Keeping Track - Dateline December 2013
Reviewers in this issue: Peter Burt, Mike Crowther, Roger Hyslop, Ray Pavene, Edward Trub, Ken Wilkins and Peter Worsley
The KT Editor’s CD Choice
PAUL WESTON & HIS ORCHESTRA ‘The Great Hit Sounds of Paul Weston : Morningside Of The Mountain’ 52 tracks incl. Gone with the Wind; Dutch Treat; Shane; These Foolish Things; Ruby; A Streetcar Named Desire; Don’t Worry ‘bout Me; Memories of You; Across the Wide Missouri; The Glory of Love; Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen … Nevertheless; The Song from "Desiree"; So Long (It’s Been Good to Know You); Bimbo; Skylark; King’s Row Theme; Gigi; I Went Out of My Way; Autumn in Rome; Wonderful Copenhagen; Charmaine; My Funny Valentine … Jasmine JASCD 243 mono (79:46 & 79:34) Yet another winning two-disc compilation – possibly the longest yet – from this label, only on this occasion by one of the greatest names in the history of American light music. First there was Kostelanetz, then Faith, Rose and Weston. Born Paul Wetstein in 1912, he was not lost to us until 1996. He became the first MD for the new Capitol label in 1943 and was with Columbia Records (CBS) from ’50 to ’58. He built his success on arrangements with instrumental solos and countermelodies; the framework of a dance band but with added strings. One of his arranger’s tricks was to have the rest of the band play softly while using strings instead of amplifying the strings; the result was a chamber-music quality that went right to the heart of his (and our) kind of music. This release is the first time his hit singles of the 1950s and select album tracks have been combined on one set. Listening to these tracks has been an enjoyable journey of discovery for me, although readers of even more mature years will no doubt be familiar with a lot more of the recordings than I am. Nearly half the tracks contain vocals: the highly-accomplished Norman Luboff Choir is featured on 18 of them – Don’t’ Worry About Me and Easy Come, Easy Go with Jo Stafford – and the stellar songstress is on her own for Little Man with a Candy Cigar, I’m Always Chasing Rainbows, Dancing on the Ceiling, and Mountain High - Valley Low. Other performers with one or two tracks each are: Barney Kessel (guitar), Ted Nash (tenor sax), Clyde Hurley and Zeke Zarchy (trumpets), Thurl Ravenscroft and The Mellowmen (vocals). There are a couple of lively Rodgers and Hammerstein numbers, Where is Cinderella? and Ten Minutes Ago, from a CBS TV production of "Cinderella" that featured Julie Andrews. Weston is probably best known in the UK for his collaboration with Jo Stafford (remember the Jonathan and Darlene Edwards spoof albums?) and co-wrote her biggest hit, Shrimp Boats, also Day by Day and her favourite, I Should Care. They married in 1952 and as well as musically were active for many years in charities helping the developmentally disabled, giving more of their time to these groups after their retirement. PB
XAVIER CUGAT & HIS ORCHESTRA 'Cugat Plays Continental & Popular Movie Hits' featuring Abbe Lane 30 tracks incl. Petite Fleur; Volare; The Poor People of Paris; Love is a Many Splendored Thing; The Guns of Navarone; The Green Leaves of Summer; Over the Rainbow… Sepia 1233 (75.00) Xavier Cugat brings his own sophisticated brand of Latin-American sunshine to this selection of instrumentals and songs mainly from the 1950s and the early ‘60s. Whether it be Apache, The Green Leaves of Summer or Al di La (the San Remo Song Festival winner of 1960 and sung by Emilio Pericoli in the Warner Bros film 'Rome Adventure’) as a rumba, the cha-cha-cha treatment of Never on Sunday, The Third Man, Come Prima and Wonderland By Night or the samba rhythm to Calcutta, Guaglione and High Noon. My personal favourites among the instrumentals are Moon River in bossa-nova time and Sucu-Sucu (remember Laurie Johnson's version used for the ITV series 'Top Secret'?) played as a bajon. What makes this album special is the inclusion of vocals by Mrs Cugat – the glamorous Abbe Lane in superb form whether singing in Spanish or Italian. Her contribution includes Bob Azzam's French hit Mustapha, the Italian song Quando vien la Sera (another San Remo success from 1961) and the gorgeous rumba stylings of Historia de un Amour (a hit for Chilean star Lucho Gatica & French songstress Dalida) and on the closing track of Malaguena Salerosa (a huge hit for both French singing star Gloria Lasso and instrumentally by Franck Pourcel). Altogether a happy album ideal for BBQ time (this review being written on a sunny August afternoon) or warming up the lounge on a cold winter's night (when you are probably reading this last printed edition of JIM). These excellent Mercury stereo recordings have been lovingly restored by Robin Cherry. The presentation, as usual from this source, is first class. Recommended!MC
LES & LARRY ELGART ‘Elgart Au Go-Go’ & ‘Sound Of The Times’ 23 tracks incl. Thunder Shake; Downtown; Meditation; Come Rain or Come Shine; King of the Road; Jerkin’ Around; St James’ Infirmary … I’m Comin’ Home, Cindy; A Sign of the Times; Spanish Flea; A Taste of Honey; Michelle; Batman … Vocalion CDLK 4501 (55:06) Here are two quality albums of music designed for dancing but at the same time eminently listenable from the comfort of your armchair. Dance band leaders Les (1918-95) played lead trumpet; brother Larry (born 1922) lead alto later lead soprano sax. Theirs was a smooth sound with the emphasis on ensemble, sometimes featuring jazz musicians as they do on the second album. They recorded for Decca and MGM but mainly (mid-50s and after ‘63) on Columbia. The albums here, as on all Vocalion releases reviewed expertly remastered by Mike Dutton, are from 1965/66. The arranger on the first album is Charlie Albertine except for one track by Marty Manning. With no strings attached I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this release, so definitely worth a spin. PB
JACKIE GLEASON ‘Opiate d’Amour’ & ‘Rebound’ Orchestra conducted by Jackie Gleason 39 tracks Caress; When Your Lover Has Gone; Casa d’Amor; The Song is Ended; Pale Blues; You’re Changed; Melancholy Serenade; Yesterdays; Pink Lace; She’s Funny That Way; The Girl ("Tawny"); It’s All Right with Me / Do Nothin’ Till You Hear from Me; Satin Doll; Ain’t Misbehavin’; Nevertheless (I’m in Love with You); You Oughta be in Pictures; I’m Making Believe; All the Things You Are …Vocalion CDNJT 5215 (67:33) "Mood" music par excellence, the first dozen tracks from 1960 (all listed above) are played by either the celebrated Gleason strings or a brass orchestra featuring 24 trumpets ("large in size – subdued in sound", as the liner note says), with soloists including the former Ellington trombonist Lawrence Brown, and guitarist Al Caiola (more of whom further on). Starting with the opening number, alternate tracks are Gleason’s own compositions. The second album from a year earlier has those strings again throughout and features Bernie Leighton’s characteristic piano and the oboe d’amore of Romeo Penque. There’s nothing to get listeners overly excited here – just good tunes well played, well recorded and well remastered. PB
JAMES LAST ‘The Essential Collection’ CD1 17 tracks incl. Mamma Mia; My Heart Will Go On; Medley: Besame Mucho/A Gay Ranchero/Volare; Jigs and Reels; Candle in the Wind; Carmina Burana; Roses from the South; Don’t Cry for Me Argentina; CD2 18 tracks incl. Mambo No.5; Nature Boy; Beatles Medley: Can’t Buy Me Love/A Hard Days Might/Ob La Di Ob La Da; Over the Rainbow; Czardas Von Monti; My Way; Fanfare; Reach Out; DVD 26 tracks incl. Pulstar; The Way We Were; Tequila; Hero; G’schnichten Aus Dem Wienerwald; Greensleeves; Medley: Love is in the Air/Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps/Ave Maria No Moro; Downtown; Reel Express; Orange Blossom Special; Games That Lovers Play Metro Sound & Vision METRSV009 (72:59 & 77:53 + DVD) Once I came to terms with the audience participation throughout the two CDs – strange as only six tracks are listed as "live" – this proved to be quite an enjoyable package (and at under £5 online who can complain?) although the title still does not convince. The best tracks for me involve the strings but you have to admire the musicianship of all the members of the Last orchestra. Morning at Seven and Alle Vogelare good examples of Hansi (his birth name was Hans) the composer. The enthusiasm on the DVD of the 2007 Royal Albert Hall Concert is infectious. Hansi’s is such happy music in our often depressing times, it is surprising he has featured so infrequently in these pages. PB
ENOCH LIGHT & HIS ORCHESTRA 'Big Band Bossa Nova’ & ‘Let's Dance the Bossa Nova' 24 tracks incl. One Note Samba; Perdido; Galanura; Lullaby of Birdland; Sem Saudades de Voce; Take the "A" Train; Meditation; Tonight; Nola; Big Ben Bossa Nova; I Could Have Danced All Night; Fly Me to the Moon; What Kind of Fool Am I?; O Barquinho (Little Boat) … Sepia 1213 (70.00) Enoch Light was a prolific recording artist from the early days of LP onwards but came into his own in the late 1950s and early 1960s with the advent of stereo. This 2-on-1 release is from the early ‘60s and embraces the popularity of the bossa nova at that time. The album includes authentic bossa nova and Brazilian songs with mainly American standards together with four Enoch Light originals. The orchestra consists of the cream of US West Coast session men with Doc Severinsen leading the trumpets, Walter Levinsky the woodwinds, the percussion led by Don Lamond on drums superbly supported by guitarist Tony Mottola (remember The Perry Como TV Show of the 1950s and 1960s?) who contributes trademark solos throughout. The first album commences appropriately with Antonio Carlos Jobim's Desafinado, the tune that started the craze, and an album of this kind would not be without the compositions of Ary Barroso whose Brazil and E Luxo So are included. My personal highlights are the classy arrangements of Besame Mucho, and Henry Mancini's Days of Wine and Roses and Moon River. Also worth mentioning are two of Enoch Light's compositions, Rio Junction and Mi Adorado, together with Doc Severinsen's La Puerta del Sol – "The Doc" providing characteristic solos on the latter two pieces. The album concludes "tongue in cheek" with Eydie Gorme's hit Blame It on the Bossa Nova. The presentation is first class with original LP liner notes used and, what is refreshing, a list of the musicians included. The remastering of these excellent stereo recordings was in the hands of Robin Cherry who, as usual, has done a remarkable job. Warmly recommended to all lovers of Latin-American sounds and to those who love excellent big band albums – enjoy! MC
HENRY MANCINI & HIS ORCHESTRA ‘The Mancini Generation’ & ‘Hangin’ Out With Henry Mancini’ 21 tracks incl. The title tune; Joy (Jesus, Joy of Man’’s Desiring); The Swingin’ Shepherd Blues; Charade; A Bluish Bag; Amazing Grace … Medley: Love’s Theme, TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia); The Entertainer; Song for Anna; The Thief Who Came to Dinner; The Stripper …Vocalion CDSML 8499 (64:31) The musical versatility of "Hank" Mancini (1924-94) is demonstrated on this release as conductor, composer, arranger (all except Joy, which is by Brit keyboardist Tom Parker), pianist, synthesizer player, and siffleur with the Mouldy Seven on Hangin’ Out. It is a mixed bag compilation with a big band sound on the first album (all the personnel are listed) and strings added on the second. Both were produced by Joe Reisman and recorded at RCA’s Music Centre of the World, Hollywood, California in 1972 and 1974. In his extremely well-researched five-page booklet notes, Oliver Lomax points out that on both albums a prominent feature is the sound of the Arp synthesizer. Although all the tracks have their attractions, a standout for me is the theme tune to the US TV series Masterpiece Theatre by the French composer Jean-Joseph Mouret with its organ solo. Also particularly worthy of note is a refined treatment of Stan Kenton’s Eager Beaver, and the A Girl from Petrovka theme, a memorable Mancini melody from an unmemorable movie. This is the last of many high quality releases from this label I have had the pleasure of reviewing for our printed issues over the years. PB
EDMUNDO ROS ‘Rhythms of the South’ 2 CD set 48 tracks incl. ‘Ros on Broadway’: I Could Have Danced All Night; Some Enchanted Evening; Bewitched; Stranger in Paradise; June is Bursting Out All Over; I Whistle a Happy Tune; ‘Rhythms of the South’: Spanish Gypsy Dance; The Blue Danube; Barcarolle; La Maxixe; Capullito de Alexi; Siboney … ‘Ros at the Opera’: Toreador’s Song; The Quartet; Intermezzo; Caro Nome; Flower Song; Drinking Song; ‘Sing ‘N Clap Along with Ros Orchestra & Chorus’: There’s No Business Like Show Business; People Will Say We Are in Love; Heart; I Could Have Danced All Night; Get Me to the Church on Time; There’s Nothing Like a Dame …Jasmine JASCD 763 It is good to have a new collection of four reissued albums from a musician incapable of making a dull recording, who has not been featured enough in KT of late. Born in Trinidad in 1910 (he died just before his 101st birthday), Ros came to London in 1937 to study at the Royal Academy of Music, and the next year became known as the drummer on some Fats Waller recording sessions. He formed a rumba band in 1940, which was renamed Edmundo Ros and His Orchestra in 1946. His was a popular recording group with Decca for 30 years from 1944, and many of the LPs – 55 listed in Wikipedia – were best-sellers. Included here, the 1958 album ‘Rhythms of the South’ was one of the first stereo releases and sold a million copies. The "sing-along" tracks may be something of a surprise. Unfortunately my review copy had not arrived before we went to press, so I have only been able to listen to extracts from two of the original albums online; hence no timings. There is no doubt in my mind that the set will be well up to Jasmine’s usual high standard.PB
SAUTER–FINEGAN ORCHESTRA ‘Golden Memories of Sauter–Finegan’ 22 tracks incl. ‘Straight Down The Middle’ Surrey With the Fringe on Top; Paradise; Sunshine Girl; Have You Met Miss Jones?; Aren’t You Glad You’re You?; When a Woman Loves a Man; These Foolish Things … ‘Memories of Goodman and Miller’ Little Brown Jug; Sunrise Serenade; Swing Low, Sweet Chariot; Moonlight Sonata; Soft as Spring; Ramona … Jasmine JASCD 459 (77:59) An admired aggregation I don’t remember ever being reviewed before during my stretch as KT Editor. At some time during their careers Eddie Sauter (1914-81) was an arranger for Benny Goodman and Bill Finegan (1917-2008) for Glenn Miller, so it is appropriate that half the tracks on these albums should be some of those two giants’ biggest hits, but in new arrangements (six by Bill, five by Eddie) to suit the Sauter-Finegan sound. Whirlpool, Scotch and Sauter, Benny Rides Again, Clarinet á la King and Superman are Sauter originals, with Finegan composing Alright Already and the title tune of the first album. The line-up in 1958, when the two albums were made, was five saxes, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, harp, piano, bass, guitar, drums and percussion. All told another release from this label to be applauded. PB
‘BRIGHT LIGHTS’ Full tracklisting details on page xx. Guild GLCD5212 (74:33) The idea behind this new Guild Light Music selection is to showcase those talented composers who have made it big in the light music world and in Library Music in particular. The album title is also the title of the first track by Den Berry and Stuart Crombie played in a bright optimistic manner by the Brussels New Concert Orchestra. As you would expect there are a number of well-known titles such as Beachcomber by Clive Richardson and Twentieth Century Express (Making Tracks) by Trevor Duncan but there are also some lesser known pieces and one in particular as far as I’m concerned, Main Event by Hubert Clifford, a real corker of a number played with great gusto by the Danish State Radio Orchestra conducted by Robert Farnon, which I think I might have opened the CD with. Another piece, by Charles Williams this time, is Hydro Project, not exactly new to me but great all the same. Cecil Milner is in there with a charming number he called Trysting Place on the Harmonic label followed by Bruce Campbell’s Tempo for Strings played by the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, reminding me to ask, have these continental radio orchestras gone the same way as the BBC house orchestras or are they still playing light music? Two more cracking pieces that I have but pleased to see included are March Heroique by Walter Collins played by the London Promenade Orchestra and conducted by him with the added bonus of Levy Sound Studios unique sound, and Race Day by Roger Roger. Another jolly but powerful number is Jack Beaver’s Holiday Camp March played by the New Century Orchestra under the baton of Sidney Torch, who by the way is represented by My Waltz For You with him conducting the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra. Vivian Ellis, always associated with Coronation Scot, has a really catchy number to his name, Procession played by the Danish State Radio Orchestra conducted by Hubert Clifford, as does King Palmer and Richard Mullan writing as Peter Kane with Walter Collins on the podium again and the Levy sound enhancing the very catchy Rhythm of the Clock. Jack Strachey, Ernest Tomlinson, Frederic Curzon and a host more light music backroom boys all make appearances on this fine release, and so they should. KW
AL CAIOLA ’The Caiola Bonanza : Great Western Themes and Extra Bounties’ 2 CD set 64(!) tracks incl. Bonanza; Laramie; The Ballad of Paladin; Bat Masterson; Law Man; The Deputy; Theme from "The Rebel"; Wagons Ho!; Maverick; Rawhide; Gunslinger; Theme from "A Summer Place"; Taste of Honey; Wheels; Tumbling Tumbleweeds … The Magnificent Seven; Two Guitars; Guns of Navarone; I Walk the Line; Take Me Home; Undecided; Martin Kane Theme; You Don’t Know Me; Apache; Ramblin’ Rose; Love is Like Champagne; Moon River; Jezebel; Big Guitar; Your Cheatin’ Heart … Jasmine JASCD 743 mono/stereo (78:40 & 77:55) Al Caiola (born 1920) is one of the USA’s finest guitarists. As well as being a session player in some of the best light music orchestras, he made over 50 albums of his own and accompanied an astonishing number of the biggest names of 20th century popular music. I would imagine that most RFS members will have examples of his work on their CD shelves – Paul Anka’s Diana, Petula Clark’s Don’t Sleep in the Subway, Rosemary Clooney’s Come on-a My House, Perry Como’s Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes, Percy Faith’sTheme from "A Summer Place", Andy Williams’s Butterfly, Johnnie Ray’s Just Walking in the Rain,and Hugo Winterhalter’s Blue Tango to name but a few. Having served his country in WWII, during which he was in the month-long Battle of Iwo Jima as a stretcher bearer, he was with United Artists Records in the late '40s and early '50s. After leaving UA he signed with RCA. In the early '60s, he went back to UA, which is where he scored his first hit with the theme to the film The Magnificent Seven followed in the charts by Bonanza. Three of the tracks here are Caiola compositions: Aegean Love Song, Straight Ahead and On the Merry Go Round. Several of the arrangements are by Don Costa with others by Al himself. Robert Nickora’s admirable liner notes tell us that Mancini’s Theme from "Experiments in Terror" and Billy May’s Sergeants Three March are particularly rare. Ear-catching tracks for me include Esquivel’s "Tall Man" Theme from the ‘Great Western’ album and Grieg’s souped-up Asia Minor but, although you possibly may not want to play both albums at one sitting, dip in anywhere and you won’t be disappointed. PB
CARLOS MONTOYA ‘Flamenco Fury’ 2 CD set 38 tracks incl. Rain on the Roof; Blues in the Night (My Mama Done Tol’ Me); Improvisation*; Que Sera, Sera; Zambrilla*; Tarantas*; Tango de los Ojos Negros (Tanguillo De Cadiz)*; La Cancion del Ole; Malaga … / Zambrilla*; Seguiriya*; La Virgende la Macarena ; Andalucia; Malaguena; Jerez*; Café de Chinitas*; Zapateo*; Alorno Y Verdial*; St Louis Blues … Jasmine JASCD753 (77:07 & 77:36) Nephew of Ramon Montoya, Carlos (1913-93) popularized the flamenco guitar in the USA. Born in Madrid of gypsy stock, he married an American and later acquired citizenship despite mistakenly answering "No" to the question. "Do you like the American form of government?" His peak of fame was in the 1950s – there is no indication when the two albums on the first disc were recorded. 18 of the 20 tracks on the second disc, however, are a combination of two live concerts from the early ‘60s. Many of the tracks (asterisked above) are Montoya compositions. A lot of flamenco guitar may not be for everyone but there is no denying the excitement in the performances throughout this set. PB
ROY SMECK ‘The Wizard Of The Strings’ 31 tracks incl. Twelfth Street Rag; Music Box Waltz; Melody in F (Mendelssohn); I Ain’t Got Nobody; Ain’t She Sweet; Uke Said It; June Night; Chinatown, My Chinatown;; Say It With Music; Toot, Toot, Tootsie!; Bye, Bye Blues; Begin the Beguine; Waltz Italiano; Blue’ N The Blues; Summer Shadow … Jasmine JASCD 270 (79:56) Here’s a release to put a smile on your face. Roy Smeck (1900-94) is a new name to me but is obviously a very fine instrumentalist. He is considered by many to be one of the truly great American popular musicians of the 20th century, whose name would be more recognizable if he hadn't specialized in a "minor" instrument, the ukulele. On the first 11 tracks here he plays his instrument of choice backed by four guitars (one played by Tony Mottola), bass and drums. The next 12 tracks feature him on banjo accompanied by His Dixie Syncopaters, and on the final eight tracks, playing the Spanish variety, he is part of a guitar trio again with bass and drums. Self-penned tracks include Honolulu Shuffle,Escape Tango and Happy Polka. Playing, recording and timing are all to be commended. Not normally my kind of strings but listening to this over the summer has given me a lot of pleasure. I feel sure it will do the same for you during the winter months and beyond. PB
RED PRYSOCK "Handclapppin’ Footstompin’ Rock ‘N’ Roll" 30 tracks incl. Happy Feet; Blow Your Horn; Little Jamie; Rock n’ Roll; Zonked; Shoe String; Jumbo; Zip; Rock & Roll Party; Pacuino Walk; Headsnappin’; Rooster Walk; 2 Point 8; What’s the Word? Thunderbird!; Ruffin’ with Red …Jasmine JASCD 274 mono (79:22) Wilburt "Red" Prysock (1926-93) was a R&B tenor saxophonist whose biggest hit was Hand Clappin’ in 1955 (track 7). You certainly get what it says on the tin: "30 Booting Platters from the King of the Honking Tenor Sax." All the tracks were recorded for Mercury between 1954 and 1957 when (Bob Fisher’s notes tell us) Red "was without doubt the greatest exponent of rock and roll sax playing." Although quite tuneful, it’s all far too unrelentingly raucous for this gentle reviewer. PB
DON GIBSON ‘Oh Lonesome Me’ Singles Collection 1956-1962 2 CD set 46 tracks incl. Run Boy; I Must Forget You; Sweet Dreams; The Road of Life Alone; I Ain’t Gonna Waste My Time; Ah-Ha; I Believed in You; Blue Blue Day; Give Myself a Party; Look Who’s Blue; Who Cares; A Stranger to Me ... / Lonesome Old House; Don’t Tell Me Your Troubles; Heartbreak Avenue; I’m Movin On; Big Hearted Me; Just One Time; Far, Far Away; A Legend in My Time; Sea of Heartbreak; Lonesome Number One; I Can Mend Your Broken Heart … Jasmine JASMCD 3642/3 mono/stereo (57:37 & 52:24) Don Gibson (1928-2003) American born country-pop singer and songwriter, writing hits I Can’t Stop Loving You (for Kitty Wells) and Sweet Dreams (for Faron Young). His own first smash hit was Oh Lonesome Me / I Can’t Stop Loving You (a two-sided hit – No.1 country, No.7 pop in 1958). All three are on this compilation. Gibson had 14 entries in the pop Hot 100 ’58-‘61 and 37 top 40 hits in the country chart ’58-‘71. The first dozen tracks here were on the MGM label (’56-‘57); all the rest were made for RCA, where from ’57 onwards Chet Atkins was a big influence on Don’s career direction. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1973, and in 2001 into theCountry Music Hall of Fame. With a few exceptions all the titles in this set are Don’s own compositions. A thoroughly agreeable listen and a great antidote to that honkin’ sax! PB
MARIO LANZA ‘Very Best Of …’ 24 tracks incl. Golden Days; If I Loved You; Serenade; Drink, Drink, Drink; Because; Ave Maria; One Alone; Londonderry Air: Danny Boy; You’ll Never Walk Alone; Flower song (Carmen); Vesti la giubba; Song of India; Santa Lucia … alto ALC 1231 (78:11) Reckoned to be one of the greatest voices of the 20th century and an inspiration to "The Three Tenors", this is an attractive compilation. The earliest recordings, Granada and O sole mio’, date from 1949 – two of several with the RCA Victor Orchestra conducted by Ray Sinatra. The latest isOnly a Rose from 1956. Lanza’s three million-sellers are here: Be My Love, The Loveliest Night of the Year and Because You’re Mine Around half the tracks are from films, notably ‘The Great Caruso’ (1950) with Constantine Callinicos wielding the baton. I notice that the "Final (and fine) Master" is by our friend Paul Arden-Taylor. If you are without a Lanza album in your collection, here is an opportunity to acquire an excellent one for around five pounds. PB
BRYN TERFEL ‘Homeward Bound’ Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra at Temple Square / Mack Wilberg 18 tracks incl. What a Wonderful World; Bound for the Promised Land; Faith’s Call; How Great Thou Art; Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah; Blow the Wind Southerly; Shenandoah; The Dying Soldier; Battle Hymn of the Republic … DG 4791073 (78:10) An album of eclectic items from the celebrated Welsh bass-baritone. With the 360-strong choir, 150 orchestral musicians, two guest singers, conductor and soloists, it employs the largest forces DG has ever brought together for a studio album. The Norwegian soprano Sissel joins Bryn on Shall We Gather at the River, and Give Me My Song by Benny Anderson of Abba; and by up-and-coming American mezzo Tamara Mumford on Karl Jenkins’ lovely Ave Verum Corpus. The title song is by Marta Keen, not Simon and Garfunkel. There are two classical pieces: Libera Me from Fauré’s ‘Requiem’ and Lascia Ch’io Pianga (you will probably recognise the tune) from Handel’s opera ‘Rinaldo’. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is a Grammy and Emmy award winning all-volunteer ensemble. Bryn has said how moved spiritually he was to hear the choir sing. The majority of the arrangements are by the conductor. For me a couple of tracks could have been a little livelier, but anyone with catholic musical tastes should love this release. PB
‘SHOW–STOPPERS Big Hits for the Musicals’ Top Stars with Hits from Hit Musicals! 23 tracks from ‘West Side Story’ (6), ‘Oliver!’ (4), ‘My Fair Lady’ (5), ‘Oklahoma’ (4), ‘Camelot’ (1), ‘Flower Drum Song’ (1), ‘Kismet’ (2) alto Take:2 ALN 1944 (79:20) I have not had anything to review for some time, so this is a terrific release to go out on. All the tracks are either from film soundtracks or original casts and there are some real classics here with names like Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones, Ron Moody, Georgia Brown, Julie Andrews, Stanley Holloway, Rex Harrison, Pat Suzuki, Howard Keel, Ann Blyth and Vic Damone. My favourite track is Richard Burton sing-speaking the Loewe-Lerner How to Handle a Woman. On the Bernstein soundtrack we hear the voice of Marni Nixon (not Natalie Wood who acted the part of Maria) singing I Feel Pretty, Tonight and Somewhere (the last two with Jimmy Bryant). James Murray’s booklet notes give an excellent synopsis of each show. Project co-ordinator is Robin Vaughan and mastering is by Paul Arden-Taylor. This is a good value souvenir of some of the best performances in some of the greatest musicals ever. RP
‘CLASSIC BRITISH MARCHES’ British Imperial Military Band / Lieut-Colonel (Retired) Graham Jones MBE Jacob: March (Music For a Festival); March (An Original Suite(); The Earle of Oxford’s March (William Byrd Suite); Holst: March (Suite No.1); March (Moorside Suite); March Suite No.2; Lovell: Triumph of Right; Elgar: March of the Mogul Emperors (Crown of India Suite); Pomp & Circumstance March No.4; Imperial March; Ellerby: Blue, Red, Blue; Vaughan Williams: Sea Songs; Seventeen Come Sunday (English Folksong Suite); Fletcher: Heroic March; Bliss: March (Things to Come); Coates: Knightsbridge March (London Suite); Chandler: Imperial Britain Bandleader BNA 5207 (69:22) This band is a comparatively recent formation being created in 2009 primarily to provide additional employment for musicians who have served in Army, Marine and RAF Bands of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces; although having studied the personnel details in the accompanying booklet, one of the horn players hails from the US Marine Corps! Graham Jones retired from the Army in 2011 having attained the prestigious post of Senior Director of Music, Household Division. This debut disc offers a good and interesting selection off British marches, many well-known but others that may not be familiar to the general listener. It’s pleasing to have RVW’s salty Sea Songsinvoking distant memories for some of us as this music was indelibly associated with BBC TV’s ‘Billy Bunter’ series. All the items on this release are expertly played by the 31-piece band and are captured in detailed, well-balanced and vivid sound – recording venue not disclosed. One quibble I have is the complete absence of any programme notes concerning the music. Who, for example, would have heard of the likes of Hubert Benjamin Lovell or Thomas A Chandler other than those aficionados possessed of a detailed knowledge of military band repertoire? The latter gentleman provides the concluding march in a style suggestive of the early 20th century and not too far removed from a certain American "March King". Heartily recommended but could someone please step forward smartly next time with information on the music being played. RH
‘THE DEFINITIVE ERIC COATES’ Eric Coates conducts all of his commercial recordings 7 CD set Nimbus NI 6231 (8:50:0) For lovers of light music this has to be the most important CD release in years and an absolute bargain at only £29.99 (less online). A huge vote of thanks to Alan Bunting for his mammoth restoration task, which included locating all the records – no easy matter. Several of them were provided by other well-known names in the field of light music, including David Ades, Alan Heinecke, David Lennick, Forest Patten, Michael Thomas, Nathan Brown, John Govier and the late lamented Stuart Upton and Peter Dempsey. The music, almost entirely orchestral, covers 1923 to 1957 and comes with a detailed analysis of every piece by Michael Payne whose PhD thesis on Coates was expanded into a book published by the Ashgate Press. His liner notes also include everything else you need to know about the "Uncrowned King of Light Music". Everyone has their own favourite piece, or rather pieces (plural), because Ethel Smyth got it absolutely right when she described Coates as "the man who writes tunes". It would be a matter of choice to pick out even one of his many suites but to know that they are all here is simply fantastic. Coates did not record everything he wrote of course, especially his many songs, so Disc 7 covers contemporary recordings of other important orchestral pieces conducted by, among others, Ole Jensen (Robert Farnon), Charles Williams, Sidney Torch, Clarence Raybould, Jack Leon, Joseph Lewis, Jack Hylton, and Wing Commanders Sims and O’Donnell. A real bonus. This release is a winner and if you buy nothing else this year then you must acquire it. Brilliant! PW
DVOŘÁK: ‘Slavonic Dances’ᵅ • MASSENET ‘Le Cid’ᵇ • MEYERBEER ‘Les Patineurs’ᵇ ᵅLondon Symphony Orchestra & ᵇIsrael Philharmonic Orchestra / Jean Martinon Decca Eloquence 4762742 (78:08) Absolutely chock-full of tunes from beginning to end, both orchestras respond well to the conductor’s French flair. The second and third works are ballet music written for operas, the last orchestrated by Constant Lambert. For original recordings from 1958 and 1959 the CD sound is superb. The recording producer on the ballet tracks was the legendary John Culshaw. An outstanding album guaranteed to lift the spirits on the dullest of days, now at a low price. ET
GRIEG ‘Three Concerti for Violin and Chamber Orchestra’ Henning Kraggerud (violin) •Tromsø Chamber Orchestra Naxos 8.573137 (66:40) Following his ‘Nordic Violin Favourites’ ("a release to be savoured" - JIM 194) the internationally acclaimed Norwegian violinist turns his attention to another of his fellow countrymen. Edvard Grieg never actually wrote a violin concerto so Kraggerud, together with Bernt Simen Lund, has cleverly created three new concertos from his trio ofViolin Sonatas, evidently among the composer’s favourite works. The playing is outstanding as is the recording – one of the very best I’ve heard from this label. ET
HOLST Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra & Vienna State Opera Chorus / Karajan; London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic Orchestras / Boult Major Classics M2CD019 (108:26) With glittering playing, top-class recording and the German conductor at the peak of his powers, the 1961 version of The Planets on the first CD here is still considered to be among the best. Indeed, the Penguin Guide said on its release: "This is a disc not to be missed on any account." The second CD contains other similar vintage classic Decca recordings of The Perfect Fool, Egdon Heath and The Hymn of Jesus under Sir Adrian, and from 1959 the Oriental Suite Beni Mora under Sir Malcolm Sargent with the RPO. At the time of writing this set from a newish label is available online for around an irresistible £4 (check www.best-cd-price.co.uk). ET
MASCAGNI ‘In Concert’ Luciano Ganci (tenor), Fiilharmonica ‘900 Teatro Regio Torino / Gianandrea Noseda Chandos CHAN 10789 (61:44) Splendid! Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945) was an Italian opera composer who studied law before becoming a conductor – Karajan is reported as remembering him as one of the best he had seen or heard – and piano teacher. Mascagni devoted his earliest efforts at composition to sacred works but in 1890 he shot into the limelight with his prize-winning one-act opera Cavalleria rusticana, which received an unprecedented 60 curtain calls at its premiere. On this disc, Ave Maria is a vocal adaptation of the famous Intermezzo – one of three vocal items with a total duration of 11 minutes. These and the final track, Suite from "The Eternal City", are all premiere recordings. The six non-vocal items, none of them from operas, are not wanting for good tunes. The opening track, the quite dramatic L’apoteosi della cicogna, written in 1930 for a ballet, was his final orchestral work; there is some fine flute playing on the delightfulDanza esotica; and Mein erster Walzer, a rustic Strauss waltz sound-alike piece, is particularly attractive. With Chandos’ customary production values this release is something of a discovery and a delightful one at that. Confidently buy on disc or as a download. ET
SIBELIUS 2 CD set Tossy Spivakovsky (violin), Sinfonia of London, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Stockholm Radio Symphony Orchestra / Hannikainen / Collins / Ehrling Magdalen METCD 8024 (77:29 & 75:19) Back in 1959 theSymphony No.5 and Karelia Suite from World Record Club was one of the first LPs (possibly the first) I ever bought, and it’s still in my collection. The conductor was Tauno Hannikainen, who was approved by the composer himself and conducted at his funeral. It was at the express wish of Sibelius that in 1951 he left his post in Chicago to return home as conductor of the Helsinki Symphony Orchestra. He also conducts Symphony No.2, which received a rave review in The Stereo Record Guide. The Guide was not quite so enthusiastic about Symphony No.5 but opined that theKarelia Suite could "heartily be recommended on all counts." All are with the Sinfonia of London. TheViolin Concerto and Tapiola are played by the LSO; the original Everest LP from 1960 being described as a splendid bargain. Six years earlier the soloist, Nathan "Tossy" Spivakovsky, had been written of as "one of the most brilliant violinists alive." Anthony Collins and the RPO contribute two mono tracks: Romance in C Major, and Swan of Tuonela with the cor anglais of Leonard Brain. The set is completed by another mono track, Lemminkainen’s Return, from the Stockholm RSO conducted by Sixten Ehrling. With 7½ pages of James Murray’s booklet notes and Paul Arden-Taylor’s mastering, this is treasurable nostalgic release. PB
SIR ADRIAN BOULT ‘The Complete Conductor : From Tchaikovsky to Gershwin’ 10 CD setWarner Classics 0192702 A quite incredible bargain – surely it must be the year’s best – found atwww.sainsburysentertainment.co.uk for £16.99! Sir Adrian (1889-1983) was one of the finest British conductors ever, yet somewhat overshadowed by his flamboyant contemporary Sir Thomas Beecham. ("Boult came in, reeking of Horlicks," Beecham once allegedly said of his notoriously abstemious fellow musician). But his repertoire was exceptionally broad, as this box set attests. The Tchaikovsky include the 1812 Overture, Capriccio Italien, Marche Slave, Romeo and Juliet – Fantasy Overture and The Nutcracker Suite; and Gershwin is represented by his Cuban Overture. As well as some "heavier" works – although there’s nothing unapproachable – by such as Parry and Holst (The Planets: three of his five versions from 1945, ’66 and ’78), also included are plenty of other pieces that will appeal to light music enthusiasts, e.g. Trumpet Voluntary, Ritual Fire Dance, Ruslan & Ludmila Overture, Dance of the Hours, Procession of the Nobles, Danse Macabre, The Bartered Bride Overture & Three Dances, Circus Polka, and The Jewels of the Madonna excerpts. There are also 14 tracks devoted to famous marches including Crown Imperial, British Grenadiers, Royal Air Force March Past, Lilliburlero, Colonel Bogey, The Dambusters, Under the Double Eagle, The Stars and Stripes Forever, Liberty Bell, Anchors Aweigh and Victory at Sea. On these, as on most of the tracks throughout the set, Sir Adrian is conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He was their Chief Conductor for seven years in the Fifties, and continued to work with them in concerts and recordings until 1978. There are hours of pleasurable listening here and would make an ideal Christmas present for someone wanting to discover the joys of classical music. PB
DANCES FROM HUNGARY Danubia Orchestra Obuda / Domonkos Héja 16 tracks by Listz, Erkel, Weiner, Dohnányi, Kodály & Bartók Apex 2564 64443-4 (62:14) A compilation of largely lively pieces beautifully played, and another disc to make you feel good. The opening track is probably the tune most people are likely to recognise: Intermezzo from Zoltán Kodály’s Háry János Suite. The longest track is Franz Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz (10:18). The Danubia Symphony Orchestra was only established 20 years ago; this was its first CD, a 2003 Warner Classics album excellently recorded in Budapest. In 1998, aged 24, Héja took his diploma in percussion instruments and conducting with honours, and was awarded first prize in Hungarian TV’s 9th International Conductors Competition. This is yet again a highly attractive buy at a bargain price. If you like this you may like to try an equally enticing companion volume by the same forces of ‘Brahms: Hungarian Dances Nos.1-21’ on Apex 2564 6443-1. ET
GYPSY BALLAD Eleftheria Kotzia, guitar 19 tracks Somm Céleste SOMMCD 0130 (67:00) What an interesting release! Ms Kotzia has been described as doing for the Greek soul what flamenco does for the Spanish. Born in Alexandroupolis, she finished the studies of her instrument at the Guildhall School of Music in London, where she was taught by Julian Bream among others. She herself now teaches at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. As well as the title piece by Czech-born Syvie Bodorová, and Frederico Moreno Torroba’s Suite Castellana – the first work ever written for guitar by a non-guitarist – this compilation includes pieces by two well-known composers for the instrument in Rodrigo and Villa-Lobos, and two famous tangos: La Cumparsita and El Choclo. The remaining nine composers and their works, not all from Spain or Latin America, will be less familiar but Graham Wade’s booklet notes are very informative. First-rate recording made in Holy Trinity Church, Weston, Herts, some tracks as recently as February this year. ET
PIERS LANE ‘Piers Lane Goes To Town’ 20 tracks incl. Down Longford Way; Toccata for Piers Lane; Marigold; Naila Waltz; Dizzy Fingers; A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square; Bach Goes to Town "Prelude and Fugue in swing"; Jamaican Rumba; The Tiger Tango; Irish Tune from County Derry … Hyperion CDA 67976 (76:08) Back in March 2012 (JIM 191) ET reviewed with approbation a budget-price reissue by this pianist. Here we have a brand new full-price release that is every bit as recommendable. As will be seen from the titles listed above, the programme is varied. There are a number of works by Australian composers written for Lane, and pieces by his father Alan and the BBC presenter Anthony Hopkins. The opening work is an attractive piece by Katherine (Kitty) Parker, and other particularly noteworthy tracks are Dame Myra Hess’s famous arrangement of Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring and Dudley Moore’s Beethoven Parody "And the same to you". Nil points for the front cover of the booklet but included inside are nine pages of very informative notes by the soloist. Sparkling piano playing perfectly captured in Hyperion’s best sound should help us to smile through our tears at the demise of the printed JIM. PB
More recommended releases from Wilfred Askew
LAURINDO ALMEIDA & BUD SHANK QUARTET ‘The Brazilliance of .… Volumes 1 & 2’ Vol.1 (1953) 14 tracks incl. Atabaque; Stairway to the Stars; Noctambulism; Speak Low; Blue Baiao ...;Vol.2 (aka ‘Holiday in Brazil’ 1958) 10 tracks incl. Simpatico; Little Blue; Mood Antigua; Carioca Hills … Jasmine JASCD 271 (77:31) World Pacific albums.
THE ANDREWS SISTERS ‘Greatest Hits In Stereo’ (1961) & ‘Great Golden Hits’ (1962) arr. & cond. by Billy Vaughan / Vic Schoen 28 tracks incl. I Can Dream, Can’t I?; Pennsylvania Polka; Down in the Valley; The Shrine of St Cecilia; Rhumboogie; Rum and Coca Cola … Ti-Pi-Tin; Near You; Pistol Packin’ Mama; Don’t Fence Me In; Aurora; Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy … (Bonus tracks) I’ve Got to Pass Your House to Get to My House; One, Two, Three, Four; Sailor; Good Dreaming Sepia 1219(71:15) Original Dot recordings.
BROOK BENTON ‘Let Me Sing and I’m Happy’ Four Original Albums plus Bonus Singles 59 tracks incl. ‘I Love You So Many Ways’ (1960) Hold My Hand; May I ; Someone to Watch Over Me; So Close; In a Dream … ; ‘The Boll Weevil Song & 11 Other Great Hits’ (1961) Careless Love; My Last Dollar; Frankie and Johnny; Four Thousand Years Ago … ; ‘There Goes that Song Again’ (1962) When I Grow Too Old to Dream; All of Me; I Love Paris; Breezin’ Along with the Breeze; Lie to Me … ;‘Brook Benton Sings the Blues’ (1962) Chains of Love; Valley of Tears; My True Confession; Send for Mme; Looking Back … Jasmine JASCD 744 (156:43)
BING CROSBY ‘A Southern Memoir’ (1975) Orchestra cond. by Paul Smith 12 tracks incl. On The Alamo; Alabamy Bound; Caroline in the Morning; Georgia On My Mind; Sleepy Time Down South; Sailing Down The Chesapeake Bay; plus six alternative versions and Bing’s South Texas Quail Hunting Medley: Galway Bay; Mack The Knife; Surrey With the Fringe on Top; The Pleasure of Your Company Universal 372 489-5 (56:40) OriginalIy issued on LP in the UK by Decca.
EILEEN FARRELL ‘This Fling Called Love’ (1961) w. Percy Faith & His Orchestra 12 tracks incl. Hello, Young Lovers; Out of This World; Where or When; The April Age; The Party’s Over; The Faraway Part of Town …; Bonus tracks from ‘Together With Love’ (1962) w. André Previn, His piano and Orchestra 9 tracks incl. But Not For Me; Spring is Here; By My Self; Where I Wonder; Love is Here to Stay … Sepia 1222 (77:41) Original US Columbia recordings.
FERRANTE AND TEICHER ‘In A Soulful Mood’ (1974) & ‘Killing Me Softly‘ (1973) 24 tracks incl. Love’s Theme; Ain’t No Mountain High Enough; I’m Stone in Love With You; My Cherie Amour; Midnight Train to Georgia … Send in the Clowns; Ben; "Lady Sings the Blues" – Love Theme; Seesaw; Living Together, Growing Together; Don’t Ask Me Why … Vocalion CDLK 4491 (79:27)
FRED KATZ (Cello) & HIS MUSIC ‘Soul Cello’ + ‘4-5-6 Trio’ + ‘And His Jammers’ 2CDs 32 tracks incl. Country Gardens; Wayfaring Stranger; Time After Time; I’m Glad There Is You; Intermezzo; Come With Me … Sophisticated Lady; Isn’t It Romantic; Delia; Perdido; I’m Getting Sentimental Over You … Imagination; Old Folks; Sometimes I’m Happy; Ruby, My Dear; Dexterity …Fresh Sound FSR-CD 744 (122:58) Three US Decca albums.
ORIGINAL FILM SOUNDTRACK … PLUS ‘The Hustler’ (composed by Kenyon Hopkins) (1961)15 tracks; ‘Paris Blues’ (composed by Duke Ellington) (1961) 14 tracks; ‘The Long, Hot Summer’ (composed by Alex North) (1958) 7 highlight tracks Cherry Red ACMEM 224 CD (79:51)