Saturday, December 09, 2017

GOOD KING WENCESLAS by non-person WALLY STOTT and orchestra

    The few people who've heard of “Wally Stott” probably know the name for one of two reasons. First, because he and his orchestra gave “The Goon Show” added lunacy. He wrote the sometimes eccentric musical stings and flourishes, which I assume includes the musical fanfare always used for the entrance of Major Bloodnok. Stott swung the jazz arrangements behind the show's raspy jazz singer   Ray Ellington, and harmonica tooter Max Geldray.  

    The second reason people may know the name: because Wally Stott vanished in 1972 and re-emerged as “Angela Morley.” This surprised many old friends who had know idea the married and seemingly "normal" man had transsexual issues. Or as Harry Secombe quipped, "
I've heard of leaving your heart in San Francisco, but this is ridiculous!" 
    Now there is no “Wally Stott.”  Really. He is a non-person. It’s not like he ever existed. Morley's website makes it seem that if you find recordings of "The Goon Show," you'll hear Arthur Greenslade announce that the music was provided by "Angela Morley and her orchestra." 

    If you go to the Angela Morley website, which is still up and running even though she died in 2009, the bio never mentions the operation or a past male identity. Written in the first FEMALE person, it opens, “ I was born at Leeds, Yorkshire in 1924…” and is slanted to make it seem that all of the achievements, including "The Goon Show," have Morley's name on them. The site's photo pages have no pictures of "Wally."

    Another trans musician, Wendy Carlos, is almost, but not quite, the same way. On her website, she acknowledges that she was once a man, and early albums are credited to "Walter Carlos." She also states that this was long ago, she doesn't need to be a role model for the transgender community, and would rather be in the present and live her life being treated as just another woman. Someone being in the public eye as a celebrity shouldn't always have to give up all privacy or be subjected to constant questions.

             An irony is that sans-penis, Wally, now Angela, became more successful than ever. In 1974 and 1975 Angela received Academy Award nominations for her musical contributions to “The Little Prince” and “The Slipper And the Rose.” She moved to trans-friendly California soon after, and won three Emmy awards (one pictured on her piano in the photo above). All were for"outstanding music direction"on TV special, including "Christmas in Washington" in 1985. She was nominated another eight times, including for work on episodes of "Dynasty" and "Dallas." 

         Wally Stott’s album “Christmas by the Fireside” arrived in 1959. Around that time, he arranged the cover of “Tower of Strength” for Frankie Vaughan, and had worked on orchestrating most of Shirley Bassey’s early hits. A few years earlier he released the lp “Tribute to Jerome Kern.” 
        Orchestrating or castrating? No, no, 'tis the season to be gentle. There are actually a few Christmas songs that aren't cloying, silly, childish, pieces of crap, including "The First Noel," "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "Silent Night" and this one. If you actually bother to listen to the lyrics (and who EVER does that?) you’ll learn what made King Wenceslas so good. In a nutshell, he helped the common folk and even walked ahead of his noble page in heavy snow, so that the page could walk in his footsteps and not get frozen feet. Which probably meant King Wenceslas had very fancy leather boots with fur trim, and the page shopped at the equivalent of Payless. 

GOOD KING WENCESLAS - Download or Listen on Line, no passwords, email-me demands, malware or pop-ups

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