Keeping Track - Dateline December 2007
FOUR DECADES OF LIGHT MUSIC – VOLUMES ONE AND TWO
Various artists (GUILD, GLCD 5134 and GLCD 5135) Full tracklistings of all Guild Light Music CDs can be accessed via the link on our home page, or by visiting Guild Music [this company and many other record labels can be found on our links page]. You can also visit the Light Music CDs page on this website.
These two new releases contain a wealth of different styles and sounds, and it becomes increasingly clear just how far compositions, arrangements and orchestras evolved during those four decades. The first volume contains the earliest tracks to appear on any Guild issue, dating from 1926. This is a sub-genre which has not been particularly prominent as far as the RFS is concerned, although of course, it was the core interest of the erstwhile Vintage Light Music Society. Whilst some of the tracks are well known such as Parade of the Tin Soldiers (Jessel), Teddy Bears’ Picnic (Bratton) andEstudiantina (Waldteufel), I believe there are quite a number making their CD debut. There’s a wonderful Percy Fletcher piece entitled Pearl O’Mine – Lyrical Melody and Charles Orth’s In a Clock Store; this is a superb novelty number with all sorts of effects which must have kept several percussionists busy! Following the success of Eduard Kűnneke’s Overture to his Dance Suite (GLCD 5106), this time another movement – Blues – has been included. From a 1937 Bosworth library recording, Frog King’s Parade (Kronberger; Marriott) makes a surprising, though welcome, second appearance on Guild, but this is very different from the arrangement to be found on the "Bandstand in the Park" CD. Pieces like Flapperette (Greer) and Lustspiel – Overture (Keler-Bela) have a wonderful ‘period’ feel to them, as does The Selfish Giant of Eric Coates, an early composition which was heavily influenced by the syncopated style of contemporary popular music of the time. I would also single out for special mention In A Merry Mood (Harringer), Raindrops – Pizzicati for Strings (T de la Riviera) and Montague Ewing’s Dancing Clock – timepieces were obviously an inspiration to light music composers! The whole programme is well assembled and highly enjoyable, more so with each listening. It’s from an era about which I am personally very keen to learn more, and I hope that there is further material available which could be incorporated into future releases.
Like the song What a Difference a Day Made, it’s extraordinary what a difference a few years made as far as our kind of music is concerned! Volume two covers the 1940s and 1950s and there is often a markedly different character to the compositions and indeed the orchestral performances. As with many other areas of creative activity, light music post-WWII seems to reflect a new order, with pieces like March For Americans (Grofé) and World Of Tomorrow (Beaver) embracing this. A rather surprising inclusion is the more-than-ubiquitous Charles Williams composition The Old Clockmaker. It’s good to hear Charles Shadwell’s signature tune Down with the Curtain again. As a child, I was taken on several occasions to Tom Arnold’s Circus at Harringay, in North London, where CS and his orchestra were the ‘resident band’ - and this piece always introduced the proceedings. Considering that, for many, the 1940s are the definitive era of light music; it’s a tad disappointing that we are offered a mere ten tracks, compared with seventeen for the 1950s selection. This may be because there is a great deal of 1940s material already available on previous Guild issues, whilst advantage can now be taken to include more recordings from the middle, and late, 1950s, as we approach 2008. I have remarked before that the music of this latter era (particularly from about 1953/54 onwards) is rather more ‘glossy’, more sophisticated, than its predecessors, and this is very evident in the programme presented here. Although several of the titles will be familiar, they are to be heard in wonderful arrangements of the highest quality; particularly worthy of mention are Song Of India(Rimsky-Korsakov) given the Laurie Johnson treatment, Wally Stott’s reading of the Theme from Spellbound (Rozsa) and Werner Műller with Forty Second Street (Warren) . With the orchestras of Geraldo, Farnon, Chacksfield, Stanley Black, Ray Martin, David Carroll, Roger Roger and more, this CD is yet another worthy addition to the Guild series.
LIGHT MUSIC FOR ALL SEASONS
Various artists (GUILD, GLCD 5138)
The seasons have provided inspiration for many light music composers over the years and I’m sure that there are dozens more season-related pieces than the 24 represented here. The programme is arranged chronologically (from a Northern Hemisphere perspective) starting with April in Paris(Vernon Duke) and continuing with several spring compositions. May, June and summer themes follow, through Autumn, September, (and even November) and so on, finishing up with George Melachrino’s A Christmas Fantasy. Most of the tracks are taken from commercial recordings, although there are some from the libraries of Paxton, Bosworth, Chappell and Boosey and Hawkes. The performing orchestras include those of Michel Legrand, Gordon Jenkins, Sidney Torch, Dolf van der Linden and his Metropole Orchestra, Ron Goodwin and Richard Hayman. There’s a very characteristic Robert Farnon arrangement of One Morning in May (Schertzinger) and a similarly distinctive version of Indian Summer (Victor Herbert) by George Melachrino and played by his strings. A slight departure from the usual is Ethel Smith’s version of Sleigh Ride (Leroy Anderson), played on the Hammond organ as only she could, and accompanied by a small ensemble. This is a very thoughtfully assembled and extremely enjoyable programme. It’s a definite ‘must-have’ for all those who love the kind of music which was the very backbone of the BBC Light Programme and BBC Radio 2 in its early days.
MUSICAL KALEIDOSCOPE – VOLUME 1
Various artists (GUILD, GLCD 5139)
In distinct contrast to the various ‘themed’ CDs in the Guild series, this new compilation brings together a wonderful array of pieces which do not necessarily fit into neat categories, but sets out to ‘offer a wide variety of styles and ensembles and hopefully spring a few surprises along the way’. The recordings span a period of nearly 25 years, from a Reginald King track of 1932- Roses At Dawning (Kahn, Moret), to three 1956 recordings, including the eponymous Kaleidoscope(Schreckenberger) from a FD&H library disc. As is so often the case, several of the items evoke a reaction of ‘I haven’t heard that for years’ – accompanied by a real ‘buzz ’! To single out just a few, I would mention Ballet of Madeira (Gregori, Freitas), Fiesta (Jack Coles), Policeman’s Holiday (Ewing) and Sailor’s Holiday (Martell). There are some lovely ‘vintage’ pieces like Cockney Girl (Melachrino),In Happy Mood (Mackey), Legend (Crowdson) and Keep Moving (Charrosin). A section entitled Seven Famous BBC Orchestras includes the two alternate versions of Oranges and Lemons, which were used to open the Light Programme every morning, and the selection closes appropriately with Billy Cotton’s ‘playout’ music – Legion Patrol (Simpson). I have played this CD so many times already that had it been a record, it would probably be beginning to wear out! Hugely enjoyable and highly recommended. With the next release the Guild series will reach the ‘Big Four-O’ – an amazing and unparalleled achievement on the part of David Ades, Alan Bunting, and the enterprising company behind the whole project – Guild GmbH of Switzerland.
BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC PREMIERES Volume 4
Ernest Tomlinson – music from "Aladdin"; John Fox – A Surrey Rhapsody; Jim Cooke – Concert Jig; Phillip Lord – Nautical Overture; Richard Valery – The Magic Carpet; Lionel Sainsbury – Cuban Dance No. 2; Adam Saunders - Overture: Pirates Ahoy!; Carey Blyton – Suite: The Golden Road to Samarkand; Peter Flinn – Cinema Suite.
Royal Ballet Sinfonia Conducted by Gavin Sutherland and Paul Murphy (Dutton Epoch CDLX 7190) 77:06 mins.
The music in this collection covers a wide range of styles, with the earliest piece dating from 1940 and the latest 2006. Ernest Tomlinson was certainly on form back in 1974 when he composed "Aladdin", and it is good to have three Jewel Dances plus Aladdin’s Dance of Joy and Young Man In Love. John Fox loves the county of Surrey – and especially the area around Banstead – where he has lived for many years, and his beautiful Surrey Rhapsody is his vision of a wonderful part of the world. From the dawn chorus at the opening, to the excitement of Epsom racecourse (and even a traffic jam on the M 25) we are transported musically around one of the loveliest parts of southern England. John is a master of melody and orchestration, and this work is an important addition to the light music repertoire of the 21st century. If John represents the older school of composers (we celebrated his 80th birthday with him at an RFS London meeting in 2004), then Adam Saunders is certainly an up-and-coming writer who promises to keep the fine traditions going in future years. His contribution is a lively piece Pirates Ahoy! which should appeal to concert promoters as a lively opener. The other varied works on this CD offer an interesting collection which will possibly make their composers better-known. Now that the Sanctuary White Line series has disappeared, we are fortunate that Michael Dutton is willing to continue supporting new light music on his Epoch label, and he deserves the support of us all. David Ades
LIGHT MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK VOLUME TWO
Various artists (GUILD, GLCD 5137)
It is encouraging to note that the success of ‘Light Music While You Work Volume One’ has prompted another selection of delights which, far from being a pale imitation of the first album, is even better! When reviewing the previous CD, I suggested that the London Coliseum Orchestra and the orchestra of Harold Collins, Wynford Reynolds and David Java should be included next time – and sure enough they are all here, together with old friends like Ronnie Munro, Richard Crean, Harry Fryer and Harry Davidson. Perhaps I should point out that Wynford Reynolds (no relation!) was appointed Music While You Work organiser late in 1941, over a year after the radio programme’s inception and contrary to suggestions in the booklet notes, he did not conceive the original idea for the programme. The show came about as a result of a directive from the War Office, who felt that a programme of uninterrupted and tuneful music would boost morale in industry. Although this CD is primarily of light music, the dance music aspect of the series is represented by several Phil Green recordings and one by Reg Pursglove – although Raymond Scott’s excellent Toy Trumpet was often heard played by light orchestras and military bands. Indeed I heard it on a park bandstand quite recently! I am told that when it comes to reviews, I have a reputation for being somewhat ‘picky’. Well, if that is the case, I offer no apologies as I think that a reviewer should give a truthful opinion. It is true that with volume one, I expressed some reservations relating to programme building, but on this occasion there is absolutely nothing to criticise. The programme has been built with great care and is full of contrast – a lovely mixture of marches, waltzes, selections and novelties. I like the way that Calling All Workers(this time it’s the Eric Coates version) has been tailored in such a way that the recording sounds almost like an extended MWYW broadcast. Indeed the opening signature tune has been effectively ‘clipped’ at the end so as to create a natural segue into Marche Lorraine. I think that my favourite item on the disc is Castles in Spain, a super piece which has probably not been performed in decades. It is customary, when reviewing Guild Records, to pay tribute to Alan Bunting for his fine restoration work, but as this goes without saying, I won’t mention it!
MARCHING AND WALTZING
Various artists (GUILD, GLCD 5136)
‘Marching and Waltzing’ was another famous radio programme from the golden years of radio. It started during the war, continuing intermittently until 1984. It soon developed into a studio production featuring an orchestra to play the waltzes – for many years Wynford Reynolds’ Raeburn Orchestra, alternating with a brass or military band to play the marches. I think that it should be stated at the outset that whilst this CD is inspired by the radio series, it is not intended to replicate it. There are no bands – everything is played orchestrally by some of the finest including Ron Goodwin, Sidney Torch, Cyril Stapleton and a certain Robert Farnon. One surprise inclusion is dance band leader Lou Preager, but on this recording fronting a large concert orchestra. I found this recording quite delightful and in some ways more interesting than the radio series with its broader range of music, particularly amongst the marches. However there is one point in the accompanying notes which is inaccurate. ‘Marching and Waltzing’ was actually probably the only radio series to use two signature tunes and shortened versions of King Cotton and Vienna Blood opened and closed every programme. This is an excellent selection of tunes, with the original recordings as always beautifully restored by Alan Bunting. It has to be one of Guild’s best yet!
MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK VOLUME 2
Calling All Workers, In the Arena, The Last Tango, Songs of Old England, Show Boat, A Kiss in the Dark, Parade of the Pirates, Temptation Rag, Wood Nymphs, Careless Cuckoo, Linger Awhile, Memories of the Early Twenties, Salad Days, Friml in the Ballroom, Marigold, Teddy Bears Picnic, Tick of the Clock, You Are My Sunshine, Sing-along Medley, Mad About Music, Choristers Waltz, Waldmere March, Lonely Troubadour
Various artists (Frank Bristow, FBCD 166)
This delightful new slice of nostalgia comes superbly remastered and therefore very highly recommended, as one would expect with Brian Reynolds, Brian Stringer and Alan Bunting behind it. You will recognise much of the music but some of it may be unfamiliar which is a good thing. Well done chaps!
Frank Bristow CD’s are ONLY available directly from him at 2 Cross Street, Brighton, Victoria 3186, Australia. Tel. 03-9528-3167. Email: Credit cards and Paypal are accepted, but no cheques — details on request. Please visit his website for further details on CDs in his catalogue www.musicfromthepast.com
ANY OLD IRON
Original Dixieland one-step, By Heck, Stumbling, Steppin’ in Society, Is it True What They Say About Dixie?, Johnson Rag and 22 other tracks
Sid Phillips and his band (Vocalion, CDVS1949) 77:14
This CD arrived on a lovely summery morning in August and seemed an ideal accompaniment to match the mood of the day. At only £2.99 (Yes, £2.99!), and to celebrate the 100th anniversary of this most accomplished musician’s birth, it will also make an excellent Christmas stocking filler! I have always had a soft spot for Dixieland music and ‘England’s King of the Clarinet’ was a master of the genre. He recorded more than 200 sides for HMV throughout the 1940s and 1950s, and we have here a selection of tracks made during the years 1951-1956. As well as the likes of The Birth of the Blues, Stardust, Tiger Rag, When the Red Red Robin, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Wabash Blues and the title tune, there are Sid’s own compositions: The Clarinet Cadenza, Stratton Street Strut, High Jinks and The Jolly Jazzers. As a classical music enthusiast, I was fascinated to read in Oliver Lomax’s very informative booklet notes that in 1946 Sid composed a symphony entitled Symphony Russe, premiered and broadcast afterwards by Sir Adrian Boult.
Editor: Unless CDs are purchased direct from record shops, please note that postage may be charged on top of the prices quoted in reviews when buying by mail order or the internet.
Pineapple Poll, Irish Symphony
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by David Lloyd-Jones (Naxos, 8.570351) 78:26
This is Sullivan, without W.S. Gilbert, which is the way I prefer it. Here we have a marvellous melange of Sullivan’s melodies fashioned into a ballet score by the distinguished Australian conductor Sir Charles Mackerras back in 1951. Rightly does he write in his comprehensive liner notes of "eminently danceable tunes." Sir Arthur was of partly Irish descent and the 35-minute symphony originated from a holiday in Northern Ireland when he was 21. It, too, is very tuneful and approachable. I would think that the whole disc will appeal to quite a number of light music enthusiasts.
The New Friends of Rhythm (HPCD1086) 76:19
27 intriguing titles, brilliantly remastered, gathering together almost all the groups recordings both commercial and transcription. The group’s cellist and arranger Alan Schulman first started arranging for dance bands coming to the attention of NBC radio, where his group made their debut in 1939. Clever writing and very humorous retitling such as The Barbers Hitch (based on The Marriage of Figaro), Shoot the Schubert to Me Hubert, The Droschky Drag, Coo Dinny Coo are just a few samples. The group consisted of three violins, a viola, cello, bass, guitar, clarinet and a harpist way ahead of her time, Laura Newell. Schulman said "She put in fills I could never have thought of". One critic said "The group is recommended to those who are not adverse to highly arranged parodies of formal music". By 1940, the group had sold 20,000 records and got the title "Toscanini’s Hep Cats". During wartime service, Schulman met Nelson Riddle. Nelson’s later arrangements for Sinatra, Cole and Fitzgerald reflect Schulman’s influence. Schulman’s copyist named him "The classical guy on the jazz bus". Until the CD arrived, I admit that I had never heard of them but the groundbreaking group deserves your attention – you can then enjoy the music that has been circulating in various formats by those who were in the know! Executive Producer, Alastair Robertson deserves plaudits for putting all this delightful music in one package.
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS AND OTHER SEASONAL MUSIC FOR ORCHESTRA
Classic Sleighride, A Christmas Overture, The Last Sleep of the Virgin, Overture on French Carols, The Night Before Christmas, Christmas Tree Suite, On the Twelfth Day
BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Barry Wordsworth (Naxos, 8.570331)
A truly original and magical Christmas record avoiding the predictable and would make an excellent stocking filler. The familiar name of Philip Lane features large, so enjoyment is guaranteed especially the Overture on French Carols. It is Philip’s piece in the style of ‘Peter and the Wolf’ which gives the disc its title with excellent narration from Stephen Fry. The longest piece on this well filled disc is On the Twelfth Day where the orchestra is joined by the BBC singers and written by film composer Doreen Carwithen. The only work with which I was familiar is The Last Sleep of the Virgin which receives a fine performance from soloist Matthew Lee on cello. All in all a thoroughly fresh and entertaining disc featuring stylish and idiomatic playing you would expect from this orchestra under the baton of Barry Wordsworth with excellent sound from the Watford Coliseum.
GRIEG AND GOLDMARK
Grieg: Symphony in C Minor, Goldmark: Symphony No 1 in Eb Major (Rustic Wedding) Op26
Bergen Symphony Orchestra conducted by Karsten Andersen/Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jesus Lopez-Cobos (Decca Eloquence, 4768743) 80:00
Reviews of recordings of symphonies don’t often appear in the columns of Keeping Track but this release of material emanating from the early 1980s is particularly valuable in featuring the first ever commercial recording of Grieg’s youthful Symphony in C Minor, composed mainly at the promptings of the Danish composer Niels W Gade and completed in 1864. The piece received several performances before Grieg subsequently set aside the score with the injunction that it ‘must never be performed’. After his death, it was lodged in the Bergen Public Library and it wasn’t until 1981 that this institution agreed to release the orchestral score and Decca subsequently recorded the symphony with Grieg’s own orchestra. Grieg’s critical judgement of the works worth seems to be have been unduly harsh since it undoubtedly possesses genuine stature and breath and memorable themes all attractively orchestrated and well worth more than an occasional airing.
What makes this disc an even more desirable acquisition is the inclusion of Goldmark’s adorableRustic Wedding Symphony simply brimming over with heart warming melodies. The structure is perhaps more closely related to a suite rather than a symphony with descriptive titles to individual movements such as Bridal Song, Serenade and the rapturous In the Garden; this could easily come within the compass of ‘quality light music’. Both symphonies receive exemplary performances and the recording retails for £5. Well worth investigating – you will be amply rewarded!
THE SWINGIN’ BASSOON
I’m Getting Sentimental Over You, Well You Needn’t, Hay Burner, Scrapple from the Apple, Mood Indigo, Summer Samba, Out of Nowhere, St Thomas, I Remember You, Home At Last, A Night in Tunisia
Daniel Smith (Zah, ZZCD9824)
When this arrived for review, I was hoping to find Bob Farnon’s last work Romancing the Phoenix on the disc, but alas it is not there but evidently still awaiting its premiere! Well chosen jazz vehicles, but I am afraid the only part that really swings is the rhythm section which is very little to please jazz enthusiasts! Daniel’s technical ability is wonderful but even his powerful lungs cannot make the bassoon a suitable jazz solo instrument! The slightly mournful sound is far better used as colouring in a bank of woodwind and brass scored by the likes of Farnon and Gil Evans, where it comes into context. A brave but misguided recording which will inspire other bassoon players to match the playing but still sitting into the novelty category.
THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION 1954-55
Out of This World, There’s a Small Hotel, You Are Too Beautiful, When Your Lover Has Gone, Low Life, With the Wind and Rain in Your Hair etc
Bob Brookmeyer (AVC887)
Right from the opening track, 9:20 Special, Bob’s flowing solo shows he was a total master of the trombone even this early in his distinguished career. By track nine, on this double CD, the limitations of a small group start to become obvious to me as a big band fan. The playing is excellent by the varied line ups but each number seems to merge. Johnny Green’s Body and Soul changes the pattern but is a little too mournful for me. Bob switches to piano on his own Under the Lilacs and Berlin’sThey Say It’s Wonderful. Seven tracks include a small string section which I believe originally came out under Bud Shank’s name. Players involved include Red Mitchell, John Williams, Jimmy Rowles, Mel Lewis, Bud Shank, Conte Candoli, Zoot Sims and Stan Levy. 34 tracks essential for small group fans but for me Bob’s writing and playing in larger groups is far more rewarding.
Arietta, Norwegian Dance No. 2, Solveig’s Song, Anitra’s Dance, I Love Thee, etc. 27 tracks
Sigmund Groven, harmonica with Norwegian Radio Orchestra and soloists (Grappa GRCD4264) 64:56 mins.
RFS members have had the pleasure of meeting Sigmund at our London meetings, and he is especially remembered from the occasions when he came to the Bonnington Hotel with Tommy Reilly. Sigmund is now regarded as one of the finest exponents of the harmonica, and it is hardly surprising that he should choose the music of his famous fellow countryman for his latest CD. Somehow the often melancholic music of Grieg seems well suited to the harmonica, although it is equally suited to the brighter numbers, such as the perky Anitra’s Dance from ‘Peer Gynt’. Lovers of the harmonica will want to add this to their collection. David Ades
This CD can be purchased direct from Sigmund Groven,PO Box 5167, Majorstua, N0302, Oslo, Norway – email
Dizzy Fingers, Where’s That Rainbow?, Sahara, Waltz of the Gypsies, It All Depends On You, Swingin’ Down the Lane, A New Kind of Man with a New Kind of Love for Me, Lucky Day, Jerome Kern medley, Blue Skies, Indian Love Call and more
Piano Rolls selected and played by Philip Legg (Shellwood Productions, SWCD33) 71:24
The Pianola, the forerunner to the modern computerised electronic organ, where an individual can sit and play music like Sparky and His Magic Piano! I recall that a visit to my Aunt and Uncle’s meant I could play their Pianola and one of the secrets of playing this instrument is to be able to pedal your feet at the current speed to keep the music playing at the correct tempo.
Philip Legg on this CD has played all the piano rolls, which he also selected, to perfection. There is a varied selection of tunes to suit all tastes and having been originally played for the rolls to be made by different pianists’ results in varied piano styles. This CD comes with a comprehensive set of notes in the foldout booklet describing all the tunes. If you are looking for a CD purely of piano and no backing – this is the one for you with over an hour of entertainment.
SPORT MODEL ENCORE
Sport Model Encore, On a Spring Note, Colour Scheme, Maple Leaf Hora, Pixie Parade, Black Tulip, Chopins Charleston Dream, Ray Noble medley, Cottontail Rag, Goulash, Joy Jumping, Magia De Ritmi, Foxtrot, Chanuka medley
Alex Hassan (Shellwood Productions, SWCD34) 59:19
This fourteen track CD played by Alex Hassan, an American, takes on the syncopated style similar to Scott Joplin and a complete contrast to the Pianola playing as reviewed previously. Again this is a piano CD without any added backing and Alex has arranged and embellished quite a few of the tunes, with pieces ranging from 1928-1959.
An enjoyable CD to listen to if you champion this style of playing but to anyone who enjoys a relaxing piano CD with contrasting beats and rhythms, then this is not for you. On a Spring Notelooses its appeal through this version for my liking.
Original film soundtrack (Varese Sarabande, VCL03071062)
I am encroaching on Jeff Hall’s excellent pastures but I could not let this one pass without a mention, as regular readers will know that I am a dedicated fan of Johnny Mandel’s writing! The final score used was written by Dave Grusin, but record producer Nick Redman whilst delving in the vaults, was amazed to find two scores for this film! The second unused score was by Johnny Mandel! This is no reflection however on the quality of the writing as evidently the film’s producers had decided that they had a bit of a ‘Dodo’ and thought a more pop orientated score would increase the audience. I never saw the film or know if it ever saw light of day, all I know is I am more than a little pleased to get both scores! Grusin’s is good but for me Mandel makes the better of the two, intuitively he ushers melody into the soundtrack, sometimes with a tinge of jazz. Every track is a winner focused yet expansive lyricism, distinguished by quality composition. Another surprise for me was that I had heard some of the tantalising music before! A few years ago, Vic Lewis had visited Johnny Mandel in California whilst he was composing the score and had given Vic a taster of the music which he let me hear. I have no doubt Johnny got paid for his work but the thought that this could have languished in a 20th Century Fox music library does not bear thinking about!
Disc one: The Coral Years, Disc two: The ABC and Paramount Years
Eydie Gorme (Jasmine, JASCD450) 65:01 and 57:12
Excellent playing time with CD one as very pop orientated and CD two really bringing home the bacon starting on track ten where Eydie’s material is classic vocalising, rivalling the best ballad singers of the era. Backed by the wonderful Don Costa Orchestra on tracks such as I’ll Take Romance, Fine and Dandy, Too Close for Comfort, The Gentleman is a Dope, Be Careful It’s My Heart, Saturday Night is the Loneliest Night of the Week and the tear-jerking Guess Who I Saw Todayand ballads of similar quality Eydie really shows where she belongs – classic tracks! Other backing by Monty Kelly, Dick Jacobs, Neal Hefti, George Gates and Sid Feller make the pop tracks an enjoyable contrast even if some of the lyrics are slightly cringe making! There are enough excellent performances included here to entice new fans to seek out the many other outings she made solo and with her husband Steve Lawrence, many of them arranged by Don Costa (what a team!)
JUMP, JIVE AN’ WAIL: THE ESSENTIAL
Tracks include: That Old Black Magic, Pennies from Heaven, Sing Sing Sing, Just One of Those Things, Hello Dolly!, Cabaret, Civilization and more
Louis Prima (EMI, 3952662)
Another new hits collection featuring the best solo and collaborative work of the big band and swing musician. Most famously known as the voice of King Louie in Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book’ which is featured here for the first time on a Prima compilation. Not my cup of tea, but if you are a fan of Prima and or would like to add his work to your collection then this may be the one for you.
Tracks include: I Am a Cider Drinker, Morning Glory, Combine Harvester and more
The Wurzels (EMI GOLD, 3939022)
What can you say about this release? Certainly not ‘our kind of music’ but if you are a fan of novelty records, then this will add nicely to your collection.
THE CAVERN: THE MOST FAMOUS CLUB IN THE WORLD
Tracks include: Apache, Anyone Who Had a Heart, Stand By Me, I Think of You, It’s All Over Now, Go Now and more
Various artistes (EMI)
This three CD set celebrates The Cavern’s 50th anniversary with 50 tracks from artists who have all appeared at the club over the years and can be described as a who’ who of British pop music ranging from The Beatles to Georgie Fame to Arctic Monkeys. Well mastered recordings some of which still sound as fresh today as they did fifty years ago.
Various artistes (Sounds of Yesteryear, DSOY732) 105:00. Grandad is seething in the corner, muttering under his breath, rubbish! It is his birthday party and the youngsters are playing the like of the Arctic Monkeys. Time to put a smile to his face by digging out this novel double CD — 36 tracks by bands of the 1930s. Billy Cotton, Carroll Gibbons, Jack Payne, Jack Hylton, Ambrose, Henry Hall and many others feature and all tracks concentrate on the humorous. I am a Grandad but only knew a few of the titles, three of which I did not know, The Pig Got Up and Slowly Walked Away, Airman! Airman! and What Can You Give a Nudist for Their Birthday, giving you some idea of the content. You also get the well known Laughing Policeman, I Like Bananas, Chinese Laundry Blues and many others well aired in the past on the Billy Cotton Band Show and Family Favourites. A fun collection for all the family, especially if those listening are well oiled!
CD round-up by Wilfred Askew
WE LOVE NELSON RIDDLE – NELSON RIDDLE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Recorded between 1954 and 1956 for Capitol Records. Tracks include: Shadow Waltz, Robin Hood, Could You, All or Nothing At All, Body and Soul, Farmer’s Tango, Port Au Prince, The Deep Blue Seaetc
(Cherry Red ACMEM118) 73:58
LAURIE JOHNSON — YOU’RE NEEDED
Original Pye recordings. Tracks include: Bali Hai, My Favourite Things, It’s a Raggy Waltz, The Donkey Serenade, Lock Up Your Daughters, By Myself, South of the Border etc
(Cherry Red ACMEM112) 58:46
MAESTRO SOPHISTICATE — LEO REISMAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Tracks include: You Do Something to Me, Time On My Hands, Night and Day, Poor Butterfly, My Sister and I, Mimi, Love Walked etc. With vocalists such as Lee Wiley, Fred and Adele Astaire, Jack Kitty and Frank Luther – original recordings from 1929-1941.
(Flare, ROYCD244) 76:00
RAY STARITA AND HIS AMBASSADORS BAND – VOLUMES 1 AND 2
Original recordings from 1928-32. Tracks include Spread A Little Happiness, It’s a Habit of Mine, I Call You Sugar, My Love Affair, Just a Crazy Song, Get Happy etc
(Mellotone Mello 012 and 013)
GORDON MACRAE – NEVER TILL NOW
Original Capitol recordings on two CDs. Tracks include: One Misty Morning, How Green Was My Valley, Stranger in Paradise, Last Night, Love’s Old Sweet Song, My Love etc.
(Jasmine, JASCD453) 156:19