so small ads.
In keeping with the occasion, JIM 100 (September 1990) was an impressive affair with no less than 56 pages and thin card covers. The front cover, in fact, was a montage of earlier issues and showed how styles had changed over the years. But money was short and an increase in subscriptions was on the cards. The RF Scene got us under way, and then a report on the Eileen Farrell / Robert Farnon recording sessions at the CTS studios in Wembley held in Spring 1990. The BBC had disbanded its Radio Orchestra and there was news of a new Laser Turntable selling for a modest £20,000. Put me down for half a dozen…
Assorted short items led to tributes to singer Sarah Vaughan who had died at 66 while the first part of The Quincy Jones Story followed. Jim Palm looked back to the records of 1956 in one of his ‘Anno Domini’ articles, and this was pursued by Musicrostic. A plethora of letters came next, and small ads and an obituary for bandleader Joe Loss. The April London meeting was reported on and then came another sad report on the death of Sidney Torch. The light music scene was changing at a rapid rate.
A clutch of record reviews followed, including one for Bob’s ‘At the Movies’ CD and then we had an almost complete answer to the riddle posed in the previous issue where all but two members were identified. The early days of the gramophone were recalled by Vic White and then came a 1953 report telling us that Bob was to settle in the USA; the last word came from Jumping Bean and the back cover, just like the front one, gave us more memories of JIMs of long ago.
Well, that’s just about it. It’s time to put down my quill for the last time and pack away the back-numbers: I may even take a holiday. Does anyone want a battered office desk and a swivel chair with the stuffing coming out?
Tony Clayden looks backon a lifetime’s interest in Light Music.
I loved Light Music virtually from day one! Apparently, from the age of about 18 months, I would sing myself to sleep with tunes I had heard on the radio – and that radio, in those immediate post-WW11 days, would be tuned to the BBC Light Programme. I cut my teeth, and very likely fell out of my high chair, listening to the compositions of Robert Farnon, Sidney Torch, Charles Williams, Trevor Duncan, Frederic Curzon and many more legendary names from the world of Light Music. By the age of about six, as a special treat, I would be allowed to stay up late and listen to Stanford Robinson’s weekly orchestral radioprogramme.
We lived in North London, very near to Alexandra Palace Television Station and had our first TV set in 1948. A regular feature was the Newsreels – both Adult and Childrens’ – and I began to realise that the music behind the news items was different from the usual tunes to be heard on the radio. In later years, as a regular cinemagoer, I would also hear this kind of music on Pathe, Paramount and other newsreels. They seemed to have ‘stock’ tunes which they would regularly re-use, and I became familiar with these, although I usually didn’t have a clue what they were, or who hadwritten them.
In the late 40s and throughout the 50s, there was a plethora of live music on the BBC. In addition to the ubiquitous Music While You Work and Morning Music, there were Brass and Military Bands, Theatre Organs, Palm Court and Old Time Dance Orchestrasand much more besides. One particular favourite whichsprings to mind was Melody Hour on Sunday afternoons,which featured, inter-alia, the orchestras of Robert Farnon,George Melachrino and Peter Yorke.
The BBC was limited in the amount of recorded music which it was permitted to broadcast. It became, almost certainly, the largest employer of musicians in the world;theywere needed to staff the Corporation’s many house orchestras. It was a Golden Age as far as Light Music was concerned. All of this came to an end during the late 60s, when the BBC replaced theold Light Programme with Radios 1 & 2, and reached an agreement with the Musicians’ Union to permit almost unlimited ‘needle time’. The heyday of live music broadcasting was regrettably over.
Overa short period of time, most of the Corporation’s house orchestras weredisbanded, and less and less Light Music was to be heard onthe airwaves. The situation wasn’t helped by a serious lack of availablecommercially recorded material, which wouldnot improveuntil the advent of CDs in the late 80s.
At the end of the latter decade, I (almost accidently)discovered the Robert Farnon Society ! I had previously noidea that anyone else in the entire world was remotelyinterested in this kind of musical fare, and yet here was a ready-made body of fellow enthusiasts. I quickly becameinvolved, firstly by providing technical facilities at the Londonmeetings, and then by chairing the committee charged witharranging those meetings. Over the years, I have beenextremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to meetmany luminaries from the fields of Light and Film Music – including Clive Richardson, Trevor Duncan, Angela Morley, Ron Goodwin, Stanley Black, Sir Vivian Dunn, Ernest Tomlinson, Philip Lane, David Snell, John Wilson, Gavin Sutherland, Ian Sutherland, Debbie Wiseman, John Fox, Nigel Hess, Brian Kay and of course, the guv’nor himself – Bob Farnon, together with his son David. I was privileged to attend a couple of Bob’s recording sessions at CTS Studios Wembley, and Watford Coliseum.
I have also met and become friends with some wonderful fellow members of the Society, and have corresponded with other enthusiasts in Canada, the US, Australia and Europe. I owe the RFS an incalculable debt of gratitude and although it is greatly saddening to witness the demise in its present form, it is heartening to look back over these past 24 years, during which time the Society has become an essential component of my life. I realise just how lucky I am to have been involved in it.
Thank you, the Robert Farnon Society.
FOND MEMORIES OF THE ROBERT FARNON SOCIETY
By Forrest Patten
When David Ades recently made an appeal for RFS tribute articles to be included in the final printed edition of J.I.M., there were almost too many thoughts and emotions to personally process. When one has to say goodbye to something that has meant so much and has been such an important part of your life, trying to express one’s inner thoughts can be a bit overwhelming. It also forces one to think back and to review when they first heard the music of Robert Farnon; how they felt when listening to his wide variety of compositions; and what effect it would have on you musically during the ensuing years.
For me, discovering who Robert Farnon actually was turned out to be a rather interesting journey in itself. Like so many of us, we became familiar with his music long before we knew who actually created it. Thanks to the prolific output of Chappell recordings utilized by San Francisco bay area television stations (starting in the 1950s), selections like Jumping Bean, Poodle Parade, Willie The Whistler, Yankee Patrol, High Street and Gateway To The West were used as themes or signature tunes for a number of local programs. My musical curiosity regarding those pieces started very early (at the ripe old age of three!)
Trying to obtain information on this music was, at that time, almost an impossibility. When my Mom or Dad would contact the station to inquire about a specific piece, they were given the all-too-familiar response "It was taken from a special recording produced for broadcast purposes only and is not available to the general public." Very frustrating, to say the least! The melodies would stay in my memory for years to come, yet I had no idea what the actual titles were or who the composer was.
It’s now the early 1970s. I’m now a Broadcast Communications major at San Francisco State University. I still have a strong interest in music for media. Several interesting events unfolded at that time. The first involved a call from the Promotion Director of one of our local television stations informing me that their ownership was changing and that they would be dumping their in-house music library. He wanted to know if I’d be interested in any of the recordings?
I told him I would and, thanks to that event, I was able to obtain some of the very early Capitol and Cinemusic library discs. There was also a binder that contained a list of the station’s locally-produced programs and the names of the theme pieces used for each show. I recalled a game show called Quiz Down. It had a rather pleasant and bouncy theme that I really liked. I was now able to identify a theme title. It was called Jumpig Bean and was listed as a Chappell recording. Another program whose theme I enjoyed was Dialing For Dollars. The binder listed this theme piece as Quatre Vocalises from a TCR/Chappell release. At this point, I was bound and determined to find out who and what Chappell Music was all about!
About a week or so later, I was visiting The Record House, one of San Francisco’s first used and collectors’ record shops. While browsing through a bin of albums marked 25 cents each, I came across a London compilation disc entitled Rhythm And Romance. It featured several tracks by Mantovani and Frank Chacksfield. There were two other conductors on the album that I was not familiar with: Ted Heath and Robert Farnon. On the back of the cover was listed a discography for each artist. While reviewing the output of Robert Farnon, I noticed one recording listed as Melody Fair. Track number two on this LP was Jumping Bean. Could this possibly be the same piece I was trying to track down? And if it was, what did this London recording have to do with Chappell?
Doing some further research, I discovered that Chappell Music was, in reality, a publishing company and that the recorded music division was based in London. I decided to try and contact Robert Farnon through the Chappell London office. To my pleasant surprise, within a few weeks, I received a personal reply from Bob himself!’ I also received several Chappell recorded music catalogs from John Parry. He explained how I could obtain specific recordings from Chappell’s then U.S. distributor MusicCues in New York. To sample the material, I initially ordered several discs from the Chappell Index Series (CIS) which included Light Atmospheres, Children’s Music and Comedy Music. Those LPs alone proved to be a true treasure trove of musical discoveries. At last, I could finally put titles and composers together for so many pieces I remembered (and had wondered about) throughout the years.
In his letter, Bob mentioned that a Robert Farnon Appreciation Society existed in the U.K. and he would pass my name along to its Secretary, David Ades. Shortly thereafter, I heard from David and decided to join the RFAS (as it was then known) immediately. Admittedly, one of the initial attractions to the Society was the Deleted Record Service. By the time I had finally discovered who Robert Farnon was, it was too late to obtain many of his commercial recordings as they were, by that time, out of print. Thankfully, I now had an opportunity to find and to purchase so many of Bob’s recorded gems!
Besides the Deleted Record Service, another wonderful benefit of joining the Society has been the wealth of written material contributed to each edition of Journal Into Melody. Not only has it provided a complete and thorough survey of Light Music in general, but it has also showcased the many artists that Bob has worked with throughout his prolific career. Luminaries like Tony Bennett, Dizzy Gillespie, Gene Puerling, John Williams, Henri Rene, Jack Shaindlin, Roger Williams and, more recently, Frank Comstock, Van Alexander, Neal Hefti, Bob Bain, Uan Rasey and Pete Candoli have shared their mutual admiration to Bob while granting exclusive interviews for the Society and J.I.M. Although not specifically interviewed, I had the good fortune to meet with Henry Mancini, Andre Previn, Angela Morley, Gene Lees, Roger Kellaway, George Shearing and Pia Zadora who expressed their personal appreciation to Bob, as well.
I finally got to meet Bob Farnon in person in 1980 at the Orpheum Theater in Vancouver, B.C. (where he was conducting the Vancouver Symphony as a part of their Pops Concert series). This was followed by get-togethers in Miami, Ottawa and two London RFS meetings. My friendship with Bob also opened the door to a treasured association with Brian Farnon, Bob’s older brother. I will always remember Brian’s strong appreciation and support for Bob’s and Denny’s (younger brother Dennis Farnon) musical talents. His comments were always sincere and from the heart. No feelings of sibling rivalry here. Like Bob, I miss Brian very much.
And then there were the two London meetings Nancy and I attended in the 1990s. These were to become true highlights of our RFS experience. The music and the setting was always "first cabin." But for us, it was the people who made it extra special. Besides Bob (who attended both meetings), where else could one rub elbows with the likes of Sir Vivian Dunn, Ron Goodwin and Clive Richardson? I will always appreciate the warmth and kindness of so many RFS members: Don and Joyce Furnell (they are sorely missed); Cab and Jeanette Smith (loved those "swing sessions"); Peter Simpson (thanks for those wonderful BBC tours); Robert Walton (thanks for your sharing your thoughts regarding Kenneth McKellar and Moira Anderson); David Mardon (thanks for your extensive knowledge of the production music libraries); and Tony Clayden (I’ll help pull cables for you anytime I’m in town!)
I would like to offer a very special thanks to David, Moira and Fenella for offering their home, meals, transportation, sightseeing excursions and providing general arrangements for us on both trips over. Your generosity provided so much ease and comfort and will always be deeply appreciated. You truly are a part of our family and are cherished beyond words.
As the present for of the Robert Farnon Society winds down, all of us need to ask the question as to what we can do to perpetuate Bob’s music and future legacy. Through our various channels, we certainly have an opportunity for promotion with Bob’s upcoming centenary celebration in 2017. It’s not too early to contact conductors and/or programmers of local symphony orchestras. The majority of Bob’s orchestral scores are available for rent from Chappell’s.
Classical radio stations are another avenue. Many stations will already have CD releases from Guild, Naxos/Marco Polo, Vocalion, Hyperion, ASV and Chandos. Ideally, if one has the financial means, consider buying time and sponsoring an hour or two of a Robert Farnon musical tribute. Many classical radio stations would be very appreciative of a monetary donation as so many have become "non-commercial: entities. Just make sure that the station doesn’t schedule such a program in the middle of the night. At the same time, make sure that the radio station will also provide ample promotion! For those involved with film, television, radio or internet productions, consider using a Bob Farnon track as "source music" for an upcoming production. There’s a lot of great choices in the Chappell catalog.
In closing, a couple of final thoughts. First of all, RFS members are a very special group of people. We were all brought together because we all shared a common love and appreciation for Robert Farnon and for Light Music in general. And isn’t it nice to know that so many members (from around the world) have this common musical interest? Too many times it would be easy to feel somewhat isolated because, it seems, that not many others accept or actually enjoy light music per se. The population (and the major recording companies) have pigeon-holed our music as passé and generational. Quality never goes out of style. It’s time for the world to slow down, listen, feel the emotion and to re-connect to the music.
My deepest appreciation and heartfelt thanks to all of you. Long live the RFS!
PHILIP BRADY RECALLS A MEMORABLE VISIT TO THE RFS
It’s April 1993. I fly all the way from Australia to proudly attend my first (and only) Robert Farnon Society meeting at the (then) Bonnington Hotel.
Famed former leader of the Royal Marine’s Band, Sir Vivian Dunn, is telling a delicious story. At the Royal Premiere of the film Cockleshell Heroes" – for which he wrote the score – one invited guest, who doesn’t recognise Sir Vivian, tells him: "we loved the movie, but hated the music. That awful march! Who was responsible for that vile noise?" To which he replies; "I was!"
What a joyful weekend in company with our cherished Robert Farnon, Sir Vivian, Ron Goodwin and that giant of a man in every way, Clive Richardson.
Hats off to, and three cheers for, our esteemed ‘leader’ David Ades. Well done, faithful servant, for spreading the word about our kind of music – not only after 50 years dedicated to promoting the Robert Farnon Society, but also the wondrous series of Guild Light Music CDs. Your amazing knowledge of British composers, and your exposure in the media to share the news which 1,000 of us RFS members have always known. Light Orchestral Gems and, for me in particular, library theme music, is as close to a heavenly experience as is humanly possible!
I will be sorry to miss our magazine, especially the Keeping Track pages which have greatly enhanced my CD collection.
May the Robert Farnon Society continue to flourish in this internet age, and thanks to all who have contributed to Journal Into Melody over the years for the joy it has brought me. I would always read it in one sitting, which meant staying up half the night to relish its contents!
MY MEMORIES OF THE ROBERT FARNON SOCIETY
BY TONY FOSTER
I first became aware of the music of Robert Farnon, through my late mother, Edna, who had liked and enjoyed Bob’s music from when she first heard it broadcast on the radio, or wireless as it was in those days, during the war years.
The first time that I became aware of Bob’s music was on seeing the record sleeve cover of the ‘Canadian Impressions’ recording, as Mum had this on at the time. As a teenager, who had been brought up to appreciate quality music, I remember listening to the pieces and asking Mum about Robert Farnon, and why she liked his music so much. She replied that it was because she had felt it was different, and so very descriptive which, of course, it is.
A particular favourite of Mum’s, was Bob’s Sophistication Waltz, as she told me that it reminded her of the nights when she attended the wartime dances at Birmingham Town Hall, dancing to the bands of the day, then going home before the air raids started! Bob’s ‘Canadian Impressions’ recording has remained a firm favourite of mine since my teenage years!
Mum had joined the Society in the 1970s and had told me that, had she known about it earlier on, she would have joined sooner than she did.
I have been a Member for 14 years, first accompanying Mum until her passing in 2005, and I have continued attending meetings ever since. It has become a way of life for me and something I have looked forward to twice a year.
Meetings I have found the most memorable, have been the ones when the following composers and musicians have been Guest Speakers: Angela Morley, David Snell, Nigel Hess, Debbie Wiseman and Ernest Tomlinson. I have always enjoyed each meeting equally, and a particular favourite presentation has always been Cab Smith’s Swing Sessions - much missed at recent meetings. I also really enjoyed Phillip Farlow’s presentations on Alan Dell as I remember listening to his programmes on Radio 2. Big Bands and Sounds Easy were a must for me and I learnt so much from Alan about the big bands, and of course Light Music.
One of the most memorable meetings was the celebration for Bob’s 80th Birthday on Sunday 27th July 1997 with so many musical guests who all spoke so highly of Bob and of course the celebration Dinner afterwards.
I can’t really name a favourite piece of music as there are so many of Bob’s compositions that I enjoy equally. My favourite piece of film music which he wrote has to be ‘Captain Horatio Hornblower’ also the ‘Colditz’ theme and ‘Secret Army’. Also ‘Bear Island’ as the music alone is quite dramatic and has you on the edge of your seat!
Out of the CDs I enjoy the most is ‘Showcase for Soloists’; this recording is a firm favourite especially the trumpets of Kenny Baker and Stan Roderick and trombones of Don Lusher and Bobby Lamb.
Bob’s descriptive pieces I enjoy include Proud Canvas, Scenic Grandeur, Lake of The Woods and the Lady Barbara theme from ‘Captain Hornblower’.
Then there is the wonderful magazine Journal Into Melody, which is an encyclopaedia of information covering all aspects of Light Music. The particular features which I have enjoyed reading include Paul Clatworthy’s Big Band Roundup, Keeping Track, and the various profiles on other Light Music composers. I always enjoy reading the reports on the meetings, a reminder of enjoyable times spent in the company of like-minded enthusiasts wallowing in our kind of music which our society has done so much to preserve.