Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Friday, December 09, 2011
"Raised in Indianapolis, Skip Martin studied clarinet and played with local orchestras through high school and while attending Indiana University. After graduation, he took a job at radio station WLW in Cincinnati. Around 1936, he began playing alto and baritone sax for a series of big bands, including Charlie Barnett, Jan Savitt, Glenn Miller, and Benny Goodman. He also wrote an occasional arrangements. Count Basie recorded a number of Martin's compositions in the 1940s, including a minor hit, "Tuesday at Ten." After a stint with NBC and CBS radio in New York, Martin was enlisted in the Army Air Corps and trained as a pilot.
He settled in Los Angeles and went into studio work. He worked mainly as a fill-in, contributing individual arrangements, such as Les Brown's hit, "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm," but rarely handled a whole album. He assisted Leo Arnaud on the score for the Red Skelton movie, "Excuse My Dust," and conducted the orchestra on the soundtrack for Fred Astaire's movie, "Royal Wedding." He also worked with the Pied Pipers and Tony Martin in the early 1950s. After a short spell as a staff arranger for NBC television, he moved back to Hollywood and went freelance. In the late 1950s, he produced several albums for Somerset that rank among the best of the "percussion" craze. The list of players includes some of the best West coast jazz players of the time: Jimmy Rowles, Pete Candoli, Frank Rosolino, Larry Bunker, Irv Cottler, and Don Fagerquist. Martin also arranged a selection of composer Dave Kuhn's theme and incidental music for the 1958-59 TV series, "Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer," that RCA released to ride on the coattails of the success of Henry Mancini's "Peter Gunn" LPs."
Tracks are as follows -
1. I'll See You In My Dreams
2. And Then There's Bells
3. Red River Cha Cha
4. Night train To New Orleans
5. C'est Magnifique
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
"As music hall comedians, they would often feature a mixture of comedy and music in their act; this led to a successful recording career as a duo and roles in film and television. Just prior to and throughout the Second World War they appeared in several films helmed by Marcel Varnel and John Baxter. Flanagan and Allen were both also members of The Crazy Gang and worked with that team for many years concurrently with their double-act career.
Flanagan and Allen's songs featured the same, usually gentle, humour for which the duo were known in their live performances, and during the Second World War they reflected the experiences of ordinary people during wartime. Songs like 'We're Gonna Hang out the Washing on the Siegfried Line' mocked the German defences (Siegfried Line), while others like 'Miss You' sang of missing one's sweetheart during enforced absences. Other songs, such as their most famous, 'Underneath the Arches' (which Flanagan co-wrote with Reg Connelly), had universal themes such as friendship. The music was usually melodic, following a binary verse, verse chorus structure, with a small dance band or orchestra providing the accompaniment. The vocals were distinctive because while Flanagan was at least a competent singer and sang the melody lines, Allen used an almost spoken delivery to provide the harmonies.
The recordings of Flanagan and Allen remain popular, and the duo are frequently impersonated by professionals and amateurs. Royal Variety Performances often feature people 'doing a Flanagan and Allen', notably Roy Hudd and Christopher Timothy, Bernie Winters and Leslie Crowther. In 1980 the latter two featured in a one-off musical drama about the duo produced by ATV for the ITV network.
The later comedy team Morecambe and Wise, who often expressed their admiration for Flanagan and Allen, recorded a tribute album, Morecambe and Wise Sing Flanagan and Allen (Phillips 6382 095), in which they performed some of the earlier team's more popular songs in their own style, without attempting to imitate the originals. Fans of either comedy team may be slightly disappointed by this album, since all of the selections are performed absolutely straight, with no comedy except for a brief amount of banter after one of the songs. Run Rabbit Run was one of their best hits in World War Two."