Friday, December 31, 2010

The Master Singers

A novelty item from a chariy shop recently - an EP on the EMI label from 1966. I seem to remember the Highway Code song sung in a kind of Gregorian Chant being played on the radio back in the 60's.

"The Mastersingers first appeared on a television show starring Cleo Laine and John Dankworth, broadcast for the first time on Christmas Day 1982. Since then their format has changed several times and they have worked with a host of people including Howard Keel, Wendy Craig, Roger Whittaker, Mary O'Hara, Moira Anderson, Ken Dodd, Vince Hill, Gemma Craven, George Hamilton IV and many more. For many years recording was their prime function, providing vocal backing for the stars mentioned above and occasionally taking the limelight themselves.

The Mastersingers developed a very special relationship with Malcolm Williamson CBE AO. Master of the Queen's Music. He was commissioned to wnte "Love's Redeeming Work Is Done" for the group to sing in the Dewsbury Festival of Christian Music in 1995. Several members of the group have known Malcolm since he worked in Yorkshire some sixteen years ago, leading courses for teachers and children on some of his music. The Mastersingers recorded an album of his choral music on the 21st and 22nd of September 1996 in the chapel of St Catharine's College, Cambridge. It is now on general release. "Love's Redeeming Work Is Done" was broadcast on "Songs of Praise" on BBC1 on 27th and 28th November 1995.

The group returned to Abbey Road Studio 2 in January 1998 to record their fourth album, "Rhapsody". This. together with their first two albums, "Softly" and "Beautiful Music, Dangerous Rhythm" are on sale, along with their Williamson album. "Love's Redeeming Work"."

The Master Singers - The Highway Code

The Master Singers - Rumbletum Song

The Master Singers - Weather Forecast

The Master Singers - Roadilore

Souvenir Of Australia

A recent charity shop aquisition in Chester. On the HMV label from 1970. A strange mixture of prose , poetry and songs to give a flavour of Australia back then. All the usual suspects are here including Rolf Harris and The Seekers representing the popular vote and balanced with some folk songs and classical with the likes of Joan Sutherland and The A.B.C. Symphony Orchestra. Compiled and narrated by John Clements.

Souvenir Of Australia - Side One

Souvenir Of Australia - Side Two

Monday, December 20, 2010

Xmas With Chas & Dave (Re-UP)

Chas 'N' Daves Christmas Knees Up at White's Club in Tottenham in North London , Dec. 25th 1993.
A small segment from radio show broadcast on BBC.

1. Intro.
2. Darling I don't Care
3. I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus
4. The Jimmy Brown Song ( Barron Knights)
5. Flying
6. Sausage & Mash

Xmas Cassette

A selection from the privately pressed? tape of old xmas songs and adverts cunningly cobbled together by Eddie Gorodetsky in 1997 that someone sent me a couple of years ago.

Tracks are-

1. Christmas For Moderns - Maynard Ferguson
2. Jingle Bells - Jimmy McGriff
3. Frosty The Snowman - The Lizard Men
4. Cowboy Santa Claus - Bill Lacey & Group

Freddie "Parrot Face" Davies

As everyone seems to be uploading all their Christmas junk, I thought I would find a few horrors lurking in my collection and join in with the festive fun ( or not, as the case may be ). This LP on the Major Minor label was released in 1968 when Freddie was at the height of his powers. As you will hear his comedy was not very subtle and relied heavily on a strange impediment - a lisp with a limp.

"He learned his craft as a Butlin's Redcoat in the 1950s. By 1963 he had pulled an old hat over his face and adopted a ferocious lisp to become "Parrot Face", pronounced "Parrot Faith".

A sniffy producer at the BBC told him: "You can't do that voice - it's an impediment."

Two years later, having won Opportunity Knocks outright and become a national favourite, Davies returned to the Beeb. Was his "impediment" now acceptable?

"I suppose it will have to be," flounced the same producer.

But as quickly as he flew to stardom, this Parrot vanished from sight. New, alternative comedy came along and tastes changed, he smiles ruefully.

"People get fed up with performers doing the same thing and they move on, particularly with comedy in the 1980s."

And yet there's more to it than that. Looking back, he reckons he was never focused enough to be a great comedian.

"A lot of comedians are not very nice people," he confides. "They have this single-minded selfishness. I wanted other things."

He had a spell in drama management, spent years entertaining cruise-liner passengers, starred in the brilliant Lee Evans film Funny Bones, toured in the Victoria Wood play Talent, and became a fixture for two years in the TV series Harbour Lights."

Freddie Davies - Sleigh Bells

Freddie Davies - Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer

Saturday, December 18, 2010

RIP Don Van Vliet

His obituary in the Guardian HERE

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Harry Belafonte

A recent charity shop find. Rather battered sleeve and scratched vinyl but always interesting to hear Harry's versions of old calypsos. A few well known ones here and some not so well known like Coconut Woman and Scratch Scratch which are really quite good despite the heavenly choir in the background. Not a patch on the real thing but worth a listen.

Side One - Scratch Scratch - Lucy's Door - Cordelia Brown - Don't Ever Love Me - Love, Love Alone - Coacoanut Woman.
Side Two - Haiti Cherie - Judy Drownded - Island In The Sun - Angelique - lead Man Holler.

Wikipedia says -

"Belafonte started his career in music as a club singer in New York, to pay for his acting classes. The first time he appeared in front of an audience he was backed by the Charlie Parker band, which included Charlie Parker himself, Max Roach, and Miles Davis among others. At first he was a pop singer, launching his recording career on the Roost label in 1949, but later he developed a keen interest in folk music, learning material through the Library of Congress' American folk songs archives. With guitarist and friend Millard Thomas, Belafonte soon made his debut at the legendary jazz club The Village Vanguard. In 1952 he received a contract with RCA Victor.

His first wide-release single, which went on to become his "signature" song with audience participation in virtually all his live performances, was "Matilda", recorded April 27, 1953. His breakthrough album Calypso (1956) became the first LP to sell over 1 million copies (Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" and Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons", both singles, had previously surpassed the 1 million mark). The album is number four on Billboard's "Top 100 Album" list for having spent 31 weeks at number 1, 58 weeks in the top ten, and 99 weeks on the U.S. charts. The album introduced American audiences to Calypso music (which had originated in Trinidad and Tobago in the early 20th century) and Belafonte was dubbed the "King of Calypso," a title he wore with some reservations, since he had no claims to any Calypso Monarch titles."

Harry Belafonte - Side One

Harry Belafonte - Side Two

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Charlie Gillett - Fan Fan

Another great 80's radio show from DJ Charlie Gillett - this time guest is Congolese band leader Fan Fan who used to play with Franco & OK Jazz and now with his own band Somo Somo. Despite the language barrier ( Fan Fan speaks no English ) Charlie manages to entertain us with the help of a interpreter. Some nice music from Franco, Rocheureax and Mblia Bel to name but a few.

More about Fan Fan HERE.

Charlie Gillett - Fan Fan Pt.1

Charlie Gillett - Fan Fan Pt.2

Charlie Gillett - Ebenezer Obey/ Joe Hagan

Continuing homage to late great DJ Charlie Gillett - a Foreign Affiar from Capital Radio back in the early 80's with guests Ebenezer Obey and Joe Hagan. Some great choices of music from all including much Nigerian Ju Ju and tracks from Ebenezer's latest album at the time.

Wikipedia says -

"Obey, whose full name is Ebenezer Remilekun Aremu Olasupo Obey-Fabiyi, was born in Idogo, Ogun State, Nigeria of Egba-Yoruba ethnic background. He is of the Owu subgroup of the Egba. He began his professional career in the mid-1950s after moving to Lagos. After tutelage under Fatai Rolling-Dollar's band, he formed a band called The International Brothers in 1964, playing highlife-juju fusion. The band later metamorphosed into Inter-Reformers in the early-1970s, with a long list of Juju album hits on the West African Decca musical label.

Obey began experimenting with Yoruba percussion style and expanding on the band by adding more drum kits, guitars and talking drums. Obey's musical strengths lie in weaving intricate Yoruba axioms into dance-floor compositions. As is characteristic of Nigerian Yoruba social-circle music, the Inter-Reformers band excel in praise-singing for rich Nigerian socialites and business tycoons. Obey, however, is also renowned for Christian spiritual themes in his music and has since the early-1990s retired into Nigerian gospel music ministry.


Ebenezer Obey - Foreign Affair

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Club Ska '67

An LP from 1967 on the Wirl label featuring some great tracks that were to inspire another generation of bands during the Two Tone ska revival a few years later.

Wikipedia says -

"After World War II, Jamaicans purchased radios in increasing numbers and were able to hear rhythm and blues music from Southern United States cities such as New Orleans by artists such as Fats Domino and Louis Jordan.The stationing of American military forces during and after the war meant that Jamaicans could listen to military broadcasts of American music, and there was a constant influx of records from the US. To meet the demand for that music, entrepreneurs such as Prince Buster, Clement "Coxsone" Dodd, and Duke Reid formed sound systems. As jump blues and more traditional R&B began to ebb in popularity in the early 1960s, Jamaican artists began recording their own version of the genres. The style was of bars made up of four triplets, similar to that of "My Baby Just Cares for Me" by Nina Simone, but was characterized by a guitar chop on the off beat - known as an upstroke or skank - with horns taking the lead and often following the off beat skank and piano emphasizing the bass line and, again, playing the skank. Drums kept 4/4 time and the bass drum was accented on the 3rd beat of each 4-triplet phrase. The snare would play side stick and accent the third beat of each 4-triplet phrase. The upstroke sound can also be found in other Caribbean forms of music, such as mento and calypso."

Delroy Wilson - Dancing Mood

The Gaylads - Stop Making Love

Rita Marley - Pied Piper

The Soul Brothers - Lawless Street

Sir Lord Comic - Ska-ing West

The Rulers - Copasetic