Friday On My Mind 53: Midnight In Moscow

I realised a couple of weeks ago that in all of this category I’d never put up any songs from that strange time in the musical 60s that was pre-Beatles.

Partly this is because the very early 60s was before my time – I only really started listening to pop music (as it was then) when we got a tranny* in 1966. Prior to that we had to listen (collectively) as a family to an old cabinet radio – with valves: it had to warm up before any sound would issue from it. It had been replaced as a focal point in the living room by a television set by 1960, though. The TV schedules were very restricted in those days: no afternoon programmes for example.

*For you young things this was not a cross-dresser but a transistor radio.

So strange was the early 60s that there was actually a vogue for jazz that manifested itself in the charts. Chris Barber, Acker Bilk and Kenny Ball all had bands that released successful hit singles. Something like that trad-jazz boom is almost impossible to imagine happening now.

That was my eldest brother’s time, though, so I recall with some fondness quite a few jazz tracks that he used to play on the gramophone, as they were called then. One of his favourites was Kenny Ball And His Jazzmen. Midnight In Moscow came out in 1961. It was an adaptation of a Russian composition known previously as Moscow Nights or Leningrad Nights.

Kenny Ball And His Jazzmen: Midnight In Moscow

The Jazzmen released March Of The Siamese Children, which originally came from the musical The King And I, in 1962.

Kenny Ball And His Jazzmen: March Of The Siamese Children

The Green Leaves of Summer by The Brothers Four was the theme tune from the film The Alamo. (Don’t get me started on the myths that surround that shabby episode in history.) Kenny Ball’s band recorded the tune in 1962.

Kenny Ball And His Jazzmen: The Green Leaves of Summer

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