A very happy New Year to everyone, I do hope you managed to spend time with loved ones and friends over the festive period and ring in 2024 in style.
Unfortunately, last year I spent a huge amount of time being unwell, not only with the dreaded lurgy but also with cellulitis which in turn caused a blood clot in my leg. Because I had to elevate my foot so much with the leg infection it caused a trapped sciatica nerve and the upshot is I’ve been left with a nasty numbness down my right lower leg and three toes of my foot.
I’ve had to give in now and resort to a wheelchair at times. I’ve been very fortunate with the M.S in that I’ve had a number of years without any dire effect but the symptoms have now caught up and I have to relent and admit I’m human, lol
Sadly, I was only able to cruise twice last year and this year could be just as slow. Covid has a lot to answer to and in particular the cruise lines were hit extremely hard, so much so that they have all made cutbacks. Some lines are offering very tempting prices for the actual cruise but the upshot is you get a lot less for the price and you don’t necessarily find that out until you are actually onboard. This includes entertainment and the lines are using a lot of their own cast to perform in extra shows to save on bringing in specialty acts. Even when the coffers go up, I’m not sure it will ever revert to how it used to be.
Netflix has exercised their right to take another two-year option on The Singer’s Singer, which is fantastic as it brings dad to a far wider audience. I presume it must be doing well as they now have it until September 2026. If you haven’t had a chance to see it yet I urge you to as it is the only full-length Matt Monro concert that exists.
Dad’s YouTube channel is going from strength to strength and I thank you all so much for your support. Fingers crossed that in the next few weeks we will be offering a very special Raffle with prizes that you are unable to buy. It has been a long process and the company aren’t that quick at replying to emails but I am optimistic that we will be able to bring this off.
I am very proud of the website and it has given me a chance to give back to the fans. This was highlighted by offering free of charge ‘The Boy From Shoreditch’ the four-part audio documentary Richard and I made to celebrate dad’s special 90th birthday. The programmes were written and narrated by myself and feature an intimate portrait of the man behind the voice, drawing on previously un-broadcast interviews, extremely rare recordings previously thought lost, interviews with his family and friends and messages from some of his more famous fans.
To celebrate Eurovision in May we will be uploading a unique video reconstruction of dad’s entry which is awesome and all thanks to Dani at awuga ESC. I am extremely grateful that he has given us permission to use this wonderful historic piece of Eurovision nostalgia which I know you will all enjoy as much as me.
There is a wealth of content on the site and new material is added regularly, and being a subscriber, which is totally free, means you are informed when new content is added so you never miss an exciting new arrival.
On Saturday I was watching Michael McIntyre’s Big Show and was privileged to have seen Alfie Draper’s memorable performance of Born Free. Alfie suffers from cerebral palsy and used his voice to inspire others. He began his career by busking in Maidstone town centre and his main goal is to be an advocate for creating opportunities for people with disabilities. If you missed the show it can still be viewed on BBC One iPlayer or YouTube
Finally in December the last four Capitol albums were uploaded. It’s been a long time coming but it was a fitting present to dad on his birthday.
Talking of memorable dates, February is always a tough one for me as it is both my mum and my dad’s anniversaries. I always light a candle on the day and it gives me a chance to reflect on the joy their life brought to so many others. I miss them so much and even though the years keep passing by it still feels like yesterday.
Every year we seem to lose some stalwarts of the business but 2023 was dreadful. Burt Bacharach, Tony Bennett, Matthew Perry, Shane MacGowan, Lisa Marie Presley, Jeff Beck, Tina Turner, Harry Belafonte, David Crosby are just a few of the many greats that have left an indelible footprint in the sand. They will be sadly missed and I offer my condolences to their families.
I really hate time-wasters. I was approached months ago by an independent stage and screen writer who was keen on making a program, whether a feature length documentary or a series of individual 30-minute programs on various artists of the era. After chasing him in November he replied he was waiting on the arrival in England of an American director. I am the first to recognize that ideas and deals fall through but please at least have the decency to give an update rather than leaving people dangling.
At the moment there is nothing new in the pipeline record wise. The last release was in June last year with The Complete EMI Recordings 1971- 1984. Despite taking more than two years to put together and get clearance, it was worth all the blood, sweat and tears to finally see it available.
Two albums – For the Present and The Other Side of the Stars had been issued on CD before (as an old EMI 2on1), but large chunks of these, for reasons unknown, were dubbed from vinyl and not very good quality vinyl either. What makes it worse is that these travesties are what is available on download and streaming services these days so avoid at all costs!
The other two albums, The Long and Winding Road and If I Never Sing Another Song had never been issued on CD in their entirety and again some of the tracks from the latter LP had also been taken from vinyl when issued on compilations.
If you like to listen to the raw tapes and then compare them to what Richard restored and remixed then go to his website page
The release presents as a digipack which unfolds to reveal some great portraits of dad – some not previously seen – and each disc sits on the cover of the LP featured on each CD. The final flap contains a booklet with extensive notes and more photos. Designed by the ever-brilliant John Sellards and with an incredible previously unpublished front cover photo by Neil Dalrymple, it looks as good as it sounds.
You can find the album Here on Amazon
or direct from Cherry Red
I look forward to catching up with you in March and in the meantime, stay safe and keep spreading the MM legacy.