Morerish is the best way to describe this album. The more times you listen to it, you just want to play it again. To be fair Matt Berry had ‘top dog’ material with which to work. But he uses his inimitable music style to, as they say in ‘Doctor Who’ circles, regenerate these musical gems for the 21st century.
This is the new album by Matt Berry from Acid Jazz Records.
Matt, a self-proclaimed fan of Ronnie Hazelhurst, gives his unique treatment to a pair of tracks from the pen of the aforementioned composer ‘Are you being served’ and ‘Blankety Blank' Straight in at tracks number 1 and 4 respectively
Next is BBC Orchestra conductor, Bert Rhodes composition for the much loved comedy ‘The Good Life’ from 1975. Matt's Version is true to the original. A non mover at track 2.
Phil Lynott's 'Yellow Pearl' is the 1980s theme from 'Top of the Pops', with its Synth-Pop acoustics. It's at Number 5 on the track listing.
. People over the age of 50, might remember being in a curtain drawn school room, a black and white television would be wheeled in, the programme started with a rotating glass and gold box with, what looks like, a bar of Turkish delight inside, then an ex-coronation street actor would introduce a short inexplicable foreign film. The Schools programme was called ‘Picture Box’ and its signature tune would haunt us for life, although Matt gives us a less creepy version here. This music was called 'Manège' and was written by Jacques Lasryand, and originally performed by François Baschet and Bernard Baschet.
It’s straight in at track 6. And with that, your childhood therapy is complete.
Next we have the theme to ‘The Liver Birds’, Originally performed by The Scaffold, they were a comedy, poetry and music trio from Liverpool, famous for their Hit ‘Lily the Pink’. They released the theme to this BBC comedy series on the B Side to their single ‘Gin Gan Goolie’, which incidentally only got to Number 38 in the charts in 1969. In our chart it's at track number 7.
Incidentally Ronnie Hazelhurst was the composer of the incidental music used on the series.
Next, Matt performs the lyrics to the theme from the fondly remembered lunchtime children’s TV Show ‘Rainbow’. The series ran for 20 years, was made by Thames Television, and introduced the characters of Bungle, a brown furry bear, Zippy, a brownish-orange puppet with a rugby-ball-shaped oval head with blue eyes and a zip for a mouth and George, an effeminate pink Hippo. Attempting to keep control of the troublesome trio was Geoffrey Hayes, who sadly passed away on the 30th September 2018. You'll find In at Number 9 of your Tracks
The Ron Grainer composition of the 'Doctor Who' theme, originally performed by Delia Derbyshire of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, is probably the most covered TV theme of all time. Released by the likes of Geoff Love, Eric Winstone and Cy Payne, but Matts cover rates high on the ‘play it again’ pecking order, preserving the original ‘Grainer- Radiophonic workshop’ touch. It's a non mover at Track Number 10.
John Barry’s ‘Florida fantasy’ from the film ‘Midnight Cowboy’, was the music used for the BBC’s Wildlife programme ‘Wildtrak’ a very catchy and memorable piece. A New entry at Track Number 11
'World in Action' was a British investigative current affairs programme, made by Granada Television, ITV’s answer to the BBC’s flagship ‘Panorama’, The theme tune, is in a Toccata and Fugues style, with plunging runs of organ chords and a Jazzy style tempo. Composed for the series by Jonathon Weston and Shawn Phillips, and was given the title ’JAM’. Down this week to Track Number 12
The BBC comedy‘Sorry’ was a vehicle for Ronnie Corbett, which ran for 7 series from 1981 to 88. Matt has previously released this as a live version on his album ‘ Matt Berry and The Maypoles Live’ but here is the studio version. It was composed by Gaynor Colbourn and Hugh Wisdom and the original television version was conducted by Ronnie Hazelhurst. A surprise new entry at track Number 13
Also included in this collection are the short idents of 'Thames Television', composed by the legendary library composer Johnny Hawksworth, 'London Weekend Television' penned by the then head of music at the channel, Harry Rabinowitz. And finally, do you remember those late nights and Sunday Mornings on BBC 2 in the 1970s and 80s, those dodgy haircuts, garish ties and shirts and programmes with snappy titles like ‘M101 Fundamental Theorem of Calculus’? 'The Open University' started in 1969 and is still going today. The full version of the ident is called ’Divertimento for Brass’ and was composed by Leonard Salzedo. A 36 second version of this piece concludes this assortment.
The Album is available on Vinyl, CD and digital download. The purchase link is below.
If a Television Themes Volume 2 album is contemplated, maybe Matt would consider arranging some lesser known themes such as the original music from Opportunity Knocks, The Golden Shot and Celebrity Squares.
Are You Being Served? (1972-1985)
The Good Life (1975-1978)
LWT (1968 – 1972)
Blankety Blank (1979 – 1990)
Top Of The Pops (1963 – 2005)
Picture Box (1966-1990)
The Liver Birds (1969 – 1979)
Thames Television (1968 – 1992)
Doctor Who (1963- present)
World In Action (1963-1998)
Sorry (1981 – 1988)
Open University (1969-present)