Ted Heath

Decca Singles and Rarities, Vol. 3

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When in 2005 Dutton Vocalion released 120 recordings by Ted Heath & His Music in four volumes as Decca Singles and Rarities, a richly rewarding vein of smoothly arranged swing and jazzified pop by one of postwar England's most prolific bandleaders became accessible in the digital format. What you get in these sets are some of Heath's best works dating from the years 1950-1965. Vol. 3 is a thrilling time capsule dating roughly from mid-1959 through late 1961. If swing is your thing you might want to go directly to the January 1960 remake of trumpeter Kenny Baker's "Bakerloo Non-Stop," a swinging number first recorded in January 1946. There are 32 tracks on Vol. 3, and while some may feel that this quantity of Heath may constitute too much of a good thing, it is always best to overindulge when confronted with music like this. No amount of Ted Heath will suffice, one might insist. The whole point of this exercise is to wallow in the magnificence of his well-oiled big band while grooving on the nostalgic nuances of "Ruby-Duby-Du" and the theme from ABC television's medical drama Ben Casey, which premiered on October 2 1961. Heath's unerring knack for picking up on catchy developments in pop culture is bracingly demonstrated here. While listening to Heath's take on Ben Casey, should the impulse prove impossible to resist, feel free to emulate the introduction to the original TV series by chanting the words "man, woman, birth, death, infinity." Who but Ted Heath could set you up for that?

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