The Great British Dance Bands: A Nostalgic Collection
This is awesome, and not just because I found my copy in a local charity shop for £2. You can get it new from Amazon for as little as £4.30 at any rate. (At that price, it would be rude not to.)
With famous names like Al Bowlly and Sam Browne, and bands like the BBC Dance Orchestra, there are some fab recordings on this 44-track two-disc set. Many of the songs are American classics, showing how their culture travelled to this side of the Atlantic, but the renditions are a little less swingy, more tinkly, than many other versions of the same tunes, taking you straight to the Savoy Ballrooms.
My favourite song is 'She Had to Go and Lose it at the Astor' for its cheekiness. ("But she had to go and lose it at the Astor, she didn't know exactly who to blame, And she couldn't say just how and when she lost it, she only knew she had it when she came…") That said, 'Toodle-oo' comes a close second. My least favourite is Joe Loss and His Orchestra's version of 'In the Mood', which is incredibly like Glenn Miller's but with a good chunk of the verve missing