Reviews

GLCD 5197 – Melody Mixture

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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

Music Web International.com – January 2013

It does what it says, this disc. There’s no overarching theme, just a selection of good tunes played by some elite performers in performances ranging from 1947 to 1961.
There have been so many releases in this series that it’s well nigh impossible to check, but I wonder how often, if at all, Ludo Philipp has appeared as conductor. He leads the Symphonia Orchestra in Dolf van der Linden’s Cab Rank quickly followed by Wal-Berg covering Ellington’s Caravan on a Barclay LP, which he does with a certain amount of conviction.It was Dimitri Tiomkin who adapted and arranged Down Under from the film called The Sundowners and it was Tommy Reilly who did the harmonica honours with Wally Stott and his orchestra, a really vibrant piece of work all round.
David Rose leads a truly evocative Gloria’s Theme and The Symphonia Orchestra is back but this time conducted by Curt Andersen in a cheeky rendition of the suitably light-hearted With Tongue in Cheek. The Canadian Bruce Campbell contributes a droll charmer of an arrangement in Spinette showing that there many more ways to skin the Light Music cat. A particularly fine programming conjunction occurs when Fred Hartley’s romantic warmth is juxtaposed with the lush astral allure of Laurie Johnson’s I Aim at the Stars.
Louis Voss was an exceptional musician and his confidently orchestrated and performed performance of Bernard Harris’s Peacock in Piccadilly is notable for its executant excellence. I assume it’s Swiss maestro Tom Wyler who plays the extended fiddle solo in Galop in Strings.
Van der Linden finally puts in appearances at the helm of his band, recording for both Paxton (as ‘Paul Franklin’) and under his own name for Brunswick, this last being a solid tango called, guess what, Tango of the Flowers. Then in the final stretch of this disc, no fewer than three of the last four tracks are given over to him. The odd one out is the zippy automobile jaunt of Route Nationale, played with Gallic insouciance by the Paris Studio Orchestra under Philippe Pares in 1959.
The notes are once again first class. David Ades has my admiration for finding new things to say about old favourites, even if I sense, now and then, that even he puts his head in his hands once in a while and asks himself: what on earth is left to say about David Rose and Mantovani?
Jonathan Woolf

Journal into Melody – December 2012

As it says at the start of the booklet notes this latest Guild Light Music CD doesn’t have any particular theme, hence the title ‘Melody Mixture’ (reminds me of the wartime BBC programme title Navy Mixture). However it begins in fine style with Cab Rank by Dolf van der Linden from the Charles Brull/Harmonic Library with The Symphonia Orchestra conducted by Ludo Philipp, followed by Henry Mancini’s theme to the US TV series Mr Lucky played by Frank Cordell’s Orchestra, although I must confess I’ve never heard of the programme … was it ever shown in Britain? From the film `The Sundowners’ comes Down Under played in fine style by Tommy Reilly, adapted and arranged by Dimitri Tiomkin with Wally Stott and his Orchestra. I checked with Halliwell and as I thought, Tiomkin wrote the film’s score. Getting away from films for a tick I jumped down the play List to three library pieces, firstly Trevor Duncan’s catchy humorous number With Tongue In Cheek followed by Peter Hope’s Spring Collection, perfect for a Pathé fashion news item, then Scurry For Strings by Lester B. Hart played by The Harmonic Orchestra conducted by Dolf van der Linden, under one of his many alias’s “David Johnson”. I’ve seen the name Lester B. Hart before but I’ve no idea who he is (or possibly was) although it sounds American; or is it another name for somebody or other? Back to films and Laune Johnson and His Orchestra play his title music to I Aim At The Stars the Story of Werner Von Braun; no Halliwell stars for this one I’m afraid. Angela Morley’s Dear Old Pols is cracking turning-out-of-pub music with clients making very unsteady progress home, just the opposite to Cyril Watters’ Leaps and Bounds from Paul Franklin and his Orchestra (actually Dolf van der Linden again) an the Paxton Label. As you may have guessed library addicts (like me) have been provided with a fine selection of Gaumont British, Pathé and Movietone music not to mention Look At Life and Dave and Dusty (Pathé). There’s Peacock In Piccadilly by Wilfred Burns from Bosworth, Continental Highway by Harold Geller (KPM), Brandy Snaps by Peter Yorke (Charles Brull/ Harmonic) but the last track surprised me. Although I’ve got the Paxton 78 of On Stage by Billy Mack, I’d no idea it was a pseudonym for Walter Collins and William MacDonnell. I’d like to know more about Walter Collins and I’ve never heard of William MacDonnell but there you are, you usually learn something new with every Guild Light Music release. Another fine collection of easy on the ear light music destined to be ignored by broadcasters supposedly paid to provide musical fare for every taste.
KW