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English Music of the Living Past
A scrapbook of cherished tunes, recalling the changing mood of the 1940s, from the comradeship of the war to the peace of the late 40s. This album is brimful of music and memories.
The way we were in the 40s
Memorable melodies of our time
To those of us who lived through the 40s, this carefully selected anthology of original recordings should truly bring back a host of memories. For those who did not - you will appreciate why the 40s were so musically epoch-making, and why they are regarded with such affection. Happy listening!
1 Moonlight serenade Glenn Miller
2 The white cliffs of Dover Vera Lynn
3 I'll never smile again Frank Sinatra
4 Ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
5 Pennsylvania 6-5000 Glenn Miller
6 Paper doll Mills Brothers
7 In a shady nook Donald Peers
8 Green eyes Helen O'Connell & Bob Eberly with Jimmy
Dorsey and his Orchestra
9 Frenesi Artie Shaw
10 You made me love you Harry James
11 Over the rainbow Judy Garland
12 Do I worry? The Ink Spots
13 Cruising down the river Russ Morgan
14 Red roses for a blue lady Vaughn Monroe
15 Laura Dick Haymes
16 Till the end of time Perry Como
17 Sentimental journey Doris Day
18 Now is the hour Bing Crosby
19 April showers Al Jolson
20 Nancy (with the laughing face) Frank Sinatra
21 The bells of St. Mary's Bing Crosby
22 If I were a blackbird Ronnie Ronalde
23 Confidentially Reg Dixon
programme notes by Martin Moritz
This compilation p & c 2003 Classical Communications Ltd
Made in Great Britain
The 1940s were certainly a decade of change. The whole world, it seemed, was going through a radical transformation, much of it brought into sharp focus by the effects of the War. Yet, surprisingly, popular music hardly changed at all. The styles, types and calibre of songs remained quite constant. There were ballads, Swing instrumentals, novelties and Latin-flavoured numbers. In retrospect, the 40s could be seen as the most productive decade in popular music's history.
Whether one's preference was for big bands rather than the singers or one revelled in Swing, these were our golden years and forever will remain so in our collective memories. They were sweet, and bittersweet, years - a time when we needed good popular most of all. What could be more appropriate than to open our nostalgic treasury with a musician whose sound became the music symbol of a generation? He is, of course, Glenn Miller, and his haunting Moonlight Serenade still retains its emotion-charged appeal. Much the same can be said of The White Cliffs of Dover, forever linked to our own Vera Lynn, who will forever be known as "The Forces' Sweetheart".
The sweet bands, those purveyors of smooth, romantic, dance music, specialised in affectionate tunes and memorable melodies - warm, sentimental ballads such as Harry James' You Made Me Love You
.Green Eyes (A Cuban song from 1931) with Jimmy Dorsey and vocals supplied by Bob Eberly and Helen O'Connell. Both of these were wartime favourites and the latter part of the decade had new musical heroes in the form of Russ Morgan and his sunny Cruising Down The River, and Vaughan Monroe and Red Roses For a Blue Lady. As an antidote to these romantic excursions, Artie Shaw makes an appearance with his great, Swing classic Frenesi.
The 1940s was the age of the ballad singer. Singers who were destined to become 'household' names arrived and each left an indelible mark. Bing Crosby, whose pioneering work had laid the foundations of ballad singing, was already established and stylists such as the 'pretender to the throne' Frank Sinatra (I'll Never Smile Again) were widening the musical boundaries. In their wake followed Perry Como (Till The End Of Time); Dick Haymes (Laura); Doris Day (Sentimental Journey); and an artist who would become a potent force in the art of popular singing, Nat King Cole (Nature Boy). Let us not forget Judy Garland and her timeless anthem Over the Rainbow, and the great Al Jolson, who witnessed a twilight 'come back' thanks to two screen biographies, 'The Jolson Story' and 'Jolson Sings Again'
Over here, Donald Peers and Ronnie Ronalde became firm favourites, very much in the tradition of their American counterparts. Reg Dixon deserves a place here too, because this comedian/singer became such a huge radio and recording star. Remember his Confidentially? Close harmony groups were also a mainstay during this time, three notable examples being The Ink Spots, The Mills Brothers, and The Andrews Sisters, who were really a by-product of Swing.
That is quite a line-up, is it not? Remember, these are all the original recordings from that era. To those of us who lived through it, this anthology should truly bring back a host of memories. For those who did not - perhaps you will appreciate why we hark back to those epoch-making days with such affection. Happy listening!