Friday, November 02, 2007

Sticking with the subject of the British music scene's unsung heroes, I was inspired by this posting on Let's Look Sideways to dig out my copy of Roy Castle's 1961 LP Castlewise. Ever since I first heard The Intro and the Outro by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band (on Mike Read's Radio 1 breakfast show, circa 1983, since you asked), I've been a sucker for tracks where the band members are introduced, and the always-dedicated Roy's version of How High the Moon is a masterpiece of the genre. A fair few of the names dropped were then members of Ted Heath's band - an outfit very close to my heart - including the king of the high Cs, trumpeter Bobby Pratt, as well as trombonists Don Lusher and Johnny Edwards and, on drums, the never-less-than-superb Ronnie 'Animal' Verrell. However, as Roy points out, the arrangement is the star, and for that we have to thank Wally Stott. The overall approach is very much in the cool, West Coast vein of Marty Paich's Dektette, as heard on numerous Mel Tormé and Sammy Davis Junior records, but with that added touch of class that marks out every Stott chart. Of course, since 1972, Wally has been known as Angela Morley, but I can't think of a rhyme using Morley to match "Somewhere there's music, and it's nice and hot/'cause this arrangement's by Wally Stott". The world very badly needs CD reissues of this, 1957's Stott-scored Tormé Meets the British and Stott's own rather gorgeous 1958 LP, London Pride. All were on Philips, so come on, Universal, get your finger out.

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