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Titanic: Music As Heard On the Fateful Voyage

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Album Review

An almost scholarly assemblage, this. Bandleader Ian Whitcomb has assembled a playlist of the music that would have been heard on the RMS Titanic during its fateful voyage (a playlist that might have been heard on any White Star Liner, in fact), closing, of course, with "Songe d'Automne," the piece being performed by the ship's orchestra as the vessel vanished beneath the waves. Added to this are "The White Star March" (an original composition), and a recitation of "The Convergence of the Twain," a poem about the disaster written by Robert Service. The songs themselves are an intriguing mixture of the familiar ("Glow-Worm," "Alexander's Ragtime Band"), and the somewhat less familiar ("Selections from the Musical Comedy, 'The Arcadians'," "That Mesmerizing Mendelssohn Tune"). Whitcomb and his group, with the Musical Murrays taking several vocal cuts, handle the performances with polish and verve. An interesting musical glance at the mystique of this particular tragedy, though some may find the idea a bit macabre. There's not a bit of it, though — the album notes are very respectful and extremely informative, and there's an aura of good taste about the whole thing, which is more than can be said for some "Titanic" projects.


Born: 10 July 1941 in Woking, Surrey, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

An odd footnote to the British Invasion, English singer and pianist Ian Whitcomb formed his R&B group Bluesville in Dublin, Ireland. He never had a hit in the U.K. and wasn't all that wild about rock & roll in the first place, preferring traditional forms of blues, ragtime, and Tin Pan Alley. But "You Turn Me On" -- a tongue-in-cheek three-chord knockoff at the end of a session with exaggerated falsetto vocals and an unforgettable orgasmic vocal hook -- hit number eight in America in 1965, and Whitcomb...
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