THE ROBERT FARNON CD THAT NEVER WAS
By David Ades
On 30 & 31 October 1995, Robert Farnon was once again
at the CTS Studios in Wembley, London, recording the orchestral
backings for a new CD with the great American popular singer
In a feature in JIM 125 (February 1996) it was hoped that
this would be one of the most exciting new CD releases of
standard repertoire that year. Eddie Fisher was reported
to be full of eager anticipation for this project, which
was expected to relaunch his career in a big way!
The JIM article continued: Eddie is now managed
by Tino Barzie, who readers will recall recently guided
the career of Pia Zadora, resulting in several superb albums
which made sceptical critics eat their words.
It is hardly a similar situation with Eddie Fisher, who
has been a big star for over 40 years. However he would
probably agree that he has not exactly pushed himself to
the forefront of the entertainment scene in recent years,
but this new album is likely to do just that!
Vincent Falcone, previously Sinatras MD, is working
closely with Eddie, and his great experience, plus Fishers
undoubted talent, makes a combination hard to beat. Add
Farnons brilliant scores, plus four swinging charts
by Sammy Nestico, and you have a winning formula that can
Eddie Fisher was at the CTS Studios to listen in and guide
the orchestral backings. As each score appeared on the music
stands his enthusiasm grew, and the rich, warm Fisher tones
could be heard soaring above the magnificent orchestra.
The vocal tracks are being added in Los Angeles.
The basis of the Robert Farnon Orchestra this time is the
London Philharmonic, leader Duncan Riddell ... 14 violins,
4 violas, 4 cellos, 2 French horns and harp. Added to that
are the cream of London session players: Kenny Baker, Guy
Barker, Steve Sidwell and Simon Gardner on trumpets; Don
Lusher, Gordon Campbell, Bill Geldard, Mark Nightingale*
and Cohn Sheen* on trombones; Roy Willox, Peter Hughes,
Tommy Whittle, Duncan Lamont, Denis Walton* and Eddie Mordue*
on saxes and woodwinds; Jim Lawless on percussion; Louis
Stewart on guitar; Chris Lawrence on bass; and Jack Parnell
on drums. Vincent Falcone was on electric piano. (*These
players were not present on every session.)
The first three-hour session began at 2:30pm on Monday
30 October, and featured Robert Farnon conducting his arrangements
of It Never Entered My Mind, April Showers, Oh my
Papa and Love You Didnt Do Right By Me.
The evening session started with another run-through of
Love You Didnt Do Right By Me, followed by
The Very Thought 0f You, My Shining Hour (this may
well be the title track of the album), and My Funny Valentine.
On the Tuesday afternoon Bob conducted My Foolish Heart,
Loves Been Good To Me and What Are You
Doing The Rest Of Your Life? The rest of the Tuesday
sessions were taken up with Vincent Falcone conducting the
Sammy Nestico arrangements: Crazy On A Slow Boat to
China, I Remember You and a medley comprising
Wish You Were Here and Any Time.
Fifteen years later we are still waiting for the CD to
be issued. At the time we heard rumours that the producers
were delaying its release until Eddie Fisher was available
to undertake a tour of radio and television stations in
the USA to promote the album, but it seems he was unwilling
to commit to it.
Now that he has passed on (his obituary appears on page
xx of this issue) is it possible that the CD may finally
reach the record stores? It is well known that the death
of an artist seems to result in an upsurge in interest of
their work. The producers must have invested a lot of money
in the original sessions perhaps they may now be
considering recouping it.
When he heard the test results (after Fishers vocals
had been added in the USA) Robert Farnon confided to us
that he was a little unhappy with the way in which some
choral passages intruded on his original arrangements. Also
it has to be said that Fishers voice had passed its
The results could have damaged his reputation, which possibly
was the real reason why these sessions produced "The
CD That Never Was".
This article originally appeared in Journal Into
Melody, December 2010