As always, I derived much enjoyment from putting a new collection of songs together - and once again, each melody brought forth memories of times past . . isn’t this the magic of music! ‘Canadian Sunset’ was a song very popular when I was quite young and if my memory serves me correctly it was the signature music to a TV show (in black and white) from Canada, featuring the adventures of the ‘North West Mounted Police’. Canada, to my young impressions, was a fantasy of big mountains and lovely lakes that was so very far away.
The songs in this collection are all evergreen classics that we may each remember for particular intimate reasons, melodies that revive images long ago etched into our memories, that allow us ‘As Time Goes By’ to embark on an occasional ‘Sentimental Journey’. Vera Lynn inspired hope in the hearts of many when she sang of the blue birds over ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’ and an assurance that ‘We’ll Meet Again’ . . don’t know where, don’t know when.
“They don’t write songs like that anymore” is a grumble we often make and hear. And certainly, there is truth in that. It can be argued that every generation has it’s own style of music - but these old classics have been enjoyed by many generations, while most of what passes as music today will be forgotten in a very short time.
It is indeed a privilege for me to be among those who have been able to record these lovely songs. . . . and a pleasure to present them to you in my own arrangements of them..
With each album introduction that I write, I find myself referring to memories of days gone by. Anyone could be forgiven for thinking that I spend much of my life ‘looking back’. And to a certain extent it’s true, and I can’t help it, because I spend at least six months of each year planning, researching and recording lovely old classics from ‘back then’. At the time the song ‘Canadian Sunset’ was popular in England I was, as they used to say, just a little nipper. Around that time we had an aunt come to visit us from Canada. I don’t recall much about the visit, but I do remember going to our local train station in East London with my mother and my aunt - to ‘see her off’ when she went home. I remember standing there, holding my mother’s hand, as we watched the lights on the rear of the train as it chuffed it’s way into the night. When eventually they disappeared I looked up at my mum and asked “how far is Canada?”. . little did I know that one day in the distant future I was to adopt that lovely faraway land as my own home.
During an earlier period in my musical career I spent many years playing ballroom dance music in dance halls throughout England. And although most of these events were in London - my home town - some of my favourite and most vivid memories are of the lovely hotel ballrooms that most often were on the promenades - and overlooking the ocean in the seaside towns around the country. The music I played during that time included most of the pieces in this collection.
Although ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’ stems from the 40's, I enjoy more recent memories of a favourite trip I often made for a days outing - and still do whenever I can - heading south from London, down through the county of Kent (known as the garden of England). A stop would be made in Canterbury for lunch before continuing on to Dover to enjoy a long and breezy walk through the fields over the cliff tops. Wild ponies wander and graze up there; they rarely even raise their heads as you walk by them - and the ever present playful ‘Blue Birds’ Vera Lynn sang of, that swoop and chase each other over the cliff edges that, in places, soar hundreds of feet above the beaches below.
Many of these lovely old songs included such beautiful poetry; ‘The Anniversary Waltz’ “Oh, how we danced on the night we were wed . . we found our true love though a word wasn’t said.” On others, the titles alone spoke of love and romance; “My Love is Like a Red Red Rose” . . “Now and For Always”. You have no doubt gathered by now that, as well as being a dweller in reminiscence, I am also an unabashed romantic (sigh).