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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Medley Time

Sounds of Yester Year DSOD 812 (Distributed by The Woods)



1. Medley: Goin' Home/Paper Doll/All the Things You Are/My Blue Heaven
2. Medley: Long, Long Ago/I Heard You Cried Last Night/Moonlight Serenade/Blues in my Heart
3. Medley: Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes/You'll Never Know/Summertime/Blue Skies
4. Medley: Loch Lomond/If That's the Way You Want It Baby/Make Believe/Mood Indigo
5. The Old Refrain
6. Blue Rain
7. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
8. Blue Again
9. Medley: Sweet and Low/In The Blue of the Evening/Things Ain't What They Used To Be/A Blues Serenade
10. Medley: The Irish Air from the County Derry/Shoo, Shoo Baby/The Way You Look Tonight/Beautiful Blue Danube
11. Medley: Caprice Viennois/Sunday, Monday, or Always/My Isle of Golden Dreams/Birth of the Blues
12. The End of a Perfect Day
13. Do You Know
14. Moonlight Sonata
15. Blue Room
16. Silver Threads among the Gold
17. Absent Minded
18. A String of Pearls
19. St Louis Blues
20. I Sustain the Wings

1. The Army Air Corps/I Sustain the Wings
2. Flow Gently Sweet Afton
3. Later Tonight
4. Don't Be That Way
5. Blue Champagne
6. Medley: Silent Night/I'll Be Home for Christmas/Jingle Bells/White Christmas
7. Medley: Schubert's Serenade/Irresistible You/Little Brown Jug/
Rhapsody in Blue
8. Medley: All Through the Night/I Love You/Take It Easy/Blue Hawaii
9. Medley: Killarney/I've Got a Heart Filled With Love/Moonlight Serenade/Wabash Blues
10. Medley: Songs My Mother Taught Me/It's Love, Love, Love/In an 18th-Century Drawing Room/Blue Orchids
11. Medley: My Buddy/Goodnight Wherever You Are/Music Makers/Farewell Blues
12. Medley: Mother Machree/I Couldn't Sleep a Wink Last Night/I Can't Give You Anything but Love/Wang, Wang Blues
13. Medley: In the Gloaming/Fellow on a Furlough/Stompin' at the Savoy/Deep Purple
14. I Sustain the Wings


Why was Glenn Miller so popular? His band's popularity lasted from the late 1930s into the Second World War - and it continues today with a large number of Miller "tribute bands" doing the rounds and reproducing his hits. This double CD supplies some clues as to the reasons for Glenn's success.

The music is warm and lush - at times you might even say undemanding - and very easy to listen to. Vocalists (like Tony Martin performing All the Things You Are) sing smoothly and the voices of all the singers, including Johnny Desmond and Bob Carroll, are mellow and friendly. This is not to say that Glenn Miller's Army Airforces Band was incapable of playing jazz. My Blue Heaven introduces touches of swing, although it is still easy listening, ideal for appealing to audiences especially in fraught periods like wartime. Other jazzy moments include the clarinet solo on Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and the trumpet introducing the melody of Blue Again. And Blue Room is definitely a swing arrangement.

These recordings come from American radio broadcasts in front of enthusiastic audiences. The band was a large ensemble: comprising not only the usual big band but a 20-piece string section. And many of the items are in a medley format which Glenn originally devised to squeeze in as many tunes as possible within a limited time. These medleys were called "Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue" and each contained four tunes matching these attributes. You are unlikely to forget the format while listening to this album, because an announcer recites time-and-again this formula, adding "A serenade for the mothers, wives and sweethearts of the officers and enlisted men" - something that might usefully have been edited out after its first appearance.

Jazz fans will grasp at the jazz elements which surface occasionally, such as the fine saxophone work in String of Pearls. This quality is not surprising in a band that included such jazzmen as Mel Powell, Ray McKinley, Zeke Zarchy and Peanuts Hucko (this last even imitates Louis Armstrong vocally in I Can't Give You Anything but Love). Despite the small proportion of jazz content, this compilation is a reminder of why the Miller sound appealed to so many people for so long - and still does to this day.

Incidentally, the sleeve-note refers to Miller's orchestra as the Army Air Force Band, which seems to be a more widespread name than the front cover's version.

Tony Augarde

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