Friday, 23 August 2013

Retro Vinyl: Children's TV Themes by Cy Payne and his Orchestra (Contour, 1972)

The world of budget LP releases could be a very busy one if you were a musical director in the early 70s.

Picture the scene, you head over to the recording studio on Monday morning, having the week before arranged the score for the next big hit for the Brotherhood of Man. "What will the label want me to do this week?" thinks Musical Director, "strings on the new T Rex offering or maybe a classical piece?".

"No" says the Executive Producer, "Contour Records want us to put together an album of Children's television themes, Thunderbirds, Blue Peter, Rupert the Bear, Star Trek, Doctor Who..."

"But," says Musical Director, "Doctor Who isn't a children's programme.."

"For this album it is, I've already commissioned the cover artwork and its got that Navy Lark bloke Jon Pertwee with a pink Dalek on it, so we're doing it..." snaps the Executive Producer.

"Oh...", says Musical Director.

A look at Children's TV Themes by Cy Payne

In all honesty, I know very little about Cy Payne, except that he regularly produced music on CBS Records and arranged several popular hits (including Brotherhood of Man's United We Stand) in the late 60s/early 70s.

I picked this Children's TV Themes LP up for 50p in the mid-80s particularly as I was drawn towards the cover artwork featuring characters from Doctor Who, Star Trek, UFO and Rupert The Bear.

The LP itself on Contour Records dates from 1972 and is a fair representation of the type of television programmes children would see during this period. Themes from yet to be cult TV classics such as Doctor Who, Star Trek, UFO and Thunderbirds happily rub shoulders with Blue Peter, Champion The Wonder Horse and Rupert The Bear.

In comparison to other albums of similar content, the versions here are pretty good. The Doctor Who theme which opens the album keeps the momentum of the original but seems to be an electric keyboard version a year ahead of the aborted Delaware theme.

Payne also tackled a few themes largely ignored by other musical directors including Rupert The Bear, Champion The Wonder Horse (a 50s series which BBC1 repeated continually on  Saturday mornings throughout the 70s), and The Magic Roundabout (here heard with a rather elaborate but fun middle section - bring on the dancing girls!).

Worth seeking out on vinyl and long overdue a CD release.

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