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Music for Biscuits

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Album Review

According to the liner notes, Mike Sammes and his Mike Sammes Singers not only recorded hundreds of advertisements heard over British radio, but collaborated with most of the 20th century's greatest performers, including Frank Sinatra, the Beatles, Barbra Streisand, Burt Bacharach, Judy Garland, and Sammy Davis, Jr. Unfortunately, the groups were rarely credited (which would serve nicely as corroboration), so they have to be judged by the evidence on Music for Biscuits. Over the course of three dozen tracks (most of them around 30 seconds), Sammes reveals himself as a master of his craft, which may not be worthy of the same adulation as full-flight vocal pop or psychedelia but the far more mundane world of shilling products with names like Luxol, Loxene, and Sunblest. The vocalists, usually a sextet, are smoother than silk, and Sammes was capable of twisting their harmonies into truly fetching patterns. The arrangements are nearly all from the pre-rock era, despite a slinky electric bass cropping up in some tracks. Modest highlights come with the adverts for Fairy washing powder (whose pitchman has a certain gee-whiz-bang appeal), a product called Toast Toppers (with a takeoff on "You're the Top"), and, surprisingly, International Harvester (which gets the catchiest and hippest numbers heard here).


Born: February 19, 1928 in Reigate, Surrey, England

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

b. 19 February 1928, Reigate, Surrey, England, d. 19 May 2001, Reigate, Surrey, England. The son of a photographic equipment dealer, Sammes attended the local grammar school and played cello in its orchestra. After serving in the RAF for his national service, Sammes worked with his father and played piano in a local dance band called the Meltones. In 1954 Sammes followed bandmate Bill Shepherd to the George Mitchell Singers, and both men were also members of the splinter group the Coronets. Sammes’...
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Music for Biscuits, Mike Sammes
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