Global Fascinations and Sophistications
Kyte and Lipton
Colleagues sometimes look askance at me when I say I love Nostalgia,
or 'Middle of the Road', as it is popularly known, but during my early 20s,
ballroom dancing became a Saturday Night passion at the Star Hotel, Maidstone
in Kent. 'The Two Syds' -- Kyte and Lipton, were current favourites from
a pre-war galaxy of performers that grew up from the 1920s and lasted to
the early 60s when the Beatles and other pop groups put an unsympathetic
end to all the soft shoe shuffle. These band leaders all had sophisticated
talents, and featured the finest vocalists at a time when Britain needed
revitalising, facing another World War, and afterwards, during the slow
process of recovering from it.
Kyte, a student of violin, viola and piano at the Royal Academy of Music
and a favourite of the Duke of Windsor, had The Three Jinx at Ciros,
and There's nothing too good for my baby really sets the feet tapping
[listen -- track 2, 1:49-2:45].
Lipton, nine years younger, played in Billy Cotton's Band, then literally
took over the enormous ballroom at the Grosvenor House Hotel where his line-up
included Nat Gonella, Ted Heath, Frank Weir, Freddy Gardner, Cyril Grantham,
Bill McGuffie, Sam Browne, Al Bowlly (killed tragically in the blitz), and
his own daughter Celia. Suave sounds emanate from both groups, but the styles
are certainly their own.
Copyright © 27 December 2000
Bill Newman, Edgware, UK
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