Daryl Runswick's Cleo Laine
& John Dankworth page


So much of Sir John and Dame Cleo's music is available to buy that there's not a lot of audio I can put up here. In fact there are just three tracks I can give you, two JD offerings below and one Cleo track on the Crabbe/Runswick One More Day page, where she sings a song that was cut from that album.

This page must devote itself mostly to anecdote and history. I stayed with Cleo and John for 13 years (1970-83) first as their bassplayer, then as their pianist, always as their occasional composer and arranger – something John was always remarkably generous about, seeing this was his province really.

At the bottom of this page you'll find a complete list of the 120 recordings I made with either or both of them, on 14 original albums . Many of the albums can still be bought (and various tracks re-appear on compilations). But first, some pictures and stories, which I'll add to as and when I think of any.

A still from a video of our 1982
Montreal Jazz Festival gig.


Here's me (extreme left) doing an art photo of John in a dressing room mirror. We're all dressed in black, which means we're in concert dress and waiting to go on. The presence in the right hand mirror of the drummer Graham Morgan dates this as 1973, somewhere in the US, on the legendary Live at Carnegie Hall tour.

This is taken in about 1979, and I seem to remember it was in San Fransisco. Hers is a Nikon. Mine was only a Pentax. But Cleo did once remark that I had a nice bum. That ranks with being kissed by Cathy Berberian, shaking hands with David Attenborough, talking with John Cage and exchanging stares with Miles Davis, in the list of peak moments in my life.

Taken the same day in 1979, I think, as the picture of Cleo above. Although as a player John's real love was probably the clarinet, I adored his concept on alto sax. Later in my own career (particularly with the One Man Show) I discovered how mind-bendingly hard it is to hold together the organisation of a complex live performance, switching instruments and doing announcements, and then suddenly be required to snap into improviser mode and play with all the carefree creativity of a jazz musician. My admiration for John grew even further with that knowledge.

I suppose I have to show you this truly awful picture of John and Cleo with me and my father. It was taken backstage at the DeMontfort Halls, Leicester, England – my home town – where we were doing a show. The Leicester Mercury turned up and treated me like a returning hero – 'Let's have a photo of the Golden Boy and his dad (who still lives locally) with the stars. And oh yes, why don't you, John, be teaching Mr Runswick senior to play the clarinet?' Gamely we all go along with it, trying not to look too embarrassed that even in 1977 (I'm guessing the date) a local paper can do something so naff. You can see from my dad's hands that he's well used to holding a wind instrument (he was an accomplished recorder player). But what interests me about the picture is, what's that in his pocket? He wasn't a smoker. My guess is it's his diary, which he carried at all times. Dozens of them survive him, each packed with minute writing. They are now in the possession of my daughter Alex – just possibly a twinkle in Golden Boy's eye in this very picture.

This is my last meeting with John, in 2008. I was doing a lunchtime performance of Daryl Runswick in Droves, my One Man Show, at The Stables, Cleo and John's arts centre at their home in Wavendon, and despite having done a gig themselves the night before, in Ilkley, Yorkshire, and having to travel back home that morning (and despite John feeling as poorly as he often did by that time) they both attended the gig. John sat in and we played an impromptu My Blue Heaven together.


These pictures, texts and recordings are covered by copyright.



Daryl Runswick's recordings with Cleo Laine
and John Dankworth

Entries blow in pink are Cleo Laine recordings (almost always with John's participation).
In Yellow they're John Dankworth recordings. In red they're composed by me.

*Note on the asterisked recordings: I was John Dankworth's first call bassplayer from late 1973-81, but John was an old-style bandleader who didn't care to work around his sidemen's availabilities: he planned a session and booked players – first call players if available, if not, someone else. I was a very busy musician in those years (classical ensembles, jazz groups, Ronnie Scott's Club, tours, sessions) and so on some albums recorded between 1973-81 I'm not the only bassplayer. These albums are: Cleo Laine, Close-up, Born On a Friday, Wordsongs; John Dankworth, Full Circle, Octavius.

In some cases I can no longer remember which tracks I play on. Complicatedly, some of the tunes recorded by other bassplayers were performed in concert by me many times, clouding my memory. I've listened carefully to the albums in question to try to establish whether or not I'm on the tracks. Often it's obviously me, often obviously not me, but there are doubtful tracks, which I've marked with an asterisk below. I believe I'm the bassplayer on these but I can't be sure. If the instrument played is a double bass there's never any doubt – my sound and style are unmistakable. The bass guitar, though, being electric, has a rather less personal sound. Personal, yes, but occasionaly mistakable. Naturally John would have tried to book a deputy for me who sounded as much as possible like me. So I've had to employ criteria: is the sound mine, or similar to mine? – then it might be me. Are the licks played unmistakably mine? – then it's me. Are the licks played unmistakably not mine? – then it's not me. The identity of the player on the nine asterisked tracks remains uncertain even after these criteria are applied.

Year Album Title Composer I play
1970 Cleo Laine      
  Portrait I Cold Write a Book Rogers/Hart bass guitar
  Aquarius Rado/Ragni/MacDermot bass guitar
1972 John Dankworth      
  Full Circle Grow Your Own Keith Jarrett bass guitar
    Schmaltz Waltz Ken Gibson double bass
    Triple Portrait Michael Gibbs bass guitar
1973 John Dankworth      
  Lifeline Fighting the Flab Ken Gibson double bass
    Darlington Daryl Runswick bass guitar
    Tomorrow's World John Dankworth double bass
    WRVR John Dankworth double bass
    Orinoco John Dankworth bass guitar
    Studio Five John Dankworth bass guitar
    Kite Flight John Dankworth bass guitar
    Defranticity John Dankworth bass guitar
    Brass Roots John Dankworth bass guitar
1973 Johnny Dankworth (sic)      
  Let's Slip Away Bitter Melons Dankworth/Ken Gibson/Runswick bass guitar
1973 Cleo Laine      
  I Am A Song
I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter Ahlert/Young
double bass
    Early Autumn Burns/Herman/Mercer double bass
    Friendly Persuasion Tiomkin/webster double bass
    There Is a Time Charles Aznavour double bass
    Day When the World Comes Alive Gordon Beck
bass guitar
    I Am A Song John Dankworth double bass
    It Might As Well Be Spring Rogers/Hammerstein double bass
    Music Carole King bass guitar
    But Not For Me G & I Gershwin double bass
    Talk To Me Baby Mercer/Dolan double bass
    High Heel Sneakers Tommy Tucker bass guitar
1973 Cleo Laine      
  Live!!! at Carnegie Hall Music Carole King bass guitar
    Wish You Were Here Crabbe/Runswick bass guitar
    Gimme a Pigfoot Wilson double bass
    You Must Believe in Spring Legrand/Demy/Bergman/Bergman double bass
    Perdido Tizol/Langsfelder/Drake double bass
    Control Yourself Previn/Langdon double bass
    Send In The Clowns Sondheim double bass
    Ridin' High Porter double bass
    Bill Kern/Hammerstein/Wodehouse double bass
    Big Best Shoes Sandy Wilson double bass
    Stop and Smell the Roses Martin/Severinsen bass guitar
    Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone Stept/Clare/Palmer
double bass
1974 Cleo Laine      
  Cleo Close-up We Could Be Flying Michel Colombier bass guitar
    Loving Isn't Easy Laine/Dankworth bass guitar *
    The Sun, The Moon And I Gilbert/Sullivan bass guitar
  Wish You Were Here Crabbe/Runswick bass guitar
    Wondering What To Write Laurie Holloway bass guitar
1974 Cleo Laine      
  A Beautiful Thing The Least You Can Do Crabbe/Runswick (absent)
1975 Cleo Laine      
  Born On a Friday The Colours Ran Crabbe/Runswick bass guitar
    Sunday Williams/Ascher bass guitar *
    Do You Really Want Him? Laine/Dankworth bass guitar *
    Birdsong Dankworth bass guitar *
    Living Is Easy Preskett bass guitar *
    I Think It's Gonna Rain Today Randy Newman bass guitar *
    Unlucky Woman Feather/Feather bass guitar
1976 Cleo Laine      
  Return to Carnegie Blues in the Night Arlen/Mercer bass guitar
    How Long Ledbetter bass guitar
    Streets of London Ralph McTell bass guitar
    London Pride Noël Coward bass guitar
    Direction Gibbs bass guitar
    Sondheim Medley   bass guitar
    Being Alive Sondheim bass guitar
    Born on a Friday Leonard Feather bass guitar
    Music Medley   bass guitar
    Be a Child McGlohon/Wilder bass guitar
1976 Cleo Laine      
All The World's A Stage/
If Music Be Tha Food Of Love
double bass
    You Spotted Snakes Shakespeare/Dankworth bass guitar *
    Winter Shakespeare/Dankworth double bass
    Fear No More The Heat
Of The Sun
double bass
    It Was A Lover And His Lass Shakespeare/Young double bass
    Sigh No More, Ladies Shakespeare/Young double bass
    Dunsinane Blues Shakespeare/Dankworth double bass
    When That I Was And
A Little Tiny Boy
bass guitar
    Shall I Compare Thee Shakespeare/Dankworth double bass
    Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind Shakespeare/Young double bass
    O Mistress Mine Shakespeare/Young double bass
    Take All My Loves Shakespeare/Ellington/Strayhorn double bass
    My Love Is As A Fever Shakespeare/Ellington/Strayhorn double bass
    Who Is Sylvia Shakespeare/Dankworth double bass
    The Compleate Works Shakespeare/Dankworth bass guitar
    Our Revels Now Are Ended Shakespeare/Dankworth double bass
    Lines for Ralph J Hodgson esq Eliot/Dankworth double bass
    Goe And Catch A Falling Star Donne/Dankworth double bass
    Dr David Mantle Milligan/Dankworth double bass
    Advice To A Girl Campion/Hymas double bass
    O Tell Me The Truth About Love Auden/Dankworth double bass
    Sun And Fun Betjeman/Dankworth double bass
    Song Brooke/Dankworth double bass
    English Teeth Milligan/Dankworth bass guitar *
    Viva Sweet Love cummings/Dankworth bass guitar *
    Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer Eliot/Dankworth double bass
    Sing Me No Song French/Dankworth double bass
John Dankworth/
Paul Hart Octet
  Octavius Bottom Of The Barrel Hart bass guitar
    Guess The Rest Hart bass guitar
    Starters Dankworth bass guitar
    Octavius Hart double bass
    Long John Dankworth bass guitar
    Dregs Of The Kegs Hart bass guitar
    1812 Dankworth bass guitar
    Reedwarblers Lament Dankworth bass guitar
1979 John Dankworth      
  Kite Flight We've Only Just Begun Williams/Nichols bass guitar
    Tomorrow's Daryl Runswick double bass
    Misty Errol Garner double bass
    Here's That Rainy Day Burke/Van Heusen double bass
    What Else John Dankworth bass guitar
    Kite Flight John Dankworth bass guitar
    Off the Cuff John Dankworth double bass
    Seven of Hearts Paul Hart bass guitar
    Wise Tries John Dankworth double bass
1980 Cleo Laine      
  One More Day Driving Home Crabbe/Runswick keyboards, bass guitar
    All the Skinny Schoolgirls Crabbe/Runswick keyboards, bass guitar
    Tomboy Crabbe/Runswick keyboards, bass guitar
    First Love, Half Light Crabbe/Runswick keyboards, bass guitar
    Goodbye Friend Crabbe/Runswick keyboards, bass guitar
    Over The Moon Crabbe/Runswick keyboards, bass guitar
    Shall We Get Married? Crabbe/Runswick keyboards, bass guitar
    Settling Down Crabbe/Runswick keyboards, bass guitar
    One More Day Crabbe/Runswick bass guitar
    Move Crabbe/Runswick keyboards, bass guitar
    Lovers and Friends Crabbe/Runswick keyboards, bass guitar
    The Year is Gone Crabbe/Runswick keyboards, bass guitar