EMI 7243 5 35934 2 1
EMI have just issued yet another John Barry compilation, this time calling it 'The Ultimate John Barry'. Of course it is far from being that, but it is a fairly interesting mix of tracks ranging from the sublime (Cutty Sark) to the ridiculous (Twelfth Street Rag). The full track listing is:
1. Walk Don't Run
2. Beat For Beatniks
3. Blues For Beatniks
4. Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White
5. Hit And Miss
6. It Doesn't Matter Anymore
7. Black Stockings
8. Get Lost Jack Frost
9. Blueberry Hill
11. Cutty Sark
12. Keep A Walkin'
13. I'll Be With You In Apple Blossom Time
14. The Stripper
15. The James Bond Theme
16. Diamonds Are Forever - Shirley Bassey
17. Goldfinger - Shirley Bassey
18. Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - Shirley Bassey
19. The Magnificent Seven
20. Midnight Cowboy
21. Never Let Go
22. Unchained Melody
23. Spanish Harlem
24. Twelfth Street Rag
Listening to this compilation brings home just how much Vic Flick contributed to the success of John Barry’s early career. I haven’t counted, but I reckon his guitar features prominently on two-thirds of these tracks, and is quite probably present on most of the others, too!
When I originally told John EMI was going to release his recording of ‘Unchained Melody’, he told me he had never recorded it! What he did record was a vocal version by Johnny De Little which he arranged and accompanied. The latter is included on ‘John Barry – The Hits & The Misses’, and although I’ve not compared the two, it does seem possible that he simply took his orchestral backing track and added a solo saxophone in place of the vocal.
Anyway, as I was looking through the list I saw ‘Keep A Walkin'’ as the 12th track. I knew the title but only as the 'B' side of a single released by an obscure singer called Tony Rocco, which JB did accompany back in ‘62. In fact, we included the A-side, ‘Stalemate’, on ‘The Hits & The Misses’.
So, I thought maybe there was an orchestral version of this song available, although as JB didn't write it, that seemed unlikely. On playing it, it *is* the Tony Rocco vocal but according to the credit, EMI appear to think it's a JB7 track! Maybe it’s not that important but it seems amazing to me that a company like EMI can release a CD like that, and include a wrong track. Because, I can't see how they could have meant to include it - it sticks out like a sore thumb, amongst the only other vocals – all by Shirley Bassey!!
The booklet has four pages of sleeve notes by Chris White. They are certainly good enough for a basic guide to John Barry but reveal nothing new to the committed fan. No photos are included, save for the quite striking images of John on the cover, but remember this is at best a mid-priced release.