Sunday, 24 February 2013

Retro Vinyl: Frank Ifield - Babes In the Wood (Columbia, 1966)

I guess all vinyl is pretty retro now, I've had loads of it for years, at one point I donated around 200 albums to a charity shop and sold several on eBay just to downsize (much to my regret) the big problem is usually where to store it.

In recent years I've picked up the odd record in charity shops, though I mainly buy a release now if it only holds a special memory for me, or if I like the cover or what it represents.

I'm going to post several of these items on Retrospace in coming months, there will be stuff from a variety of performers, some from my original collection and some oddities...

I found this release in a charity shop in Swansea around 13 years ago, and features none other than 60s chart star Frank Ifield's soundtrack from his 1965 London Palladium pantomime Babes In The Wood (Columbia SCX6009).

Frank had scored big hits a few years previously with his versions of I'll Remember You and Lovesick Blues on Columbia Records.

Produced by Norrie Paramor, Frank also shared labels with Cliff Richard and The Shadows, in fact it was The Shadows, Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch, Brian Bennett and John Rostill who composed the music and lyrics on this album.

The Shadows had previously been involved with writing music on Cliff's pantomime Aladdin the year before. The Shadows would later re-record some of these songs for their 1966 album Shadow Music.

Looking at the reverse of the cover it looks like Babes In The Wood had quite a cast too, based on a script written by none other than David Croft (still a few years away from Dad's Army) we also have Sid James, Kenneth Connor Roy Kinnear and Arthur Askey taking part in the show.

The reverse cover also sports a silhouette design of Frank as Robin Hood with track listing and production credits for the show and album. I imagine the designer had a great time squeezing all that information in!

This particular release is in Stereo, rare for the time I guess, but a nice collectible. It doesn't seem to have gained a CD release which is interesting considering the Shadows connection.

Its great to see Frank is still very active in the performance circuit and noticed he recently visited Cardiff on his website - I'm gutted I missed him!

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