26 May

Dateline December 2007

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Further to the report in our last issue, it was announced in September that Sanctuary Recordswould be closing down its UK recorded music business. The Group’s new owners, Universal, decided that they would concentrate on Sanctuary’s management arm which it stated in a press release was the more profitable side of the business. This tends to conflict with the impression previously given, where statements in recent months had suggested that expensive mistakes in promoting Sanctuary’s roster of artists (including Sir Elton John and Lulu) were the main cause of the financial difficulties. Apparently Sanctuary’s US recorded music operations are not affected, but the decision to close down the UK record business means the disappearance of popular labels such as Living Era and White Line. As we go to press we are still able to get supplies of CDs from Sanctuary’s distributors, but we have no way of knowing how much longer they will continue to be available. If there are any titles you particularly want (and in recent years there have been reviews in JIM of some interesting light music releases on both Living Era and White Line) we recommend that you should try to obtain them without delay.

RFS member Phil Stout has recently reported to us on his work as a Music Consultant with Music Choice, an American television company offering channels of various kinds of music. Of particular interest to readers will be the Easy Listening channel, which broadcasts uninterrupted music continuously for seven days a week. While the music is being played a suitable picture (usually a scenic view) is shown on-screen, together with details of the orchestra and title of the music. Sometimes there are photographs of the conductor, with extra information about their careers. From time to time items of trivia, associated with easy listening music, are scrolled across the screen. Phil tells us that it is often difficult to find decent photographs of the orchestra leaders. During a sample tape we saw Norrie Paramor, Frank Chacksfield, John Wilson, Percy Faith, Andre Kostelanetz, Franck Pourcel, Caravelli and many others; in total there are over 3,000 tracks in active rotation. Phil also provides a similar service for three other full-time channels: Singers and Standards, Big Band & Swing and Showtunes. Music Choice reaches over 30 million homes in the USA.

Readers who have spotted Paul Clatworthy’s reference to Laurie Johnson’s Rue de la Paix (in this issue’s ‘Big Band Roundup’) may be forgiven for wondering why this catchy melody has not yet been featured in the Guild ‘Golden Age of Light Music’ series of CDs. Although it was regularly being heard on BBC Radio in the early 1950s, it was not issued on a mood music 78 by KPM until 1960 so it is still in copyright.

RFS members will recall from recent issues of this magazine that Robert Farnon dedicated his Bassoon Concerto to the American virtuoso Daniel Smith. It is hoped that the UK premiere of this work (one of Bob’s last, which he based on his Saxophone Tripartite) will take place towards the end of next year. Daniel plans to be at our forthcoming London meeting, when he may have some more news about this eagerly awaited event. Meanwhile he is busily promoting his latest CD "The Swingin’ Bassoon" (Guild Zah Zah ZZCD9824) which will be launched at the Concert Jazz Club, in Thame, Oxfordshire on 28 November at 8:00pm. Daniel would be delighted to welcome some RFS members in the audience; if you would like to attend please contact Eddie Fowler on 01844 353117 for more details.

Some members may recall reading features in this magazine written by Mike Ellis. He was also a regular contributor to In Tune International, although he had been less prolific in recent years. Never one to shy away from being controversial, Mike had an encyclopaedic knowledge about quality popular music, and many of us will have learned much from his writings. Sadly he died on 3 September following a long illness, and we send our sincere condolences to his wife Marion and the family.  

ERIC COATES TO BE HONOURED BY BBC RADIO 3

In recognition of the 50th Anniversary of his death, Radio 3 is to make Eric Coates ‘Composer of the Week’ 17-21 December 2007. The programmes are likely to include a number of premier recordings, and we gather that John Wilson is going to be featured as today’s leading interpreter of Coates’ music.

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About Geoff 123
Geoff Leonard was born in Bristol. He spent much of his working career in banking but became an independent record producer in the early nineties, specialising in the works of John Barry and British TV theme compilations.
He also wrote liner notes for many soundtrack albums, including those by John Barry, Roy Budd, Ron Grainer, Maurice Jarre and Johnny Harris. He co-wrote two biographies of John Barry in 1998 and 2008, and is currently working on a biography of singer, actor, producer Adam Faith.
He joined the Internet Movie Data-base (www.imdb.com) as a data-manager in 2001 and looked after biographies, composers and the music-department, amongst other tasks. He retired after nine years loyal service in order to continue writing.