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The Golden Age of Light Music – Soloists Supreme

Don’t Blame Me

Robert Farnon and his orchestra featuring Dave Goldberg (guitar) – Decca LK 4067 1953 [2:59]

Dance Of The Three Old Maids

Camerata and his orchestra featuring Reginald Kell (clarinet) Brunswick AXL 2016 1954 [2:44]
Jerome KERN

All The Things You Are

RIAS Dance Orchestrra conducted by Werner Muller featuring Macky Kaspar (trumpet) Polydor 45054 LPH 1954 [3:05]

"Last Rhapsody" – Theme from
Sidney Torch and his orchestra featuring Edward Rubach (piano) Parlophone R 3642 1953 [2:56]
Arnold STECK (real name Leslie STATHAM)

Skeleton In The Cupboard

Danish State Radio Orchestra conducted by Robert Farnon featuring xylophone Chappell C 438 1953 [3:09]

Today And Every Day

Jackie Bond (alto saxophone) and his orchestra Polygon P 1182 1955 [2:38]

"High And The Mighty" Film Theme
Victor Young and his singing strings featuring whistling by Muzzy Marcellino Brunswick 5320 1954 [2:45]

Valse Des Folies

Sidney Torch and his orchestra featuring piano Parlophone R 3185 1949 [2:10]
Bernard LANDES

The Elephants’ Tango

Ray Martin and his concert orchestra featuring French horns Columbia DB 3631 1955 [2:00]

Latin Lady

Hugo Winterhalter and his orchestra featuring guitar HMV B 10666 1954 [2:47]

Elaine (from film "Violettes Impériales")
Hugo Winterhalter and his orchestra featuring Henri Rene (musette accordion) HMV B 10569 1953 [2:40]

Goodbye John

Percy Faith and his orchestra featuring Mitch Miller (cor anglais and oboe) Columbia CL 779 1955 [3:41]
Richard HAYMAN

Huckleberry Finn

Richard Hayman and his orchestra featuring Richard Hayman (harmonica) Mercury MG 20048 1955 [2:09]

Margot’s Minuet

Eddie Calvert (trumpet) with Norrie Paramor and his orchestra Columbia DB 3444 1954 [2:28]

Somewhere Beyond The Stars

Ronnie Ronalde (whistling) with Robert Farnon and his orchestra Decca F8944 1948 [2:46]

Song Of The Maggie (from "The Maggie")
Sidney Torch and his orchestra featuring tuba Parlophone R 3827 1954 [2:28]
Howard SHAW (real name Malcolm LOCKYER)

Stranger Than Fiction (The Big Guitar)
Sidney Torch and his orchestra featuring Bert Weedon (guitar) Parlophone R 4113 1955 [2:32]

Buglers’ Holiday

Leroy Anderson and his "Pops" Concert Orchestra featuring Robert Cusuamo, Carl Poole and Melvin Solomon (trumpets) Brunswick O 5234 1954 [2:28]

Laughing Violin

Charles Williams and his concert orchestra featuring Reg Leopold (violin) Columbia DB 2544 1949 [2:53]

First Theme

Laurie Johnson and his orchestra featuring Joe "Mr Piano" Henderson (piano) Polygon P 1157 1955[2:38]

Lulworth Cove

BBC Variety Orchestra conducted by Charles Shadwell featuring Reginald Foort at the BBC Theatre Organ HMV BD 523 1938 [3:06]

Valse Vanite

Peter Yorke and his concert orchestra featuring Freddy Garner (alto saxophone) Columbia DB 2665 1950 [3:16]
Rudolf FRIML

Allah’s Holiday

Savoy Hotel Orpheans directed by Carroll Gibbons featuring Sidney Torch (organ) Columbia DX 345 1932 [3:48]

Hejre Kati

Rafael Mendez (trumpet) with Victor Young and his orchestra Brunswick LA 8657 1954 [2:58]

Second Rhapsody

Paul Whiteman and his concert orchestra featuring Roy Bargy (piano) Brunswick O144 1939 [8:51]


Whether credited or hidden here are twenty-five very different soloists in a wide array of guises. So we range from the discographically significant Roy Bargy with Whiteman essaying Gershwin the year after the composer’s death to rather more conventionally light fare such as the anonymous tuba playing on Sidney Torch’s recording of Song of the Maggie. There doesn’t seem to be an over-arching philosophy here, just a mélange of styles and performances, so it would be best to see this compilation in strictly those terms.

Farnon accompanies the short-lived guitarist Dave Goldberg, whose jazzier licks are impressive. Reginald Kell’s recordings with Camerata, one of the more unlikely areas of his life on disc, have been reissued in DG’s complete American Decca recordings boxed set, reviewed here - review. Things move into enjoyably sub-Rachmaninovian mode for the Last Rhapsody theme played by pianist Edward Rubach and Sidney Torch for Parlophone in 1953. The same goes for the unimaginatively titled First Theme played by Joe "Mr Piano" Henderson. Still, what a lot of compression went into those three-minute Light Music pocket concerto "singles."

Jackie Bond comes on all juicy-toned and Freddie Gardner-esque on Today and Every Day. Gardner himself is close at hand on Valse Vanite where he teams up with Peter Yorke to pour some glutinous sauce over the tune. We also hear from a brace of virtuoso whistlers in the forms of Muzzy Marcellino and Ronnie Ronalde. Mitch Miller, as is only to be expected, makes a fine showing as well when teamed with Percy Faith. Eddie Calvert, another who died at too young an age, just about survives – though this is debatable – the slushy environs of Margot’s Minuet as dispensed by Norrie Paramor.

Mention of Calvert should also alert one to a stalwart on the American scene, Rafael Mendez, who digs into Hubay with combustible brilliance. Finally the Roy Bargy-Paul Whiteman recording of Gershwin’s Second Rhapsody, which was made in 1939. One should note that it’s been somewhat rescored and cut to fit onto two twelve inch sides but it is of some historic importance given that both men knew Gershwin.

The transfers have been done well in the main. But it’s noticeable how airless and dry the HMV 78 of Lulworth Cove sounds and how equalization has sought a standardised sound for these discs. Otherwise with perspicacious notes and the usual good selection priorities the Guild Light Music series goes rolling on.


Jonathan Woolf


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