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Jack Hylton: By the Fireside

March 23, 2010

Jack Hylton and His Orchestra
By the Fireside

Recorded in 1932

Ray Noble’s best songs were recognized as classics almost as soon as he wrote them, and here one of his most famous ones gets the “symphonic” treatment from Jack Hylton.

Billy Ternent was a fantastically competent arranger. In the latter 1920s, Paul Whiteman started featuring “concert” arrangements by Ferde Grofé—popular tunes in light-classical orchestrations, long enough for one side of a twelve-inch record, with tricky tempo and time changes, so that you had to sit and listen rather than dance to them. So Billy Ternent did the same for Jack Hylton. Band members recalled that he turned out the first of his “symphonic” arrangements in six hours, including copying all the parts.

Ternent was no Ferde Grofé, but he was good, and this setting of Ray Noble’s classic song keeps up the musical interest with different orchestral colors and excursions into waltz time. Like most of Hylton’s “symphonic” arrangements, it veers a little into pomposity, but even at its most bombastic it’s always good music.

When Ray Noble played this song with his American band, he changed “In the gloaming” to “In the evening,” on the reasonable assumption that most Americans don’t like gloaming and probably wouldn’t know how to gloam anyway.

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From → Hot Dance

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