Streets of London

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Streets of London Album Notes:

I have oft times been heard to propose that music is very much about memories. Through music we may wander where we will through time, reliving past events as we go. There is something very wonderful in music; we know not how, but it speaks straight to our hearts and spirits; it is a language by itself and has that unique power to move us and to soothe us.

The collection I am pleased to present to you in ‘Streets of London’ are songs that were each chart toppers in their time. The song, ‘Streets of London’, was made popular thanks to that great balladeer, Roger Whittaker. London is my city; and like all big cities it has had it’s share of hardship and sadness amongst its people. This song tells the story of forgotten and neglected souls. The cover picture on the CD, so beautifully illustrated by my friend Sheila Toye, portrays the lonely old man who whiles away his time in a cafe with a cup of tea and an old newspaper ‘reading yesterday’s news’.

In contrast to this, my own remembrances inspired me to compose ‘Boating on the Serpentine’ which I have woven into ‘Streets of London’. The ‘Serpentine’ is a lake in London’s Hyde Park where people liked to gather. There they would row boats or picnic under the oaks and weeping willows which border this lake.

‘As Tears Go By’ was written by Mick Jagger (of The Rolling Stones). This was an early composition by Mick and written for Marianne Faithful ~ a very young and newly discovered singer, who, with her lovely gentle voice, made this song a huge hit. Unfortunately, after her success with this song, Marianne Faithful’s future was engulfed with sadness and difficulty. But as the years went by, her strength and courage enabled her to meet her challenges andto put her struggles behind her. Here again, through this piece, I have woven an original composition. I envisioned the ecstasy of passing sadness, a return to happiness and the freeing of a spirit. In the last couple of minutes of ‘This Too Shall Pass’ you will hear the soft tones of a woman singing as she puts a joyful voice to her freed spirit.

‘Stardust Andante’ was a creation born out of two different times in my life. When I was ten years old and starting my piano tuition, I was presented with a book called ‘Ezra Reid’s Easy Pianoforte’. This was the exercise book that occupied the music rack on my piano for a long time, and from which I worked diligently. One of the first exercises in this book was only four lines of music; it was called, simply, ‘Andante’, a brief and pretty melody which I loved . . and never forgot. From this little melody came the inspiration to compose a larger work; a variation on that little exercise which got me started on my musical journey ...
And now, forward to the present. In recording this piece I made use of my studio keyboard. Today’s modern synthesizer instruments include sounds known as ‘Cosmic Voices’. In this group
of sounds I discovered a lovely ‘bell’ like voice called ‘Stardust’. I used this ‘bell’ to prelude my composition . .‘Stardust Andante’.

The rest of the melodies in this collection are all familiar to you, I’m sure. And for all of you out there with beautiful singing voices, 🙂 and can remember the words, I have been faithful to the original keys.

“Music alone, with sudden charms can bind the wand’ring sense, and calm the troubled mind.”
William Congreve

John Sands