Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Tea Dance 2 [music]

Who's ready for another turn around the dance floor? I am, even if you're not. This is the second of the two Tea Dance CDs I bought from Past Perfect last month. (Here's my review of the first Tea Dance CD.) Stylistically, it's very similar to the first: polite, upbeat songs that suit an afternoon of tea, cake and foxtrots. However, it doesn't have the strong beverage theme of that collection.

One thing that might disappoint you, depending on your music collection and how you access it, is that there are a lot of better-known tracks in this one, including the Glenn Miller versions of 'String of Pearls', 'American Patrol', and 'Moonlight Serenade', Benny Goodman's 'When Buddha Smiles', Tommy Dorsey's 'On the Sunny Side of the Street', and Artie Shaw's rendition of 'Begin the Beguine'. They're all wonderful, but if you have any swing music, you'll probably have at least one of those – all those bandleaders are celebrated enough that you might have CD sets dedicated to them, and all those tracks appear on many other compilations. If you only listen to your music on CD one at a time, you might enjoy hearing them again as part of this disc, but if you do what I do, which is mainly listen to music by genre on iTunes, you won't need them again.

(One of Mr Robot's gripes is that playlists have killed off the album, and the planning of the album, and I guess he is right there. I have been trying to listen to music as albums in its entirety, but I do also like my mega-playlists as I can't predict exactly what will play next, making it a happy midpoint between CDs and the radio.)

I guess for some dancers, knowing the tune helps them relax more and focus on their dancing, so the familiarity of some tracks might make this disc more popular with the audience if you were to play it at an actual tea dance.

Of course, getting excellent music for the second or third time is still always going to be preferable to getting awful music for the first time. Happily, even the lesser-known tracks on this disc are really enjoyable. I like the cheeky bounciness of 'On the Beach at Bali Bali' by Billy Merrin and Jack Hylton's 'That's You Baby/Walking With Susie' medley.

Would I recommend this CD? Yes, if you're going to listen to it as a standalone disc, or you don't already have a largish collection of vintage music. Yes, if you want a CD that you can leave on at an event or in a tea room knowing that it's full of crowd-pleasers, with nothing too up- or down-tempo to disrupt the mood. I certainly don't regret buying it, but if you're pushed for cash and want to avoid re-purchasing the usual suspects, you probably want a different disc. (How about the first Tea Dance?...)

11 comments :

  1. Playlists would drive me mad-I'm definitely the sort that listens to a CD all the way through. I don't mind overlap in collections as they tend to be grouped differently, but I can see where it would be annoying.

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    1. I've been trying to listen to my CDs more (via my iPod) to get an overall impression of a whole album. Though that's less of an issue with early music as albums didn't exist. I do buy 'hard copies' of music and books I like, though, as I always worry about the long-term security of streamed music and ebooks.

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  2. good review I am embarassed to admit I have no cds and tend just to listen to music on you tube you can find recording of so many old songs

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    1. Heh, it's possibly a generational thing. I have a friend whose son watches programmes on YouTube and never watches telly, whereas I never bother with YouTube.

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  3. I totally agree with Pete. I rarely buy albums unless it's from one of my absolute favourites, but rather just download a song I like from iTunes. I listen to most of my music on my iPhone, either at home or plugged into the car and generally always have it on shuffle. Although it does drive me mad as my iPhone seems to be obsessed with playing all my Christmas songs throughout the year! xx

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    1. Playlists are the answer! I have my music hived into playlists - it prevents Iron Maiden from being interrupted by Helen Kane, or Annette Hanshaw by Fields of the Nephilim.

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  4. I think Mr. Robot is right, but when it's a compilation it doesn't really matter, does it? I've been guilty of making huge iTunes playlists as well. Lately, we've been buying lots of vintage vinyl, especially swing and big bands, which I love, and there's no cheating with vinyl. It's true that a lot of the band leaders of the era covered the same songs. There must be about ten versions of Begin the Beguine in our collection. So it's good to have some "unusual" stuff on the CD too. xxx

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    1. I'm not sure how many versions of Beguine I've got - must be at least five. It certainly was popular. I don't mind getting new versions of songs, it's getting the same one repeatedly that can become annoying.

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  5. Thanks for the review. I really like the music that this label puts out. It is really fun. Now that I am getting older I rarely put on CDs and often just plug my laptop through the hi-fi and listen to playlists. Terrible I know but a lot of the stuff I have has got quite a bit of filler, plus like you Mim I have everything from the Nephilim to early music and love when you don't know what you are going to get next. :) Xx

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  6. Oh golly, I got rid of my CD collection in 2008!
    My IMac is my everything here in Nepal- stereo, tv, phone, photo lab, - does anyone even remember what a stereo was?

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  7. I like my playlists too, and will listen to my favourites over and over and over ...... I am a creature of habit :D

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