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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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The Old Songs

Sounds of Yesteryear



1. Goin' Home
2. Long, Long Ago
3. Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes
4. Loch Lomond
5. The Old Refrain
6. Sweet and Low
7. Londonderry Air (Danny Boy)
8. Caprice Viennois
9. The End of a Perfect Day
10. Silver Threads among the Gold
11. Flow Gently Sweet Afton
12. Silent Night
13. Schuberts [sic] Serenade
14. All through the Night
15. Killarney
16. Songs My Mother Taught Me
17. My Buddy
18. Mother Machree
19. In the Gloaming
20. Annie Laurie
21. Old Black Joe
22. Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair
23. Moonlight Sonata
24. Blue Danube

Complete personnel is not given, but mention is made of the following soloists and arrangers:
George Ockner - Violin
Zeke Zarchy - Trumpet
Vince Carbone - Tenor sax
Addison Collins - French horn
Mel Powell - Piano
Ray McKinley - Drums
Jerry Gray, Ralph Wilkinson, Danny Gool, & Bill Finnegan - Arrangers


This is a rather strange CD compilation. It consists of snippets of the "something old/new/borrowed/blue" medleys taken from "I Sustain the Wings" broadcasts, the majority being the "old [song]" portion of the medley, as the announcer tells us before almost each of the selections. These pieces are then strung together to form this CD.

As a result, almost every track is not a complete rendition of the tune but rather a chorus or two, times varying between a second or two over a minute to a few seconds over three minutes on the longest track, Blue Danube. The latter seems to be a complete rendition of the tune, ending with applause, which, if my ears do not betray me, is both added and canned. Perhaps two other tracks, Goin' Home and Moonlight Sonata, are also "complete" rather than the short versions all the others are.

No information is provided as to the dates of these broadcasts or to the personnel, other than the soloists and arrangers mentioned above. The total playing time of the CD is only 46+ minutes, far short of the usual playing time of a CD of around 65 to 70+ minutes.

So what we have is a kind of "taster" CD-we get a taste of each selection and a sense of what the Miller Army Air Force band sounded like, and how, with its string section and other added instruments, it differed from the civilian band that preceded it. But that can be gleaned from other full length CD's of the Army Air Force band, so I am at a loss as to whom this disc is supposed to appeal. Perhaps Miller completists will want it if these excerpts are not available elsewhere in complete versions of the medleys, but given the dearth of discographical information provided, that will be difficult to determine.

The Miller Army Air Force Band was not, like the Miller civilian bands, playing for dancing. The troops, after all, had no opportunity to dance at the morale-boosting concerts the band gave, so the emphasis fell on listening, the arrangements reflecting that as liberties taken with tempo clearly indicate. To sum up, this listening experience that the CD provides is pleasant, if incomplete.

Bert Thompson

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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