Keeping Track - Dateline March 2005
ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA Conducted by VIC LEWIS "Colours" Ochre, Red, Green, Sienna, Jade, Black, Mauve, Gold, Azure, Yellow, Grey. also "Russian Suite" excerpts, plus Romance for Violin (Lewis, arr. Rob Pronk). Vocalion CDLF 8112. Vic Lewis has been responsible for some exciting recording projects over the years, which have not always received the publicity that they deserved. Possibly "Colours" is a case in point. Originally on an RCA LP released in 1978, it has previously appeared on CD, but this new Vocalion release is far more attractive. Also it has extra tracks which were not on the original album. The idea for "Colours" was basically simple, yet imaginative: invite the leading composers and arrangers of the day to submit new works each depicting a colour, take the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra into the CTS Studios (October 1977), and allow the magic to flow. With contributors such as Malcolm Williamson, Ken Thorne, Kenny Clayton, David Morgan, John Scott, John Cameron and Randy Edelman – plus Robert Farnon (his Irena from "Shalako" renamed Mauve) and Vic Lewis’s own Red (a tribute to Shostakovitch, who had died the previous year) …the project was bound to produce some outstanding results. This is excellent value for money in all respects. David Ades
MANTOVANI Mantovani – By Special Request Guild Light Music GLCD5110 77:46 mins. [full track listing in JIM 161 – page 30]. My wife, who doesn’t share all my light music enthusiasms, likes Mantovani and thought this album sounded very nice. High praise with which I couldn’t agree more as it was in contention for my "CD Of The Year 2004". Three outstanding tracks are Monty’s ownSeptember Nocturne, featuring pianist Arthur Sandford; Blue Mantilla, written by Pedro Manilla, who bore more than a passing resemblance to the maestro himself; and Ronald Binge’s Whirlwind [an antidote to Sailing By!]. The trademark string sound was mint fresh in the early ‘50s and rings out on such tracks as my favourite Love’s Roundabout, but 14 of the 26 tracks are pre-Charmaine. I especially like Passing Clouds by Phil Cardew, and The Timbalero with its echoes of the conductor’s Tipica Orchestra. Ian Stewart’s Whistling Boy is in the long tradition of this orchestra’s novelty numbers. There are also film themes and a quartet of those terrific tangos. All in all a wonderful disc – I suppose it would be greedy to ask for second helpings? Peter Burt
MATTHEW CURTIS Orchestral Works VOL 2. Ring in the New; Romanza; Little Dance Suite; Irish Lullaby; Autumn Song; Graduation Day; Sinfonietta; Bon Voyage! Royal Ballet Sinfonia/Gavin Sutherland. Campion Cameo 2035 76:53 mins. Over the past twenty years Matthew Curtis has been delighting us with his melodic gifts. He will not delight the musical establishment, as ever since Sullivan it has down cried the writers of tunes. This disc, splendidly performed by the dream team of Royal Ballet Sinfonia and Gavin Sutherland includes a work of symphonic stature, 27 minutes long, but rather coyly styled Sinfonietta – the Irish inspired slow movement is beautiful indeed, the whole stimulatingly worked out. For the rest we have two examples of the British light concert overture (Ring in the New and Graduation Day) which come well up the order of merit in that huge genre, a march Bon Voyage!, a tribute to Gavin Sutherland (it briefly quotes his musical Little Woman), a Little Dance Suite, concise but with one or two surprises, and three rich slow movements: the earlyRomanza, the Elgarian Autumn Song and, written especially for this disc, Irish Lullaby. Curtis might not regard all these as light music, but we should salute him for helping keep light music’s traditions alive. Strongly recommended. Philip L Scowcroft
PETER CORK: Through the Looking Glass†; A Man of Kent*. †The Carroll Ensemble/Peter Cork. *Royal Ballet Sinfonia/Gavin Sutherland. Campion Cameo 2031, 51:28 mins. Peter Cork has spent most of his life (he is 77) teaching music (Dudley Moore was a pupil), but he has composed much for radio, TV and film and these concert works make very enjoyable listening. The suite Alice Through the Looking Glass (12 movements, 35 minutes – surely no-one will hear it complete in concert) is performed by ten instruments (wind quintet, string quartet, piano). It was inspired by Tenniel’s drawings, many of which are reproduced in the booklet and, as Peter Cork points out, these can be scary to a youngster. The music, even Jabberwocky, is not scary; generally it is shapely and tongue-in-cheek, whether it is depicting a train, Humpty Dumpty, The White Knight (who is seen as a kind of cowboy) or Alice’s Coronation. A Man of Kent, played by the admirable RBS under Sutherland, is a most attractive addition to the topographical suite repertoire; Romney Marsh andAlkham Valley rely largely on folk elements, the finale, The White Cliffs, reflects Dover’s maritime heritage. Do try this. Philip L Scowcroft
Guild Light Music
GLCD5111 – MIDNIGHT MATINEE
GLCD5112 – REFLECTIONS OF TRANQUILITY
As promised, here are two more GUILD releases, which bring the current total to a ‘round dozen’ – incredibly, these have all appeared within the space of 12 months. Midnight Matinee is the subtitle of Volume 2 of the 1950s, which introduces a whole new clutch of composers and orchestras. It begins with the eponymous Len Stevens composition, which to my ears is more than a little suggestive of the late Benny Green’s signature tune That’s Entertainment. Amongst the conductors we meet along the way are Hugo Winterhalter, Cyril Ornadel (accompanying the pianist Winifred Atwell) and Nelson Riddle, whose arrangement of The Shadow Waltz by Clive Richardson – alias Paul Dubois – is a far more voluptuous affair than the composer’s original concept; it was one of Riddle’s first recordings for Capitol records. Other orchestras include those of Richard Hayman, Ronnie Pleydell, Geoff Love, Johnny Douglas, Laurie Johnson, Axel Stordahl, Reg Tilsley and George Siravo. This time there are rather more ‘commercial’ tracks, including a couple from the small British Melodisc company. Publishers’ labels have not been totally ignored, however, and are represented by items from the Boosey & Hawkes, Chappell, and Paxton libraries, albeit recorded on the European mainland as a result of the Musicians’ Union embargo which was discussed in JIM 161. Comparing this new offering – and indeed Volume 1 – with the GUILD 1940s CD, it is most apparent that the light orchestral music of the early/mid ‘50s was evolving fairly rapidly, both in terms of compositional and, especially, performance styles. The character of much of the music is distinctly different – ‘smoother’ and ‘glossier’ are two words which come to mind – from its predecessors of only a few years earlier. Of course, this was happening to almost everything else: clothes, furniture, cars and architecture of the brave new post-WWII era all underwent what we would call today a ‘makeover’.Reflections of Tranquility embraces a relatively long time-span between 1946-1954. David Ades has created a compilation which is deliberately soothing and relaxing – just the thing for late-night listening with the lights dimmed, and accompanied perhaps by a glass or two of your favourite beverage…! Try Angela Morley’s Adrift in a Dream, Trevor Duncan’s Moon Magic, or the two Bob Haymes/Acquaviva tracks, and you’ll see what I mean. The formula is the usual GUILD combination of well-loved favourites, interspersed with equally worthy compositions deserving of the wider exposure which hopefully they will now receive. In common with Midnight Matinee, a good number of tracks originate from across the Atlantic. By the ‘50s, U.S. record companies such as MGM, Mercury and Capitol, together with Philips and Decca (who controlled the Brunswick label) found a steady market within the UK for American orchestral recordings, their popularity being given a considerable boost by regular airings on the BBC’s Light Programme. In the Publishers’ department, Chappell and Paxton are this time complemented by items from the vast Harmonic and Bosworth libraries. Both CDs contain a generous helping of tracks which, as I have remarked before, will surely jog many memories and evoke a great deal of pleasure. It hardly needs restating that the digital transfers are up to Alan Bunting’s usual impeccable standard; as the years progress – we are now well within sight of the first stereo recordings of the late ‘50s – it is likely that the sound quality will improve still further. From their inception, the GUILD CDs have attracted an enthusiastic following, with many RFS members placing a standing order for new releases as they are issued; for these collectors, and also to those who have not yet taken the plunge, both additions to this great series will not disappoint – in fact they are wholeheartedly recommended. Tony Clayden
THE LEGENDARY BOBBY DARIN Once in a Lifetime, More, Charade, Beyond the Sea, As Long as I’m Singing, Mack the Knife, On The Street Where You Live, Hello Dolly, etc… 24 tracks EMI Capitol 5945772, 66:17 mins. With all the publicity surrounding the Kevin Spacey film of Bobby Darin’s life story, it is hardly surprising that his own recordings should be reissued again. It seems incredible that he died over 30 years ago, because many of his performances still seem fresh in the memory. Some of the tracks feature live performances, rather than the original studio recordings. The CD booklet contains notes by respected writer Will Friedwald (although they are perhaps rather brief), but full recording details are given for each track. This is a fitting souvenir of a singer whose work seems to be gaining greater respect with the passing years. David Ades
THE BUTTON DOWN BRASS ‘Girl Talk’ Castle PIESD269. 18 tracks, 58:20 mins. Ray Davies was one of the top arrangers and session players in the 1960s and 70s. But he came to the public’s attention as the man behind The Button Down Brass who recorded a string of hit easy listening albums between 1968 and 1977. A lot of the early BDB Fontana material was collected on a previously issued ‘Best Of’ CD but here the PYE archives have been trawled for a more varied selection of material. This CD was actually issued as long ago as 2002 but somehow slipped by without attention, but is still available. It combines some superb tracks from Ray’s five PYE albums including the hard-to-find Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington tribute ‘Benny and The Duke’ (the master tapes of which were thought to be lost until recently). It’s a combination of jazz standards, film and TV themes plus some of Ray’s own pop/rock influenced titles which marked a change in the style from his earlier work and featured top session players such as Harry Stoneham and Alan Hawkshaw on keyboards and Alan Parker on guitar. These include Heavy Water, Hadrian’s Wall andMach 1 (all showcasing Alan Parker’s distinctive guitar solos), and the more laid-back lounge ofMartinique and Girl In The Green Dress. Ray also recently revealed that he was the writer of Truckin’(also included) which is credited to ‘Kendall’, which was actually his wife’s maiden name. And he was also the name behind the 1973 PYE/Cavendish big band offshoot ‘All In An Afternoon’s Work’ (credited to The Terry Cavendish Orchestra). That same year he also produced and wrote material for fellow session player Dennis Lopez’s Latin-rock PYE album Cinnamon Rock which was in similar funky territory. Sadly no tracks from these two albums are included here, although some of Ray’s other Cavendish titles are to be found on the recently released CD ‘Transmission Impossible’ for which Ray has also written an introduction. Today Ray is still busy writing mood music for Cavendish/Boosey (although he no longer plays the trumpet) including the impressive ‘Moviedrome’ where different styles of movie music are explored. He also keeps busy as the chairman of The Performing Rights Society Member’s Fund. Collectors of Ray Davis material may also be interested to know that in the mid-1980s he recorded some Latin albums for independent dance label Dansan as The Ray Davies Orchestra, and some tracks from these sessions have surfaced on some Dansan CDs (DACD011 and 012). Please see www.maestrorecords.com/raydavies_catalogue.html for information. ‘Girl Talk’ should be available from larger branches of Virgin and HMV and via the HMV website.
David Noades (with thanks to Ray Davies)
JOHNNY HARRIS ‘Movements’ Warner Bros 8122736022 11 tracks, 43:35 mins. Johnny Harris’ classic 1970 album ‘Movements’ has recently been re-launched on CD with improved artwork and corrected sleeve notes. Since it was last released in September 2002 it has come to light that the guitarist on these legendary sessions was not Mickey Gee (as erroneously listed on the sleeve notes and in my previously published Johnny Harris article) but Bill Parkinson. It seems that both had previously been guitarists in Tom Jones’ backing band The Squires, but it was Bill who provided the distinctive guitar sound (with wah-wah effects) which helped make ‘Movements’ the classic it is today. The album was recorded at The Olympic Studios in South London with Bill on guitar and Johnny Harris on piano, plus Harold Fisher (drums), Herbie Flowers (bass) Roger Coulam (Organ) and Harold McNair (flute). The only exception was Footprints On The Moon (which was released as a single), which was recorded earlier at Chappells in Bond Street with the same group plus a full orchestra. The same small group had also recorded the score for the movie ‘Fragment Of Fear’ that was the basis of the album but at The Teddington Studios, and it was re-recordings of these tracks, which graced ‘Movements’. Another track, Norwegian Wood, was also laid down at the same sessions but was shelved and used on Johnny’s next Warner Bros. album ‘All To Bring You Morning’, which was very much in the same style, but didn’t see the light of day until 1973. This album also included the epic 11 minute title track, which Johnny later reworked for some concerts with singer/actress Lynda Carter. Bill Parkinson was a busy session guitarist and had previously worked with Johnny Harris with Tom Jones on his legendary ‘Live at The Talk of the Town’ album and ‘Thirteen Smash Hits’, and went on to contribute to album sessions for Petula Clark and Shirley Bassey, also arranged/conducted by Johnny. The latter included the legendary Something which was recorded in Milan with Johnny Dean (drums) and Tony Campo (bass) with the rhythm section laid down first and the strings (and Ms Bassey’s vocals) added separately. Bill also appeared on various live performances with Johnny as conductor including Sammy Davies Jr, Vic Damone, Bobby Vee, and Petula Clark, including with the latter, the first ever televised live colour transmission in 1970 from the Albert Hall. With Tom Jones they also toured the USA in the late 1960s including some memorable gigs in Las Vegas at The Flamingo. One of these Vegas trips was turned into a holiday with Bill and Johnny hiring a private plane and visiting the sights including the Hoover Dam and The Grand Canyon. And Bill was also poached by Ralph Dollimore to play a few gigs with the Ted Heath Orchestra who was also touring the US at the time. Johnny relocated to North America in 1972 and is now a successful writer of TV movie scores and musical director at The Palm Springs Follies. Bill is still active in the music business in Britain and regularly tours as a session jazz guitarist and is also a successful artist. And he’s at last enjoying being recognised as one of the names behind the legendary ‘Movements’ album! Before the score for ‘Fragment of Fear’ (and ‘Movements’) bought his name to the attention of Hollywood Johnny was struggling to make a name for himself as a film composer. He initially penned a lot of advertising jingles but in 1969 he was commissioned to write some cues for some obscure German movies. Some of these have just been issued on a German CD called ‘Schwabing Affairs’ Diggler Records DIG 012, 17 tracks 44:45 mins. In a similar style to the previously issued ‘St Pauli Affairs’ this compilation sees a variety of themes and pop songs lifted from the obscure Munich-based comedy and soft porn films. The music dates from 1967 to 1972 and is up-tempo, kitsch, pop-beat with the accent on cheesy brass, Hammond organs and guitars (some with vocals). A variety of composers and styles are on display including Peter Thomas (kitsch pop), Martin Bottcher (bossa nova jazz), David Llywelyn – later with rock band Supertramp (soul-pop) as well as Johnny Harris: his contributions include the funky soul-grooves Let’s Beat It and Go Go Shake, which have a library music feel about them but were specially commissioned. Unfortunately the sleeve notes are all in German and so the background to the music and the films must remain a mystery to British readers (although looking at some the accompanying photos perhaps that’s for the best!). But this is a pleasant, upbeat collection which will appeal to collectors of kitsch, ‘sixties pop sounds. David Noades (with special thanks to Bill Parkinson)
Both CDs are available from larger branches of Virgin and HMV and via the HMV website. (See also Diggler’s website www.diggler.de for more information on ‘Schwabing Affairs’).
TO YOUR GUARD Marches – Hughes: The Guard’s Colours, To Your Guard; Ancliffe: The Liberators, Ironsides; Hall: General Mitchell, Death or Glory, The Red Men’s March; Crosse: Unter Den Linden;Stanley: Alamein; Mansfield: The Red Cloak; Walker: The Right o’the Line; Rimmer: Punchinello;Fucik: Fearless & True; Brigham: Colchester Castle; Plater: Ridgewood; Herzer: Hoch Heidecksburg;Latann: Frei Weg; Tulip: The Prince; Friedemann: Kaiser Friederich; Neville: Shrewsbury Fair;Bashford: By the Left!; Blankenburg: Back to (the) Camp. The Band of the Grenadier Guards, Director Of Music Major Denis Burton ARCM pcm. DROIT TRCD 235, 73:00 mins. An enterprising, imaginative and well chosen selection of British, American and European military marches including many, I suspect, that are not currently available on alternative recordings, and not a single one by Sousa! It was honestly no hardship or ordeal to play through the 22 marches on this disc at one sitting and simply marvel at the versatility and ingenuity showed by all the composers represented here whose task was to produce good strong tunes within the fairly restricted and disciplined medium of the military march. One suspects that the German composer Hermann Blankenburg had a continuous production line of military marches going for according to Colin Dean’s notes he apparently produced a mind boggling 1,300 of the genre, the majority of which have since been lost. A particularly novel item is Rodney Bashford’s By the Left! which cleverly interweaves bugle calls with popular army songs such as the evergreen "Bless ‘em All". A particular favourite of mine included here is Charles Ancliffe’s irrepressible The Liberators composed during the First World War to which I immediately returned for ‘an encore’ at the end of the disc which, incidentally, takes its title To Your Guard from a march by William Hughes who served for a time in the Scots Guards Band. Despite the minor irritant that individual times are not listed for each track this well recorded CD made in the Chapel, Chelsea Barracks is well worth exploring and I can safely promise that you will not feel short changed! Availability: from Discurio – Note new address. Discurio, Unit 3, Faraday Way, St. Mary Cray, Kent, BR5 3QW, Tel/Fax: 01689 879101. Visits are by prior appointment only (a mail order service is operated). Alternatively the disc should be available, or could be ordered, from the HMV Stores. The Specialist Recording Company CDs mentioned elsewhere in this feature are also available from Discurio. Roger Hyslop
‘ROSEMARY & THYME’, Music from the ITV series composed and conducted by Christopher Gunning Rosemary & Thyme theme; They Understand Me in Paris; Up the Garden Path; And No Birds Sing; Rosemary’s Chase; Orpheus in the Undergrowth; The Tree of Death; A Gracious Garden; The Memory of Water; The Gongoozlers; Laura’s Dash; Sweet Angelica; An Elegant Garden; Blown by the Wind; Swords into Ploughshares; Arabica & the Early Spider. Sanctuary Pure Classics PCACD002. Whether or not you are green-fingered or enjoy watching criminal detectives at work, you will love this CD of gardening and classical music mixed together by Christopher Gunning for the television series starring Felicity Kendal and Pam Ferris. Most of the compositions are original but famous classic tunes pop up from time to time – excuse the pun – adding up to a delightful pot pourri of modern light music. It matters not whether you have seen any of the series because the melodies stand alone, ranging from the brightest blossoms to the darkest and most sinister plots worthy of Sherlock Holmes at his best. Edmund Whitehouse
A HENLEY BANDSTAND Gounod: La Reine de Saba; Herold: Zampa; Percy Fletcher: Bal Masqué;Peter Yorke: The Shipbuilders Suite; Mussorgsky: Gopak (Sorochinsy Fair); Rimsky Korsakov:Introduction and Wedding March (Le Coq d’Or); arr. Nestico: A Cole Porter Spectacular; Kaps: The Eton Boating Song; Elmer Bernstein: Theme from the Magnificent Seven; Haydn Wood: The Seafarer;Laukien: Through Night to Light. The Band of the Grenadier Guards, DOM Major Denis Burton ARCM psm. Specialist Recording Company SRC123, 78:00 mins. On release of ‘An Irish Guards Bandstand’ (JIM No. 159 p.72) the Specialist Recording Company promised that this was the first of a series replicating typical programmes featured in the past at park and seaside bandstands. Now hard on the heels of that attractive disc comes ‘A Henley Bandstand’ this time featuring the Grenadier Guards Band and including along with light classics a very fair representation of British Light Music. Peter Yorke’s suite The Shipbuilders was included only recently by The King’s Division Waterloo Band in their ‘Northern Salute’ on Band Leader BNA 5180 (JIM No. 158 p.82), but this newcomer has the undoubted benefit of a distinctly superior recording. Good also to have in this collection are Percy Fletcher’s Bal Masqué and Haydn Wood’s The Seafarer. Naturally The Eton Boating Song makes an appearance and Colin Dean, who is chairman of the IMMS UK (Founder) Branch and provides the very interesting and informative notes for this new release, mentions that the composer Karl Kaps – a nom de plume for John Roberts – took the principal melody composed by a Captain Algernon Drummond and developed it into a very successful waltz sequence lasting near 8 minutes, and it’s delightful to hear such a familiar tune in this less familiar guise. One hopes the opportunity will not be lost in future issues of this series to include selections and pot-pourris from popular musical comedies and operettas from the Edwardian era and later which were such a mainstay of the bandstand of yesteryear. Meantime with vivid refined recording made at The Chapel, Chelsea Barracks, fine playing, very generous playing time and attractive art work, strongly recommended! Roger Hyslop
THE ROYAL ARTILLERY BAND – The Music of the Royal Artillery. The Royal Artillery Band, DOM Lt. Col. Malcolm Torrent LTCL LGSM psm CAMUS. Specialist Recording Company SRC131 76:00 mins. I hesitated to submit a review of the above disc on the grounds that some readers might feel it too peripheral for our magazine but hope the Editor will generously allow a little space to extol the virtues of this latest splendid offering from the Specialist Recording Company. The Royal Artillery Band taking a well deserved break from their complete Sousa Edition perform music with a strong affinity to this famous regiment who, incidentally, boast the oldest established symphony orchestra in Great Britain. What we have here – on 43 tracks (!) – are some fine marches with suitably appropriate titles such as The Gunners, The Little Gunners, Once a Gunner, etc., a splendid grand march by the Italian born Cavaliere Ladislao Zavertal Queen Victoria and two impressive fanfares by Frederic Curzon and Sir Arthur Bliss. And who could not thrill at the dignified, imposing and stirring strains of the Royal Artillery Slow March reputedly composed by HRH The Duchess of Kent, mother of Queen Victoria? Also making an appearance is Captain A C Green’s moving and poignant Sunset.Music much associated with the Senior Service when colours were struck on Royal Navy warships at the end of the working day. The centrepiece of this disc is a twelve minute audio depiction which seeks to recreate the celebrated Royal Horse Artillery The Musical Drive – a popular feature of countless Royal Tournaments down the years. The music blends traditional tunes such as Bonnie Dundee, Come Lasses and Lads, The Campbells are Coming, The Keel Row etc. with snatches from the Light Cavalry Overture and The Galloping Major. This CD proved to be an exceptionally enthralling 1¼ hours. The vivid resplendent recording – for the technically minded in 24 bit sound – was made at the Woolwich Town Hall. This latest release from SRC simply exudes quality and, with excellent art work, thoroughly deserves a mention in dispatches – I hope the editor agrees! Roger Hyslop
FRANK WEIR Frank Weir & His Saxophone The Happy Wanderer, From Your Lips, The Bandit, By Candlelight, The Never Never Land, The Little Shoemaker, Whistle Along The Road, Starlight Souvenirs, The Cuckoo Cries, Misty Islands Of The Highlands, Theme from ‘Journey Into Space’, Serenade To An Empty Room, Hold Me In Your Arms, Too Many Dreams, [Tinkle-Tinkletay] The Water Tumbler Tune, Whispering Leaves, I’m A Little Echo, Castles In The Air, Stein Song [University of Maine], Lily Of Laguna, The ‘Trek’ Song, Vieni, Vieni, The Story Of A Starry Night, By The Sleepy Lagoon, The Donkey Serenade, Oh! My Papa, Du bist mein Liebchen [You Are My Beloved], The Glow Of A Candle, My Love, My Life, My Own, I’ll Come When You Call, Thank You For The Waltz [Dear Stranger] Vocalion CDLK 4266 78.39 mins. Congratulations to Mike Dutton for resurrecting these recordings from this most talented and versatile Welsh musician. They consist of a 10-inch Lp and singles from Weir’s golden years at Decca in the 1950s, when he ranked alongside such light music luminaries as Black, Chacksfield, Farnon, Mantovani and Ros. The Happy Wanderer was the most popular tune of 1954 and this version spent a total of 19 weeks in the charts and went to No.4. The appeal of Weir’s version was undoubtedly his lilting soprano saxophone. The success of this recording meant the combination of 24-piece string orchestra, 12-voice male choir and his instrumental solos was to be Frank Weir’s stock-in-trade formula for almost all of his recordings for the next few years. There are other vocalists featured among the 31 tracks. One is the Swiss, Lys Assia, who was responsible for introducing O Mein Papa to this country and here sings her English language version. It is thought that the Theme from ‘Journey Into Space’was probably the only recording made of the cult BBC radio series tune. Serenade To An Empty Room is a very attractive mood piece. Weir’s third single in 1954 was a popular coupling of The Never Never Land, with a group of schoolgirls - Maureen Childs & The Little Tinkers - and The Little Shoemaker, featuring The Michael Twins. Other featured vocalists are Jean Hudson, Eula Parker, Janet Harrison, Gillian Harrison and Jean Marden. My favourite track The Cuckoo Cries was another title, like Weir’s biggest hit, introduced to the UK by the Obernkirchen Children’s Choir. It is great to have all these titles back in circulation as a reminder of a musician who does not deserve to be forgotten. Peter Burt
TANGO ROMANTICO INTERNACIONAL … 2 CD Collection (France) Marianne Melodie 041655, 46 tracks. It’s been a little while since we have seen a new compilation from Pierre-Marcel Ondher, but here he is with an entertaining 2-CD collection of Tangos, recorded between 1933 and 1953. Many of the orchestras will be ‘old friends’ to readers – Victor Young, Sidney Torch, George Melachrino, Mantovani, Victor Silvester, Frank Chacksfield and Leroy Anderson. There are also some distinguished ensembles from the Continent of Europe, among them Alfred Hause, Heinz Huppertz, Georges Boulanger, Werner Muller and Barnabas von Geczy. Most enjoyable! David Ades This 2-CD set can be obtained to special order through the RFS Record Service.
A COUPLE OF SONG AND DANCE MEN featuring Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Bojangles Robinson, Sammy Davis Jnr, Jack Buchanan, Danny Kaye, Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Ginger Rogers, Ann Miller, etc… Sanctuary Living Era CD AJA 5568, 76:23 mins. This could almost be called an RFS production! David Lennick has selected some memorable tracks, which have been expertly remastered by Alan Bunting. There are so many highlights that I won’t even try to identify them. But one title may intrigue: Ray Bolger sings Once In Love With Amy on a 10" Decca 78 that lasts 4:21mins. That’s not a misprint – the 78 (one side only) really does last that long, because I have it in my own collection. Dating from 1949, it may have been an attempt to transfer the ‘new’ LP technology to 78s. Who knows! David Ades
DEPARTMENT TV 30 tracks including Eye Level by The Simon Park Orchestra, Leonie, Soft Spectum, Downtown Motown & Touch Of The Bow Bells by Reg Tilsley plus tracks from Barbara Moore. Winchester Hospital Radio WHRCD501 (see advertisement on page 92). Welcome to Department TV. Come on in. Take a musical cocktail and sit down. Relax and enjoy this varied mixture of melodic tunes from the DeWolfe Music Library. This library has a wealth of tunes covering over five decades and has not been widely exposed at all. So for production music fans this will come as a breath of fresh air to be able to find so many tracks not heard elsewhere. For the connoisseur of light melody then this is how loungecore used to be before it became jazzy and trendy. Here we have a good mixture of tempos and melodies, punchy catchy numbers, a few vocalise swingle style tracks from Barbara Moore and some lovely orchestral instrumentation from Mr Reg Tilsley, who was a backing orchestra for the likes of Tom Jones. I must draw your attention to Soft Spectrum. This is a track that just melts with sophistication. You listen to this and you wonder why music like this cannot be produced today. This CD also includes the No. 1 Single Eye Level, which was the catchy theme used for the TV Series "Van Der Valk" starring Barry Foster as the Amsterdam detective. You can feel the drama unfold as this theme plays out and as usual with all CD’s that go to help the funds at Winchester Hospital the quality here is second to none. A lot of the big producers out there could not better the sound quality of this CD. So sit back and enjoy Department TV. Malcolm Batchelor
STANLEY BLACK conducts The London Festival Orchestra and Chrous ‘Music of a People’ / ‘Spirit of a People’. Vocalion CDLK4256, 92:41 mins (2 CDs for the price of 1). Two fine Decca Phase 4 albums (from 1965 and 1974) offer a thoughtful selection of traditional Jewish melodies, interlaced with a few popular hits from leading Jewish writers. The fine orchestra produces some wonderful sounds from the maestro’s inventive, yet sensitive arrangements. Stanley Black’s own original sleeve notes are supplemented with some biographical details by RFS’s Tony Clayden. David Ades
THE GREAT DANCE BAND VOCALISTS featuring Carole Carr, Anne Shelton, Alan Dean, Al Bowlly, Paul Carpenter, Beryl Davis, Eve Boswell, etc… Memoir CDMOIR587, 75:18 mins. Gordon Gray can always be relied upon to come up with interesting compilations, and he is well supported by Ted Kendall in the remastering department. Robert Farnon accompanies Paul Carpenter in Maybe You’ll Be There, and Bob is also the conductor (uncredited) on Getting Nowhere featuring Carole Carr with the Geraldo Orchestra. David Ades
VERA LYNN ‘Yours’ You’ll Never Know, Again, By the Fireside, I’ve Heard That Song Before, etc. 24 tracks Memoir CDMOIR588, 72:53 mins. This is an interesting selection, covering the years from 1943 to 1953, with several 78s arranged and conducted by Robert Farnon: You Can’t Be True Dear, My Thanks To You, Heartaches, Put Your Dreams Away, I Don’t See Me In Your Eyes Anymore, You’d Be Hard To Replace and Our Love Story. Other conductors include Len Edwards, Roland Shaw and Bruce Campbell. Ted Kendall’s digital remastering treats the material sympathetically. David Ades
The World of NAT ‘KING’ COLE EMI Capitol 560 6802. Marking the 40th Anniversary of Nat’s death on 15 February, this collection begins with Let’s Face The Music And Dance and ends with Stardust. In between you’ll find 25 other numbers that are all indelibly associated with one of the greatest popular singers of the last century. Of course, we’ve already got most of them safely filed away in our collections, but there will probably be a few tracks that may have escaped you previously. What is new, is the excellent booklet that accompanies the CD. Mainly the work of Nat’s daughter Natalie, the booklet is crammed with photos and other memorabilia, and happily the arrangers and conductors also receive their due credit. The only possible ‘extra’ would have been the inclusion of recording dates, but this is truly an outstanding tribute. A DVD is also due to be released around the end of February. David Ades
PERCY FAITH Columbia Singles, Volume 1: 1950-1951 [full track listing in JIM 161 – page 82][There are 28 tracks; some booklet listings are incorrect as they omit track 9, Goodbye John]Collectables Records [US] Col 7635, 78:32 mins. When I was nowt but a lad the only Percy Faith 78 single I possessed was Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride coupled with the piece appearing at the top of the above listing. I still have that record albeit with a bit broken out of it. Most of the other songs here, released in the first two years of Faith’s association with Columbia that was to last for close on three decades, were new to me so this release has been a journey of discovery. In fact, The Loveliest Girl and Come Home will be new to everyone, as they have not been previously issued in any format. All the tracks not credited with a vocalist feature a chorus. We are told that most of these titles were released in the hope of breaking into the hit parade. Imagine that today! Only three titles actually made it: I Cross My Fingers [Faith’s first appearance in the charts], When The Saintsand I Want to Be Near You. If you are happy with all the vocalising you will find this an enjoyable album. Several of the songs, like Hal David/Leon Carr’s There She Goes, are great fun if not great music. Unsurprisingly the best tracks come from the Gershwins, Lerner & Loewe, and Freed & Brown. Being our Percy, ‘though, everything is done well. [Since finishing this review I have found myself re-playing the CD quite often]. Peter Burt
PERCY FAITH Columbia Singles, Volume 2: 1952-1958 [full track listing in JIM 161 – page 82]Collectables Records [US] Col 7636, 74:41 mins. Even if the first volume was not entirely to my liking, I was looking forward to this album especially after reading the paean of praise from Alan Bunting, who liaised closely with Dan Rivard of Sony in the compilation of the collection. Alan has already mentioned two previously unreleased tracks -- they are Somewhere and Do I Need You --and Leroy Anderson’s exciting Pyramid Dance [Heart Of Stone]. These are three of the ten tracks appearing in stereo, some for the first time, having been remixed from the master tapes especially for this compilation. The others are Katsumi Love Theme, Never Till Now, Maria, The Impala Theme, Indiscreet, Same Old Moon, and Isle Of Paradise. One has to agree with Alan in lamenting that Faith did not record more Anderson titles or do a ‘West Side Story’ album. This is another release that will especially appeal to RFS members [and there are quite a number] who prefer the great arranger, conductor and composer with vocals. Peter Burt
PERCY FAITH I Think I Love You [Plus Bonus Tracks] Everything’s Alright; [Where Do I Begin] Love Story; Love The One You’re With; He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother; Easy Days-Easy Nights; The Green Grass Starts To Grow; I Don’t Know How To Love Him; I Think I Love You; My Sweet Lord; Rose Garden; Don’t Say Goodbye; The Time For Love Is Anytime [‘Cactus Flower’ Theme]; Peppermint Hill And Strawberry Lane; Theme For Young Lovers [Where Is My Someone]; I Can Hear The Music; The Godfather Waltz; Life Is What You Make It [Theme from ‘Kotch’]; Emmanuelle-The Joys Of A Woman Collectables Records COL 7653. In the summer of 1972 the LP of ‘I Think I Love You’ was hardly off our turntable at home. Before listening to this CD version my thoughts were that I must have been more tolerant of Percy Faith’s Chorus then than I am now. It was after this album that I believe Faith yielded to protest from his "hard core" listeners [significantly, I bought the original record in a WH Smith sale] and dropped the chorus altogether. But on re-hearing it I have to admit that the rock-influenced arrangements are good, the singing crystal clear and the sound recording fine. Pity about the fade-outs but they are part and parcel of a ‘pop’ approach. I even think I prefer the two ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ songs in their vocal guise to Faith’s instrumental versions on his album of that name, although not everyone will agree. The standout track for me is Burt Bacharach’s Green Grass. The CD is completed by seven singles also from the early ‘70s; ’76 in the case of the last track.
DAVID ROSE Holiday For Strings [full track listing in JIM 160 – page 29] Sanctuary Living Era CDA5499 75.43 mins. As soon as I joined the RFS I sought to fill a gap on my CD shelves by ordering from our Record Service a cheap-as-chips disc called The Stripper by the David Rose Orchestra – presumably without David Rose. The selection here is the real thing: 25 original recordings spanning the years 1942 to 1952. There’s no Stripper, nor that other million seller Calypso Melody, but there are 11 titles penned by the man himself including the title tune from 1944 that made him famous and gave him his first million seller 14 years later, as well as Dance Of The Spanish Onion, Our Waltz, One Love, Manhattan Square Dance, American Hoe-Down, Serenade to a Lemonade and Parade of the Clowns, etc. I especially liked the pizzicato led Gay Spirits. Rose’s arrangements of the remaining 14 numbers are all interesting. The start of Serenade [The Student Prince] sounds as if it’s going to be Begin the Beguine, and Someone to Watch Over Me includes a quotation from Clair de Lune. The final number, Harlem Nocturne, features the alto-sax of no less a luminary than Woody Herman. The sound is good although I did find all those high strings a tad tiring to listen to at one sitting, but that could just be me. Without doubt, this album is another admirable addition to Sanctuary’s long list of re-issued 78s on CD. Praise, too, for the booklet cover design.Peter Burt
THE PLAYFUL PACHYDERM Classic Miniatures for Bassoon & Orchestra My Teddy Bear (Ganglberger); Romance (Elgar); Allegro Spiritoso (Senaille); Walking Song from Appelbo (Swedish folk tune); Mist-covered Mountains (Scottish folk tune); Piece (Faure); The Playful Pachyderm (Vinter); Four Folk Songs (Vaughan Williams); Bonny at Morn (Northumbrian folk tune); Lucy Long (Godfrey); Funeral March of a Marionette (Gounod); The Old Grumbler (Fucik); Habanera (Ravel); Carnival (Hume); The Bassoon (Ashlyn). George Perkins with the New London Orchestra conducted by Ronald Corp Hyperion CDA67453. Rather like the bass singer in opera, the bassoon is something of a neglected and side-tracked constituent of music. How pleasing, therefore, that this CD redresses the balance and delights under a title which conjures up a mischievous circus elephant, easily imagined in musical bassoon form. All the old favourites are there plus many new ones and jolly good they are too. Edmund Whitehouse
MANTOVANI & HIS ORCHESTRA Old And New Fangled Tangos Whatever Lola Wants [Lola Gets], Blue Tango, Tango delle rose, A New Fangled Tango, Music Box Tango, Adios muchachos, Besame mucho, Hernando’s Hideaway, Blaue Himmel [Blue Skies], Takes Two To Tango, The Rain in Spain, The Orange Vendor Folksongs Around The World Aura Lee, Skip To My Lou, The Streets Of Laredo, Shenandoah, The Blue-Tail Fly, Red River Valley, Oh! Susanna, Au Clair de la Lune, Frère Jacques, Du, du liegst mir im Herzen – introducing Lieber Augustin, Addio a Napoli, Rosa, Greensleeves – introducing Love Is Kind, Early One Morning, Annie Laurie, Wi’ A Hundred Pipers, All Through The Night, The Minstrel Boy, Two Guitars, Moon On the Ruined Castle, Hava nagila Vocalion CDLK 4265, 75 mins. No sooner had I expressed the hope, in JIM160, that these two albums might be on Mike Dutton’s list of intended re-issues, than here they are. Monty has always had a way with tangos and ‘Old and New Fangled Tangos’ from 1967 is a nice mix of the ‘classical’ with more modern tunes, some of which are not normally thought of as standard tangos. It is good to have Goehr’s clever Music Box Tango back in circulation. Another of my favourites, The Orange Vendor, is credited to Rodilo, who bore more than a passing resemblance to Mantovani himself. The newer tunes are all well suited to the tango rhythm, although we would expect nothing less from this conductor. The Tijuana trumpet led A New Fangled Tango is great fun. ‘Folksongs Around The World, from three years earlier, is a lush presentation that some will think is too syrupy to be always appropriate. It features traditional folk songs of America [arranged Cecil Milner] and from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands [arr. Roland Shaw], the British Isles [arr. Milner], and Russia, Japan and Israel [arr. Mantovani]. It is unique in including a track, Wi’ A Hundred Pipers, without a single violin. The sound was the best Mantovani had received at that time and the arrangements are nothing if not colourful. I loved it. Peter Burt
MANTOVANI & HIS ORCHESTRA with RAWICZ & LANDAUER Music From The Films Warsaw Concerto, Serenata d’amore, The Dream Of Olwen, The Legend Of The Glass Mountain, Story Of Three Loves - Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, Cornish Rhapsody Film Encores My Foolish Heart, Unchained Melody, Over the Rainbow, Summertime In Venice, Intermezzo, Three Coins In The Fountain, Love Is A Many-Splendoured Thing, Laura, High Noon, Hi-Lili Hi-Lo, September Song, Theme from "Limelight" Vocalion CDLK 4255, 70:18 mins. This 2-on-1 brings us a superior selection of film music under the baton of maestro Mantovani. On ‘Music From The Films’ -- including the best of what Steve Race called "Denham concertos" [most films emanating from the British studio at that time seemed to have a full-blown piano pseudo-concerto on the soundtrack] -- he is joined by pianist friends Maryan Rawicz and Walther Landauer, who in the 30s, 40s and 50s were highly respected [even if we teenagers did sometimes call them Rabbits and Laundry] and immensely popular in the UK. The beautiful Serenata d’Amore is another of Mantovani’s own compositions. This was Monty’s first stereo Lp in 1958 and is a winner all the way. ‘Film Encores’ was originally released the previous year in mono and re-recorded in stereo, also in 1958, and is another five-star album. The sweeping strings at the start of My Foolish Heart are memorable. Three Coins has a magical ending, and Love Is is magnificent; I have yet to hear a finer version. The "Limelight" Theme is also v. good -- what an admirable tune that is. Monty’s many fans will not hesitate to add this CD to their collections. Neither should anyone else. Peter Burt
The very best of PEARL BAILEY EMI 724387493926, 73:47 mins. The "boffins" at EMI have certainly been busy (see Big Band Roundup). Pearl’s strident Cabaret singing has always passed me by and this one is no exception! Twenty six tracks arranged by her husband Louis Bellson and Don Redman compiled by obvious fan Lee Stevens, some for the first time on CD or not previously available. Call me Irresponsible has some pleasant string writing but the strings are drowned out onThe second time around by her nasal voice, far too forceful for me! Pearl sometimes talked the lyric and those lyrics could be pretty explicit! The tracks contained here exclude the more risque songs (saved for another album which I know exists). Pearl played often in England starring in "Sunday night at the London Palladium" and "The Talk of the Town". She also had parts in many Hollywood films. Come fly with me is totally murdered on this album but perhaps that's just me! For fans only.Paul Clatworthy
TONY BENNETT The Art of Romance Close enough for love, All in fun, Where do you start, Little did I dreamI, I remember you, Time to smile, All for you, The best man, Don't like good-byes, Being alive, Gone with the wind RPM Records/Columbia 5188692, 44:29 mins. By the time this appears in print I'm sure many copies will have been sold. Something to cherish, Tony back with the mastery of Johnny Mandel! Being a perfectionist Johnny only had time to do five of the arrangements but he conducts all but two songs. It seems ages since rumours circulated of the recording taking place - I suspect time taken up by extensive editing and retakes! Tony's voice falters on occasions but still worth the wait! Tony turns in his best album in some while, some of the songs have been visited before but this is still an enthralling piece of work, continually revealing fresh nuances, graces and delicate shadings. I could listen till the sun comes up! Jorge Calandrelli and Lee Musiker scored the other songs and also deserve praise. If you buy for the singer or the backings, this is class! If you buy for both you have struck gold! Paul Clatworthy
Midnight Jazz EMI 724386686121 Double CD, 143:10 mins. Yet another compilation! Thirty tracks of anything but "edgy" jazz but mercifully not all ‘smooth’ which for me is a label to steer clear of!Moonlight in Vermont reminds the listener of what a great piano player Nat King Cole was although he gained greater fame with his singing. Lou Donaldson plays a very ‘bluesy’ Down home; Lou Rawles is listed as singing Willow weep for me but instead we get St James's Infirmary either a typo error or the compilers attention wandered! Days beyond recall featuring Sidney Bechet is too ‘traddy’ to be included. Autumn leaves by Miles Davis, Oh you crazy moon by Peggy Lee, Sweet stuff by Horace Silver and How long has this been going on by George Shearing make disc two the better selection. If you have not got the tracks elsewhere and EMI sell at the right price good backdrop for a night in of your choice. Paul Clatworthy
MUSIC FOR A FESTIVAL: Bax: Royal Wedding Fanfare, Elgar: Sursum Corda Op11, Pomp & Circumstance March No. 4 in G Major Op39, Vaughan Williams: English Folk Song Suite, Milhaud:Suite Francaise, Gordon Jacob: Music for a Festival, Arnold: Homage to the Queen. The Band & Fanfare Trumpets of HM Royal Marines School of Music conducted by Lieutenant Colonel F Vivian Dunn CVO OBE FRAM RM with Barry Rose (organ). Eastney Collection RMHSEC010 64:00 mins. This latest distinguished arrival from the Eastney Collection boasts three significant original works for wind band. Vaughan Williams’ English Folk Song Suite received its first performance at Kneller Hall in 1923 and in the version under review comes up delightfully fresh, bracing and invigorating. Milhaud’s fairly lightweight and engagingly tuneful Suite Francaise with movements carrying the titles of French provinces was a product of his stay in the USA during the Second World War and contrasts effectively with the more serious and weighty Music for a Festival which lends its title to this CD – for which recording sessions the composer Gordon Jacob was in attendance. Of the eleven movements of this fairly lengthy piece eight are included on this disc. The music was originally commissioned by the Arts Council of Great Britain for the 1951 Festival of Britain. The claims of this disc are enhanced further by resplendent performances of Elgar’s Sursum Corda – the Latin for ‘Lift up your Hearts’ – and Malcolm Arnold’s Homage to the Queen – in its original form a full length ballet – in which the Royal Marines Band is joined by the weighty tones of the Guildford Cathedral organ with Barry Rose at the console. It’s almost superfluous to add that the playing of this accomplished band in challenging repertoire is peerless and with good recording a wonderful and glowing testimonial to the talent and genius of Vivian Dunn who was surely a towering figure in military music in the last century. Roger Hyslop
ELGAR: Pomp and Circumstance Marches No. 2 in A minor Op 39, No. 4 in G major Op 39, Cockaigne Overture Op 40 Serenade, The Wand of Youth – 2nd Suite Op 1b, Sérénade Mauresque Op 10/2, The Severn Suite Op 87. The Band of The Grenadier Guards, DOM Lieutenant Colonel P E Hills FLCM, psm. Specialist Recording Company SRC 105 73:00 mins. The Specialist Recording Company and The Band of the Grenadier Guards here revisit Elgar – Volume one is available on SRC 101, not reviewed in JIM. Both Pomp and Circumstance Marches are played here with commendable and predictably crisp precision. On the other hand, I approached the expansive Cockaigne Overture with some little apprehension since this is certainly a challenging and daunting piece for any wind band to tackle but The Grenadiers carry it off with aplomb and superb professionalism in an exceptionally well judged and well paced performance. I found their rendition entirely convincing not missing the strings of an orchestra to any significant extent, all helped no doubt by excellent, vivid recording. All the transcriptions here are effectively done by such well known figures as Dan Godfrey – both senior and junior – and Henry Geehl. The Severn Suite was, of course, originally scored for brass band as a test piece for the 1930 Crystal Palace Brass Band Championship and works exceptionally well in this arrangement for military band. Incidentally one of the items on this disc is a little known late published work Serenade, one of three miniatures originally for piano. Recommended strongly particularly as the standard of technical expertise and musicianship displayed here and by all our premier military bands has never been higher and yet they continue to be denied access to the national airwaves to showcase their considerable and indisputable talents. The recordings were made in November 2001 prior to the retirement of Lieutenant Colonel Hills as DOM. Roger Hyslop
A NORWEGIAN BANDSTAND: Borg: Den norske Armé og Marines Revelje, Den norske Armé og Marines Tappenstreg, Svendsen: Carnival in Paris, Okkenhaug: Lyric Dance, Thingn Æs: The Clown,Hansson: Valdres March, Grieg: Norwegian Dances, Gudim: Eg ser deg utfor gluggen, Johansson:Holmenkollen March, Halvorsen: Norwegian Rhapsody No. 1, Grøndahl: New Circus. Royal Norwegian Navy Band, Principal conductor: Leif Arne Tangen Pedersen. Specialist Recording Company SRC 122, 67:00 mins. For the latest in their highly imaginative ‘Bandstand’ series the Specialist Recording Company have ventured intrepidly across the expanse of the North Sea to produce a Norwegian version engaging the services of the excellent Royal Norwegian Navy Band established in 1820 and currently comprising some 29 musicians. Greig’s endearing Norwegian Dances will probably be the most familiar item in this concert for most collectors and is sensitively and idiomatically treated here in a highly effective transcription for wind band. Johann Svendsen is represented by probably his most popular work namely the ebullient Carnival in Paris, the arrangement being made by the ubiquitous Dan Godfrey, whilst Johan Halvorsen chiefly remembered today by his very popular march ‘Entry of the Boyars’ and like Svendsen a composer of symphonies makes his appearance with the first of two Norwegian Rhapsodies. Also here is a somewhat jauntyLyric Dance by Paul Okkenhaug and a short 3 movement suite by Frode Thingn Æs The Clown which features a prominent solo cornet. Hanssen’s Valdres March described by fellow composer Ole Olsen as the finest march he had ever heard was included in an orchestral version as part of a collection of Norwegian Classical Favourites by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Bjarte Engeset on NAXOS 8.557017 apart from which the two discs are entirely complementary as to their respective contents. In sum there is much attractive and interesting music here in nicely contrasting styles from orthodox military music to a ‘big band’ effect in the Gudim piece which is based on an old Norwegian Folk song and all rounded off neatly by a particularly engaging march by Oscar Borg Den norske Armé og Marines Tappenstreg which apparently translates as ‘The Reveille and Taps of the Norwegian Army and Navy!’ An unusual but inherently tuneful and thoroughly absorbing release, vividly recorded and anyone looking for something a little ‘off the beaten track’ will be well rewarded by purchasing this CD. Roger Hyslop
LEROY ANDERSON The Waltzing Cat The Typewriter, The Waltzing Cat, Fiddle Faddle, A Trumpeters Lullaby, Horse & Buggy, Plink Plank Plunk!, Belle of the Ball, The Irish Washerwoman, The Last Rose of Summer, The Phantom Regiment, Pyramid Dance, Blue Tango, Bugler’s Holiday, Sleigh Ride, The Syncopated Clock, Chicken Reel, Piano Concerto in C Major. Melbourne Symphony Orchestra conducted by Paul Mann, with Simon Tedeschi (piano) ABC Classics 476 1589, 68:00 mins. An unexpected but very welcome release from the Australian Broadcasting Commission on their ABC Classics Label of the music of Leroy Anderson made so more so by the inclusion of the rarely performed or recorded three-movement Piano Concerto in C Major – the composer’s only extended orchestral work, playing for about 20 minutes. The music is inimitably and recognisable in his own idiom and style but with occasional hints of Rachmaninov. The concerto was written in 1953 and the composer conducted the first performance with Eugene List as soloist but according to James Koehne in his informative notes was withdrawn immediately afterwards for revision which in the event Anderson never got round to. It only surfaced again in 1989 when his executors allowed the concerto to be finally published in its original unrevised form. There is a rival recording on a difficult to obtain Telarc CD-CD-80112 with Stewart Goodyear as pianist with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra conducted by Erich Kunzel and coupled with music by fellow Americans George Gershwin, Scott Joplin, Morton Gould etc. On the present disc you get more music by Leroy Anderson including many old favourites but one or two novelties such as Chicken Reel and Pyramid Dance which currently lack modern recordings. Good committed playing from the Melbourne Orchestra and exemplary well detailed recording. Perhaps one or two individual items are played with a little more restrain than we are used to from American recordings but this is still a very worthwhile addition to the Anderson discography and I imagine the inclusion of the rare Piano Concerto will enhance the disc’s attractiveness to potential buyers. Well worth seeking out! Roger Hyslop
PASSING IN A Life on the Ocean Wave (Russell), Markers Call/Divisons Call (Trad.), Sea Shanties (Trad.), Auld Lang Syne (Trad.), On the Quaterdeck (Alford), By Land and Sea (Alford), Heart of Oak (Boyce), The Thunderbirds (Gray), Rule Britannia (Arne), Scipio (Handel), Defence of the Realm (Weston), The Captain General (Dunn), Soldiers of the Sea (Dunn), Washington Greys (Grafulle), The New Colonial (Hall), Barnum and Bailey Favourite (King), On Parade (Elms), Shrewsbury Fair (Neville), Wellington (Zehle), The Invincible Eagle (Sousa). Band of H.M. Royal Marines, Plymouth. D.O.M. Major P. Weston M.Mus., A.R.C.M., L.R.S.M., R.M. Introduced and Narrated by Commodore D.W. Pond R.N. CLOVELLY CLCD13604, 61:00 mins. A fascinating and imaginatively conceived disc giving an excellent insight into the ‘Passing In’ parade at H.M.S. Raleigh, Torpoint, Cornwall in which new entrants after 8 weeks initial basic training make the formal and somewhat dramatic transition from ‘civvies’ to sailors as the ‘Pass In’ to the Royal Navy. There is an interesting, informative and succinct commentary interpolated at several points by Commodore D.W. Pond R.N. Playing through this CD with one or two occasional shouted orders setting the scene gives one the distinct feeling of being transported to the parade ground of this naval establishment hopefully perhaps as a passive observer rather than an actual participant doubtless under the gimlet eye of a seasoned C.P.O.! The programme which was recorded in the band complex rather than the parade ground includes a fine selection of marches by some of the giants of the genre – Alfrod, Dunn, Sousa and even a certain Mr. Handel! There’s also a recent piece – Defence of the Realm – by the current D.O.M. of the Plymouth Band, Major P.A. Weston. All credit to Clovelly for releasing this disc with all dispatch since the recording sessions took place in late September 2004 and the disc was in my hands by mid November 2004! Recording quality is full and brilliant and it’s difficult to imagine finer playing than we get here from the Plymouth Band. So full marks to Clovelly and the Senior Service for such an unusual, enterprising, and engrossing disc. Despite the armchair ‘square bashing’ this CD has given me great and stimulating pleasure – there is absolutely no danger of ‘nodding off’ and is cordially commended not least for the great musical experience. Roger Hyslop
DAVID HUGHES Great British Song Stylist Castle PLSCD738. 20 tracks for around £2.99 from the Fifties "pop" career of this fine artiste who became a celebrated opera singer and died aged 47. Among the songs are I Talk To The Trees, Rags To Riches, With These Hands, Bridge Of Sighs, Wild Horses, and If I Had Wings. But the disc would be worth the modest price if it only featured David’s duets with Jo Stafford, Let Me Hear You Whisper and One Love Forever, one of the first "Records of the Century" [78 rpm, of course] on the then new Philips label. Peter Burt
FRANKIE LAINE "I Believe" I’m Gonna Live Till I Die, Shine, That’s My Desire, We’ll Be Together Again, I May Be Wrong, The Cry of the Wild Goose, Mule Train, Your Cheatin’ Heart, Jezebel, Rose Rose I Love You, etc.. 27 tracks Memoir CDMOIR586, 75:09 mins. Many of Frankie Laine’s biggest hits are here. It’s incredible to think that all these tracks are over 50 years old!
BILLY MAY – A Tribute Cherokee, American Patrol, Clambake in B Flat, Lazy River, Memphis in June, Fat Man Mambo, Minor Mambo, All of Me, My Silent Love, etc… 27 tracks Sanctuary Living Era CD AJA 5575, 78:03 mins. So much has been written about Billy May during the past year, and Living Era are joining a growing list of record companies who are reissuing his vintage recordings. As well as his own orchestra, this CD finds May scores for Charlie Barnet, Glenn Miller and Charles LaVere.
THE ROYAL MARINES PLAY BRITISH MUSIC Salute to the Colours (Dunn), Cockleshell Heroes (Dunn), The Globe and Laurel (Dunn), Jupiter – The Planets (Holst), March – Suite No.2 in F Major (Holst), I Vow to Thee My Country (Holst), Country Gardens (Grainger), Drakes Drum (Stanford), The Old Superb (Stanford), The Little Admiral (Stanford), The Contemptibles (Stanley), Sea Songs (Vaughan Williams), Scherzo – Music for a Festival (Jacob), Welcome the Queen (Bliss), Call to Adventure (Bliss), The Churchill March (Grainer), Orb and Sceptre (Walton), Pomp and Circumstance March No.1 in D Major Op.39 (Elgar). Band and Fanfare Trumpets of H.M. Royal Marines School of Music, conducted by Lieutenant Colonal F. Vivian Dunn C.V.O., O.B.E., F.R.A.M., R.M., with Frederick Harvey (baritone), David Bell and Barry Rose (organ). EASTNEY COLLECTION RMHSEC009, 66:00 mins. The latest release from the Eastney Collection is to be the more warmly welcomed since it gives us the all too rare opportunity to hear again the fine baritone voice of Frederick Harvey whose career was abruptly terminated by and early death at the age of 59 in 1967. He was a Devon man born in Plymouth and served throughout the Second World War in the R.N.V.R. undertaking a number of recording sessions with the Royal Marines Orchestra, Portsmouth Division under a certain young Captain F. Vivian Dunn so was perhaps uniquely qualified for performing some of Stanford’s Songs of the Sea and Fleet. Never was this considerable talent more challenged than in the tongue twisting ‘Little Admiral’ which required crystal clear articulation for its full effect and in which this gifted singer negotiates through tricky waters with consummate ease. Several of the tracks originally appeared on an HMV LP ‘Music of the Sea’ released in the early 1960’s the cover of which was graced by and illustration of a painting of HMS Victory and a fine official photograph of the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes. Despite the claim that the recordings range in date from 1953 to 1968 which would imply a mix of both mono and stereo tracts careful listening on headphones would appear to reveal that all have two dimensioned sound imaging. Notwithstanding there is little variation in the more than acceptable sound quality throughout this disc which is brought to a resounding conclusion by a splendid and frisson inducing Pomp and Circumstance No.1 complete with the full blooded panoply of organ joining the band in the final reprise of the famous trio tune. This latter recording made in Guildford Cathedral in 1968 is historically significant as Brian Culverhouse in his introductory notes to this release states that this was the final recording Sir. Vivian made for EMI under whom he was contracted with the Royal Marines Band Service although of course he went on to make a number of commercial recordings with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Light Music Society Orchestra. A self recommended disc, a valuable addition to the steadily expanding Eastney Collection and a superb reminder of Sir Vivian’s outstanding musicianship. Roger Hyslop
FRANK CHACKSFIELD & HIS ORCHESTRA Black Satin Chill Samba (Fones); Isla Del Sol (Wilson); Blue Baion (Aldrich); Pacific Blue (Chacksfield); Sleepy Time Bossa Nova (Frith/Turner); Heidi (Nash); Winter Dreams (Alstone/Chacksfield); Fernando (Rey); When It's Twilight In Capri (Gurner); Barbiroussa (Warren); Mexican Doll (Rey); Tamoretta (Mellis/Senicourt); Black Satin (Warren); On The Tamiami Trail (Vezey); Autumn Romance (Fones); Dreamy Eyes, Dreamy Girl (James/Scott); Just Like A Leaf In The Wind (Warren); Solitario (Loublique); Tenerife (Fenoulhet); Make You Happy (Langford); Soho Samba (Harrison/Johnson/Pugh); Soft Lights (Harris/Waugh). Prestige Elite Records CDSGP0961. West of Sunset Cuban Boy (Chacksfield); Capri Serenade (Ballerini); Jumpin' Jupiter (Harrison/Johnson/Ross); Cheeky Cha Cha (Fones); Inishannon Serenade (Chacksfield); Singapore Girl (Fones); La Nina Callada (Caffell); Miami 747 (Fones); Bless Your Heart (Chacksfield/Chester); Marylin (Fones); An Idle Dream (Hughes); I'll Be There (Fones); After All (Litchfield/Wills); Sahara (Ninaber); How Was It For You (Langford); Shadow Play (Caffell); Majorcan Holiday (Johnson/Litchfield); Jog Trot (Langford); West of Sunset (Hughes/Johnson/Pugh); Aperitif (Langford); Wedding In Schio (Fones); Ocean Sunrise (Vezey). Prestige Elite Records CDSGP0962. These two superb CDs were released in the UK towards the end of last year. I must admit that when I bought them, most of the tracks meant little to me but Frank Chacksfield's name was enough to entice me to obtain them. I am so glad I did. These are two very enjoyable CDs. Most of the tracks are very hummable, catchy tunes. There is a good variety of music from some slower, romantic tracks to quite a few faster paced up-tempo tracks. Some of the tracks have the trumpet as a lead instrument and a couple have the accordion as the lead instrument but all of the tracks are accompanied by the famous lush string sound of Chacksfield's orchestra. Six of the tracks are composed by Chacksfield, this includes the track titled Tamoretta attributed to Mellis/Senicourt. I understand that Senicourt is one of the many pseudonyms used by Chacksfield. I must say I didn't know that Chacksfield was such a talented composer. There is even a very enjoyable up-tempo melodic tune composed by Ronnie Aldrich titled Blue Baion. Apart from the very beautiful track titled Inishannon which appeared on the 1993 Chacksfield 'Streaks of Lavender' CD (NB long deleted CD), I believe that most if not all of the tracks on both CDs were not commercially available before. According to the CD sleeve notes, all of the music was licensed from music publishers Novello & Co. Limited. This is the company that owns Music Sales Limited, Chester Music, Bosworth & Co and other music publishers. I should make clear that the music on the CDs is not really themed in anyway. The tracks on both CDs are just an ad-hoc compilation of music licensed from Novello & Co. There is over an hour of music on each CD and the sound quality is really excellent and all at a low price of around £5.99 for each CD. Further information on these CDs can be obtained from the Prestige Elite Records Limited website at http://www.prestige-elite.com/ The CDs are available from all good record shops in the UK. They can also be obtained directly from Prestige Elite's distributors Pinnacle Entertainment who have a secure online shop for the public to use at http://www.pinnacle-entertainment.co.uk/ The CDs can also be obtained from the usual internet websites like HMV athttp://www.hmv.co.uk/ In summary, I would say that this is Chacksfield and lush beautiful orchestral music at its best. A must not just for Chacksfield fans but for all lovers of our kind of music. Do not delay in adding these CDs to your collection. Chris Landor