Tony Hatch & His Orchestra

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In the 1960s, several producers mostly known for their work with rock and pop artists put out albums of orchestral instrumental music, often featuring songs associated with the artists they worked with in the studio. George Martin was perhaps the most famous of these, and while Tony Hatch wasn't (and isn't) as familiar a name to the general public, he was also riding high at the time of this 1965 release, having produced and/or written hits for the Searchers and Petula Clark. Most of the songs on his first album (credited to the Tony Hatch Sound) were penned by Hatch himself, though just a few -- "Downtown" and "I Know a Place" (hits for Petula Clark), "Sugar and Spice" (a big British single for the Searchers), "Where Are You Now" (a British number one for Jackie Trent), and "Forget Him" (Bobby Rydell's last big success) -- remain well-known. It would be nice to report that Hatch took the opportunity to redefine the material in new and exciting ways, but truthfully these are pretty run-of-the-mill, middle-of-the-road rearrangements for the easy listening audience. Yes, there's a grand '60s jet-set sweep to some of its arc. But like many other projects of the sort, it seems more like a way to tame the material down for a non-rock listenership than anything else. Still, the pop and rock hits are more listenable than the soppier Hatch compositions that fill out the album.

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