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The Golden Age of Light Music: Continental Flavour
see end of review for full listing

Like policemen of old in tougher back streets, Guild’s Light Music series comes in twos. This one arrived with Amor, Amor, a selection of romantic songs in recordings made between 1940 and 1956. Here we have Continental Flavour, recorded over a wider period, and celebrating the joys of the European continent
So this is another opportunity to enjoy some superior examples of the genre though some of them, it’s true, have a rather generic approach to their subject matter. Many of them are Parisian in orientation. This was an American watering hole – though only Americans of a certain sort watered there – and arrangers seem to have reached for the accordion to provide local colour. Thus The Last Time I Saw Paris is accordion-laced and suffers accordingly. Much better is Continental Holiday – just the thing for 1954 - which is cast in the best British tradition and played with spruce confidence by the grandly named Symphonia Orchestra directed by Theo Arden.
Morton Gould and his Robin Hoods dig into Malagueña with tremendous panache – a real highlight of the set – whilst the combination of song (by Ronald Binge) and band, Sidney Torch, brings the unlikely sounding Red Sombrero to life. It sounds like drunk Milhaud. Paris fashions is interpreted, very appropriately, by the very elegant and ever Gallic Roger Roger – it’s a beautiful slow waltz. Farnon’s Malaga is similarly beautifully textured and highly subtle. The compilers doubtless enjoyed contrasting it with Portuguese Washerwomen which is kitsch to end all kitsch. Marquina’s Spanish Gypsy Dance is dispatched with a bullfighter’s zip by Harry Fryer whilst Robert Renard is, in 1934, still hankering for the salad days of 1913 in Acrobatics, laced as it is with xylophone and ragtime. Von Geczy contributes another early recording, made in 1936, and it also sounds incongruously full of varsity rag. Alexander Glushkoff – real name? – turns up with Dolf van der Linden to deal with Riviera Rhapsody, a pocket concerto opus à la Addinsell; Rachmaninoff coupling vigorously with Rhapsody in Blue and all over in five minutes. To end we have a grandiose potpourri by Melachrino, a riot of local colour.
There’s some slightly uneven programming here – those 1930s tracks do stand out for their rather gauche profile – and some of the later ones are stylistically uneven. Still, they all go into the pot. Fine notes as always, some generalisations apart, means another successful entrant in this increasingly exhaustive and sometimes exhausting series.
Jonathan Woolf

Full track listing
Jerome KERN

The Last Time I Saw Paris  [2:37]
Ron Goodwin and his concert orchestra
Mon Pays arr. Frank Cordell [2:52]
Frank Cordell and his orchestra
Continental Holiday [2:38]
Symphonia Orchestra/Theo Arden
"La Strada" - 'Road' theme from the film [2:25]
Eddie Barclay and his orchestra 
Malagueña [3:08]
Robin Hood Dell Orchestra/Morton Gould
Trevor DUNCAN (real name Leonard Trebilco)
French Leave [3:13]
Stuttgart Radio Orchestra/Kurt Rehfeld
Italian Street Song [2:02]
Peter Yorke and his concert orchestra
Ronald BINGE.
Red Sombrero [2:28]
Sidney Binge and his orchestra
Frederic CURZON.
Cachucha (from "In Malaga") [2:47]
Mew Concert Orchestra/Dolf van der Linden
Dolf van der LINDEN
Carnival Time  [2:08]
Metropole Orchestra/ Dolf van der Linden
Paris Fashions (Haute Couture) [3:13]
Roger Roger and his Champs Elysées Orchestra 
Malaga [2:25]
Robert Farnon and his orchestra
Andre POPP and Roger LUCCHESI
Portuguese Washerwomen (Les Lavandieres de Portugal) [2:24]
Bob Sharples and his orchestra
Ange Eugene BETTI, Jerry SEELEN and Andre HORNEZ
C'Est Si Bon - arr. Jo Boyer [2:02]
Eddie Barclay and his orchestra 
Masquerade In Madrid  [2:22]
Guy Luypaerts and his orchestra
Latin Quarter [3:15]
Emile Deltour and his orchestra
Narro Pascual MARQUINA
Spanish Gypsy Dance [2:43]
Harry Fryer and his orchestra
Gioia Mia [2:16]
Charles Williams and his concert orchestra
Claude YVOIRE.
Gay Boulevard [2:27]
Harmonic Orchestra/Claude Yvoire
Robert BUSBY
Folies [3:12]
Metropole Orchestra/Dolf van der Linden 
Acrobatics  arr. Götz Höhne [3:03]
Robert Renard and his orchestra
Arnold STECK (real name Leslie STATHAM)
Riviera Rhapsody [4:55]
New Concert Orchestra/ Dolf van der Linden featuring Alexander Glushkoff (piano)
Fresh Breezes [2:51]
Barnabas von Geczy and his orchestra
Siciliana - Serenata [3:22]
Ferdy Kauffman and his orchestra
Music For The Nostalgic Traveller In France arr. George Melachrino [8:49]
The Melachrino Orchestra/George Melachrino


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