The Crooners


Thats him there, The Crooner, my dad belting one out as per usual when on holiday, we think its in The Rendevous Club at Cayton Bay but to be honest it could be anywhere for he would never go anywhere (and he liked his nights out) unless he knew that the venue at least had “a turn” on or better still would let him be “the turn”, this venue with a trio of musicians must have been like all his christmas’s all at onec – I’m going to take a guess here and go for “That ‘ole Black Magic”, I wouldn’t even get odds at a bookies shop for guessing that for he sang it at every opportunity and with a jazz trio to hand then thats what he would have sung.

My childhood, well, the part of my childhood until I was old enough to reach the tuning knob on the radio that is, was spent listening to a variety of crooners from the 1940s and 50s and indeed all through his life he never wavered from this musical genre, oh of course he said that he liked The Beatles in the 1960s and Barry Manilow in the 1970s, but place him in a bar in Leeds or in Benidorm and it would be a crooners song that he would sing, usually the aforementioned “ole Black Magic” or by variation “Thats Why The Lady is a Tramp”.

Each Sunday evening in the 1970s we would listen to the Chart Show, a rundown of the popular music chart of that week and after that would follow a program of “light music” called “Sing Something Simple” which was, to be blunt, shit, even our dad thought it so, and so he’d flick the knob on the hi-fi amp from Tuner to Record Deck and out would come his boxed set of Nat King Cole, a pride and joy that he’d bought from The Readers Digest Record Club of Extremely Naff Music, a six LP set of Mr King Cole’s most popular recordings and Ned and I would be force-fed the likes of “Ramblin Rose” and “Mona Lisa” for the next hour until it was time for him to “have a swill” and our mother to “get dolled up” ready for their Sunday night down at the club and another club turn to watch.

And although I loathed those Sunday evenings listening to the likes of Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Andy Williams and Matt Munro, something must have lodged in the brain, for every now and then a door opens down a long corridor in the museum of recollections and echoing towards me comes a Crooners refrain…



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