THE TEMPERANCE SEVEN
PASADENA & THE LOST CYLINDERS
Lake LACD77, 1997, 28 tracks 78 min
Charley My Boy, You're Driving Me Crazy, My Baby Just Cares For Me, Chilli Bom Bom, My Mama's In Town, Words, China Boy, Ukulele Lady, My Blue Heaven, Oh Baby, I Wonder What's Become Of Joe, Take Me Over, Carole, The Mooche, Vo Do Do De O, Seven & Eleven, East St Louis, Pleasant Moments, Pasadena, A Japanese Dream, Deep Henderson, Ain't She Sweet, The Tate & Lyle Suite(Sugar, Sugar, Sugar), From Russia With Love, Jimmy, Thoroughly Modern Millie
My first jazz LP ever, was bought with birthday money in 1962. It was 'The Temperance Seven 1961'. My father, a jazz fan from way back, tried to persuade me not to get it, to rather buy a 'Trad Jazz' LP, for, as he said 'It is gimmicky, and you will soon get bored with it.' Well some 36 years later I still play it, though the sound that it now issues forth defies the covers description of it being in 'High Fidelity'.
Imagine my joy when I heard that Lake were issuing 'Pasadena & The Lost Cylinders'. At last, I thought, I can retire my poor old album and listen once again to the stars of the Pasadena Cocoa Rooms, Balls Pond Road, London, in pristine sound! But I can't. You see, when I saw the titles I noticed that not all the tracks on the aforesaid LP were on the CD, and some tracks seemed to come from their subsequent 'The Temperance Seven Family Album', and there were also various singles. Oh well, never mind. Then, when I played the CD I found that the tracks were in fact different takes of the tunes than those earlier released.
Was I disappointed? Nah. This CD gives you the Temp 7 at their very best. Their earlier attempts at recording, such as the 1958 released 'One Over The Eight', lacked the smooth professionalism of the recordings made in the early 60s. Their later recordings, from the late 60s onwards, tend to very kitsch. One of the great things about the Temp 7 in their early configurations was not just the music, but the fact that these jokers played, acted, and lived as if they really had played their first gig in 1904 as they claimed. Watch as closely as you might, and their faces never cracked, nor their eyes wink to show that it was anything other than deadly serious. Later line-ups gave the joke away and they hammed their image up for all it was worth, and lost something of the magic in the process.
Whilst the tracks are often different takes of tunes released before, they are quite different, and they don't appear to be studio rejects either (and there are a few of those floating around on cheap CDs of 60s pop groups I can tell you. Don't be fooled by the 'original recordings' tag either - original they may be, but the recordings that made the hit parade they ain't). Most are slightly different arrangements of the known tracks, but others are entirely different. An example is 'Ukulele Lady' being an early version, sung by Whispering Paul McDowell rather than the version sung by Allan Moody-Mitchell on the 'The Temperance Seven Family Album' LP. Another example is Sugar (Meyer/Young) missing the vocal refrain. Very interesting, and it helps explain the '...Missing Cylinders', album title. Several new tracks are on the CD, such as a very fine 'My Mammas in Town' and 'The Mooche'.
Well, a surprise, but a pleasant one. For it means that the unlost cylinders are sitting there waiting for someone to re-issue. Please Lake Records, find them and publish them, for unlike Whispering Paul McDowell, I ain't got the 'Vo Do Do De O Blues'!
THE TEMPERANCE SEVEN
THE PARLOPHONE RECORDINGS Vol 1 (1960-62)
Lake LACD138, 2000, 23 tracks 72 min
Ukulele Lady, You're Driving Me Crazy, Charley My Boy, Vo Do Do De O Blues, Words, Pasadena, Sugar, Hard Hearted Hannah, Chili Bom Bom, Dinah, Kaiser Drag, That Certain Party, My Blue Heaven, Oh Baby, East Street Toodle-oo, I Wonder What Became Of Joe, Falling In Love Again, Autumn Leaves, Gaumont British News Theme, The Charleston, The Black Bottom, Everybody Loves My Baby, Sahara.
Lake Records must have taken note of my review of their earlier Temperance Seven release, 'Pasadena - The Lost Cylinders', for here is a CD that contains all the tracks from the LP, 'The Temperance Seven 1961', plus many singles tracks. My joy knows no bounds and my cup runneth over!
Here are eight jazzmen playing 17 instruments between them in the style of the hot dance bands of the 1920s and 30s. Augmenting them, in his finest megaphone singing style, is 'Whispering' Paul McDowell. Although the Temp 7 had been around in various guises since the mid 50s, it was in 1961 that they seemingly stepped out from a time warp to notch up a string of hit records, including two number ones. I first heard them at Sunday School. True: a bunch of us lads were in a group with our somewhat harried teacher when he commented on the fact that he hadn't noticed before that several of the group were inflicted with deafness to the extent that they were now sporting hearing aids. The lads concerned confessed that they were in fact wearing ear-pieces to listen to music on their new fangled transistor radios. To prove it they pulled the plugs and we were all treated to 'You, You're Driving Me Crazy', by the Temp 7. Our teacher couldn't understand why they were listening to music that his own mother had danced to. I could, I thought The Temperance Seven were marvelous, and resolved to spend some of my upcoming birthday money on buying some of their records (in fact I waited almost a year and bought the LP rather than a couple of singles). I loved them then, and I love them now.
One thing that I did notice on this CD was that in the notes was that the pianist for the 'Coronation Quartette' numbers is given as Count Clifford de Bevan. I thought he joined them in 1963, especially as the sleeve notes on the original LP credits the piano on those numbers to the arranger, Josef Kronk. But, I checked with Lake, and they inform me that Josef Kronk was a collective pseudonym for any T7 member who happened to do the arranging. With regards to the Count's appearance they can't throw any light, but, on checking out my old Argo LP 'One Over The Eight' from 1957, I find him there on tuba, so he appears to have been in and around the band for some time before his 1963 public appearance!
This is one CD to treasure and add to your hoard.
THE TEMPERANCE SEVEN
THE PARLOPHONE RECORDINGS Vol 2 (1962-65)
Lake LACD148, 2001, 25 tracks 72 min
Dream Romance, Running Wild, The Mooche, The Shake, Bye Bye Baby, Seven & Eleven, Ain't She Sweet, China Boy, Brown Eyes Why Are You Blue, I Want To Be Happy, Deep Henderson, Grace & Beauty, Sugar, Clap Hands Here Comes Charlie, Alexander's Record Breaking Band, My Sweetie went Away, Pleasant Moments, Sugar, Ukulele Lady, You Took Advantage Of Me, My Sweet Tooth Says I Wanna, Thanks For The Melody, Easy Money, Letkiss, Tajkaedi.
Here it is, the CD I have been waiting for: the balance of the Temp 7's Parlophone recordings (ok, so 'Please Charleston Quietly' and "From Russia with Love' aren't there, but I have the original 45!). It has many tracks on it that I do not have, plus the whole of the LP 'The Temperance Seven Family Album'.
'The Temperance Seven Family Album' was a favourite of mine from the moment I bought it. I was working for the Home Office in Whitehall. They, in their wisdom, sent me once a week to Westminster College to study for promotion. My mind was too full of motorcycles and my girlfriend for me to achieve anything, but, at lunchtimes, I did get to go to the Army & Navy Store and their wonderful record section where, amongst others albums, I got the aforesaid Temp 7 LP. When Lake released Vol. 1 and said that they would be issuing a second volume, I worried in case the amusing and idiosyncratic commentary on the Family Album would be left off. Good old Lake has kept them on, and I can annoy my wife as we listen to CDs driving in the car by doing the comentaries along with the announcer!
If you have read the earlier reviews on the Temp 7 you will know that I think that they are the best interpreters of their chosen jazz idiom. If you are not familiar with hot dance bands of the 1920s and 30s then you must, simply must, get a Temperance Seven CD, and this one is very, very, good!
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