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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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TED HEATH AND HIS MUSIC

Believe in Me - Rare Transcription
Recordings of the 1950s

Vocalion CDEA 6190

 

 

1. Theme and Introduction - Listen to My Music
3. Lullaby of Broadway
5. You Above All
7. I Cover the Waterfront
9. Girls, Girls, Girls
11. They Didn't Believe Me
13. Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)
15. You Are My First Love
17. Dearly Beloved
19. How Little We Know
21. Garth Goes to Town
23. Way Down Yonder in New Orleans
25. We Believe in Love
27. You're in Kentucky (Sure as You're Born)
29. I'll Be Around
31. Tea for Two
33. The Hour of Parting
35. Serenade
37. Carolina in the Morning
39. Slow Rock
41. Believe in Me
43. Easy to Love
45. Thou Swell
47. Lullaby of Birdland
49. No Other One
51. Laura
53. Take the "A" Train
55. Ill Wind
 
2, 4, etc. Ted Heath spoken intros.

Bobby Pratt, Bert Ezard, Duncan Campbell, Eddie Blair - Trumpets
Don Lusher, Ric Kennedy, Wally Smith, Jimmy Coombes - Trombones
Les Gilbert - Alto sax
Ronnie Chamberlain - Alto sax, soprano sax
Red Price - Tenor sax
Henry Mackenzie - Tenor sax, clarinet
Ken Kiddler - Baritone sax
Ike Isaacs - Guitar
Frank Horrox - Piano, arranger
Johnny Hawkesworth - Bass
 
Ronnie Verrell - Drums
Johnny Keating, Ernie Wilkins - Arrangers
Bobby Britton - Vocals (tracks 5, 15, 25, 35, 41)
Peter Lowe - Vocals (tracks 9, 19, 49)
 
Recorded at a BBC studio, London, ca. summer 1956

 

These BBC broadcasts from 1956 present the Ted Heath Orchestra when it was still a force to be reckoned with, Britain's answer to the American swing bands such as those of Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, et al. While the Americans perhaps swung more - certainly on some tunes (such as Take the "A" Train) - Heath's group was no slouch in that department, as is illustrated on Garth Goes to Town, Lullaby of Broadway, Thou Swell, Dearly Beloved or Lullaby of Birdland. Heath was always fortunate in his choice of musicians: Lusher, Hawkesworth and Verrell in particular being among the best of the day. Likewise his arrangers, Johnny Keating and Ernie Wilkins, did the band proud. Perhaps somewhat ironically, Heath had in mind forming a sweet band, but the musicians had other ideas, so he ended up with one of the best swing/jazz orchestras in the country.

These broadcasts also contain some dross, particularly in the vocals department. Very few of these numbers made the hit parade of the day, and many people today will probably cringe at hearing Heath refer to the female listeners as "girls" who are just waiting impatiently for the singers (all male here) to come out to strut their stuff, as if young women could not appreciate the music, the arrangements, etc. but were vapid airheads who stood around waiting for the handsome male to warble some insipid love ditty. (By this time Heath's best-known vocalists - Dennis Lotis, Dickie Valentine, and Lita Roza - had all gone their separate ways.) But other than most of the vocals, the band selections are very good, and those that feature Lusher, whether with the full band or with his small-group-within-the-band, are lagniappe.

As regards the numbering, all the odd numbers refer to the tunes, the even numbers to Heath's introductions - a bit confusing at first. Then I was a little amused at the thought of Ted Heath standing there reeling off the carefully memorized intros - his little arranged solos, as it were-all so prim and proper!

The album will appeal to Heath completists and collectors of big band radio broadcasts most, perhaps, but the casual listener to big bands will also find much that is attractive, even if Ted Heath is just a name to him or her.

Bert Thompson



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