Keeping Track - Dateline June 2011
THE ASPIDISTRA DRAWING ROOM ORCHESTRA Happy Frog and Hot Canary The Happy Frog (Hanf); You are Forever My Favourite (Schmitz); You're Too Pretty (Kreuder); An Eriskay Lovelilt (Trad. arr. M Kennedy-Fraser); The Hot Canary (Nero); Tambourin (Gossec); Dreaming (Haydn Wood); The Goosetrot (Glahé); P? Vestlandsk Bondestemna (Grimstad); Mia Bella Napoli (Winkler); Romances de la Neva (Bakos); Fra Fredriksv?rn (Bull); Aus Eigensinn (Munsonius); Dream O' Day Jill (German); Roter Teufel (Plessow); The Belle of Brazil (Rubach); I Love Your Eyes of Grey (Haydn Wood); Fiddle Faddle (Anderson) (55:04) The discs of this eight strong orchestra are always eagerly awaited and this latest one, offering many quite rarely issued pieces, is as entertaining as ever. The ADRO field two singers '- Liz Menezes doubles also as a violinist and indeed as arranger '- both of whom have several opportunities. The 18 tracks are varied: foxtrots, tangos and other colourful, exotic numbers (The Belle of Brazil is a delight), lovely songs by Haydn Wood and Edward German, an 18th century piece of popular music (Tambourin, an opportunity for Ray Bell" piccolo), plus Scandinavian items, and they end with a particularly rhythmic account of Fiddle Faddle. All in all spirited playing, nicely recorded. Strongly recommended. Philip L Scowcroft
Available for £8.50 (plus £2 p&p in UK) from ADRO, 49 Bankside,
London SE1 9JE. More details at www.aspidistra.org.
BRIGHT AND BREEZY Guild GLCD5180 (78:52). For full track listing please see the Light Music CDs section of this website, or visit the Guild Music site where excerpts from all the tracks can be auditioned. You could almost hear the call "Lights, Camera, Action" prior to the opening number of this latest Guild release 'Bright and Breezy' which is also the title track by Peter Dennis: a typical show bizz/film opening number and newsreel backing of the 1950s, followed coincidentally or perhaps on purpose by Charles Williams' Jealous Lover which was used as the theme for Billy Wilder" 1960 film 'The Apartment', musical director Adolph Deutsch. The recording on this CD is by Billy Vaughn and his Orchestra and very good it is too. I've always thought of Vaughn as a jazz/swing musician but this is pure concert orchestra and Charles Williams would have given the thumbs up at this version I'm sure. This isn't the first time Charles Williams' music has appeared in an American feature film; one of his many Chappell mood pieces Barrage on C234 was used in 'The Rocketeer' (1991) as backing to a supposed Nazi propaganda cartoon and his name appears on the end credits. This sequence can be seen on YouTube. Upping the tempo somewhat we have the Harry Warren/Bob Russell number Carnival played by Les Baxter and his Orchestra followed by the Robert Farnon Orchestra with Bob" own arrangement of They Call the Wind Maria from 'Paint Your Wagon' and you can almost "see the wagon train crossing the prairie". I'm not sure that Ragazza Romanza as played by The Melachrino Orchestra comes under the banner of "bright and breezy", or Misty played by The Knightsbridge Strings, but Painted Carousels from the De Wolfe Library by Anthony Mawer and Bill Davies" Toy Town Trumpeters from the Josef Weinberger library certainly do. Ernie Freeman, sometimes known as Sir Chauncey (where do they get these monikers from?) and his Orchestra play a piece called Midi-Midinette and as I'd no idea what a 'midinette' is I checked out my Chambers Dictionary: it" a "young female worker, especially in the Paris fashion or millinery business" from the South of France and after all that it" not a bad piece either, the music I mean. The Starlight Symphony conducted by Cyril Ornadel give a super performance of Begin the Beguine from 'Jubilee' by Cole Porter with what sounds like a wordless chorus, then the tempo perks up courtesy of Reg Owen and his Orchestra with Bambalina which needed three writers, Vincent Youmans, Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein to pen it. Although not "bright and breezy" Bob Farnon" Players Cigarettes Commercials music Sea Shore played by Rawicz and Landauer and accompanied by Wally Stott" Orchestra make a pleasing contribution to the programme ... but back to the theme of the CD: Ivor Slaney" Stringendo, Dancing Daffodils by the Guy Luypaerts Orchestra and Up and Coming by the unsung Cyril Watters get the tempo back on track. Still up to speed is a topnotch recording on the Embassy Label of Marquina" Spanish Gypsy Dance by Jacques Leroy and his Orchestra, whoever he is or was. Go to the top of the class if you know. From the MGM 1936 film 'San Francisco' comes the title number in this splendid arrangement by Carmen Dragon who conducts the Standard School Broadcast Orchestra on a transcription disc recorded in Capitol Studios in 1960. The CD ends with a 1937 German recording of the Ernst Fischer suite 'South of the Alps' played by a Concert Orchestra conducted by Bruno Seidler-Winkler. A fine piece of Continental light music to end this 80th Guild Light Music release. Ken Wilkins
GORDON FRANKS AND HIS ORCHESTRA Orchestral In The Night Love in the Open Air; Brazil; It" Nice to Go Trav'ling; You Only Live Twice; Sweet Georgia Brown; La Ronde; The More I See You; A Girl in Calico; Ay Ay Ay; A Walk in the Black Forest; I Remember You; In Old Lisbon Strings In The Night La Dolce Vita; The Young Girls of Rochefort; Carnival; Les Parapluies de Cherbourg; Un Homme et Une Femme; Never on Sunda; Viva Maria; Jeux Interdits; Rocco" Theme; Mondo Cane; Rififi; La Strada Vocalion CDLK 4423 I bought this CD for the essential reason for me, the appeal of the songs. The sound quality is first-class. However my feeling is that for releases from 1967 the arrangements sound pleasant but dated, rather ten years back in time and as such somewhat uninspired. By comparison, for example, Frank Chacksfield and his arrangers had for me moved on better with interpretations of pop songs of the '60s era. Graham Self
RON GOODWIN & HIS ORCHESTRA Gypsy Fire & Rhythm and Romance CD 1: The Gypsy Fiddler; Black Eyes; The ritual Fire Dance; Adaluza; Hora Staccato; Gypsy Moon; Czardas; La Paloma; Bublitschki; Play Gypsy; Two Guitars; Hejre Kati; CD 2: South Rampart Street Parade; Temptation; Cherokee; Jealousy; I'll See You in My Dreams; Brazil; Stardust; Deep Purple; Laura; The Touch of Your Lips; Return My Love (Goodwin); Send in the Clowns Vocalion CDLK 4435 (45:42 & 42:50) After a long wait, how good to have not one but two of Ron" albums back in the catalogue, and both for the first time on CD. The first album, released in 1967, was produced by the legendary (now Sir) George Martin and has been described online as a "real light classic gem". I won't argue with that. The first track was composed by orchestra leader Ralph Elman. The second album, from nine years later, has an exhilarating opening that brings to mind Ron" Trumpet Volunteer on 'The Best of Sellers' 10" LP. The remainder of the album gives us Ron" stylish arrangements of three Latin American popular classics, and some of the best love songs in the business as well as Ron" own romantic number. The oboe led last track is as beautiful a version of Sondheim" evocative opus as I have ever heard. Liner notes by David Ades are as informative as ever. Among all the light music albums reviewed here, this release goes to the top of the pile and is my CD CHOICE for June. Peter Burt
CHRIS DEAN" SYD LAWRENCE ORCHESTRA A Night at the Movies Strike up the Band; Misty; Hooray for Hollywood; It" Magic; With a Song in My Heart; Laura; Put on a Happy Face; Marcel McTattie LeCoq; It" Alright with Me; Boulevard of Broken Dreams; Alexander" Ragtime Band; Tara" Theme; The Pink Panther; Smile; Bond Medley- Theme/You Only Live Twice/On Her Majesty" Secret Service/ Nobody Does it Better/From Russia with Love/For Your Eyes Only/Thunderball/ Live and Let Die/We Have All the Time in the World/Goldfinger Avid IMCD004 (60:45) Ever since the inception of the Hollywood musicals the movies have been a rich source of great songs for bandleaders, and this new release shows that the tradition is alive and well, and in good hands. Gershwin's opener was the title song for the musical play which made it to the silver screen in 1940. Like some of the other numbers it's played in the Roland Shaw arrangement, whilst Billy May and Nelson Riddle get a look in also. The selection provides plenty of variety, with a nice balance between instrumentals '- with precise ensemble playing punctuated by featured soloists '- and excellent vocals. I'm delighted at the inclusion of a number penned especially for the late much-missed Malcolm Laycock, which takes as its title his adopted soubriquet. I can pay this CD no greater compliment than to say he would have loved it. Barry McCanna
MANTOVANI & HIS ORCHESTRA An Album of Favourite Tangos and Waltzes Jealousy; A Media Luz; Araña de la Noche*; Besame Mucho; Tango de la Luna*; Red Petticoats*; Adios Muchachos; Blauer Himmel; El Choclo; La Cumparsita; Chiquita Mia*; Tango Delle Rose / Dear Love, My Love; Greensleeves; Mexicali Rose; It Happened in Monterey; Poème (My Moonlight Madonna); I Love You Truly; Lovely Lady; Love, Here Is My Heart; At Dawning; Was It a Dream; Love" Roundabout (Love Makes the World Go Round); Dancing with Tears in My Eyes [*composed by Mantovani]Vocalion CDVS 1967 (68:39) Having brought us all Monty" stereo output, Mike Dutton now looks as if he is turning his attention to the great man" mono albums. The 'Favourite Tangos' LP was originally recorded at Decca" West Hampstead studios between 20th June 1952 and 10th April 1953 '- the year in which it was released. It makes a fine companion to the later stereo compilation ('Old and New Fangled Tangos'/'Folk Songs Around the World' on Vocalion CDLK4265) with which it has four tracks in common. 'Favourite Waltzes' was the maestro" first 12-inch LP and comes from a year earlier although recording began in November 1951. It is an absolutely delightful compilation of melodies with that distinctive Ronald Binge orchestrated post-Charmaine "Marmite" string sound [love or loathe it] well to the fore but not excessively so. Once again Colin Mackenzie" liner notes enhance the listening pleasure. This is one of three Vocalion CDs priced at £2.99 although, as I have bemoaned before, virtually impossible to obtain at that price from the usual online suppliers. Orders direct to Dutton incur p&p charges. But, still, a great bargain! Peter Burt
PAUL MAURIAT & HIS ORCHESTRA Rhythm And Blues & The Paul Mauriat Orchestra 24 tracks incl. Respect; Unchain My Heart; I've Been Loving You Too Long; Natural Woman; Last Night; You Keep Me Hangin' On ... / El Bimbo; Mandy; Angie Baby; I Got a Name; Rock Your Baby; Have you Never Been Mellow ... Vocalion CDLK 4433 (72:46) One of "Les Grands Trois" of French light music maestros from the 1950s to the 1980s (the others being Franck Pourcel and Raymond Lefèvre), M. Mauriat will probably be quite well represented in our collections as there are over 220 of his albums listed at www.best-cd-price.co.uk. He had one of the largest recording catalogues featuring more than 1000 titles just from his Polygram years of 1965 to 1993. From this period here" a 2-on-1 disc of fairly undemanding Mauriat fare to add to your shelves. The conductor is responsible for all the arrangements on the second album, which features the Hawaiian guitar of Marcel Blanchi on Mauriat" own Pacific Holiday. Presumably Philips thought they knew what the public expected and did not bother with sleeve notes '- hence no liner notes here. Simon Peters
MELACHRINO & HIS ORCHESTRA The Music of Victor Herbert & The Music of Sigmund Romberg 24 tracks incl. Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life; March of the Toys; Gypsy Love Song; I'm Falling in Love with Someone; The Streets of New York; Italian Street Song ... Deep in My Heart, Dear; Lover, Come Back to Me; The Riff Song; One Alone; Wanting You; The Desert Song ... Vocalion CDVS 1968 (74:55) A further release at the lowest possible price point from another of light music" great conductors and orchestra. Both these RCA albums from 1960 are in stereo and it would be difficult to find a more melodic compilation. A review at the time described the playing as "splendidly vital and with an exceptionally live and immediate sound for the string choir". Herbert was born in 1859 (he died in 1924) and became the dominant and most influential composer, mainly in operetta vein, for the musical theatre in America. The selection here will be familiar to most. When I was growing up 'Desert Song, 'New Moon' and 'Student Prince' were standard fare for amateur operatic/dramatic societies throughout the land. All three shows are represented in the second album of best-known tunes from another American composer, the Hungarian-born Romberg (1887'-1951). Vocalion reprint Stanley Green" sleeve notes from the original LPs, and there is a most attractive booklet front. Fine stuff! Peter Burt
THE MELODY LINGERS ON 28 Radio Favourites 1952-1960 Marching Strings (Ray Martin" Concert Orchestra); Meet Mister Callaghan (Frank Chacksfield" Tunesmiths); Marianina (Norrie Paramor" Concert Orchestra); Violin Boogie (The Max Jaffa Quintet); Blue Tango (Ray Martin" Concert Orchestra); Theme From Modern Times ('Smile') (Ron Goodwin" Concert Orchestra); Delicado (Frank Cordell & His Orchestra); Gabrielle (Cyril Stapleton & His Orchestra); Little Red Monkey (Frank Chacksfield" Tunesmiths); Terry" Theme from Limelight (Ron Goodwin" Concert Orchestra); Jamaican Rumba (Mantovani & His Orchestra); Song Of The Sea (Canção do mar) (The Melachrino Orchestra); Serenade To Eileen (Stanley Black & His Orchestra); Carnavalito (Cyril Stapleton & His Orchestra); Cresta Run (Sidney Torch & His Orchestra); Violin Samba (The Max Jaffa Quintet); No Other Love (Ron Goodwin" Concert Orchestra); Zambezi (Joe Loss & His Orchestra); The Banks Of The Seine (Frank Chacksfield & His Orchestra); Stranger Than Fiction (Sidney Torch" Orchestra); The Lily Watkins Theme (The Melachrino Orchestra); Flamenco Love (Frank Cordell & His Orchestra); Lazy Cowboy (Ray Martin" Concert Orchestra); The Italian Theme (Cyril Stapleton & His Orchestra); Theme from Last Rhapsody (Stanley Black wIth Mantovani & His Orchestra); Red Cloak(Ron Goodwin" Concert Orchestra); The Windows Of Paris (Tony Osborne & His Orchestra); Theme from A Summer Place (Norrie Paramor & His Orchestra) Delta Bygone Days BYD77062 (73:00). This is the anticipated follow-up to the 'Journey Into Melody' CD reviewed in our last issue. Its success has prompted this speedy sequel, which contains a feast of splendid light music. If you regularly collect similar compilations you will probably have some of the numbers, but there should be sufficient new titles to encourage you to purchase '- especially as it is available at a bargain price. Congratulations to Peter Dempsey for compiling and annotating another entertaining feast of nostalgia. David Ades
WERNER MULLER & HIS ORCHESTRA Learn To Love & Sentimental Journey 22 tracks incl. Let" Stay Together; With You Gone; You're a Lady; Learn to Love; The Impossible Dream; Clair; Theme from 'Lost Horizon' ... / I'm in the Mood for Love; I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm; Moonlight Serenade; At Last; Mood Indigo ... Vocalion CDLK 4432 (77:03) Although he has around 90 albums listed, it seems that there is less information on Werner Muller than practically any other internationally known light music maestro, even with the help of Google! And the various Vocalion re-issues I've seen, good as they are, do not provide any liner notes on the man or his music. I have discovered that he was born in Berlin in 1920 and that he spent many years conducting two of Germany" most popular radio orchestras '- RIAS and WDR. He died in 1998. With this re-issue, on CD for the first time, we have two original Decca Phase 4 albums, the first from 1973, the second from four years later. The Muller concert orchestra is possibly more dominated by the brass section than some of its contempories and, although very well recorded (the recording engineer on both albums is Arthur Lilley, who played such a big part in the success of Mantovani" recordings), maybe does not have as strong a personality of its own as some others. The opening track, Mouldy Old Dough, is one of those tunes you find yourself constantly replaying. The second album is mellower as befits the tune selection, although there is variety as Rimsky-Korsakov" Song of India is followed by Duke Ellington" Satin Doll. One of the best tracks for me is Begin the Beguine. With a nice string sound throughout, this is an attractive release. Peter Burt
WOOLF PHILLIPS The Lullaby of Broadway (The Music of Dubin and Warren) & JACK PAYNE Say It With Music Lullaby of Broadway; I Only Have Eyes for You; You're Getting to be a Habit with Me; The Rose in Her Hair; Would you Like to Take a Walk; Forty Second Street; September in the Rain; Shuffle off to Buffalo; Shadow Waltz; You'll Never Know; Young and Healthy / Say in with Music; I'm in the Mood for Love; I'll Get By (As Long as I Have You); Try a Little Tenderness; Guilty; I Surrender, Dear; There" a Small Hotel; Just One More Chance; Blue Pacific Moonlight; Memories of you; Love in bloom; Love is the Sweetest Thing Vocalion CDVS 1970 (70:22) Another bargain at £2.99! When he died in 2003, aged 84, Woolf Phillips obituary in The Independent described him "as one of the last surviving major big-band leaders of the post-war British dance band scene". Not all our readers may realize that Sid Phillips was his older brother. After war service he had been an arranger for Geraldo" orchestra alongside Robert Farnon and Wally Stott (Angela Morley), and from November 1947 to September 1949 he led the famous Skyrockets orchestra. He is probably best remembered as bandleader, MC and comedy foil at the London Palladium during its heyday between 1947 and 1953. I seem to remember him, too, as MD for Vera Lynn on TV. His album here in full orchestral arrangements features the work of Al Dubin and Harry Warren who wrote some of the biggest hit songs of the 1930s. Jack Payne (1899-1969) may be remembered by our oldest readers as Director of Dance Music for the BBC at Savoy Hill, leading the BBC Dance Orchestra until he was succeeded by Henry Hall in 1932. He returned to the Beeb as Director of Dance Music for five years from 1941. I first became a fan in the early '50s when he was a notable radio disc jockey and in 1955 presenting his own TV show 'Words and Music', which ran for three series. The arrangers on this album are Dick Barrell, Brian Fahey and Tony Osborne. All credit to Mike Dutton (again!) for resuscitating these two immaculately played tuneful albums, with uncredited instructive original LP sleeve notes, from 1956 and 1958 respectively. Peter Burt
FRANCK POURCEL & HIS ORCHESTRA Magnifique & Girls 24 tracks incl. Un Jour Se Lève; Yesterday; Mon Coeur D'Attache; (Manuel Benitez) El Cordobés; Le Ciel, Le Soleil et La Mer; Quand on est Ensemble; Solenzara; El?ise; Laura; Hello, Dolly!; Lili Marlene; Louise; Maria Elena; Maria; I Want to Be Happy; Mrs Robinson; Delilah; Brigitte; Pilar Vocalion CDLK 4441 [63.23]This superb new Franck Pourcel two-on-one is worthy of your attention not only for its terrific arrangements but also for the carefully crafted inlay notes which outline his distinguished career in some detail. Deservedly so, too, because Franck was one of the leading exponents of the modern orchestral format, making over 200 albums, a fraction of which, unfortunately, were made available in the British Isles. A masterly perfectionist in all he did, Pourcel highlighted the use of high-pitched strings, wordless female vocals and intriguing rhythms so well you could instantly recognise one of his recordings. A particularly good example of his ability to transform a good pop song into an instrumental gem is his treatment of Gilbert Bécaud's Seul Sur Son ?toile which later became the English language hit It Must Be Him, sung by Vikki Carr. Other highlights from this collection include the delightful Girl (where the strings reign supreme), Lara's Theme, Thunderball, Eloise and a hauntingly dramatic version of the continental hit Merci Cherie. This timely issue is a worthy testament to the memory of a truly great interpreter of the modern light orchestral album. Scott Raeburn
BARNABAS VON GÉCZY AND HIS SALON ORCHESTRA Volume 1 Cuban Dance; Poeme; Come With Me To Madeira; Blue Sky; Close Your Eyes and Dream; Ragamuffin; Quietly Comes the Night; Fresh Breeze; Siboney; Pony; Rustle of Spring, etc...26 tracks Frank Bristow FBCD262 (77:15).Volume 2 Sicilia; My Beautiful Hungary; Valse Triste; Artists Life; Bavarian Polka; Sparrow" Concert, etc...21 tracks Frank Bristow FBCD263 (78:21). Whenever light music buffs talk about German salon music of the inter-war years the name Barnabas von Géczy inevitably crops up. It seems that collectors simply can't get enough of his recordings, so many of them will be over the moon with these new CDs from our friend Frank Bristow in Australia. The repertoire ranges from catchy light novelties such as Josef Rixner" Ragamuffin (originally called Spitzbub) through familiar 'Palm Court' favourites like Im Chambre Separee to a few more substantial works by Haydn, Hellmesberger and Strauss. The booklets are packed with information, and Mike Redstone" digital restorations are top class. If this is your kind of repertoire, you'll want to snap these two up straight away! David Ades
Frank Bristow" CDs are only available direct from him at 2 Cross Street, Brighton, Victoria 3186, Australia. Tel. 063-9528-3167 Email: website: www.musicfromthepast.comCredit cards and Paypal are accepted, but no cheques '- details from Frank on request.
HELMUT ZACHARIAS & HIS MAGIC VIOLINS On Lovers' Road & Candlelight Serenade The Man I Love; Body and Soul; Moonglow; I've Got You Under My Skin; April in Paris; You Go to My Head; Makin' Whoopee; I Can't Give You Anything But Love; Love is Here to Stay; Dream; Embraceable You; Love for Sale / Le Chanson d'Orphée; Mare Nostrum; The Gypsy; Angentina Serenade; Namenlos; Adieu Tristesse; Windows of Paris; La Montaña ;The three Bells; Otra Puerta; Mona Lisa; Pernambuco Vocalion 4442 (66:06) The last but no means the least of, at the time of writing, the latest Vocalion re-issues of light orchestral music features Helmut Zacharias (1920-2002) who in the 1950s was considered to be one of the best jazz violinists in Europe and was dubbed "The Magic Violinist" and "Germany" Mr Violin", selling over 14 million records worldwide. His biggest hit with his orchestra was his own composition, Tokyo Melody,the theme for the 1964 Olympics. On this CD the first 12 tracks are standard songs given a lush smooth treatment by the massed strings. The second brace are not quite so familiar but are also highly listenable to in Zacharias" own arrangements. Peter Burt
THE FILM MUSIC OF DOREEN CARWITHEN BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Gavin Sutherland Boys in Brown; Three Cases of Murder; Mantrap; To the Public Danger; Men of Sherwood Forest; East Anglian Holiday; Travel Royal. Dutton Epoch CDLX 7266 (60:00) Doreen Carwithen was the amanuensis of William Alwyn whom she later married. Her music has a distinctive lyrical quality and is thoroughly approachable as light music; indeed had she been a man we would have heard a great deal more about her. This is a great CD and an excellent sequel to her Chandos disc (re-issued on CHAN 10365X) both of which you will want to play over and over again. Very highly recommended, especially as the music has been reconstructed by Philip Lane. The first five works are from dramatic films, the last two from travel documentaries. Edmund Whitehouse
THE FILM MUSIC OF BRIAN EASDALE BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Rumon Gamba The Red Shoes; Kew Gardens; Black Narcissus; Battle of the River Plate; Adventure On; Gone to Earth Chandos CHAN 10636 (75:00) British films from the 1930s to the 1960s often had superb background music, which complemented the storyline perfectly but many, if not most, were jettisoned as being of little or no value once the film was released. Philip Lane has spent a massive amount of time rescoring them for recorded performance and here are his latest offerings, supplemented by John Wilson. The Red Shoes starred Moira Shearer as a doomed ballet dancer;Battle of the River Plate starred John Gregson, Anthony Quayle and Peter Finch chasing the German pocket battleship Graf Spee; Black Narcissus starred Deborah Kerr and Jean Simmons as two nuns in a doomed wartime love story; Gone to Earth starred Jennifer Jones, David Farrar, Cyril Cusack and the semi-blind Esmond Knight chasing foxes and each other; Adventure On (the suite from which was dedicated to Sir John Barbirolli) was a documentary about Massey Ferguson farm equipment; whileKew Gardens does exactly what is says on the label, depicting changing horticultural scenes south of the River Thames. Older film buffs will love these sounds of reconstructed old film music. Edmund Whitehouse
DEBBIE WISEMAN 'The Promise' (Original Television Soundtrack) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Conducted by Debbie Wiseman. Silva Screen SILCD1354 (74:41). During February Channel 4 in the UK screened an epic four-part drama documentary 'The Promise'. Debbie" score is performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and is one of her most ambitious scores to date which, alongside the traditional orchestra, includes a vast array of ethnic performers. The story of the film centres around a British girl who travels to Israel/Palestine and retraces the steps of her grandfather who was a British soldier stationed there in the 1940s. To bring this story to life musically Debbie has drawn on Arabic and ethnic influences, and has featured the Duduk, Kaval, Dud, Arabic violin, Arabic vocal, and ethnic percussion '- as well as a full symphony orchestra of strings and woodwind. In a press release accompanying the launch of the soundtrack album, Debbie said: "Working with director Peter Kosminsky again on 'The Promise' has been one of the most exciting and musically challenging projects of my career. Writing over 4 hours of music for the films, and weaving the western and ethnic eastern instrumentation together for this heartbreaking story was a massive challenge. It was a real delight to conduct the sessions with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the diverse solo performers '- I really didn't want it to end!" Debbie is also heard playing the piano, and the CD comes with a lavishly illustrated booklet that will delight viewers wanting a permanent souvenir of the series. This is the latest in a long series of prestigious projects by one of the finest composers working in television and films today, and it is warmly recommended to readers who like to include this kind of repertoire in their collections. David Ades
THE CLARINET CONNECTION In Accord Tanguisomo; Domino; Canzonetta, Op 19 (Pierné); Sicilienne (von Paradis); Organ Prelude No 8 [BWV560] (J S Bach); I Wiil Wait for You; Misty; Paris Medley; Un Homme et Une Femme; A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square; The Shadow of Your Smile; Second Waltz [Suite for Variety Stage Orchestra] (Shostakovitch); Extasis; Oblivion; Czardas (Monti) DJC Records DJC031 (42:05) The playing, production and presentation here are all excellent and this album has given me much pleasure. Andrew McCullough on clarinet and Peter Ayers on accordion are joined by the double bass of Christopher Finch and the percussion of Ian Chopping in a wide ranging programme including three pieces by ?stor Piazzolla. Being a pushover for the evocative sound of the accordion, I found it and the tango rhythm irresistible. And who would have expected an accordion to play a Bach Organ Prelude? I also loved the instrument in musette mode on Paris Medley, written to entertain Orient Express passengers. Even one of my all-time unfavourite tunes, A Man and a Woman,composed by Francis Lai (himself an accordionist) is bearable. A slight cavil is that I would have been even happier with a playing time of nearer an hour '- quantity as well as quality. I urge you to get this CD and to share in the obvious enjoyment of the players. Peter Burt
PHIL KELSALL Plays The Technics SX-FA1 The Entertainer The Entertainer, Spanish Eyes; Side Saddle; Midnite Blue; Thunderbirds; Whistle Down The Wind; Music Box Dancer; Twilight Time; Morning Has Broken; Spanish Harlem; Aces High (from 'The Battle of Britain'); Vision On (Left Bank Two); Elvira Madigan; Belle Of The Ball; Peacherine Rag; Lonely Shepherd; Crazy; My Heart Will Go On (Love theme from 'Titanic'); España, My Way Grasmere GRCD 134 (76:20) A pleasant well-filled compilation of varied re-issues from the "King of Blackpool Tower Ballroom" for the past 36 years. But, nota bene, here he is not playing the famous Wurlitzer but his touring organ with its quite different sound. This album has grown on me with repeated hearings, although I still miss the resonance of the larger instrument. Music Box Dancer is delightful and the rather attractive JoplinRag is one I've not heard before. Evidently concert tour audiences are very appreciative of the instrument so good sales should ensue. The disc is produced by Mr Kelsall and our fellow RFS member Tim Wills. Even without the "big W", at under £6 online this is well worth a whirl. Peter Burt
NIGEL OGDEN Pure Nostalgia 14 tracks incl. The Middy; Guys and Dolls Selection; Deep Purple; Funeral March of a Marionette; Is It True What They Say About Dixie?; Tower Ballroom Classics; Quickstepping with Jerome Kern; Moonlight in Vermont; Television Themes ... Grasmere GRCD135(73:47) It is the Tower Ballroom Wurlitzer Organ but at the console the long-time presenter of Radio 2" 'The Organist Entertains' . The recording was evidently made on one of the coldest days in November last year. It arrived in early April on one of the hottest days so far this year. I have heard Nigel live in a nonconformist chapel and he is a fine player. (Interestingly, he includes two hymn tunes in his final selection Lest We Forget). One can only marvel here at his control over this super instrument. The album is an eclectic compilation that should give pleasure to all lovers of that special "Blackpool sound". Peter Burt
TONY BENNETT While We're Young 57 tracks incl. Cold, Cold Heart; Always; Just in Time; It" Magic; Boulevard of Broken Dreams; Stranger in Paradise; Rags to Riches; Blue Velvet; Sing You Sinners ... Jasmine JASCD 679 (79:00 & 79:31) This generous package presents Tony Bennett singing for the most part slow ballads. His rich full-throated voice is admirably suited to the material, and sound quality is excellent. The tracklist shows that he" aided and abetted by some of the best accompanists of the time, in particular Percy Faith. Robert Nickora" liner note hints that the compilation spans the middle to late fifties, but actual recording dates are omitted. Barry McCanna
BING CROSBY Through The Years : Volume Seven 36 tracks incl. Learn to croon; Thanks; Muddy water; Mississippi mud; My kinda love; I surrender, Dear; Oh! Tell me why; If you love me; Down the Old Ox Road; Black moonlight; The day you came along; After sundown; Temptation; Love thy neighbour; May I? ... Sepia 1167 (74:27) The latest volume of this comprehensive series by the great Bing reaches 1954. Most of the tracks between April and June (accompanied by Buddy Cole and his Trio) are from 'A Musical Autobiography', Decca" 20th anniversary celebration issue of five LPs in tribute to their most successful star. Standout tracks for me include two of my favourite songs,Love in bloom and It" easy to remember, and also What can you do with a General? and Count your blessings '- both from the 'White Christmas' movie. All the tracks are introduced by the man himself and, although extremely interesting, might not make this compilation ideal for repeated listening ...? A 12-page booklet of notes by Malcolm Macfarlane is a model of its kind. Peter Burt
BARBARA DICKSON The Essential Barbara Dickson 56 tracks incl: January February; Answer me; Memory; I don't know how to love him; Don't cry for me Argentina; Natural woman; Anyone who had a heart; My Lagan Love; Who knows where the time goes; Farewell to Whiskey; ... // Time after time; September song; Don't think twice it" alright; Sule Skerry; If you go away; She" leaving home; The times they are a-changin' (with Gerry Rafferty);I think its gonna rain today; The dark end of the street; Tell me it" not true; ... Metro CD650 (75:11 & 77:15)A few months ago in Back Tracks I encouraged you to buy a budget price disc by Barbara Dickson, actress, pianist, songwriter and singer. Now, alongside her latest album 'Words Unspoken' (Greentrax CDTRAX 353), on which she returns to her folk roots, we have a 2½ hour 2-CD compilation with good liner notes for around a fiver that must rate as the best bargain of the year so far. It contains a good mix of contemporary show tunes '- in 1985 she had a Top 20 hit with Another suitcase in another hall from 'Evita' and a No.1 with Elaine Paige on I know him so well from 'Chess' (still the all-time worldwide best-selling duet by two females) '- as well as folk numbers and excellent cover versions of other artists' hits. Barbara has a lovely voice, and it is no surprise to read that her debut album in the '70s sold more than 600,000 copies and stayed in the charts for more than a year. She received an OBE in the 2001 New Year" Honours List for her "service to music and drama." Not bad for someone whose early ambition as a wee Scots lassie was just to sing like Doris Day! Peter Burt
HUTCH (LESLIE A HUTCHINSON} Let" Do It - His 50 Finest 1929-1947 incl. Ain't Misbehavin'; Lover; Don't Blame Me; Night And Day; Dinner For One, Please, James; It" De-Lovely; Let" Call It A Day; The Woodpecker Song; These Foolish Things; Deep Purple; My Prayer; Whispering Grass; Let There Be Love; Jealousy; La Mer ... Retrospective RTS 4168 (78:58) & (78:41) a Although in essence this is a compilation that was issued in 2002 on the now defunct Living Era label, it deserves to be judged on its own merits, which are considerable. Between 1929 and 1947 Hutch recorded over 600 sides, initially for Parlophone (including some with Harry Roy, seven of which are included), changing to HMV in May 1940. They took in some of the greatest songs of the thirties and forties, and that" reflected in this selection. Hutch was a song stylist, and the combination of his husky throbbing voice and his accompaniment convey potent charm. Sound quality is excellent, as is Peter Dempsey" liner note. Barry McCanna
PEGGY LEE The Hits and More 53 tracks incl. Manana; Caramba it" the Samba; Riders in the Sky; Lover; Fever; My Heart Belongs to Daddy; Johnny Guitar; Sing a Rainbow; The Siamese Cat Song ...Jasmine JASCD 579 (76:55 & 77:02) This compilation spans just over a decade, from 1948 to 1959, when Peggy Lee was at the peak of her illustrious career. The tracklist shows year of recording and chart place but not accompaniment, although Ossie Dales' relatively brief liner note does refer to her album with George Shearing, from which You Came a Long Way From St. Louis has been included. Barry McCanna
MARGARET WHITING" Great Hits It might as well be Spring; A tree in the meadow; A wonderful guy; My ideal; Come rain or come shine; Baby, it" cold outside (with Bill Lee); That old black magic; Moonlight in Vermont; Now is the hour; Slippin' around; Faraway places; My foolish heart; Guilty; Let" go to church; Morgen; Lavender blue; I've been there; Till there was you; The Three Bells; Broken hearted melody; I loves you Porgy; What a diff'rence a day made; I only have eyes for you; My wish came true; Glad to be unhappy; Little girl blue; One for my baby Sepia 1163 (74:13) Margaret Whiting was a popular singer par excellence who died earlier this year, aged 86. She recorded for Capitol Records from soon after it was founded in 1942 for 15 years and had a string of more than 40 hits from '46 to '54. The biggest of these included Now is the hour, A tree in the meadow, andFaraway places, all Nos.1 or 2 in '48, then with Country & Western star Jimmy Wakely on Slippin' around, No.1 in '49. She joined Dot Records in 1957 and re-recorded in stereo her 'Greatest Hits',which comprise the first 14 tracks on this outstanding disc. She was fortunate in having as her arranger and conductor Russ Garcia, who was in the process of becoming a big name in Los Angeles jazz circles. The next ten tracks were issued as the album 'Top Ten Hits' in 1959. This time Milt Rogers does the honours as arranger/conductor. Great to hear The Three Bells again after many years, though it does not oust the version by Les Compagnons de la Chanson in my affections. Sepia has something of a coup with the last three tracks: the first-time release of rare performances accompanied by pianist Walter Gross. The CD booklet is well up to the high standard we have come to expect. This release is a wonderful memento of a beautiful vocalist singing quality songs, and has given me a great deal of listening pleasure. It will surely do the same for you. Peter Burt
GARY WILLIAMS Let There Be Love - A Celebration of Nat 'King' Cole 18 tracks incl. Let" Face The Music And Dance; It" Only A Paper Moon/This Can't Be Love; Nature Boy; Dance Ballerina Dance; Day In - Day Out; The End Of A Love Affair; Smile; L-O-V-E ... Bos Entertainment BOS6819 [47:49].Back in May 2004 a sound engineer at the Caxton Theatre in Grimsby happened to make a recording of Gary in concert with the James Pearson Trio. It was never intended for release, and Gary had forgotten about it until he came across it last year. Happily for his many admirers he decided that it deserved to reach a wider audience. Gary needs no introduction to readers of this magazine; his work has been praised by us on many occasions in the past. This time we find him in a sophisticated cabaret setting, with superb arrangements by Andrew Cottee. Gary sings in the kind of relaxed and confident manner that can only be achieved by a performer with plenty of experience and bucketfuls of talent. Both Gary and Andrew have deservedly enjoyed considerable success in their careers since 2004, and long may they both continue to regale us with top quality popular music. The future is bright with talents like this around on the scene. David Ades
75 GLENN MILLER MASTERPIECES Original Radio Broadcasts Glenn Miller and his Orchestra 42 tracks Sepia 1165 (67:42 & 65:51) The music of Glenn Miller has been with us for some 70 years and, like all things of quality, one never tires of the emotion that it evokes in one" musical soul. This 2 CD set certainly captures the nostalgia of the wartime austerity years of the early 1940s. What make the recordings even more evocative are the introductions to some of the tracks by Glenn Miller in person. The music is quite a surprise with many tracks unfamiliar to the average dance band listener. But that said, it is for you the listener to decide on your personal preferences. Some of the Miller classics are here but unless you are an avid Glenn Miller aficionado I would be very surprised if anyone has heard all the tracks played by the great bandleader" orchestra. My personal favourite is Perfidia, which incidentally was also played by The Shadows. Listen to both and compare. Another track that is particularly "smooth" is Blues in the night, with delightful vocal accompaniment and quite exquisite muted trumpet. To write too much about such famous people and their music cannot do justice to the listening experience. Suggest you buy and enjoy. Roger Chantler
THE SQUADRONAIRES The Royal Air Force Dance Orchestra : Twenty-Five Original Recordings from 1941 to 1953 Digitally Remastered incl. Amapola; Down Forget-Me-Not Lane; Anchors Aweigh; Harlem Sandman; A Journey to a Star; March of the Movies; No Name Jive; ... Bygone Days BYD77061 (77:55) The first sixteen tracks in this compilation were recorded in wartime, when the RAF Dance Orchestra recorded "by permission of the Air Council", after which it became known as The Squadronaires. But for the last three tracks, which were recorded under Ronnie Aldrich" leadership, Jimmy Miller was the director, and he takes some of the vocals, as do Beryl Davis and guitarist Sid Colin. Two tracks in particular will clinch the appeal of this reissue, namely Come Out Come Out, Wherever You Are/It Must be Jelly,and I Heard You Cried Last Night/I've Found a New Baby, both of which were recorded for ENSA in mid-1944. Barry McCanna
ALADDIN (ORIGINAL LONDON CAST) / CINDERELLA 23 tracks Sepia 1162 (66:22) 'Aladdin', with music and lyrics by Cole Porter in what was to be his final project, first saw the light of day as an American television musical. A substantially different stage show was produced by Harold Fielding at the London Coliseum for Christmas 1960. It starred a young Bob Monkhouse, Doretta Morrow and Ronald Shiner. Direction and choreography were by Robert Helpmann and Bobby Howell was MD. Songs include No wonder taxes are high, Come to the supermarket, Ridin' high, with Trust your destiny to your star and the witty Wouldn't it be fun,both sung by Ian Wallace. 'Cinderella', from the pens of Rodgers and Hammerstein, had also been a television musical, panned by the critics but seen by a record-breaking 107 million viewers in the States. Harold Fielding brought it to the Coliseum in December 1959. The studio cast on this album includes two stalwarts of the London West End stage, Denis Quilley and Elizabeth Larner. The show is orchestrated and the London Variety Theatre Orchestra conducted by Gilbert Vinter. Among the songs the best known is No other love, which withMarriage type love augments the original score. The whole CD is a pleasing listen, likely to be most appreciated by people who actually saw the shows. Well done to the label for bringing the recordings back into circulation and to Dominic McHugh for his admirable notes. Ray Pavene
AMERICAN CLASSICS : SOUSA The Great American Main Street Band / Timothy Foley 22 tracks incl. Gallant and Gay We'll March Away/Let" Hurrah!; The Pathfinder of Panama; The Gladiator; The Gliding Girl; Who" Who in Navy Blue; King Cotton; The Liberty Bell; The Stars and Stripes Forever!; Le Reine de la Mer; The Fairest of the Fair; Here" To Your Health, Sir! The Washington Post; etc ... EMI Classics 64112222 (66:33) This release is presumably a reissue since the recordings made at the Rye Presbyterian Church, New York, date as far back as 1990. No matter, this is a highly enjoyable compilation of mainly marches '- some not yet included in the excellent ongoing Royal Artillery Naxos series '- intermingled and contrasted with a polonaise, a tango, a waltz and a dance hilarious (!), With Pleasure, crisply played with tremendous verve and panache. The band is clearly a highly accomplished and expert ensemble, and it would have been helpful if EMI had furnished some information about when it was established, its size, instrumentation, etc. One novelty here particularly for British listeners is the Mikado March, an arrangement of themes from the G&S operetta that had apparently taken America by storm in 1885. And, whilst decidedly not a novelty, mention should also be made of the George Washington Bicentennial March, significant because it was premiered in February 1932, only a month before the composer" death. No self-respecting Sousa fan should pass this notable issue by and there is a good deal of interest here for the more general listener who simply has an ear for tuneful exuberant music. With superb recording quality '- strongly recommended. Roger Hyslop
THE WORLD OF BALLET Paris Conservatoire, New Symphony and Royal Opera House Orchestras / Anotole Fistoulari Eloquence ELQ4802391 (70:26 & 63:13) Melody abounds on this 2 CD set from the mid-price Australian Eloquence label '- now widely available in the UK '- under the baton of one of the best ballet and Russian music conductors of his time (he passed on in 1995). The original RCA vinyl of Lecocq" (arr.Jacob) La fille de Madame Angot: and Walton" Façade: Suiteswas enthusiastically reviewed for both performances and recording. And Gramophone opined that the J. Strauss II (arr. Dorati) Graduation Ball was "Strauss as Strauss is played in Vienna". The other equally attractive items are from four "opera-ballets": Mussorgsky" Dance of the Persian Slaves, Rossini" William Tell: Soldiers' Dance, Saint-Sa?ns" Samson and Delilah: Bacchanale and Verdi" Aida: Dance of the Moorish Slaves - March, plusWeber"(arr. Berlioz) Invitation to the Dance, and Minkus"Don Quixote: Pas de deux described by a composer of today as "tunes just born to dance". This is real feel-good music and these are distinctly desirable discs from "Down Under". Edward Trub
Wilfred Askew" reminders of recently received releases
JUNE CHRISTY Something Broadway, Something Latin (1965) 12 tracks incl. Do I hear a waltz?; Come back to me; The shadow of your smile; What did I have that I don't have? Cast your fate to the wind; One note samba (bonus track) ... JERI SOUTHERN Meets Cole Porter (1959) 13 tracks incl. Don't look at me that way; Get out of town; It" alright with me; You're the top; After you; Love is the sweetest thing (bonus) ... DRG-CD-8507 (67:01) Original Capitol recordings.
BING CROSBY : LOUIS ARMSTRONG Bing and Satchmo arr./cond. Billy May Muskrat ramble; The Preacher; Brother Bill; Little ol' tune; Rocky mountain moon; Bye bye blues ... & 6 others incl. Lazy river (bonus track) DRG-CD-91515 (38:56) Released 1960 by MGM Records.
PEGGY LEE Jump For Joy with Nelson Riddle & his Orch. 14 tracks incl. I hear music; Just in time; Old devil moon; For or five times; Music! music! music!; The glory of love ... DRG-CD-94784(34:43) Issued in 1959 by Capitol ; first stereo release on CD.
KEN NORDINE : The Complete 1950s Recordings : 2CDs 3 original Dot LPs. Chrome Dreams CDCD5044 (109:33) 3 original Dot LPs. Nordine" narration is accompanied on 'Word Jazz' and on'Son of Word Jazz' by the Chico Hamilton Quintet, billed as The Fred Katz Group; and on 'Next!' by a combination led by Richard Marx.
ANDRÉ PREVIN QUARTET Previn" Touch 'Let" Get Away From It All' (1956) 13 tracks incl. It happened in Sun Valley; Island in the West Indies; Honolulu; Sidewalks of Cuba ... 'Hollywood at Midnight' 12 tracks incl. Invitation; Laura; You are too beautiful; My foolish heart ... Fresh Sound FSR-CD-551 (77:58) Two U.S. Decca LPs.
ANDRÉ PREVIN and DAVID ROSE Like Young : Secret Songs For Young Lovers 12 tracks incl. Blame it on my youth; You make me feel so young; Last night when we were young; A year of youth; Too young to go steady; Love is for the very young ... Hallmark 709472 (36:04)
Like Blue 12 tracks incl. The blue room; Serenade in blue; Little girl blue; The blue subterranean; Blue, turning grey over you; Born to be blue ... Hallmark 709682 (33:38)
Two classic M.G.M. mono recordings on a super-budget label.
JOHN WILLIAMS Cavatina : The Complete Fly and Cube Recordings : 2 CDs Disc 1: 19 tracks incl. Bach Changes; Theme from Z; Cavatina; Spanish Trip; Nuages; Sarabande; New Sun Rising, Pomegranite ... / Disc 2: 18 tracks incl. The Height Below; Horizon; The Swagman; Sheep May Safely Graze; Travelling; The River God; Romanza ... Salvo SALVODCD 215 (127:11)
NANCY WILSON How Glad I Am / Gentle Is My Love 'How Glad' (1964) 11 tracks incl. The grass is greener; The boy from Ipanema; Don't rain on my parade; People; West Coast Blues; Quiet nights ... 'Gentle' (1965) 11 + 3 bonus tracks incl. Who can I turn to; My one and only love; More; Time after time; If ever I would leave you; At long last love ... DRG-CD-8511 (64:34)