Easy Does It Music To Relax To – Various Artists

Sleeve Notes:

A big band is a big band, no matter what. Or when. It was the Swinging Thirties (and how they swung!), which gave birth to the big band. Or rather, the big band which gave birth to the Swinging Thirties. Miller, Goodman, Shaw, Dorsey the names are perpetuated in popular music’s own hall of fame. The big band may first have cast its magic spell getting on for 50 years ago (can it really be that long?), but one particularly happy result of it is that today the big band is still very much alive, well, and doing nicely, thank you.

It still exerts, in fact, tremendous influence on the styles and tastes in modern music.

Of course, there have been changes along the way. Changes, happily, for the better (if that’s possible). The Thirties’ sound of brass, saxophones and rhythm section has been added to and experimented with. Strings and voices, for example, have played an ever-increasing and important role in the big band sound of today. The electronic instruments, too, have long since been accepted into the big band fold. And, electronically speaking, recording techniques have taken on a whole new brilliance which surely would have gladdened the hearts of those big band music-makers of yesterday.

What of today’s ‘names’ on the big band scene? There are many. Musicians who have shown flair, imagination and a sense of musical adventure which, in turn, have led to new and exciting sounds. Several such gentlemen are featured on this one LP James Last, Gunter Kallmann, Roberto Delgado, Norrie Paramor, Werner Muller, Kurt Edelhagen, Kai Warner and Bert Kaempfert. Worthy successors, all of them, to those marvellous Millers and Goodmans.

It seems only right and proper, therefore, that the gap between the golden musical years of the Thirties and today should be neatly bridged by the inclusion on this album of two songs so closely associated with those earlier big bands. The songs? Well, “String of Pearls”, the Jerry Gary composition which gave Glenn Miller one of his biggest hits, is one of them. Here it’s performed by Kurt Edelhagen. Then there’s “Deep Purple”. Artie Shaw had big record success with that one. Here Werner Muller is the musical brain behind the up-to-date arrangement.

Many of the other songs are newer but already ‘standards’. The Lennon-McCartney hit, “Yesterday” (James Last), the Bacharach-David composition, “This Guy’s In Love With You” (Kai Warner) and the popular Legrand-Bergman song, “Windmills Of Your Mind” (Norrie Paramor). And much more.

Melodic sounds, sweet sounds, easy sounds. Today’s big band music.

SYD GILLINGHAM

Easy Does It Music To Relax To - Various Artists

Label: Contour Records 2870 445
Sleeve Design: Jack Levy
Photograph: Robert Cundy

1975 1970s Covers

The Cliff Adams Singers – Singing For You

Sleeve Notes:

“Singing For You” gives you the happy sound of The Cliff Adams Singers, under the direction of the Maestro himself, Cliff Adams.

Cliff started his singing career with the B.B.C with his singing group “The Stargazers”. After a very successful series, he then started to broadcast “Sing Something Simple”. The show has been running for 16 years and has a listening audience of millions.

Cliff has arranged the repertoire on this record to include old and new favourites to ensure you many happy hours of listening pleasure.

Producer: John Stowell
Musical Accompanists: Jack Emblow Quartet
Musical Director: Cliff Adams
Recording Engineer: Phil Chapman

The Cliff Adams Singers - Singing For You

Label: Spire Record SSR 75/1
Model: Rose Marie
Photographer: Stuart MacLeod

1975 1970s Covers

Country Giants Vol. 6

Sleeve Notes:

A mere glance at the artistes on this album is bound to more than fulfil the promise in the title, for if ever an assembly of Country Giants was well named, then this collection surely is.

Getting off to a great start with that eternal Jim Reeves classic “Distant Drums” the album puts everyone (country music fans or not) into just the right mood. Following on from the legendary Jim come contributions from Dottie West, Waylon Jennings, Connie Smith, Skeeter Davis, Hank Snow and a couple of beautiful tracks by Jerry Reed; on one he teams up with the renowned Chet Atkins in a memorable rendition of “All I Ever Need Is You”.

There are, of course, numerous highlights in this collection. One highlight is provided by Jim Reeves with his haunting “Roomful of Roses”, a song that really sums up Reeves’ uncanny power in interpreting a lyric to its fullest potential.

Lyrics are a very vital part of country music, for in many cases they relate stories of love, frustration and longing in a way that so-called “pop songs” can never achieve. Simple in melody and context, they nevertheless have a tremendous appeal to music lovers everywhere. In this particular collection the prime exponents of country music prove their worth as Country Giants, and their songs as giant country music compositions.

Country Giants Vol. 6

Label: RCA Camden CDS 1153

1975 1970s Covers

Ron Goodwin and His Orchestra – Elizabethan Serenade

Sleeve notes:

This interesting album of contrasting serenades demonstrates once again the musical skill and versatility which has placed Ron Goodwin rightfully in the top league of British and international light music. All-rounder is something of a double-edged description, implying a jack-of-all-trades but possibly a master of none. However, in Ron’s case, he excels in every area of music in which he chooses to participate, from conducting concerts of popular music with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra to writing a string of highly distinctive and successful film scores 633 Squadron, Where Eagles Dare; Day Of The Triffids and Monte Carlo Or Bust amongst them), and finding time to encourage and assist young musicians with the Hampshire Youth Orchestra.

Ron was born in Plymouth in 1925, the son of a policeman and began piano lessons when he was five. The Goodwin family moved to London four years later, and Ron learned the trumpet whilst at school taking musical theory as a subject in his matriculation examination. He formed his own semi-professional band called the Woodchoppers, but in deference to his mother’s doubts about the security, status and prospects of music as a career, took a job as a junior clerk in an insurance office. After repeatedly catching him fixing gigs for the Woodchoppers over the office ‘phone, Ron’s boss advised him to forget insurance and take his chances in music.

He started as a copyist for a music publisher, studying arranging and also playing trumpet with Harry Gold’s Pieces of Eight. Ron added orchestration and conducting to his study schedule, and began arranging and conducting accompaniments for singers on records. Then he started recording in his own right with a concert-sized orchestra, and his LPs are widely popular at home and abroad. The film world soon realised the extent of his talent, and Ron Goodwin grew into the first-class musical all-rounder that he is today.

Here you have the opportunity of enjoying some scintillating serenades as he draws his material from the classics, the film world, the big band repertoire and his own lively imagination.

NIGEL HUNTER.

NIGEL HUNTER.

Ron Goodwin and His Orchestra - Elizabethan Serenade

Label: MFP SPR 90086
Photograph: Terry Beard
Sleeve Design: Terry Beard

1975 1970s Covers

Raymond Wallbank – Relax Again with

Sleeve Notes:

As a child, Raymond Wallbank first learnt to play the piano, but as he grew older became increasingly interested in organ music, and in 1960 greatly encouraged by Robinson Cleaver, he gave his first public performance at the Odeon, Llandudno.

Three years later, he realised his ambition and became a full-time professional musician.

His twice-daily organ recitals in the Sun Lounge on Blackpool’s North Pier are one of the most popular attractions of the summer season: his pleasant personality and enjoyable programmes have, in fact, become an integral part of the Blackpool summer scene, where he has already played for ten highly successful seasons in succession.

Raymond Wallbank - Relax Again with

Label: Contour Records 2870 465
Photograph F/Cover: Robert Cundy Associates
Photograph of Raymand Wallbank: L.A. Redman
Sleeve design: Jack Levy

1975 1970s Covers

Joe Loss and his Orchestra – Non-Stop Big Band Boss

Sleeve Notes:

There is a fairly widespread belief held in musical circles that you can judge the true value of practically any musician or singer by the kind of artistic company he keeps, and the kind of music with which he is associated. When not used in a pretentious manner, it’s a statement which does bear some validity. Joe Loss has been a bandleader now for more than 50 years and throughout this extraordinarily lengthy career invariably Joe has been close to, and surrounded himself with, first-class musicianship. At the same time he has usually managed to find the choicest morsels amongst trends which have occurred through the years.

One musical form which has continued to delight Joe Loss since he first became aware of its beguiling rhythms, lovely melodies and subtle harmonies, is the Bossa Nova originating, of course, from that colourful, sprawling country called Brazil. Joe was enchanted with the music of such as Jobim, Bonfa, the Gilbertos, Baden Powell and de Moraes, when it and they first attained full international recognition in the early 1960’s – as indeed he was delighted with the efforts of non-Brazilians like Stan Getz, Charlie Byrd, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Hornell and Quincy Jones in interpreting Bossa Nova so sympathetically and meaningfully …

It is not really surprising then to find that well over a decade after its emergence the Bossa Nova remains as appealing to someone like Joe Loss, as indeed it does to you and me. It is not surprising neither that Joe should want to become involved with an album as musically and artistically worth-while as this one.

With his abounding admiration for the best in musicianship, it is to be expected that, along with his own fine musicians – like trumpeters Vic Mustard and Stan Pickstock, trombonist Sam Whatnough, saxist-flautist-clarinettist Bill Brown, guitarist Lee Fothergill, bassist Joe Quinlan and drummer Bill Eyden – he has chosen scream-of-the-crop selection of top session men like terrorists Duncan Lamont and Keith Bird, saxist-flautist Roy Willcox, guitarist Ike Isaacs and trombonist Don Lusher to interpret this beautiful music so eloquently.

The choice of material which Joe Loss & Co. have used could hardly be faulted – any such album containing Bossa classics such as Desafinado and The girl from Ipanema (a solo feature for the persuasive tenor-sax of Duncan Lamont) can’t be at all bad. And the inclusion of such fine contemporary songs like You are the sunshine of my life, Killing me softly with his song, We’ve only just begun and (They long to be) Close to you detracts not one iota from the overall quality of what is, a uniformly rewarding album. And the most recent compositions – Big Band Bossa, Sweetie and Listen to the rhythm – add a further lustre to proceedings.

Just see if you can resist the potent combination of Joe Loss and the Bossa Nova. Bet you can’t!

STAN BRITT

Joe Loss and his Orchestra - Non-Stop Big Band Boss

Label: MFP 50202
Photograph: Paul Antony
Sleeve Design: David Wharin

1975 1970s Covers