Benny Green - "Big Band Hour"

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Brock
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Benny Green - "Big Band Hour"

Post by Brock »

This Saturday at 5pm (in the slot vacated by Andy Marriott's Television Show, as it happens), Serenade Radio is presenting an archive series presented by the late Benny Green, called The Big Band Hour.

I thought I was pretty familiar with Benny Green's radio work, but I don't recall any such programme, and Genome draws a blank. Nor is there any mention of it in Andy Walmsley's otherwise comprehensive blog post. Any idea where it might have originated?

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stearn
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Re: Benny Green - "Big Band Hour"

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Re: Benny Green - "Big Band Hour"

Post by Brock »

That's almost certainly it - thanks.
Unearthed by Brian Savin, these recordings have been unheard anywhere in the world since they first aired in the 80's to a local radio audience.

In the eighties, Brian Savin produced a radio series called The Big Band Hour. It featured the Johnny Patrick Big Band recreating the music of the major big bands (Stan Kenton, Harry James, Artie Shaw etc.). There were eight programmes in all and one of them was Rob McConnell. At the time that was quite a daring choice as hardly anyone (except jazz musicians and DJ's who used the Canadian Talent Library) had heard of him. However, Johnny Patrick knew him personally and I think this was one of the reasons why we chose his music for the series. Johnny Patrick was (and still is at the age of 89) a highly respected musician in the UK. The presenter of the series, Benny Green, was a saxophonist, writer and broadcaster. Amongst others he played with Ralph Sharon and Stan Kenton.
Brian Savin is a regular presenter on Serenade Radio, so that would make perfect sense. I wonder what local radio station it was?

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stearn
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Re: Benny Green - "Big Band Hour"

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The website says " I became a lowly station assistant at BBC Radio Birmingham, now Radio WM, and was then the first voice on BRMB, where I stayed for almost twenty-five years." about BRIAN SAVIN.

Doing a quick search on the British Newspaper Archive there are entries for late 81 and mid 82 in Midlands newspapers. I've let my subscription lapse at the moment so I can't see the station name but Radio Birmingham certainly seems the most likely.

[edit] With iterative searching I can say that the 1982 transmissions were by Downtown Radio, in Ireland. The late 1981 broadcasts were BBC local radio, as they revert to Radio 2 when not transmitting, but annoyingly I can't quite get the station name!

[edit 2] With the kind auspices of a former regular here, Alistair McGown, it would appear that the late 1981 broadcasts were on BRMB (now called Free Radio Birmingham). The OCR text I can see is not great and only a snippet anyway - the last entry on the preceding channel listing was "As Radio 2", which threw me off the scent.

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Re: Benny Green - "Big Band Hour"

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stearn wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 6:04 pm
The website says " I became a lowly station assistant at BBC Radio Birmingham, now Radio WM, and was then the first voice on BRMB, where I stayed for almost twenty-five years." about BRIAN SAVIN.

Doing a quick search on the British Newspaper Archive there are entries for late 81 and mid 82 in Midlands newspapers. I've let my subscription lapse at the moment so I can't see the station name but Radio Birmingham certainly seems the most likely.
Brian Savin went to BRMB in 1974 (as he said, he was the first voice on the station), and stayed until 1998. It seems highly unlikely that one of his productions would have aired on a rival BBC station.
[edit] With iterative searching I can say that the 1982 transmissions were by Downtown Radio, in Ireland.
Since Downtown Radio was (and still is) a commercial station, that makes it even less likely that it was a BBC programme.
The late 1981 broadcasts were BBC local radio, as they revert to Radio 2 when not transmitting, but annoyingly I can't quite get the station name!
You mean that the schedule shows the station as transmitting Radio 2 after closedown? Don't quite understand.

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stearn
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Re: Benny Green - "Big Band Hour"

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Sorry Brock, I updated the entry as you posted.

I've had it clarified that it was BRMB that broadcast them by someone that has a current subscription to the British Newspaper Archive. The snippet view available to non-subscribers isn't that easy to glean info from, especially as the OCR isn't the greatest. It was a useful exercise to see if I (or anyone else which doesn't have access) can still do research if they try though.

As an aside, I can heartily recommend a subscription to BNA for anyone who has more than just a passing interest in TV and radio and when things went out. I'm only putting my renewal on hold for a couple of months while I catch up with life as home schooling has killed this year so far and there was no point paying when I knew I wouldn't use it.

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Re: Benny Green - "Big Band Hour"

Post by Brock »

stearn wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 7:02 pm
Sorry Brock, I updated the entry as you posted.

I've had it clarified that it was BRMB that broadcast them by someone that has a current subscription to the British Newspaper Archive.
Thanks very much for looking into it! I guessed it must have been a BRMB programme - it came as a surprise to me because I had previously had no idea that Benny Green had done any work for commercial radio.
As an aside, I can heartily recommend a subscription to BNA for anyone who has more than just a passing interest in TV and radio and when things went out. I'm only putting my renewal on hold for a couple of months while I catch up with life as home schooling has killed this year so far and there was no point paying when I knew I wouldn't use it.
I may do that, as I have a small chunk of money due to me very soon. Thanks again.

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