Today a review of A Foggy Day (In London Town) which is a track of Shirley Bassey’s first album for Columbia after she left the Phillips label. The album was recorded with Geoff Love and his orchestra.
The Fabulous Shirley Bassey
Album 1959: Columbia SCX 3287 CD Re-Issue 1999: EMI 4989342 & 5282502
Official British Chart Entered: Jan 26 1961
Highest: Albums: #5 Run: 2 weeks
Cover Images: T. Timoleon
01. 3:11 – A Foggy Day (In London Town)
02. 3:33 – I’ve Got You Under My Skin
03. 3:28 – Cry Me A River
04. 2:55 – April In Paris
05. 3:40 – I’ve Never Been In Love Before
06. 4:03 – The Man That Got Away
07. 2:15 – S’Wonderful
08. 4:07 – I’ll Remember April
09. 3:03 – Easy To Love
10. 2:54 – No One Ever Tells You
11. 3:11 – They Can’t Take That Away From Me
12. 3:31 – The Party’s Over
Sleeve Note From The Fabulous Shirley Bassey:
The word “fabulous” is probably the most over-worked and misused adjective in present-day show business. Many are called “fabulous” but few can really live up to the reputation. We do not hesitate to describe SHIRLEY BASSEY in this way when presenting this wonderful record.
Shirley Bassey’s visits to the recording studios created an electric atmosphere of anticipation that prevailed among all the personnel connected with the session – the musicians , the recording engineers and the studio staff. The control room of the studio never had so many visitors calling in with the slightest excuse just to see and bear this great artiste.
Shirley’s rise to fame is already one of the outstanding stories of the present day. She was born in Cardiff in 1937 and before she was 21 years of age had achieved a world-wide reputation, appearing in Las Vegas, Hollywood, New York, Stockholm, Monte Carlo, Sydney and Melbourne. In England she is one of the greatest artistes to have appeared during recent years.
Her first great impact when famous impresario, Jack Hylton, included her in his Adelphi Theatre, London, production “Such Is Life.” She was an overnight sensation, literally “stopping the show” and winning national press acclaim from all theatre critics the next morning.
From then on Shirley Bassey went from strength to strength – triumphant in all fields of entertainment – theatre, revue, television, cabaret and records.
Although this is her first recording for Columbia, she recently held the number one and three spots in the hit parade with her now famous recordings of “As I Love You” and “Kiss Me, Honey, Honey, Kiss Me.”
Listeners to this L.P. will immediately appraise the great variety of style and interpretation with which Shirley approaches her songs, from the swinging A Foggy Day In London Town, to her moving and sentimental approach to The Party’s Over.
Shirley is also the first to praise the excellent arrangements of musical director Geoff Love. Geoff has been responsible for the accompaniments of many artists – too numerous to mention them all – but he can praise non more highly than Shirley Bassey. Immediately this record was completed Geoff said “When do we begin another?”
We feel sure you will say the same when you listen to THE FABULOUS SHIRLEY BASSEY.
Sleeve Note from The Wonderful Shirley Bassey by Harry Francis:
What can one write about an impeccable album such as this? All manner of superlatives have been used by critics and record reviewers to describe the work of Shirley Bassey, in the performance of twelve great songs, with the skill of Geoff Love who scored all the arrangements, and the perfection of his musicians to say nothing of the production genius of Normal Newell, you have a rapport that can hardly fail to produce a performance that is superb. It is rather like feeding all the correct information into a computer which, in turn, produces the correct solution to the problem. There, of course, the similarity ends – the computer lacking the vital ingredient of the warmth of human emotion.
Miss Bassey is undoubtedly one of the most outstanding artists to have arrived upon the popular British music scene in the past two decades. When the titles on this album were recorded, she had already achieved world-wide success: yet, in her early twenties as she then was, she had developed a maturity and command of performance that usually arrive much later in the lives of most successful artists.
Watch her at work on the theatre stage, and you quickly realise that here is the one hundred per cent professional. Every action is carefully rehearsed and is fitted to something in the orchestration and in putting over her songs she makes full use of her dynamic personality and physical attraction on a gramophone record where there are no visual aids, and in the Shirley Bassey is always completely successful. Listen to the album close your eyes and you can imagine every stage movement.
This album is a treat for Shirley’s countless fans, but it is also musician’s music – the kind they enjoy playing. Hear the orchestra’s “bits” in “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”, the delightful alto saxophone of Bill Povey, particularly in the coda of “The Man That Got Away,” together with a lead trumpet of Stan Roderick and the punchy precision drumming of Bobby Kevin, and you will follow my meaning.
Whether it be a ballad such as “I’ve Never Been in Love Before”, “I’ll Remember April” or “The Party’s Over”, a slow rhythmic number with a blues influence like “Cry Me A River”, “The Man that Got Away” or “No-one Ever Tells You”, or a beaty swinging number such as “S’Wonderful”, “Easy to Love” or “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” , her interpretation is always just right, with the orchestra accompanying every mood to perfection.
Geoff Love biography Adapted From Lycos Music:
Geoff Love was born on 4th September 1917, in Todmorden, Yorkshire, England, and died on 8th July 1991, London, England. Love was a musical director, arranger, composer and one of the UK’s most popular easy-listening music personalities. His father, Kid Love, was World Champion sand dancer, and came to the UK from the USA. Geoff Love learned to play the trombone in his local brass band and made his first broadcast in 1937 on Radio Normandy. He moved to the south of England, and played with violinist Jan Ralfini’s Dance Orchestra in London and with the Alan Green Band in Hastings. After six years in the army during World War II, he joined Harry Gold’s Pieces Of Eight in 1946, and stayed with them until 1949, providing the vocal on their successful record, “Blue Ribbon Gal”. In 1955, Love formed his own band for the television show On The Town, and soon afterwards started recording for EMI/Columbia with his Orchestra and Concert Orchestra. He had his first hit in 1958, with a cover-version of Perez Prado’s cha-cha-cha “Patricia”, and made several albums including Enchanted Evenings, Our Very Own and Thanks For The Memory (Academy Award Winning Songs). In 1959, Love started to release some recordings under the pseudonym, Manuel And His Music Of The Mountains, which proved be immensely successful.
Besides his own orchestral records, Love provided the accompaniment and arrangements on record, and in concert, for many popular artists such as Connie Francis, Russ Conway, Paul Robeson, Judy Garland, Frankie Vaughan, Johnny Mathis, Des O’Connor, Ken Dodd, Marlene Dietrich and Gracie Fields. In the 70s, he formed yet another group, Billy’s Banjo Band, later known as Geoff Love’s Banjo Band, while still having hits under his own name with Big War Themes, Big Western Movie Themes and Big Love Movie Themes. He also capitalized on the late 70s dance fad with several volumes of Geoff Love’s Big Disco Sound, while retaining his more conservative image with Waltzes With Love and Tangos With Love. He was consistently popular on radio, and on television, where, besides conducting the orchestra, he was especially effective as a comic foil to Max Bygraves on his Singalongamax, and similar series. Love’s compositions range from the Latin-styled “La Rosa Negra” to the theme for the hit television situation comedy, Bless This House. His prolific album output included mostly film or television themes. His son Adrian was a well-known and popular radio broadcaster.
I was a stranger in the city
Out of town were the people I knew
I had that feeling of self-pity
What to do? What to do? What to do?
The outlook was decidedly blue
But as I walked through the foggy streets alone
It turned out to be the luckiest day I’ve known
A foggy day in London Town
Had me low and had me down
I viewed the morning with alarm
The British Museum had lost its charm
How long, I wondered, could this thing last?
But the age of miracles hadn’t passed,
For, suddenly, I saw you there
And through foggy London Town
The sun was shining everywhere.
GERSHWIN, IRA / GERSHWIN, GEORGE
Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.