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“In the Mood” With The Squadronaires

June 7, 2010

I saw an advert on TV last night for a new CD by the Royal Airforce Squadronaires, “In the Mood: The Glenn Miller Songbook”.

In the Mood CD cover

"In the Mood: The Glenn Miller Songbook"

The album features all of Miller’s best known arrangements including “Little Brown Jug”, “Pennsylvania 6-500”, and “Moonlight Seranade”.  There are a couple of songs that I perform in my own act, “Chattanooga Choo Choo” and “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree”.

Originally called The Royal Air Force Dance Orchestra, The Squadronaires were formed in 1939 from jazz musicians recruited into the Central Band of the Royal Air Force based at RAF Uxbridge.  They played at dances and concerts throughout World War 2 as well as broadcasting on the BBC and recording for the Decca record label (who have releassed this new album).  Disbanded in 1964, The Squadraonaires were revived in the mid-80s as The Royal Air Force Squadraonaires and have been performing and recording ever since.

Last year of course Dame Vera Lynn hit the number one spot in the album charts at the age of 92 with a collection of her greatest hits.  There’s an interesting connection between Dame Vera and the Squadronaires – her late husband, Harry Lewis, was one of the band’s original saxophone players.

Vera Lynn

Vera Lynn

I’m loathe to use the word “revival” because I don’t think that great songs ever really go away, but it’s pleasing to see them back in the foreground of popular culture and getting the attention they so richly deserve.  Hopefully, new listeners will be inspired to check out some of the other great artists of the 1930s and 1940s.  My particular favourite of that time is Al Bowlly (look out for a more in-depth profile of him at a later date).

In my diary I have bookings for birthdays, weddings and all manner of parties made by people of all ages proving that truly great songs will always find an audience.  And that’s something I’m extremely grateful for!

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