Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Press To Play: An Hour Of Russ Conway

An Hour of Russ Conway
- Music For Pleasure, 1986
Here's another one of those great value for money Hour Of audio cassettes presented by Music For Pleasure in the 1980s. The subject of this particular release was none other than pop pianist Russ Conway who topped the UK charts twice in 1959 with Side Saddle and Roulette.

This release features many of Russ's UK chart entries between 1957 and 1962 including both sides of the Party Pops and More Party Pops medleys, Toy Balloons, Passing Breeze, Got A Match, Always You And Me and my personal favourite China Tea.

The versions of Side Saddle and Roulette do however sound slightly different on this album to the usual versions heard on radio and those featured on another Hour Of compilation The Hits of 1959.

Terry Horner of The Russ Conway Website takes up the story:
"The newer stereo recordings of Side SaddleRoulette were recorded at Abbey Road purely by chance in 1966.  
Russ had just overcome the effects of a stroke which threatened his career and piano playing ability. Going back in to the studio with his recording manager Norman Newell to record just two new tunes and see how things turned out, with ample time studio time left over, they managed to put a dozen or so recordings in the can and an idea for a new budget LP was born.  
These were marketed on the "Time To Play" MFP Long Player, and pictures Russ, his Rolls Royce and a pretty Lady on the front cover.

Russ also re-recorded Side SaddleChina Tea again in 1973 when he changed labels to Pye Records where Norman Percival became his musical and recording director. 
In 1989 Russ again re-recorded Side Saddle as Side Saddle MK11 along with a newer upbeat version of Roulette (2000) for his own Churchill Records label. The 2000 Roulette recording was used by BBC Radio 1's Mark And Lard show, and listeners found the tune so compelling, Mark & Lard played the whole album on their show with Russ as their honoured guest. 
In addition, these final cuts of "Side Saddle MK11 & Roulette" are still available on Russ's last album "Old and New" (Limited Stocks) on cassette and/or CD and are available from  The Russ Conway Website .
I have to admit, under the circumstances I think Russ did a neat job of recreating that sound adored by millions years before!

An Hour Of Russ Conway - His Greatest Hits
MFP HR 418108 4 Stereo/Mono*, 1986

  1. Side Saddle
  2. Mack The Knife
  3. The Westminster waltz
  4. Pixilated Penguin
  5. Snow Coach
  6. Sam's Song
  7. Always
  8. The Wedding Of The Painted Doll
  9. The World Outside*
  10. China Tea
  11. Lesson One
  12. "Party Pops"*
  13. Roulette
  14. Toy Balloons
  15. Pepe
  16. Royal Event
  17. Lucky Five
  18. Passing Breeze
  19. Got A Match*
  20. Always You And Me*
  21. Pablo
  22. Fings Ain't What They Used To Be (Pt.1)*
  23. Forgotten Dreams
  24. More "Party Pops"*

1 comment:

  1. I always associate Russ Conway with Family Favourites on a Sunday lunchtime, that and records by Jim Reeves.



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