Golden Age of Light Music – String Fever
Rene COSTY, Rene G F HEYLBROECK String Fever [1:56]
Nat SIMON, Buddy BERNIER Poinciana (Song of the Tree) [2:32]
Ken WARNER (pseudonym for Onslow Boyden Waldo WARNER) (1902 – 1988) Scrub Brother Scrub [1:52]
R ELLIS The Epic Waltz (Theme of “The Big Prevue Show”) (arr. Angela MORLEY) [2:58]
Sidney SCHWARTZ Fiddlin’ The Blues [1:51]
Bruce CAMPBELL Windy Corner [2:24]
Julius STEFFARO (pseudonym for Jan STOECKART) Pedrillo’s Buggy Ride [3:20]
James R MUNDY, Gladys BRUCE Tillie’s Tango [3:49]
Johannes (Johnny) STEGGERDA Stampede [3:08]
Sidney TORCH (pseudonym for Sidney TORCHINSKY) (1908 – 1990) All Strings And Fancy Free [2:55]
Cole PORTER (1891 - 1964) Why Shouldn’t I [2:29]
Jose PADILLA El Relicario [3:01]
Marguerite Angele MONNOT (1903 – 1961) Left Bank (C’est à Hambourg) (arr. Laurie JOHNSON) [2:36]
Gabino Coria PENALOZA, Juan de DIOS FILIBERTO Caminito [3:01]
Billy MAYERL (1902 – 1959) Busybody [2:12]
Ivor NOVELLO (1893 - 1951) Leap Year Waltz (from “The Dancing Years”) [1:48]
Robert BUSBY Up With The Lark [2:30]
Zequinha da ABREU Tico Tico [2:31]
Mario Ruiz ARMENGOL Dream Street [3:20]
Harry WARREN (1893 – 1981), Edgar LESLIE (1885 – 1976) By The River Sainte Marie (arr. Gordon JENKINS) [3:10]
Peter KNIGHT (1918 – 1975) Pink Gin [2:46]
Nilo MENENDEZ Green Eyes (arr. John GREGORY, pseudonym for Giovanni GREGORI) [2:25]
Meredith WILLSON (1902 – 1984) Sneezing Violins [3:23]
Vincent YOUMANS (1898 - 1946) I Want To Be Happy [3:29]
Frank DE VOL (1911 - 1999) Lotta Pizzicato [2:17]
Alberto DOMINGUEZ Perfidia [2:44]
Osmar Hector MADERNA Cascade Of Stars [3:03]
Roger ROGER (1911 – 1995) Music Hall [2:44]
Acquaviva (Mundy), Don Amore (Dominguez), Mario Ruiz Armengol (Armengol), David Carroll (Schwartz), Emile Deltour (Costy), Morton Gould (Padilla), Richard Hayman (Porter), Leroy Holmes (Simon), Gordon Jenkins (Warren), Cyril Ornadel (Menendez), Laurie Johnson (Monnot), Jeff Morley (Ellis) Werner Muller (Gabino – as ‘Ricardo Santos’), Luiz Arruda Paes (Abreu), Sidney Torch (Torch), Dolf van der Linden (Knight – as ‘Paul Franklin’ – and Steggerda – as ‘Van Lynn), Frank de Vol (de Vol), Meredith Willson – featuring Albert Pratz (violin) (Willson), all conducting their own Orchestras; Danish State Radio Orchestra/ Robert Farnon (Campbell), Michael Freedman and the Debutantes (Novello), Hilversum Radio Orchestra/Hugh Granville (pseudonym for Hugo de Groot (Steffaro), The Melachrino Strings/George Melachrino (Warner), Music by Camarata (Maderna), Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra/Sidney Torch (Busby), Roger Roger and his Champs Elysees Orchestra (Roger), Stuttgart Radio Orchestra/Kurt Rehfeld (Mayerl), Helmut Zacharias and his Magic Violins (Youmans)
rec. re–issues from 78 rpm discs and 33 rpm LP records, recorded between 1947 and 1957. ADD
GUILD 5150 [77:19]
It’s amazing to discover that this is the fiftieth issue in Guild’s fabulous light music series. I have had the great privilege of commenting on about ten of them and the quality, range and variety of their content is staggering. One of the most important aspects of the series is that, quite apart from the obvious enjoyment factor, these disks have put so many all but forgotten composers back into circulation. Yet again, this is a most enjoyable collection, with plenty of variety, and many “finds”.
What a brilliant opener String Fever proves to be. It’s racy and piquant, naughty harmonies amidst a straight forward-syncopated bass. Excellent! Poinciana is one of several trees known as the Flame Tree. Royal Poinciana is endemic to Madagascar’s dry deciduous forests and in the wild it is endangered. I’ve only seen photographs of the tree and it is very beautiful, but I’m not too sure what this marimba melody has to do with it!
Scrub is an expression string players use to describe music which is not very interesting to play, perhaps page after page of tremolandi, or something colourful but not particularly musical. Thus Ken Warner’s Scrub Brother Scrub has a tune verging on the uninteresting, because it is a kind of scrubbing, but at the same time it’s fascinating and very pleasant. Ellis’s The Epic Waltz – in a very American arrangement by Angela Morley – is one of those pieces, such as Herschel Burke Gilbert’s title music for the Dick Powell (TV) Show which you’re convinced you know even on first hearing. Fiddlin’ the Blues is a funny piece of country fiddling with a blues harmony and a manic drum. Great fun. Windy Corner isn’t suffering a storm, rather a slight breeze whilst you wait for your date, and have high expectations of the coming evening. Pedrillo’s Buggy Ride is a real hoot of a piece, mock clicking heels, bright and breezy tune and an irrepressible attitude. You will, I am sure, immediately recognize Tillie’s Tango – a lovely, and very silly, dance piece.
Sidney Torch’s All Strings And Fancy Free is yet another of those pizzicato scherzo–like pieces so beloved of light music composers. Apart from the plucking, it has a big tune in the middle, complete with heart–on–sleeve violin solo. Monnot’s Left Bank (C’est à Hambourg), whilst being a portrait of that famous part of Paris, has a Kurt Weill Berlin undertone at the beginning, very odd. It’s a marvellous piece nonetheless. I don’t know one dud piece by Billy Mayerl and his Busybody is another of his lovely pieces. Tico Tico is an arrangement of the famous tune. Dream Street is another example of the violins scrubbing away, and I imagine that Peter Knight’s Pink Gin is a pretty good musical depiction of that beverage. I’m a beer man myself.
My three favourite pieces are right at the end of the disk. Meredith Willson’s (he of The Music Man fame) Sneezing Violins is a bigger piece than you would expect, and Frank de Vol’s Lotta Pizzicato does exactly what it promises – it has a lotta pizzicato. Roger Roger’s Music Hall is a marvellous fast piece which proves that the show can, and must, go on.
Yet again, Guild has created a fabulous disk of very interesting and entertaining music, most of which will be new to most of you. The transfers are bright and very clear, with no surface noise but - and I wonder how they do this - there is no discernable lack of bloom in the higher frequencies. The notes, though not exhaustive, are good. Yet again we must be grateful to Guild for opening our ears to some excellent music which has lain forgotten for too long.

Bob Briggs
Another in Guild’s fabulous light music series … see Full Review