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



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TED HEATH

Ted Heath & His Music;
Rare transcription recordings
of the 1950s.
Volume 4; Ridin' High

VOCALION CDEA 6194

 

 

  1. Theme and intro - Listen to My Music (Heath)
  2. Strike up the Band (G & I Gershwin)
  3. Don't Go to Strangers (Kent; Mann; Evans) BB
  4. When I Grow too Old to Dream (Romberg; Hammerstein)
  5. The Carioca (Youmans; Kahn; Eliscu)
  6. It's the Talk of the Town (Livingston; Symes; Neiburg) KL
  7. Instrumental - Beguine
  8. Jitterbug Waltz (Waller)
  9. Cinnamon Sinner (Chase) DL
  10. Embraceable You (G & I Gershwin)
  11. Drive In (Bee)
  12. Turn on the Heath (Bishop)
  13. Ted Heath's spoken sign-off
  14. Kings Cross Climax (Graham)
  15. Sweet Heartaches (Simon; Kennedy) BB
  16. Size Nine (Lusher)
  17. Sweet and Gentle (Portal; Thorn)
  18. The Balboa (Pollack; Mitchell)
  19. See You Later, Alligator (Guidry)
  20. My Melancholy Baby (Burnett; Norton)
  21. The Gal with the Yaller Shoes (Brodszky; Cahn) PL
  22. Ridin' High (Porter)
  23. I Look at You (Constantin; Robinson) BB
  24. Mambo Martino (Keating)
  25. Louisville Lou (Ager; Yellen)
  26. By the Fountains of Rome (Seiber; Newell) BB
  27. Spring is Here (Rodgers; Hart)
  28. I'll Remember April (Raye; Johnson; de Paul)
  29. The Wayward Wind (Newman; Lebowski) PL
  30. Midnight Sun (Hampton; Burke; Mercer)
  31. Can I Forget You? (Kern; Hammerstein)
  32. Rock-a-Beatin' Boogie (Haley) PL
  33. The Boy Next Door (Blane; Martin)
  34. Begin the Beguine (Porter)

Recorded at a BBC Studio ca. early 1955, summer 1956 (AF1143, AF1416, AF1765)
Vocalists: BB Bobby Britton; KL Kathy Lloyd; DL Dennis Lotis; PL Peter Lowe.

 

Vocalion's series devoted to Ted Heath transcriptions has arrived at volume 4. It's always good to hear his mellifluous and brief introductions, which is just as well because there are quite a few of those. The transcriptions are quite well balanced with commercial considerations strongly to the fore. Thus singers and romantic listener pleasers are very audible, largely to the exclusion of out and out swingers. Also, the tracks are invariably short - many lingering around the two minute mark - so there was no time for soloists to stretch out nor, indeed, was that the point of the exercise.

Amidst these items, all very well played but geared strongly at a more complacent listener, we can enjoy Don Lusher fast lipping his way through the Latino verve of The Carioca as well as the high note trumpet lead of Bobby Pratt on Embraceable You where he can take an extended solo for once. Pianist Frank Horrox manages to get in a few good, possibly Teddy Wilson inspired solos too. Very occasionally the band really sizzles. It does so on Kenny Graham's Kings Cross Climax and when it gets its collective teeth into a great song in a superb arrangement, and both apply in the case of David Rose's arrangement of My Melancholy Baby. When extra time is accorded, the results are top drawer.

There are a number of Latin numbers scattered throughout these 1955 and '56 sets, and plenty of vocals from the singers listed in the headnote. Regrettably along the way Heath indulges the Bill Haley vogue in the shape of Rock-a-Beatin' Boogie. The resultant mess was predictable. Yet elsewhere-and you really do need to search, as there are 64 tracks in this single CD-there are clever examples of sax leading voicing, all reed arrangements, roistering brass and the like.

This is hardly essential Heath, but it represents the working band, doing pragmatic work for radio company use. Vocalion has done a first class job of presentation and restoration.

Jonathan Woolf



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