Various Artists

The Golden Age of Light Music: 1950s, Vol. 4 - Cornflakes

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Guild Music's The 1950s, Vol. 4 -- Cornflakes takes its name not from cereal, but from the zippy Norrie Paramor composition heard performed by Les Baxter in the early goings of this disc, which contains a whopping 29 tracks. All of them come from between 1954 and 1956 and feature light orchestral music popular on British television and radio broadcasts during that era; pieces popular enough that even a few selections featured here are taken from recordings that originated in America, as is the case with Les Baxter. In turn, some pieces of American origin are heard performed by British orchestras, for example Peter de Rose's American Waltz played by Ambrose or the theme to the American TV series Highway Patrol (starring Broderick Crawford) as performed by Cyril Stapleton. These are found in the earlier, and stronger, part of the disc; the last 24 tracks constitute a survey of releases from the short-lived English label Polygon, which in 1955 became part of Pye-Nixa. Its main diet was the pre-adolescent warblings of popular singer Petula Clark; in addition to that, this low-budget label issued quite a number of instrumentals as well. This portion of Cornflakes seems the weakest; there are a lot of sweeping love themes and evocations of exotic locales, but the sound of the Polygon tracks is not very good in comparison with the rest of the album.

Not one of these orchestral bon-bons will be familiar to anyone who didn't live in Britain in the 1950s. Nevertheless, there are some gems here; Mantovani's Toyshop Ballet, which was his own composition, is definitely one, as is LeRoy Holmes' rendition of Lionel Newman's Theme from "The Proud Ones" featuring someone identified only as "Whistling Jones" -- he's quite good. Another highlight is Ray Martin's Concert Orchestra in a weird version of Limehouse Blues. Out of the box, Guild's Cornflakes appears to be a mixed bag, mostly of flakes, but closer inspection of the content will reveal some dried fruit.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:32
2 3:08
3 2:25
4
2:35
5 2:55
6
2:44
7
2:44
8
2:39
9 2:10
10 2:33
11 2:39
12
2:48
13 2:23
14
2:29
15 2:59
16 2:52
17 3:05
18
2:42
19
2:31
20
2:45
21 2:15
22 2:23
23 3:02
24 2:39
25 2:37
26 3:17
27 3:12
28
2:27
29 2:37
blue highlight denotes track pick