Sunday, 3 February 2013

Musical Interlude - Jack Hylton & his Orchestra - If You Want The Rainbow, 1928 / It's A Great Life, 1930



Two songs now - which I picked before I went away to help continue filling the expected gaps, unnecessarily as it turned out - and they're a couple of favourites, especially as the messages they contain have helped me get through some rough patches in the past.

Jack Hylton is one of my favourite British band leaders of the 1930s.  He was also active in the 1920s - when he first started out in 1923 - through to the Second World War, after which he changed careers somewhat and moved into the production management and impresario side of entertainment where he worked with many London theatres, ITV and the likes of Morecambe & Wise, Shirley Bassey, Tony Hancock and Liberace.

It is his bandleader years that are of the greatest enjoyment for me, however.  I would certainly rate him higher than the other Jack - Jack Payne, whose compositions were often more of the "novelty" variety - although there are some standards of his that are very good too.

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Returning to Jack Hylton (whose first wife Ennis Parkes was a bandleader in her own right, recording as "Mrs Jack Hylton") these two songs I have selected are among the best of what is often considered Hylton's golden period of the late 1920s and early 1930s.  If You Want The Rainbow was recorded on the 27th November 1928 with long-time Hylton vocalist Pat O'Malley singing the refrain and It's A Great Life was cut on the 21st October 1930 with the great Sam Browne taking the lead (I love how he stops himself from saying a then-rude word part of the way through!).  Although they were made two years apart - and If You Want The Rainbow a year before the 1929 Crash and the start of the Great Depression - they were both obviously written at a time when hardships and difficulties were often encountered on a day-to-day basis.  I  have written before (and so have others) about just how impossible it is to imagine how tough life was at that time for a large section of society; music was obviously one of the few escapes people had and it's no wonder that the tunes were often so jolly and full of positiveness.

Although I continue to consider myself fortunate to live in the 21st century with all its advantages, there are times even today when we all need a little fillip - especially after what I went through recently - and for me these two songs still have that much needed verve to help push through the tough times.



*The entire Jack Hylton (and Mrs Jack Hylton) discography is available to listen to and download at www.jackhylton.com*

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