Sunday, 4 April 2010

Rodgers & Hammerstein - 'South Pacific'

This is one that I inherited from my parents. When they were working at a hospital together in the mid- to late 1960s, there was a staff production of South Pacific, which I guess at the time was still a more-or-less contemporary blockbuster. It's pretty high on the old fashioned cheese, but it's still a great listen. The high point for me is the raucous singalong 'There Is Nothing Like a Dame', partly because I heartily, unreconstructedly believe in the sentiment, but also because I've never met anyone who didn't have a smile put on their face by it.

Two examples: I was driving back from a skiing trip with my friends Ben, Simon and Malcolm. It was long boring drive, given an added twist by Malcolm's gallstones; they meant that we were travelling with a whole roundel of Pecorino cheese, which Malc insisted was a perfectly sensible provision (in case you hadn't guessed, Malc is a chap of a certain age). As we hurtled along, in post-holiday sadness, eating slices of Pecorino on chicory leaves (we're not as metrosexual as that makes us sound), I treated everyone to a run-through of '...Dame', jazz-hands and everything. Well, it cheered me up, anyway.

Example two: I was in the studio as a vocalist during the making of the Overseer album 'Wreckage'. I forget exactly why I'd brought this in - it's just possible that we were trying to find something totally off the wall for a mixtape - and the general response to '...Dame' was 'This is DOPE!'.

The whole album is totally feelgood, with just enough raucousness to balance the slushy string-laden numbers. A stone-cold classic.

Tracklist: South Pacific Overture. Dites-moi. A Cockeyed Optimist. Twin Soliliquies. Some Enchanted Evening. Bloody Mary. My Girl Back Home. There is Nothing Like a Dame. Bali Hai. I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair. A Wonderful Guy. Younger Than Springtime. Happy Talk. Honey Bun. Carefully Taught. This Nearly Was Mine. Finale.

Catalogue number: RCA RB-16065

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