Reviews

GLCD 5198 – Light Music While You Work – Vol. 4

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Memory Lane – Spring 2013

By strange co-incidence I had just finished re-reading Brian Reynolds’ excellent book Music While You Work when Guild’s Light Music While You Work – Volume 4 (GLCD 5198) arrived for review. To hear the bands of such MWYW stalwarts as Harry Fryer, Ronnie Munro, Reginald Pursglove and Harold Collies, superbly remastered from the original Decca recordings, was a real treat. Although Harry Davidson is perhaps more associated with `old time dancing’ and Richard Crean as Musical Director at the Palladium, they too were important contributors to the early days of MWYW Both are featured on this CD, the former no less than five times. This is a great compilation and here’s hoping Volume 5 will make an appearance before too long. More in line with the staple fare of Guild’s `The Golden Age of Light Music’ series is Melody Mixture (GLCD 5197). Dolf Van Der Linden and his Orchestra are prominently featured with six tracks but other masters of light music, such as Frank Cordell, Percy Faith and David Rose, are also included. The estimable ensembles of Fred Hartley and Laurie Johnson, unsung heroes of the British music scene, both add to the enjoyment of another well compiled and beautifully transcribed CD from Guild. GH

MusicWeb International – December 2012

There are three earlier discs in this particular series — GLCD5128, 5137 and 5186. The genesis of the original recordings was the BBC radio programme of the same name, and all sides were pressed by Decca. However there was not much publicity and deletions were in some cases rapid, so many would have sold in low numbers. Guild’s concentration is here exclusively on the Light Music productions and means that Harry Fryer, Ronnie Munro, Reginald Pursglove, Harold Collins, Richard Crean and Harry Davidson are strongly represented here and elsewhere in the series. All these tracks were made and issued between 1943 and 1946.
The disc begins with a typical cavalcade of foot-tappers from 1943 courtesy of Harry Fryer. To ensure productivity was kept up there was a steady diet of uplifting melodic numbers and also a wide range of waltzes in this MWYW series. Ronnie Munro, whether with his Waltz Orchestra or with the Scottish Variety Orchestra is the purveyor of several easeful and charming waltzes. You won’t be surprised to read the names of Strauss (Jr.), and Waldteufel against Munro’s repertoire list. Reginald Pursglove had a handy band and takes the distinctive violin solo in Lonesome And Sorry with a peppy piano supporting him. Fryer died in 1946, and his was a significant loss, as he would surely have gone on to bigger and better things had he lived. He gives Carmen a Light Music going over, but Bizet wouldn’t have minded one feels, and does the same to Gounod’s Faust. Maybe he would have minded this ‘Rhythmic Paraphrase’. There’s a touch of Walton’s Façade about Dainty Miss, a song by Bernard Barnes.
Richard Crean’s orchestras always come up to the mark, no more so than when they are purveying the music of Eric Coates, so an ear should be cocked toward In A Country Lane. He’s also good at gently scrubbing down an old classical instrumental favourite like Gabriel-Marie’s La Cinquantaine, beloved by all the old school cellists, such as WH Squire. Harry Davidson mines his own personal Sousa in Old Faithful, and very rousingly so. He seems to have liked its composer, Abe Holzmann, because he returns with a toe-tapper of a march called Yankee Grit. Yes indeed. Reginald Burston, not to be outdone, bursts in with a confident, indeed swaggering Waldmere, a braggadocio march.
I assume there’s a volume 5, which should be good, because this one is excellent, albeit you must expect a certain amount of similarity of style and genre. For my taste the transfers are rather too treble starved, but they are very clear.
Jonathan Woolf