Brian Lawrance

Crooner, bandleader, and violinist Brian Lawrance was fond of working locales into his combo monikers, providing ready hints for trackers with marmite on their breath. The Lansdowne House Restaurant in London is the homing beacon in the name Brian Lawrance & His Landsdowne Orchestra, responsible for a series of vocal music recordings largely in the second half of the '30s. The Dutton Vocalion reissue entitled One in a Million brought at least some of the music of Lawrance back into general circulation, in this case two dozen tracks created between 1937 and 1939. Lawrance had several attributes that came in handy for a bandleader, both instrumental and vocal talent, swinging pleasingly on the violin and singing with comfortable ease if not stylistic innovation.

Probably of even more importance were his good lucks. Some backers thought Lawrance could become a matinee idol, at the very least an Ozzie Nelson type. He played the lead male part in a pair of musical films but seems to have dropped out of both acting and performing with the changing of entertainment fashions following the Second World War. Lawrance released a large number of singles during the run of his band, including a decent cover of "Singin' in the Rain" featuring a jazz combo known as the Quaglino Quartet. ~ Eugene Chadbourne

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