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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke




Crotchet
superbudget 
BRITISH DANCE BANDS
VOL. 1



ORIGINAL 1930 - 1943 RECORDINGS

Only vocalists and main instrumentalists listed under personnel
NAXOS Nostalgia 8.120603
Alfredo & His Band
1. My Love Parade

Ambrose & His Orchestra
2. Lady, Play Your Mandoline
3. Butterflies In The Rain

The Ballyhooligans/Phil Green
4. Whispering

Don Marino Barreto & His Cuban Orchestra
5. Green Eyes

BBC Dance Orchestra/Jack Payne
6. The Peanut Vendor

BBC Dance Orchestra/Henry Hall
7. Stars Over Devon

Ivy Benson & Her Girls' Band
8. I'm Gettin' Sentimental Over You

Bertini & The Tower, Blackpool Dance Band
9. Letting In The Sunshine

Harry Bidgood & His Broadcasters
10. Telling It To The Daisies

The Blue Mountaineers/ Joe Brannelly
11. Love, You Funny Thing

Josephine Bradley & Her Strict- Tempo Dance Orchestra/ Geraldo
12.Tea For Two

Larry Brennan & The Winter Gardens ( Blackpool ) Dance Band
13. When Cafe Lights Were Low

Eddie Carroll & The Casani Club Orchestra
14. In The Sweet Long Ago

The Connecticut Collegians ( Jay Wilbur & His Band )
15. Day By Day

Billy Cotton & His Band
16. The Girl In The Little Green Hat
17. A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square

Herman Darewski & His Band
18. Wishing ( Will Make It So )

The Durium Dance Band/ Lew Stone
19. Can't We Talk It Over?

The Durium Revellers/ Arthur Lally
20. Too Many Tears - When Yuba Plays A Rumba On The Tuba
This CD is quite rightly on the Naxos Nostalgia label as that must be the category in which its greatest appeal lies . It would be difficult to argue a case for its being groundbreaking material and, in most of the instances found here, the level is workman-like at the best. However, these bands were mainly the resident orchestras at various venues throughout the country and so were generally required to provide music for dancing, dining and as a low level background entertainment. The more successful units were given radio broadcasts on a semi-regular basis ( as was the case for their counterparts in America). Because of this practice some of the bandleaders became household names and went from strength to strength ( Billy Cotton, Geraldo, Ambrose, Lew Stone).
The music is a mixture of standard dance band fare mixed with the odd comedy number and a smattering of early attempts at Latin -American tunes. The level of performance is generally quite good - the average professional player at that time seemed to have reasonable technique and musicianship and be capable of playing a passable "Hot " chorus. However the difference between the British players of that time and those in the U.S.A. lay in the relaxation of delivery and in the feeling of "Swing". There are exceptions ( Nat Gonella for one ) but as a rule this was the case before the musicians mixed together more, from the war years onwards.
The vocals are, on the whole, moderate to poor - obviously such gifted singers as Al Bowly do not fall into this category but I am afraid he is very much in the minority on this compilation . Of course the vocal refrain was more of a novelty or added extra on many of these recordings, but even so, in places it is a little like amateur night.
This disc is surely not for the serious Jazz follower. Perhaps it is best looked on as an insight into what was then a rapidly burgeoning form of popular entertainment and as a reflection of a part of social history now sadly departed.


Dick Stafford

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