Music Webmaster Len Mullenger


PUTTIN' ON THE RITZ The Palm Court Orchestra Directed by Anthony Godwin(Chandos) FLYBACK FBCD 2011 [57:03]  


Crotchet (UK)

Irving Berlin: Puttin' on the Ritz; H. Barris: It Must Be True; Ted Snyder: The Sheik of Araby; Yellen, Silvers & Dougherty: Let's Get Friendly; Moll, Dowling, Hanley: Honeymoon Lane; Jack Yellow and Milton Ager: Happy Feet; Gottler & Meisel: Oh! What a Night; Jimmy Kennedy: Roll Along Covered Wagon; Razaf, Waller & Brooks: Ain't Misbehavin; Warren & Dubin: She's A Latin from Manhattan; Gilbert & Nicholls: Horatio Nicholl's Californian Serenade; Yellen & Shapiro: Loving You; and D.J. La Rocca: Tiger Rag.

This is an absolutely cracking album. Fourteen tracks in the sparkling effervescent style of the Roaring Twenties. Much of the material was played to accompany silent films and of course many of these songs have been featured in lots of films and TV programmes set in the 1920s. All the tracks are in strict tempo and the ensemble playing is perfect and perfectly in accord with the period - its as though you have travelled back in a time warp.

The opening number sets the mood with the bright and breezy title song "Puttin on the Ritz" - note the cinematic reference in the line, "...dressed up like a million dollar trouper trying hard to look like Gary Cooper, super-duper..." "It Must be True" finds the Palm Court Orchestra in a more relaxed and sweetly romantic mood enhanced by the ardent whistling of the Palm Court Orchestra's Director, Anthony Godwin. We are woken from our dreams of true love by the more urgent rhythms of "Toot, Toot, Tootsie" featuring the hottest violins and brass in town. Shades of Ketèlbey in Arabian mode and of Rudolf Valentino are summoned by "The Shiek of Araby" and how the boys camp it up - even the horse gets a laugh! The ladies of The Stardust Trio invite us to "Lets Get Friendly with their close harmony singing. Get those scintillating, swooping, scooping voices! - And there's a touch of the Grapellis!

"Honeymoon Lane" rings those wedding bells and the violins lead in another relaxed yet pointedly rhythmic romance. "Happy Feet" is deliriously happy - six minutes of sheer vitality! This track is tremendous and if you can keep still through it, you must be made of wood - and those hap, hap, happy feet go tap, tap tap dancing over the wood of the dance floor. "Oh What A Night" it was and the song of that name that follows is another wild party in itself. We are in the wild and woolly west with "Roll Along Covered Wagon" with a team of unimpressed horses that obviously always get the best of their driver. Clonk those coconuts while singer, Davis Norton does his Gene Autry Whippity-ee-i-o! "Ain't Misbehavin'", I wonder? I should think not by the sound of this sexy, blowsy rendition - Hey-Ho! Warren & Dubin wrote the songs for many of those wonderful Busby Berkeley musicals for Warner Bros. "She's A Latin from Manhattan" comes from the1935 film, Go Into Your Dance. 'She can take a tambourine and wack it, but with her its really a racket' for Dolores, the Latin senorita from Havana is really Suzie Donohue a hoofer from tenth avenue - saucy madame! No matter the Palm Courters bring all their Latin temperament and instruments to celebrate her charms.

"Horatio Nicholls' Californian Serenade" is a happy, quickstepping winner that must have delighted all the flappers, before the ladies of the Stardust Trio return to delight us with "Loving You", yes please! - so sentimentally sweet and persuasive how could I resist? The party ends with a rip roaring rendering of "Tiger Rag." It's really great - bouncy and brimming with tingling excitement. You simply will not be able to remain seated through this one. Where's that tiger? Hold that Tiger!

I think that you may have got the impression that I think this is the best thing since Mr Hovis put on his baker's apron? True, true, true!


Ian Lace


Ian Lace

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