If one or two of the most recent editions in this series have, so far as I’m concerned, lacked a certain frisson, this one makes ample amends. The theme is orchestral strings and the tone is set immediately by Leroy Anderson whose
Belle of the Ball exudes charm and glamour. There is a novice entrant in this series in the shape of Jack Shaindlin, Ukraine-born but a long time American resident. He and his band produce a fine version of
Beyond the Blue Horizon. Variety is maintained by another noviciate, Frederick Fennell, whose pizzicatos animate
Love Is Sweeping the Country (from
Of Thee I Sing) with both fun and verve. One company that consistentlyRead more produced the goods was Mercury, which was fortunate to have David Carroll on its books. Evidence arrives in the shape of the 1961
Dance of the Slave Maidens, the Borodinsed popular hit better known as
Stranger in Paradise.
George Martin, now Sir George, penned
Serenade to Double Scotch. Maybe those pop bands that later drove him round the bend in the Parlophone studios — even the Beatles perhaps — drove him back to the solace of the bottle. It’s a spruce and welcoming opus. Why doesn’t someone revive it? Given the album theme it’s no surprise to encounter the elite gents from The Melachrino Strings nor the chic Clebanoff Strings in
Cumana — chic is, on reflection, a
sine qua non for this catchy item. I’d often wondered what happened to Monia Liter and here is something of an answer. This pianist, who so graced British Dance Bands in the 1920s, playing with Nat Gonella and Al Bowlly and so many others, later ran the Recorded Music Library at Boosey and Hawkes. Thanks to David Adès for providing that nugget in his ever-reliable and biographically important sleeve-notes. Liter’s conducting of Cyril Watters’
The Willow Waltz is genuinely luscious.
There are gems sprinkled throughout. There’s Percy Faith’s elegant sophistication, a confident Paxton of van der Linden playing
Spending Spree, and some music from the Tony Hancock film
The Rebel. It was written by Frank Cordell, whose band plays it with due spice. We also renew acquaintance with the eminent veteran of the genre, Charles Williams, whose 1952 recording of
Vanessa is richly succulent and successful. Guild doesn’t settle into a single groove, and thus doesn’t neglect the pick-me-up humour of
Periwinkle, directed by King Palmer.
These titles were all recorded within about a decade, between 1952 and 1961. He booklet cover art will give you some idea of the bracing and evocative fun it enshrines.
-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International Read less
Works on This Recording
Belle of the Ballby Leroy Anderson Conductor:
Period: 20th Century Written: 1951; USA Length: 2 Minutes 35 Secs.
Beyond the Blue Horizon, songby Richard Whiting / W. Fran Conductor:
Period: Modern Written: 1944; United States of Ame Length: 2 Minutes 51 Secs.