Reviews

GLCD 5208 – The Lost Transcriptions – Vol. 4

Various

To the CD in our Shop

 


Keene Sentinel, Brattleboro Reformer – February 2014

As I have been writing for years, Guild Light Music has been releasing a seemingly endless series of CDs under the main title “The Golden Age of Light Music.” They are now up to their 208th entry — and it is a most unusual one. As a departure from the past compilations of commercial mono and stereo recordings of the late ‘40s to the middle ‘50s, this one follows a new direction.
“The Lost Transcriptions series” (Volumes 1-4) consists of recordings that were never meant to be sold to the public. As the excellent program notes tell us, musical selections were transcribed onto 7-inch and 12-inch 78 rpm discs, as well as 16-inch discs that played at 33 1/3 rpm. They were sent to troops stationed all over the world to be played in barracks or over public address systems for the entire camp to hear.
It is said that German troops close enough to hear would wait for Bing Crosby, because he sounded like a German baritone. (They affectionately called him Der Bingle!)
The sound quality is not bad, given their dates, from 1943 to 1955, and these selections are a good mix of both the familiar and the unfamiliar. Volume 4, which is now available, includes songs from stage reviews: “Birth of the Blues” and “I Can’t Get Started With You.” Among those better known today are Chopin’s “The Minute Waltz,” “Long Ago and Far Away” and “The Syncopated Clock.” Mind you, these were all chosen to cheer up the troops, and any bouncy or nostalgic tune was apt to do just that.
Some of the arrangements, by the way, are quite interesting, especially that of “Birth of the Blues,” which is conducted by David Rose as a melodic and sentimental ballad.
The orchestras featured on this disc are mainly those of Rose, Mantovani, Percy Faith and Sidney Torch. Also heard are those of Carl Chandler and Carmen Dragon.
The excellent program notes give a treasure of information about these special discs. For example, we are told that all of these discs were to be destroyed after hostilities, but many servicemen took one or more home as souvenirs. Given the results, we should all be glad they did! After all, it is from these surviving copies that Guild Light Music has gathered its material for this historically and musically interesting collection.
Frank Behrens

Memory Lane – Winter 2013

The Lost Transcriptions – Volume 4 no doubt provided restorer and remastering ace Alan Bunting with a few headaches but, as always, he has risen to the challenge in superb fashion. The 24 largely forgotten pieces are mainly shared out between David Rose, Mantovani, Sidney Torch and Percy Faith, all of whom require no introduction to light music enthusiasts. However, composer and conductor Emil Cadkin, who features on two tracks, shows why he was so highly regarded in Hollywood. And, having vainly tried to play it myself, I must just mention Jimmy Dorsey’s Oodles Of Noodles brilliantly performed by saxophonist Vincent J Abato backed by the Percy Faith orchestra.
GH