Mel Torme Meets the British
A self confessed Anglophile, Mel Tormé was a regular and welcome visitor to Britain beginning with his first tour in 1956 until a few years prior to his death in 1999. He was full of praise for the British musicians he worked with, undeniably a compliment from a talented artiste who always set the highest standards within his own performances. A child prodigy, Tormé was four years old when he first sang at a local nightclub. As a teenage leader of his own vocal group, a multi instrumentalist, arranger and composer and an all round versatile entertainer he was a well established figure by the time he celebrated his thirty first birthday, which took place during his 1956 tour. Towards the end of this tour Mel recorded six titles in London with various British orchestras and their leaders - Ted Heath, Cyril Stapleton and Roland Shaw.
A return engagement to tour Britain in1957 gave Mel the opportunity to revisit the studios where he recorded two sides for s single release and the LP “Mel Tormé Meets The British” with Wally Stott. Limehouse Blues proceeds at a lively tempo and is a well-controlled offering both by singer and band. Mel had great affection for the standard A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square, a song that was a regular part of his concert repertoire and was added to the singer’s recorded legacy on more than one occasion. The bawdy I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts is given a dignified “Dixieland” treatment and Mel becomes his own accompanist, on piano, for These Foolish Things and sets a most dramatic atmosphere with the beautiful ballad Geordie. It’s a return to the big band backing for The White Cliffs Of Dover, one of the most popular songs of World War Two. The vocal on Danny Boy and strings blend beautifully on this gentle Irish ballad, and a similar setting is reserved for Greensleeves, a traditional English folk song with roots back to the mid 1580s. Let There Be Love, which dates from 1940, is a relaxed, light, swinging affair. Pianist Colin Beaton arranged the small group setting featuring Ivor Mairants on guitar for Try A Little Tenderness, previously recorded by Mel in 1945. Mel offers a graceful reading of London Pride, a flower which continued to blossom during the dreadful London blitz in 1941.
The twenty tracks on this CD sound as fresh now as it was when it was first created over fifty years ago and serve as a wonderful tribute to the great musicians and singer who recorded them.
1. LIMEHOUSE BLUES 1:51
2. A NIGHTINGALE SANG IN BERKELEY SQUARE 3:28
3. I’VE GOT A LOVELY BUNCH OF COCONUTS 2:33
4. THESE FOOLISH THINGS 3:44
5. GEORDIE 1:57
6. MY ONE AND ONLY HIGHLAND FLING 2:34
7. THE WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER 2:54
8. DANNY BOY 3:11
9. LET THERE BE LOVE 2:12
10. GREENSLEEVES 3:10
11. TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS 3:09
12. LONDON PRIDE 3:15
13. WALKIN’ SHOES 2:38
14. THE CUCKOO IN THE CLOCK 2:17
15. HOORAY FOR LOVE 2:29
16. SHENANDOAH VALLEY 3:04
17. WALTZ FOR YOUNG LOVERS 3:05
18. I DON’T WANT TO WALK WITHOUT YOU 3:04
19. TIME WAS 2:44
20. EV’RY WHICH WAY 2:31