NEWS

February 2015

Hi all, Richard here this month. Michele is currently away and despite all her best efforts she hasn’t been able to send her usual updates due to communication problems on board ship. We’ll see what we can do for next time or you might have to put up with me for another month!
               
I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and as we have no news updates in January let me be the very last to wish you a happy new year.

Lots to tell you about this month including the TWO NEW exciting releases commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the loss of Matt. – If you can’t wait to find out all the details you can jump ahead HERE  

I’m pleased to report that Michele’s house is mostly finished a last. I visited her there over Christmas and it’s looking really good. She has a really good eye for design – in fact I’m thinking of employing her next time I decorate! The next big challenge is yet to come though. Due to the extensive building and repair work she has had to carry out, 75% of all her belongings have been in storage since her move from Harrow. On her return from here latest trip it’s all being delivered. The problem is that the bungalow already looks fully furnished and she has no idea where she is going to put it all.

Matt’s archives are another concern. Michele has had storage units custom built for it all. The only problem is that it’s already half full and the archive hasn’t been delivered yet! I shall be making another trip to Telford in late April or early May in an attempt to get it all in order. You may remember that a couple of years ago the Monro estate purchased the collection of the late Jack Jackson one of Matt’s biggest fans who collected enormous amounts of material from around the world. This has been sitting in boxes waiting for the house move and hasn’t been put incorporated into the main archive as yet. This will be quite an undertaking in its self as it includes many hundreds of records from around the world that all need cataloguing and organising.

When I visited Michele in December we took the opportunity to finally look at the collection left to the estate by the late and much missed Sue Parker – Probably one of Matt’s longest standing fans and later a personal friend of Matt & Mickie’s.  Although Sue passed away a couple of years ago, with the house move and Sue’s husband Mike spending a lot of his time out of the country the collection had only just made its way to us. We knew Sue had kept extensive scrap books of news & magazine cuttings as she had lent them to Michele whilst writing Matt’s biography, but we knew very little about what else was there. Sue, it seems kept everything.  She had Christmas cards and  letters from Matt & Mickie, theatre tickets, programmes, photographs even envelopes that cards & letters came in – just in case they were written by Matt. Amongst the collection were six reel to reel tapes. I’d seen some of these before as I had transferred them to CD for her about 7 or 8 years ago. But three were new to me. They had nothing written on them so there was no way of knowing what was on them. I can only assume that Sue herself didn’t know what was on them. She had been a fan since before Matt even hit the big time and started recording from the television as many appearances that she could. The tapes I had previously transferred were the source of many ‘lost’ soundtracks including the Lunch Box recordings heard on the CD included with Special Reserve – The special edition of Matt’s Biography. Her recording method wasn’t exactly state of the art as it was basically holding a microphone up to the speaker of her TV, but if she had not done so we would have no record at all of many of these shows which were not archived by the BBC or ITV companies.  On the three tapes I’d transferred before, besides the Lunchbox recordings, were parts of the 1966 Royal Variety performance (one of the few not to survive in the official archives), Set Em Up Joe (with Joe Brown 1969), The Benny Hill Show (1962),  A Touch of the Norman Vaughans (1964) and The complete ‘Live at The Talk Of The Town’  TV special amongst others.  Sound quality is a bit hit & miss but is better than nothing at all.

The Sue Parker Tapes

So it was with some interest that I went through all the tapes again, retransferring the original three tapes in high resolution sound to aid with any future developments in digital restoration that could help improve the sound and then to the three other reels. These were ¼ track tapes so included 4 tracks full of recordings. The drawback is that these then take a long time to transfer as they can contain anything up to 8 hours worth of material depending on the speed, thickness of tape and size of reel. The first tape was a disappointment as it contained just some disc dubs of Beatles LP’s (all eight hours of it!) The other two tapes held about 45 minutes of recordings per track but as it takes so long I haven’t had time to listen to it all yet but they have yielded some interesting things so far. From what I’ve heard up until now there are bits of a very early Pete Murrey radio show, The Simon Dee Show, and the Billy Cotton Band show at the very least. But the most important find of the whole batch is a complete recording of the 1964 Song For Europe in which Matt sings all the songs in contention for that years British entry to the Eurovision Song Contest. This exists NOWHERE and although the quality is a little rough it’s an important artefact which is great for us to have in our collection.

If you want to know more about Sue Parker and her memories of Matt they can be found Here in a Spotlight interview from 2009.

Don’t forget if you come across any recordings of Matt do let us know. Don’t assume that we already have it. Matt recorded more than 600 Radio & TV show and less than 10% officially survive.

February 7th marks 30 years since Matt’s death and Michele and Matt Jnr have been involved in a couple of radio projects.

Firstly Michele recorded a show with Mike McLean of Your Radio FM on his show ‘The Vinyl Frontier’ which is being broadcast on February 8th between 7 and 10pm.  And can be heard on line at http://www.yourradiofm.com/listenlive.html or on 103 and 106.9fm in Dumbarton, Helensburgh, Clydebank and Inverclyde.  

Secondly both Michele and Matt are featured on a special show hosted by Tom Stevens on Siren FM being broadcast on 10th February between 11.00am & 12pm in Lincolnshire on 107.3 fm or listen online at http://www.sirenonline.co.uk/

We’re told BBC Radio 2 are also due to re-broadcast “Barbara Windsor’s East End Men – Matt Monro” soon too but no exact date is available at the moment.

Matt Monro Jnr will also be commemorating Matt’s anniversary by flying to the Philippines on 9th February 2015. A special show has been put together by agent Robert Pratt which includes The Platters, Filipino Christian Bautista and Matt for a series of 10 concerts

Now to those new releases I spoke of at the beginning of the news.

First is a BRAND NEW and PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED concert CD featuring Matt live in Hong Kong back in December 1962.  It’s titled 'Operation Santa Claus - Live in Hong Kong'. Operation Santa Claus was the name of the charity that Matt was supporting. This is the earliest concert recording known to exist and is very different to the later concerts that have previously been made available. Whilst it features some of Matt’s biggest hits up to that date, it also includes songs like What Now My Love? and Without A Song that were never recorded for record release.  Also on the disc is an interview from a few days earlier with Ted Thomas and two rarities both from radio shows from Matt’s personal archives.

The tracks on the CD are

1. All of You
2. Without A Song
3. Portrait of My Love
4. My Kind of Girl
5. What Kind Of Fool Am I?
6. My Love and Devotion
7. (Won't You Come Home) Bill Bailey
8. I Guess It Was You All the Time
9. What Now My Love? (Gilbert Becaud/Carl Sigman)
10. When the Saints Go Marching In
Recorded at Hong Kong City Hall
with Giancarlo and his Band
Track 10 With Mona Fong and Pete O'Neill's Dixieland Jazz band

11-22. Matt Speaks to Ted Thomas
Featuring: Cheek to Cheek
Let's Face the Music and Dance
My Love and Devotion
Georgia on My Mind
One Morning in May
The Nearness of You
Recorded at Foreign Correspondent's Club, Hong Kong 18th December 1962

Bonus Tracks
23. Look For A Star.
BBC Light Programme Circa 1960/1
24. Christmas Magic
Pop-Pourri '61 – Saturday 2nd December 1961 - BBC Light Programme

The disc comes with a 12 page booklet by Michele Monro which includes rare and previously unpublished photographs. The initial orders of the set also come with an additional four page booklet celebrating the work of Mickie & Michele in the last 30 years. (Thanks to Maureen and Harry Carruthers for the suggestion)

More details Here

This is available now for Pre Order from www.mint-audio.co.uk and will be dispatched as soon as stock arrives this coming week. It will also be available from Amazon after its official release date of 9th February.  Should you be interested in the technical details on the restoration of the recording visit the Mint Audio Restoration site Here

Secondly on February 23rd a brand new DVD featuring PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED performances from Around The World. Dating from 1968 through to 1984 and featuring TV shows made or originally broadcast in the UK, USA, Australia and Germany.

Michele and I have spent the last nine years trawling through the vaults of TV companies worldwide in an attempt to track down everything that still exists. Our friends at Odeon Entertainment have compiled many of these into this great DVD. This isn’t unfortunately everything we’d have liked to include but some footage has proven far too expensive to licence with some companies wanting up to $3000 dollars a minute and we just don’t have that sort of budget. Maybe things will change in the future.

Here’s what’s included:-

Pebble Mill at One
1) Born Free
2) You Bring Out the Best in Me

Harty
3) Interview
 
The Mike Walsh Show
4) Somewhere
5) Georgia
6) If I Never Sing Another Song

Miss England 1975 – Live

7) Second Time Around
8) My Kind of Girl
9) You and Me Against the World
 
The Reg Varney Revue
10) Chattanooga choo choo
 
Nana Mouskouri (Show of the Week)
11) Curiouser and Curiouser
12) When You Wish Upon a Star
 
The Rolf Harris Show
13) We’re Gonna Change the World
14) Walk Away.
 
The Des O’Connor Show (The Kraft Music Hall Show)
15) For Once in My Life
16) That Old Black Magic (Duet with Des O’Connor)
 
The Novello Awards 1969/1970
17) You Made Me So Very Happy
18) My Way
 
The Big Show (Showtime – Export Title)
19) Rain Sometimes
20) Just in Time
21) I Have Dreamed
 
Red Skelton Hour
22) Let’s Face the Music and Dance

This also comes with an 8 page booklet featuring notes by Michele and myself.

The Monro Estate and Odeon Entertainment have recently teamed up with the Sky Arts channel to bring An Evening With Matt Monro to the first time on UK TV . It will be coming to Sky Arts this Spring for its TV premiere. Please send an email to Sky when it’s broadcast asking for more of Matt! You never know what else it may lead to.

A few notes now about Michele’s travels. These are the dates she has booked for 2015

4 January -4 April – P&O Adonia
30 May – 14 June – Celebrity Eclipse
14 June – 27 June – Celebrity Eclipse
19 July – 2 August – Celebrity Constellation
30 August – 13 September – Celebrity Eclipse
13 September – 27 September – Celebrity Eclipse
10 October– 21 October – Celebrity Eclipse
21 October – 1 November – Celebrity Eclipse

Don’t forget to check out our Spotlight feature this month, I know so many of you enjoy them. This time round we look in on Matt’s great friend, Dave Allen.  The feature also contains a couple of rare shots of Matt with Dave on his show Tonight with Dave Allen in 1968 (This show is now lost – unless of course you know otherwise!)

Check out the ‘Rough Guide to mattmonro.com’, which is available towards the bottom of the Homepage. If you don’t know how to access certain areas of the site or in fact are unaware of new areas, this guide will explain how easy this website is to get around, once you know how.

There is also another information box “How to Use the Forum’. I know a lot of people have been tempted to join in on some of our conversations but are slightly nervous of doing so. For that reason I have printed step-by-step instructions of how to access it. It really does only take a few minutes.

Until next Month
 
All the very best

Richard Moore


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