Daryl Runswick's
Off Broadway
The King's Singers
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  In 1987 I was delighted to be invited by The
  King's Singers to produce their next album,
  to be issued
not by their European record label EMI but the American   Vox company. The repertoire was to be Broadway songs. I had the idea of a   big multitracked sound with no instrumental backings.

                 The album (my first as producer) was duly recorded with eight of              my arrangements plus four by others (not included here). Then,                 between recording and release,  the disaster        struck. Vox records
        went bust.  The tracks           never came
onto the market,                                        despite efforts to retrieve them from Vox
                                            and lease them to EMI (Vox refused). My first                                                                 ever job as producer!                               Some really great arrangements...

                                                             Well, here at last                            are my eight tracks.

 

The King's Singers on these recordings are Jeremy Jackman, Alastair Hume,
Bill Ives, Tony Holt, Simon Carrington and Colin Mason.

[ 1 ]    On Broadway

    by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. This is the only song included here that wasn't written for a Broadway musical, but it's choice was obvious. Colin sings the main solo.

[ 2 ]    One

    by Marvin Hamlisch, from A Chorus Line. Al Hume is the soloist, Tony the background riffer. The swells were done by turning the tape over and running it backwards.

[ 3 ]    Out Of My Dreams

    by Rodgers and Hammerstein, from Oklahoma! Tony is the first soloist, with Bill excelling in a high solo later. The whistler is a certain Wild Ray Snurck, who appears here for the first time in history (but not the last: on The King's Singers Gilbert & Sullivan CD Here's A Howdy-Do he not only whistles but plays piano and cathedral organ too! Luckily his alter ego, Sir Wanky L. Crud – The King's Singers were always good at anagrams – does not show his face, here or anywhere else.)
         The distinguished music critic and sports journalist Richard Williams has had a small but significant influence on my career – three times. First in about 1972 he reviewed my performance at Ronnie Scott's Club (accompanying the singer Esther Marrow: the rest of the extremely prestigious band was no less than Kenny Barron on keyboards and John Marshall on drums) with the words 'Aspiring rock musicians should come and learn from Marshall and Runswick'. Second, in the mid-80s in his obituary of Richard Rodgers he wrote 'One thing seldom noticed is that Rodgers was one of the great waltz composers of the 20th Century.' That remark directly inspired this arrangement, a sort of compendium of the waltz which quotes many well-known examples by Rodgers and other composers. Third, in his obituary of Miles Davis, Richard Williams happened to praise a 1982 recording of My Man's Gone Now, which turned me on (finally) to late Miles.

[ 4 ]    Ev'rytime We Say Goodbye

    by Cole Porter, from the musical revue Seven Lively Arts.
That's Al Hume singing the main solo in his non-alto voice. The engineer (Gregg Jackman, Jeremy's brother) hearing the gorgeous wistful quality of Al's baritone, dug into a deep secret cupboard and brought out a special 1940s valve microphone to capture it.

[ 5 ]    A Woman Is a Sometime Thing

    by George Gershwin and DuBose Hayward, from Porgy and Bess. Tony solos, multitracked, with interjections by Bill. Brief re-appearance (one long note) by Wild Ray.

[ 6 ]    My Ship

    by Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin, from Lady In The Dark. Jeremy solos, and I hope you'll agree this is the pinacle of the album: you'll never hear anyone sing this or any other song better. Colin's bassline too is exceptional.
         This borrowed arrangement is my homage to Gil Evans, transcribed for voices from Miles Ahead. At one point, between 'In spring, in the springtime' and 'But the pearls and such' there is (but you won't hear it) an edit – the first digital edit I ever witnessed. We had tried this edit, with a razor blade on the analogue tape we were still using in those days, over and over and couldn't make it work, until Gregg our engineer began to worry we'd ruin the tape and lose the recording. 'We'll have to do it digitally,' he said: 'with digital you can be much more sophisticated.' I was sceptical of this new-fanglery, but Gregg was proved right when we booked the digital editing suite at London's Advision Studios and (to my amaze) the whole thing came out as creamy and seamless as you hear it now. As always in the early days on those big old digital machines, that one edit took nearly an hour. I'd do it in a minute today on this laptop.

[ 7 ]    September Song

    by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson, from Knickerbocker Holiday. Tony is the soloist. When I played this for the first time to my father, in remission from cancer, I found myself suddenly in tears. Embarrassed, I tried to laugh it off – 'and now I'm crying,' I blustered. 'I love you too,' was his
quiet reply. He died a couple of years later, in 1992.

[ 8 ]    It's Alright With Me

    by Cole Porter, from Can-Can. Simon sings the lead in this multi-tracked vocal simulation of a big-band arrangement. The 'trumpets' are portrayed by the two altos plus Bill, Al does the 'piano', Bill, Tony and Simon are the 'saxes', and Colin doubles on 'trombones', 'hi-hat cymbal' and 'bass'. Count Basie would be proud.