Monday, May 16, 2011

Going Downtown with Johnny, Don & Harold

Regular visitors to this corner of the Internet will know of my affection for the great TV orchestras - the Hazlehurst band, Jack Parnell's ATV Elstree boys, Peter Knight, Laurie Holloway, Alyn Ainsworth (with or without the NDO), et al. At a recent BFI Missing Believed Wiped event, a 1969 Lulu show was shown, and it contained a performance of Downtown by the house band that nearly resulted in me having to be scraped off the back wall of NFT1. Lulu's musical director back then was a man called Johnny Harris, and there's never been a hipper bandleader, with his Carnaby Street shirts and groovy conducting moves. If that were all he had going for him, he'd have been memorable enough, but he was (and is) also a superb musician and arranger. Here we have the cream of the 1969 London session scene - Don Lusher, Harold Fisher, Don Honeywill, Ronnie Chamberlain and Keith Christie among them - tearing through one of Tony Hatch's finest moments made even finer by Harris's* educated scoring nib. Just watch, listen and marvel. Oh, and then go and buy a copy of Movements. You won't regret it.

* I am assuming that it's a Harris chart. I will, however, take correction if I'm wrong.