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> Bad news and good news, - for Brits only (sorry!)
limden
post Nov 25 2008, 07:13 PM
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First the bad news. It's reported that Malcolm Laycock has been instructed by his BBC Radio 2 bosses to cease playing pre-1940 recordings on his popular Sunday evening programme:-

http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=936957

So the last vestige of the Golden Age of the British Dance Bands disappears from BBC Radio. I can almost hear all those unloved "old-fashioned" 78s being thrown into the Broadcasting House rubbish skip....

Now a spot of good news: there's an hour of TV devoted to the life of Leslie Hutchinson ("Hutch") on Channel 4 this evening (25 November) at 9pm - "High Society's Favourite Gigolo". If you miss it there's always 4oD.

Limden
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Terry
post Nov 25 2008, 09:27 PM
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When I went to the BBC Malcom Laycock website a couple of days ago, to get the replay and saw the playlist, I didn't bother to listen. Now all is explained.

The track record for the BBC in respect to pre 1940 jazz and dance band music programs has "always" been erratic, I say always because I haven't lived there for over 30 years smile.gif.

One of the best programs from earlier days was that presented by Steve Race.

I have sent them a message to say because of their decision not to play dance band music, I shall not be tuning in to listen any more, so there......smile.gif
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limden
post Nov 25 2008, 10:18 PM
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Well done Terry!

Even what I thought was good news managed to disappoint. I should have guessed that TV wouldn't allow Hutch to sing a single number right through, massively concentrating instead on his other, er, accomplishments.
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Terry
post Nov 26 2008, 09:59 PM
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I've received a reply from the BBC. On some of the detail I can't comment, not living there and not being familiar with BBC programs. I have no idea what the Alan Dell program was about, it was after my time, though I'm sure he goes back to when I was around.

However, the response is disappointing if one is 'into' our sort of 1920s/30s music.

It reminds me of BBC jazz programs of the 50s/60s after LPs had appeared, they would play interminably long "modern jazz" pieces that would just go on and on and on..........taking up nearly the whole program, then as a sop to the 20s/30s 78rpm people throw in just one 3 minute "real" jazz number.

So it is now with the Malcom Laycock program, there will be interminable Ted Heath, Count Basie etc as last weeks program, then as a sop to us will throw in the ocassional 30s dance band piece.

I for one will not sit through what I dont like just to hear a snippet, though with streaming replay one can pick and choose smile.gif

Here is their reply:


"Thank you for your email concerning the Malcolm Laycock programme on BBC
Radio 2.

A great deal of thought has gone in to the future of the Malcolm Laycock
programme. For me, the main challenge has been how to represent what
are now 80 years and more of music making by dance and big bands.

The format of the programme that has existed up until now has been rigid
and one that harks back to the days of Alan Dell on a Monday night. At
that time the show was divided into 2 sections by a news bulletin and
was in effect 2 separate programmes; one concentrating on British dance
bands, the other on big bands.

As you know, air time for big band music is in short supply and the
existing format threw up a number of issues. Musically, what is a very
specific style from a short period (dance bands of the 20's and 30's)
was taking up half of the programme. In effect, this meant that the
past 70 years of the genre was restricted to the second half. In other
words, there was a lot of great music with limited opportunity to be
played. This format has also restricted a theme being followed over the
course of a programme and makes the inclusion of studio guests a problem
too.

Dance bands will still feature on the programme but for reasons of
musical merit rather than fitting a format. Musically, the emphasis
will remain very much on melody and the great British big bands will
continue to be featured.

The decision to alter the format is not one that has been taken lightly.
However, I feel strongly that the change in emphasis will allow the
whole of the big band genre to be better reflected.

Yours Sincerely,

Bob McDowall
Executive Producer
Audio & Music Production
BBC Birmingham "
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Andy Senior
post Nov 28 2008, 09:03 AM
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I took Malcolm Laycock's link off my RADIOLA! site. I used to stream and listen to his show occasionally, but usually only the first half. Big band stuff from the mid-40s onward gives me a headache.

And it's not that it's drivel. It's real music, with sound musicianship and good musical values. It just lacks the joy and lightness I love in the pre-1940 sound. It's too brassy and too slick--and the harmonies are monotonous. Enduring big band music of the late 1940s and beyond is like being held prisoner in Las Vegas.

There were good, knowledgeable jazz hosts in my area who played Stan Kenton, Basie, Boyd Raeburn, and Sauter-Finnegan endlessly--and ignored the 1930s entirely. I built my love of the music on those stray bits of pure (pre 1940) joy that some disc jockeys would permit. And the reason I do my show is that I wanted a program on the air that someone like me would listen to.

The hot dance and jazz band music of the 1920s and the light, sweet swing of the 1930s have nothing whatsoever to do with the so-called big band sound of later vintage (except using some of the same instruments). The BBC vandals have lumped them together and crushed the joy. For true parity, these styles need to be kept distinct.

This post has been edited by Andy Senior: Nov 28 2008, 08:35 PM
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Andy Senior
post Nov 28 2008, 05:40 PM
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And regarding the Leslie Hutchinson program, one of my listeners living in Britain sent me information about it and kindly offered to make a copy, somehow. I said I'd try to stream it. Channel 4 permits viewing of shows again online, but only to those in the UK or the Republic of Ireland. Since I'm not likely to "come ashore" (as their quaint phrase has it) I'm denied the privilege of seeing those old scandals rehashed. I imagine some enterprising person will find a way to put it on YouTube or Google Video.

It would be nice to have Hutch's music presented on its own merits. He was the precursor to Bobby Short and so many other cabaret artists who enjoyed popularity later on.
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limden
post Nov 28 2008, 08:22 PM
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Terry - At least a speedy and apparently thoughtful BBC response - I suppose we have to be grateful for that even if it is disappointing. There's a bit more discussion on the Digital Spy thread.

Back in the days of the late Alan Dell (Malcolm Laycock's predecessor) there seemed to be no alternative to BBC Radio 2 as a source of 1930-ish popular music, other than buying records of course. Thanks to the internet we can now explore websites and radio stations world-wide so, while extremely regrettable, the ruination of Malcolm Laycock's programme may not be quite so serious as it would have been a few years back.


Andy - I hadn't realised that it was possible to listen to Malcolm Laycock outside the UK. I'd imagined that all BBC entertainment programmes would be geo-restricted (if that's the right term) just as the TV Channel 4 evidently is. Otherwise I would have recommended him to Dismukers long ago. Too late now! I agree with all you say (and you put it so much better than I could).

If it's the music of Hutch you're after then forget the programme. But as an account of the scandals wink.gif ........ just be aware that some of the language is strong stuff!

I have gleaned some 30 Hutch recordings from various corners of the internet by the way. There are others on YouTube but all too often the sound quality fails to appeal.
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