NEWS

June 2015

Well at long last I was in a position to start cataloguing the archives and sorting through all the Matt Monro stock that has accumulated over the years. On the 9th May Richard Moore climbed into his car and made the long journey from Blackpool to Shropshire so that we could sift through everything over the following two days.

Several years ago I bought Jack Jackson’s collection off of his son and the 26 boxes sat in my fireplace in Harrow until the move. When you are faced with a mountain of music, a lot of which had to be listened to, it becomes rather daunting but on closer examination we ended up throwing 18 of the boxes in the skip. Why? Because it was all pirated and bad quality at that. It would seem that Jack bought anything and everything with the name Matt Monro on it and quite honestly a few of the dealers must have seen him coming because he would have the same album twenty times over with the tracks in a different order and the CD with a different home-made cover. Mind you I have learnt over the decades to always give anything from the Philippines a much closer inspection. As well as the boxes there were a lot of picture frames and memorabilia and I’m thrilled to say that Richard and I managed to get through the whole lot and more besides.

It would be impossible to list everything that I will now sell on but suffice to say if you have anything missing from your collections, whether vinyl, CD, cassette or song sheet, then drop me a line. I am selling each item at £5.00 plus postage, as after costs, the money will go to the Macmillan Society in memory of mum and dad.

I am also selling off quite a lot of items that were in the old house and if you wish to look at any of them go to www.ebay.co.uk and look under the seller english_max. I will also be having a yard sale in the next few months as I have so much stuff I just cannot physically list everything. I must have 11 cameras alone that I have packaged up and what with all the accessories, camera bags, batteries etc that could go with several of them I decided it is easier to just lay everything out and leave it to the shopper to decide how much or how little they want. I’m basically selling the contents of a home with everything from glassware to china and Lladro to new towel sets. It has been a colossal task sorting everything out and I was quite shocked this week to realise that on 30th June I will have been here a year!

It has been a busy year in every year as several radio stations have presented special shows for dad’s 30th anniversary. At the beginning of February I received an email from disc jockey/producer Fali Singara who is a presenter on Mumbai’s biggest radio station – All India Radio’s 107.1FM whose show reaches over 15 million people daily.

All India Radio is currently the largest radio broadcaster in the world. The operations of All India Radio began formally in 1936, with clear objectives to inform, educate and entertain the masses. Today All India Radio's services reach over a billion people across India.

Broadcasting since 1987, All India Radio's 107.1 FM Rainbow is Mumbai's biggest and first ever FM radio station. Globally, all stations follow a particular format or genre of music - for example, it's either an all jazz or rock or an adult contemporary, hip-hop station. At FM Rainbow, diversity is the key - they play easy listening, jazz, pop, rock, country, trance, etc all on the same station during different programs and time slots. The listeners get a variety of music in one place -for example – you can hear the latest hit of Ed Sheeran alongside a classic Matt Monro song. 
Born in the eighties, Radio presenter Fali R. Singara grew up listening to Matt Monro thanks to his father’s fantastic LP collection.  Fali has presented a number of special shows on Matt Monro on 107.1 FM over the years – the most recent being a one-hour special on Sat 7th February 2015 to mark Mr. Monro’s 30th Anniversary. Fali received over 200 calls, messages and emails from all over India during the live broadcast and the Indian listeners picked these songs as their all time favorite Matt Monro songs:

3) On Days Like These
2) From Russia With Love
1) Born Free (78% voted Born Free the #1 Matt Monro song of all time).

Fali’s personal favourite would have to be From Russia With Love (It’s also his favourite James Bond movies of all time!)

Each week, listeners request Matt Monro songs on his shows, and one gentleman in his late sixties named Jehangir has been sending in requests each week to Fali for over 10 years. The request is always the same, to play a Matt Monro song. Jehangir had to do this to share his love for Mr. Monro and his music – “30 years may have gone by since Matt Monro passed away, but even today he is very much alive in the hearts of his fans around the world. Through his songs he continues to influence music lovers of every generation. I know, for I am one such individual. I was a fan of Mr. Monro from the very first time I heard him on the radio in 1963. He was monumental in changing my perception of music. Thanks to him, I discovered deep meaningful music and he’s been an integral part of my life. His music makes me smile, makes me laugh, reinforces my faith in love, makes me cry, makes me wonder, and inspires me.” Jehangir’s favourite Matt Monro song is ‘From Russia With Love’.

My friends and colleagues at Siren 107.3 FM   had the idea to focus on the Matt Monro years with contributions from both Matt Jnr and myself. Tom Steven’s special went out on Easter Monday and was repeated on Monday 4 May.   Those who missed it can catch it online at http://www.sirenonline.co.uk.

Sky Arts has licensed dad’s Australian concert for the next year and I know it is already in rotation. ‘An Evening With Matt Monro’ was remastered using HD technology by Jonathan Wood at the BBC a few years back whereas the original film was scanned in high resolution, cleaned and made to look as close to the original video quality when broadcast using a process called VidFire. Despite the fact that the original broadcast was in standard definition the remastered version looks even better on the Sky Arts HD channel

Something to keep an eye on….. In the USA a couple years ago they changed the copyright law so that the rights to all sound recordings reverted to the artist after 25 years. This only affected recordings made after 1972 though, but it did see a shift in some artists leaving labels they'd been at for years and leasing them to other companies. Paul Simon moved his solo catalogue to Warner from Sony for instance which I believe happened worldwide, so it looks as though it's down to where the contract was originally based rather than different rules for different countries.

In Congress they are currently debating making the date much earlier. This could be interesting. It could mean that dad's Capitol recordings - as they were made with a US company - could revert to the estate meaning I would have full rights to everything he recorded from 1966 to 1971. Obviously there would be knock on effects in regards to tapes etc. It may well be that everything stays with the record company unless I instruct otherwise but should the decision be made it's worth looking into, especially as Capitol/Universal don't seem at all interested at the moment.

I recently noticed a new addition by Hallmark on Amazon of an audio CD of “Love Is The Same Anywhere ” that was apparently released on 9 March 2015.

This is NOT an official release and in my opinion it is badly restored from battered vinyl!

Richard and I have now had permission from Warner to take over dad’s Facebook page.
https://www.facebook.com/mattmonro

Back in the old days of EMI Gold, Steve Woof set up the page for dad. It used to have 100,000 followers but because there have been no postings since 13 September 2013 the numbers have dropped to 42,000. It is therefore important that we have full administration rights so that we can try and get our viewers back. If you haven’t been before please pop in and leave a message or a ‘Like’.

My grateful thanks have to go to Darren Vidler who left me a message on Facebook informing me that he had been researching the Saturday Club radio shows and had all the programme logs dating back from November 1958. Bless him if he didn’t take the time to scan and send me them all. I am so grateful as this information is priceless and helps us fill in so many cracks.

There were more than 60 different documents and Richard has already discovered the dates for half of the ‘Heart Of The Man’ tracks - It turns out the Bill McGuffie material we thought was from "Once In A While" IS all Saturday Club. Richard will be kept very busy in the next few weeks updating his annotated listings.

 

The new CD ‘Operation Santa’ is doing very well and if you haven’t got your copy yet then don’t dilly-dally. Richard has once again done the most amazing job at remastering the material and I am thrilled that it has now joined our new release list.

In December 1962 Matt was invited to sing at a special charity concert in Hong Kong where he had previously been stationed in the Army. This was part of the annual 'Operation Santa Claus' fund raising event organised by Radio Hong Kong He was involved in many events across 5 days culminating in the concert at City Hall which was broadcast live on Radio Hong Kong but not archived by them. Thankfully Matt was given a recording as a souvenir which was rediscovered a few years ago and this is presented here for the first time anywhere since its original broadcast. Also included is an interview recorded with Ted Thomas from the same trip. Two bonus tracks are included from previously lost radio broadcasts. It comes with a 12 page booklet containing notes by Matt's daughter and biographer Michele Monro along with rare or previously unpublished photographs from the Monro estate archives. The initial 500 copies of the set come with an extra 4 page booklet celebrating the work of Mickie & Michele Monro in the years since Matt's passing.

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? 10. When The Saints Go Marching In 11 - 22. Matt Speaks To Ted Thomas Bonus Tracks 23. Look For A Star 24. Christmas Magic
www.amazon.co.uk

or direct from

www.mint-audio.co.uk

Amazon Reviews

This is a great addition to the Matt Monro catalogue. Mint Audio here give us a rare concert performance, and the quality is good. We get quite a few songs here from Matt that you won't find on any other of his CDs, including great performances of 'What Kind Of Fool Am I' and 'Without A Song'. The arrangements on his classics are slightly different, making a welcome change. I particularly like the slower take on 'Portrait Of My Love".

Also included is an interview with Ted Thomas which includes another selection of Matt classics in between the chat. Matt comes across as relaxed and charming, whilst Ted is wonderfully formal. An enjoyable extra.

Another couple of rare tracks are added as a bonus, and these really are rare.

All in all this is one that Matt Monro fans, or just fans of really fine singing, will want to add to their collection.

***

An Excellent CD.
This CD comes with informative liner notes telling the story of Matt's early army days plus rare and unpublished pictures while serving in Hong Kong.
The songs on the CD are sung as only Matt can and we are treated to an upbeat version of "Without A Song" and "What Now My Love.
It was Matt's popularity that led to him being invited back to Hong Kong a decade later for this Charity Concert CD that has been superbly restored. The songs include classics by Irving Berlin and Hoagy Carmichael, plus a very nice interview with Ted Thomas, one of Matt's remembered Radio friends from those days. We always appreciate bonus tracks too
This is an added treasure for Matt’s fans and lovers of all good singers.

***
It’s hard to realise this welcome release is an apt reminder we lost Matt Monro thirty years ago. Fortunately, most of his recordings have reached CD over the years via very acceptable collections, but occasionally, thanks to his daughter Michelle, something extra appears; this release being such a treasure.

This previously unreleased Hong Kong concert dates from December 1962 when the singer travelled to the colony to take part in OPERATION SANTA CLAUS - a three-day charity event for disadvantaged children. For Matt, the journey to Hong Kong was a return to where he was stationed in the army during his teens and where he kick-started his vocal career before it reached its later heights of popularity. Broadcast by the charity organiser, Radio Hong Kong, the concert, in excellent sound, thanks to the remastering work of sound engineer Richard Moore, includes MY LOVE AND DEVOTION, I GUESS IT WAS YOU ALL THE TIME, WHAT NOW MY LOVE? and WON’T YOU COME HOME BILL BAILEY as well as established hits PORTRAIT OF MY LOVE and MY KIND OF GIRL amongst the included ten choices with Matt in terrific vocal form and engaging between-songs patter throughout.

Adding a radio interview with Ted Thomas during the same visit is a fortuitous bonus and between the chat featured recordings include GEORGIA ON MY MIND and ONE MORNING IN MAY from Matt’s Hoagy Carmichael album but it’s the conversation that makes this a welcome rarity. Two further bonus songs, LOOK FOR A STAR and CHRISTMAS MAGIC are early Sixties BBC radio cuts.

The accompanying twelve-page booklet relates the informative story of Matt’s early army days together with rare photographs of the singer from that period and overall this release will make an excellent addition to any collection.

***
This is a great cd as it includes live recordings from Matt, don't be put off buying this as the interview is filled with complete songs from Matt and not just clips. Also the two bonus tracks although not up to studio standards are well worth listening too.

Very nice inlay and liner notes too. It's worth the price just for the live versions of Portrait Of My Love & My Love And Devotion .

***

This is a great addition to the Matt Monro catalogue. Mint Audio here give us a rare concert performance, and the quality is good. We get quite a few songs here from Matt that you won't find on any other of his CDs, including great performances of 'What Kind Of Fool Am I' and 'Without A Song'. The arrangements on his classics are slightly different, making a welcome change. I particularly like the slower take on 'Portrait Of My Love".

Also included is an interview with Ted Thomas which includes another selection of Matt classics in between the chat. Matt comes across as relaxed and charming, whilst Ted is wonderfully formal. An enjoyable extra.

Another couple of rare tracks are added as a bonus, and these really are rare.

All in all this is one that Matt Monro fans, or just fans of really fine singing, will want to add to their collection.

***

This is a superb CD and the quality is first class. As devoted fans of Matt this CD was a "must have" addition to our collection but for anyone who appreciates easy listening then this CD will definitely not disappoint. It is nice to have songs that have not been previously released and also the interviews with Matt talking to Ted Thomas with tracks of his recordings played in between chatting gives an insight to Matt and his music. Without doubt this CD deserves five stars.

 

You may also wish to check out another CD from Mint Audio - A Re-issue of the long deleted EMI CD "Live In Australia" now called "Live in Twin Towns, Australia 1984" and featuring two previously unreleased bonus tracks from an Australia 1981.

The CD is once again available direct from Mint Audio or Amazon


Odeon Entertainment’s new DVD of dad’s television performances. “Around the World’ was almost nine months in the making and the frustration of dealing with foreign television archivists was enough for one to give up the will to live. In the early years dad’s television appearances also saw him perform in skits and finding Red Skelton’s “Let’s face the Music and Dance’ was a joy. Every time I watch the footage I fall about laughing, it is just too fabulous.

Matt Monro was probably the best voice that ever came out of England and was regarded by none other than Frank Sinatra as one of the three greatest singers in the world. As a special celebration of his unique talent, this special new Matt Monro collection has gathered together some of his best television performances from across the globe and includes rarely seen footage selected by his daughter Michele Monro. As Matt continues to give pleasure to old and new fans everywhere, this is your chance to sit back and enjoy Matt Monro performing: Walk Away, You and Me Against the World, I Have Dreamed, We re Going to Change the World, My Kind of Girl, If I Never Sing Another Song, Born Free, For Once in My Life, Let s Face the Music and Dance, You Made Me So Very Happy, My Way and many more hits from around the world. This DVD also includes a booklet written by Michele Monro detailing the background to Matt on TV around the world.

 

Amazon Reviews:

Definitely a "must have" DVD for fans of Matt Monro, or indeed fans of anyone who loves quality! Some of the favourites are here of course, including "Walk Away", "My Kind Of Girl" and We're Gonna Change The World", but there are so many other gems here included too from the 1960's right through until 1984.
"When You Wish Upon A Star", "My Way" and You've Made Me So Very Happy" are amongst them plus many more, but a personal favourite for me is Matt's final single "You Bring Out The Best In Me", performed here on the Russell Harty Show in 1984. His voice was on top form throughout his career and this DVD just proves what a terrific voice he had.
A truly wonderful DVD that will bring back happy memories of Britain's finest singer.

****
The formidable pairing of Michele Monro and Richard Moore have pulled off yet another coup. As the sleeve notes document, they have doggedly pursued archive material of Matt all over the world and this is the result of their persistence and their equally invincible desire to bring this magnificent singer to the attention of a new audience.

The insolence of Russell Harty notwithstanding, there is not a duff note to be found anywhere on this DVD. In fact, Matt's performances on some songs even exceeds the already superlative renditions he gave in the studio. His performance of 'We're Gonna Change the World' is delivered with such brio that I was amazed and full of praise for the little guy that was going to rearrange my world. Then there's 'When You Wish Upon A Star.' The Colin Keys arrangement was already lovely, but Matt brings an epic splendor to the song not found on record and he ably showcases his deceptively capacious range.

Every performance bears the imprimatur of Monro's approach to a song: singing that is elegant, unaffected and infused with warmth. The DVD also demonstrates his easy charm with co-hosts and a relaxed stagecraft that belies the hard work that Monro put into making everything look so easy. This is a perfect way to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Monro's untimely death. It should also remind anyone who cares a fig about the art of popular singing why this prodigiously talented performer remains so adored by discerning music lovers and musicians all over the world.

****
Watching the live performances here reminds you just how great a performer Matt Monro was in fact his version of We’re Gonna Change The World is so good it was almost like listening to the record.

What also impressed me was the sound and vision on almost every song it is perfect and the musicians playing for Matt also deserve a special mention as they are fantastic.

Matt was such a relaxed performer, watch him with Russell Harty and Des O'Connor and see who comes off best.

This is indeed a very worthy addition to anyone's collection of Matt Monro material or Matt Mono as he is called in the final sleeve notes.

****
This superb DVD is sheer enjoyment to watch. The quality is fantastic and for anyone who appreciates listening to Matt Monro then this DVD will definitely not disappoint. It shows Matt at lots of stages in his career from the earlier days to later performances.

This was the ideal time to bring out this DVD, as this month is the thirtieth anniversary since Matt passed away and also the CD "Live in Hong Kong" which was brought out earlier this month is fantastic to listen to.

We can only add you will not be sorry if you do decide to buy this wonderful DVD.

****

Was wonderful....has you wanting to see more. Pity that the copyright owners of the TV shows these clips are culled from are so greedy that it becomes prohibitive to re-release more. Here's hoping that more treasures of Matt's performances, be it audio, and or visual are out there to be found...and soon :-) Bravo to all those involved in letting us enjoy and re-live the talents of this wonderfully talented entertainer. Matt is sorely missed. Tom, Melbourne Australia
****

This a wonderful new DVD of the great Matt Monro featuring some very rare live performances from TV through the years - I can strongly advise anyone out there to buy this while stocks still last because it is great! Lasting about 1 hr in length, you will feel you have been watching it for just half that because the time just fly's by and the variety of song is very interesting: Particular stand out's for me were the duet with a ridiculously young Des O’Connor ( Matt even manages to make him sound good LOL), and Somewhere Over The Rainbow as well as a very old black and white appearance from around 1966 where Monro does a splendid live version of I Have Dreamed....wonderful stuff I can't praise this enough - please more...more...more! Do yourself a favour buy it now!

Please don’t forget to leave your own reviews either on the Matt Monro Forum or Amazon. They are so important and one never knows whether the record companies are looking in. It could well make the difference between releasing something soon or not. The power of the written word is all-powerful

 

Matt Monro Jnr might be visiting a theatre near you in the latter part of the year when he goes back on the road with the 30th anniversary tour. If your ‘local’ isn’t on the list then ring the theatre and ask why they are not bringing it in. If they know there is an interest they might very well add it to their schedule. The Matt Monro Story is already booked in to over 24 venues with more being added all the time. Make sure you grab your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

I’ve had a few emails asking me where my photography is listed, as they cannot find it. It isn’t on this site but has it’s own area at www.kaepture.com.

“There is nothing more breathtaking than a sunrise or sunset, even more so in tropical waters. I have spent a year trying to capture the lights of the Caribbean and hope I have in some small way encapsulated the essence of what I witnessed. No two dawns are the same, each colour a different hue depending on the time of the day, sunsets that alter with the weather or the tropical winds that dance over the water adding even more mystery to its hidden beauty.

There is an almost indefinable characteristic that makes the islands magical. I love the early morning dawn when the sun rises from the earth and the heady scent of sugar cane blows on the warm breeze and invades my senses. But then the other end of the day is also quite beautiful when I watch the crimson sun bleed into the ocean mist to lay its head down for the night. The entire landscape takes on a surreal saffron hue as the clouds reflect the fading sun’s red and orange glow and the disappearing light dances on the horizon”. “My vantage point from a cruise ship really grants me the best seat in the house and it allowed me to witness the most incredible vistas as the island’s lights and colours came to life and I was desperate to try and capture the memory”.

 

Unfortunately my health has been playing up over the last month so it is with regret that I have had to cancel the first two dates of my cruise schedule. All being equal I will be back on the high seas on 19 July.

Cruise Calendar 2015/2016

30 May – 14 June – Celebrity Eclipse - canx
14 June – 27 June – Celebrity Eclipse - canx
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
5 January – 16 February – Cruise & maritime Magellan

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 The Seekers.

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.

Whatever the coming year holds, suffice to say that I shall be plugging Matt Monro’s music at every opportunity.  That is the wonderful thing about working the ships, it gives me a brand new audience each time and if then, a small percentage go home a fan, then it is worth all the blood, sweat and tears, not to mention the Bay of Biscay!!!!

Until next month
Warmest to you and yours

Michele

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Amazon
  - Press this link to see the Amazon Listing for The Singers Singer by Michele Monro

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