Song Of The West

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GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD5215 "Song of the West"Song Of The West

1 Gateway To The West (Robert Farnon)
MGM SE 3804 1960

2 "Bonanza" – Theme from the TV series (David Rose)
Capitol ST 1869 1962

3 El Rancho Grande (My Ranch) (Silvano R Ramos, arr. Percy Faith)
Columbia CS 8038 1957

4 Oklahoma! (Richard Rodgers)
RCA LSP 2513 1962

5 Prairie Sail Car (from "Around The World In Eighty Days") (Victor Young)
Stereo Fidelity SF-2800 1958

6 Ranch House Party (from "Portrait Of A Frontier Town") (Don Gillis)
Boosey & Hawkes O 2128 1948

7 Prairie Sunset (Ernest Tomlinson)
Bosworth BCV 1376 1962

8 Sioux War Dance (Ray Martin)
Columbia DB 2882 1951

9 Colorado Trail (Traditional, arr. Robert Farnon)
MGM SE 3804 1960

10 Overland To Oregon – Suite (Trevor Duncan, real name Leonard Charles Trebilco)
Unidentified Orchestra
Impress IA 222 & 223 1960

11 Stampede (Herbert Leonard Stevens)
Francis, Day & Hunter FDH 042 1947

12 Frontier Marshall (Jack Beaver)
DANISH STATE RADIO ORCHESTRA Conducted by ROBERT FARNON (‘The Melodi Light Orchestra Conducted by Ole Jensen’ on record label)
Chappell C 586 1957

13 Pow Wow (Robert Farnon)
Decca LK 4119 1956

14 Tall In The Saddle (John Cacavas)
Chappell C 642 1959

15 Home On The Range (Traditional)
Decca SKL 4073 1959

16 Rocky Trail To A Peaceful Valley (Waters; Hall)
MGM 863 1955

17 Prairie Rider (Charles Williams, arr. Cecil Milner)
Boosey & Hawkes O 2193 1950

18 Colorado Sunset (Jack Brown)
Francis, Day & Hunter FDH 050 1948

19 American Panorama (Wilfred Burns)
Charles Brull/Harmonic CBL 493 1962

20 California Here I Come (Buddy De Sylva; Joseph Meyer; Al Jolson)
Mercury SR 60047 1959

21 "High Noon" - Theme from the film (Dimitri Tiomkin)
Mercury MG 20156 1956

22 Lazy Cowboy (Ruth Guthrie)
Columbia DB 3258 1953

23 Song Of The West (Billy Vaughn, arr. George Greeley)
DOT DLP 25442 1962

Stereo: tracks 1-5, 9, 10, 15, 20 & 23; rest in mono.

The honour of opening this collection goes to Robert Farnon, widely regarded by many as one of the finest composer/arranger/conductors of Light Music during the second half of the 20th century. Born in Toronto, Canada, Robert Joseph Farnon (1917-2005) is known for many of his catchy themes, notably Jumping Bean (on Guild GLCD5162) and Portrait of a Flirt (GLCD5120). In his later career he was in demand to arrange and conduct for major international stars such as Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne and George Shearing. Gateway To The West is one of his earlier works, extolling his love of his native Canada. Later we hear his sensitive arrangement of the traditional folk melody Colorado Trail which contrasts strongly with another Farnon original Pow Wow.

David Rose (1910-1990) was one of the biggest names in American light music circles during the middle years of the 20th century. Born in London, England ‘lost’ him when the family moved to the USA when he was aged just four. A prolific composer and arranger, he contributed themes and incidental music to a number of top television shows, one of the most memorable being Bonanza. On this occasion the version by Nelson Riddle (1921-1985) has been selected, proving that this great American arranger and conductor’s talents extended far beyond the legendary work with Frank Sinatra which made him internationally famous.

Percy Faith (1908-1976) was also born in Toronto, Canada, and in 1940 he moved to the USA where he quickly established himself through radio and recordings. From the 1950s onwards his fame spread internationally, due to the great success of his numerous long playing albums. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Faith arranged all his own material, and his exciting and vibrant scores made his work stand out among the rest. His recordings prove that he had a love for Latin American music, and with El Rancho Grande he exploits his arranging talents to the full.

George Miltiades Melachrino (1909-1965) was one of the big names in British light music from the 1940s to the 1960s. Born in London, he became a professional musician, competent on clarinet, alto and tenor saxophone, violin and viola, and he worked with many British dance bands in the 1930s. After war service he built an orchestra which became one of the finest in the world; when long playing records arrived, Melachrino’s sold in vast quantities, especially in the USA. Many of his recordings featured the great songwriters of the day, such as Richard Rodgers (1902-1979) whose title music for Oklahoma! must be one of the most rousing numbers ever written to honour a US state.

Chicago-born Victor Young (1900-1956) enjoyed a successful career on Broadway and in Hollywood films, although his greatest triumph – the score for the film "Around The World In Eighty Days" – was completed shortly before his death, so he never knew that it gained him a posthumous Oscar. Young called the sequence featuring the Wild West Prairie Sail Car.

The American composer Donald Eugene Gillis (1912-1978) seemingly did not get the full attention from the American record industry which his talents deserved. It was the British Decca label that brought him to London in 1950 for several sessions at the Kingsway Hall which have preserved for posterity some of his best – and most quirky – creations. Anyone who can compose a piece of music called "Symphony No. 5½" is almost demanding not to be taken too seriously, and to make sure that nobody missed the joke Gillis subtitled his work "A Symphony For Fun". The first movement Perpetual Emotion is on Guild GLCD5156, while the third movement Scherzofrenia (GLCD5178) is also typical of the carefree, almost whimsical, work that he offered to music lovers in the middle years of the last century. This time the choice is his Ranch House Party from a suite called "Portrait Of A Frontier Town".

Ernest Tomlinson MBE (b.1924) is one of Britain’s most talented composers, working mainly in light music, but also highly regarded for his choral works and brass band pieces. During a very productive career, he has contributed numerous titles to the recorded music libraries of many different publishers, often under the pseudonym ‘Alan Perry’. In recent years Ernest has worked hard to preserve thousands of music manuscripts that would otherwise have been destroyed, and he is the President of the Light Music Society. Prairie Sunset is one of his numerous pieces of production music.

Raymond Stuart Martin (born Raymond Wolfgang Kohn in Vienna, 1918-1988) fled from the Nazis and settled in England before the outbreak of World War 2 where he became known as ‘Ray Martin’. He was one of the biggest names in British popular music during the 1950s, due to his work on radio, television, films and especially the recording studios. During the early part of his career he contributed several pieces to the Harmonic Mood Music Library. One of them was Sioux War Dance, and when it became noticed he made a commercial recording of it for Columbia – the EMI label that he would later manage for several of its most successful years in the mid-1950s. He returns just before our final track with Lazy Cowboy.

Trevor Duncan (real name Leonard Charles Trebilco, 1924-2005) was working as a BBC sound engineer when one of his first compositions, High Heels (on Guild GLCD5124) made the light music world sit up and take notice.Eventually his successful and prolific output mushroomed to such an extent that he had to give up his ‘day job’ at the BBC, and also find several different publishers simply because he was writing too much for just one to handle. This is illustrated by the fact that 36 of his works have already appeared on Guild Light Music CDs, and he was the featured composer in "Hall Of Fame Volume 2" (GLCD 5124). Although he wrote some catchy individual pieces, a good number of his contributions to mood music libraries were suites featuring several movements developing a distinctive main theme. One such commission was ‘Overland To Oregon’, and the separate parts have been edited together to form a continuous work. Duncan gave them the following descriptions: Main Theme, Frontier Town, Night Camp, Wagon Train, Crossing The Bighorn, Indian Country, Indian Attack, Beckoning Horizon.

Len Stevens(d. 1989 - his full name was Herbert Leonard Stevens) was a prolific British composer, contributing mood music to several different libraries, with a style that his admirers quickly grew to recognise. In common with so many of the talented musicians employed in the business, he could turn his hand to any kind of music that was needed, and he was also involved in the musical theatre. Stampede is his seventeenth Guild appearance, and it is one of the early recordings conducted by Sidney Torch (1908-1990) for the Francis, Day & Hunter mood music library.

Although little-remembered by most music lovers today, Jack Beaver (1900-1963), like the afore-mentioned Len Stevens, contributed far more music to the entertainment scene than was realised. Beaver worked at Gaumont-British Studios under Louis Levy during the 1930s, and was hired by Warner Bros. to run the music department at their British studio at Teddington in the early 1940s. His contributions to production music libraries (especially Chappell and Francis, Day & Hunter) were consistently of a high standard. Among some of the most notable are Picture Parade (GLCD5149), Cavalcade Of Youth (GLCD5195) and World Of Tomorrow (GLCD5135). Frontier Marshall is his sixteenth composition to be made widely available again on a Guild CD.

John Cacavas (1930-2014) was a prolific American composer, author and conductor, with over 1,500 titles to his credit. He has also worked widely in Britain and Europe, and in 1980 was elected president of the Composers and Lyricists Guild of America. His film scores include "Airport 1975", "Airport ‘77" and "Horror Express", as well as numerous TV series, notably "Kojak" and "Hawaii Five-O". He has contributed to several publishers’ mood music libraries, including Chappells - the source of his Tall In The Saddle. He remained active in the music business, dividing his time between homes in California and London.

Home On The Range is one of the best-loved traditional airs associated with the American West, and it receives a fine treatment by the world famous orchestra conducted by Annunzio Paolo Mantovani (1905-1980). Born in Venice, his family came to England when he was aged four and he was something of a prodigy on the violin by the time he reached sixteen. But he leaned more towards popular music, and fronted many different kinds of ensembles before long-playing records (especially when stereo arrived) brought him worldwide acclaim. Occasionally he orchestrated some of his music himself, but he built up a fine team of arrangers including Ronald Binge (1910-1979), Roland Shaw (1920-2012) and Cecil Milner (1905-1989). Unfortunately the one responsible for this piece has not been identified.

Leroy Holmes (born Alvin Holmes, 1913-1986) scored Hollywood films and radio programmes during his early career, before becoming one of the mainstays of MGM’s conducting ‘team’, also arranging many of their recordings. We are probably listening to his work in Rocky Trail To A Peaceful Valley. Eventually Holmes moved on to United Artists where he conducted many of their contract singers and also recorded albums under his own name. His screen credits include the films "The Bridge In The Jungle" (1970) and "Smile" (1975).

Londoner Charles Williams (born Isaac Cozerbreit 1893-1978) began his career accompanying silent films, then played violin under the batons of Beecham and Elgar. Right from the start of the ‘talkies’, he provided scores for numerous British movies, and his Dream Of Olwen (GLCD5192)is still remembered long after the film in which it appeared – "While I Live". By far the greatest volume of his composing skills was employed in mood music, providing hundreds of works for several libraries (especially Chappells), and over 40 have already been included on Guild CDs. On rare occasions his work was accepted by other libraries, and Prairie Rider is one of three pieces he wrote for Boosey & Hawkes.

Jackie Brown was one of Britain’s leading cinema organists, equally at home on large theatre consoles as well as their small electronic counterparts performed by enthusiasts at home. His output as a composer was relatively sparse, although light music aficionados regard his Metropolis (on Guild GLCD 5102) as one of the finest pieces of its kind. He worked on around a dozen films, and was the unseen conductor who used to direct the Billy Cotton Band for its television shows while Bill himself performed on-screen. Jackie also became a household name in Britain thanks to his regular appearances on Hughie Green’s (1920-1997) "Double Your Money" TV quiz show. Colorado Sunset is one of several pieces he wrote for the Francis, Day & Hunter mood music library.

Yet another busy composer employed by British production music publishers was Bernard Wilfred Harris, better known as ‘Wilfred Burns’ (1917-1990) with over 200 titles to his credit. After service during the Second World War he worked at Elstree studios before eventually becoming a freelance film composer and musical director. His first of over twenty films was around 1949, with his final score in the 1970s. His best-known was probably the large screen version of the popular BBC television series "Dad’s Army" in 1971. American Panorama is one of his many pieces accepted by various London publishers, and it is his eighth contribution to a Guild CD.

California Here I Come is usually played as a bright up-tempo number. Our version features the work of Harold (Hal) Mooney (1911-1995), an American composer, arranger and conductor who worked with most of the top bands and singers during a long career. It demonstrates how a fresh approach to a familiar and often hackneyed melody can be given fresh life in the hands of an expert arranger.

The familiar theme from the film "High Noon" is conducted by David Carroll (1913-2008 – real name Rodell Walter ‘Nook’ Schreier) who was well-known in his native USA as a conductor and arranger. In the mid-1940s he joined the newly formed Mercury Records where he spent the next 15 years. Initially employed as an arranger and conductor, he progressed to being a producer and was later promoted as head of artists and repertoire.

Last on the podium this time, with the title track for this collection, is Richard ‘Billy’ Vaughn (1919-1991), born in Glasgow, Kentucky, who began his career playing piano and singing baritone in the group ‘The Hilltoppers’, before joining Dot Records as musical director where he accompanied many of the label’s top singers. In 1965 he began touring internationally with his band, achieving considerable popularity in Japan, Korea and Brazil. His own composition Song Of The West receives a suitably dramatic interpretation by George Greeley (born Georgio Guariglia, 1917-2007) who was an American pianist, conductor and composer working extensively in films and television. During his early career he arranged for popular bandleaders such as Tommy Dorsey. In the 1950s he was a staff pianist at Columbia Pictures, and received particular praise for his work on "On The Waterfront" (1954) and "The Eddy Duchin Story" (1956). In later years he performed as piano soloist and guest conductor with leading orchestras in many countries.

David Ades

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