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HAPPY “BIRTHDAY" BUDDY!
Buddy Holly would have turned 60 years of age this September. Cause for celebration, certainly. And his birthday, as ever, will provide the focus for Paul McCartney's annual Buddy Holly Week extravaganza. Because these began 20 years ago, in 1976, this year will be the 21st. So it'll be an extra special celebration.
With great fanfare, and no little expense, Decca Records in the USA and MCA in the UK are marking Buddy's 60th with notfadeaway, a neat album that brings together a wide variety of artists - although Paul is not one of them - singing Holly songs (and, incidentally, unites Buddy Holly with The Hollies on 'Peggy Sue Got Married' in much the same way that studio technology allowed John to reunite with Paul, George and Ringo for 'Free As A Bird' and 'Real Love'). Oddly, the album was issued in February, the anniversary of Buddy's death in 1959, rather than his birth in 1936, but we'll not be picky because, let's face it, any remembrance of Buddy is worth having.
The February 1996 campaign for Buddy's 60th included a special supplement in the US music trade magazine Billboard, and MPL was one of many companies proud to place an ad. As you can see, the design magicked a tantalising image: Paul and Buddy Holly, together on stage. Oh Boy, what a combination!
THE FAMILY WAY
Paul's music for this Sixties film has been recorded anew by a classical guitarist
It was largely a forgotten piece until five years ago. Then, when the Liverpool Oratorio was unveiled, Paul's theme music for The Family Way was remembered and recognised for what it was: Mr McCartney's first foray into the realm of classical composition, and good too - the arrangement of the beautifully melodic 'Love In The Open Air' being particularly sympathetic to the comedic story of a young married north of England couple who have problems consummating their relationship.
Now, virtually 30 years on, the work has been lovingly revived - one is almost tempted to say restored - by a French-Canadian classical guitarist and arranger, Carl Aubut, and released on CD by Sony Canada as The Family Way - Variations Concertantes Opus 1.
Ironically, in a see-how-the-story-has-come-full-circle kind of way, the revival came about after Canadian producer Michel Laverdiere heard the Oratorio, was prompted to seek out a copy of the highly collectable original 1967 Family Way album and then invited Aubut to consider taking on the challenge. The work was completed in the next 18 months, during which time Laverdiere and Aubut visited London and met both Paul and George Martin - who arranged the orchestrations and produced the recordings for Paul back in 1966.
Those familiar with the 1967 album will know that it was divided into 13 pieces of music totalling just 24 minutes, two being only a minute long. For his re-recording Aubut undertook some sympathetic re-arrangements, resulting in nine separate variations for solo guitar or guitar, flute, clarinet and string quartet.
This new CD of The Family Way sits comfortably on the shelf alongside the Liverpool Oratorio from 1991 and A Leaf from 1995, and Paul's next orchestral work, commissioned by EMI to mark its 100th birthday, will be unveiled in 1997.
Screened in more than a hundred countries, The Beatles Anthology was a particular success in Russia. Although the Fab Four were banned there in Cold War days, the former Iron Curtain country got to see the Anthology before the British audience, so great is their demand for the group. The excitement generated by the programmes is reflected is this edition of Hear The Balalaika Ringing Out, the Russian Beatles Newsletter, kindly sent to us by CS subscriber Sergey Shmelev.