Saturday, 14 September 2013

Retro Vinyl: Sing Lofty by Don Estelle and Windsor Davies (EMI/Music For Pleasure, 1975)

Of all the UK chart acts of the 1970s, TV stars of It Ain't Half Hot Mum Don Estelle and Windsor Davies don't particularly trip off the tongue when talking about music from the era. 

Yet amongst the diverse range of number ones of that decade (and they were indeed diverse), the duo's in-character comedy presentation as Gunner Lofty Sugden and BSM Williams performance of  Whispering Grass actually sat at number one for three weeks in June 1975.

Estelle's throwback tenor sound paired with Davies bawling Sergeant Major "I will not have gossip in this jungle" made a suitable comedic recording formula.

Whispering Grass was taken from a comedy concept album release staged by the cast of It Ain't Half Hot Mum! earlier that year. 

Following the chart-topping success of the old Ink Spots hit Whispering Grass, an album highlighting the talents of  Don Estelle and Windsor Davies (largely in their IAHHM persona's throughout) was put into production.

Sing Lofty (EMC3102) delivered more of the same of the Whispering Grass formula, beautifuk tenor singing from Estelle mixed with Sergeant Major interjections from Davies on tracks such as Three Coins In The Fountain, Paper Doll and I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire

Estelle also got to sing some solo spots too, while Davies delivered a comical monologue on the albums close.

Released for Christmas 1975, Sing Lofty was a good seller in the early months of 1976, guaranteeing the stars several TV and radio musical slots throughout the remainder of the year before Estelle carried on as a solo artist.

The original album was released on EMI with a textured sleeve design featuring a smart sleeve design of the stars. 

When Music For Pleasure reissued the album nearly two years later (MFP 50342) the cover design was replaced with a more detailed painting of Davies and Estelle.

I always find this a great LP to listen too, it has the right balance of comedy and music performance with familiar musical standards.

I found my EMI copy of Sing Lofty for a few pounds at a Carmarthen record fair back in the mid 90s while I merely paid around 50p for the MFP reissue at a charity shop in Dursley around 2002...

Deleted for several years, a best of Don Estelle and Windsor Davies CD did turn up a few years back so several of these tracks have since surfaced as MP3's.

If you'd like to hear samples from the album check out the widget below which I have compiled to replicate the original Sing Lofty album.

Sing Lofty
Don Estelle and Windsor Davies (EMI/Music For Pleasure, 1975)

Side 1:
  1. Paper Doll
  2. It's Magic
  3. September Song
  4. Without A Song
  5. A House Is Not A Home
  6. I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire
  7. All The Things You Are
Side 2:
  1. Three Coins In The Fountain
  2. In Love For The Very First Time
  3. As Time Goes By
  4. I, Yes, Me! That's Who
  5. Someone To Watch Over Me
  6. I Should Have Known
  7. A Message From Battery Sergeant-Major Williams

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