Sunday, 3 July 2011

Cleo Laine

Dame Cleo Laine, Lady Dankworth, DBE was born as Clementina Dinah Campbell in Southall, Middlesex, to a black Jamaican father and English mother who sent her to singing and dancing lessons at an early age. She attended the Board School in Featherstone Road, until recently Featherstone Primary School. She worked as an apprentice hairdresser, librarian and for a pawnbroker, got married in 1947 (divorced 1957) to George Langridge, a roof tiler, and had a son, Stuart.

Laine did not take up singing professionally until her mid-twenties. She auditioned successfully for a band led by musician John Dankworth (1927–2010), with which she performed until 1958, when she married Dankworth in secret at Hampstead Register Office. The only witnesses were the couple's friend, pianist Ken Moule, and his arranger, Dave Lindup. They had two children: Alec Dankworth and Jacqui Dankworth, both also internationally successful musicians.

She then began her career as a singer and actress. She played the lead in a new play at London's Royal Court Theatre, home of the new wave of playwrights of the 1950s such as John Osborne and Harold Pinter. This led to other stage performances such as the musical Valmouth in 1959, the play A Time to Laugh (with Robert Morley and Ruth Gordon) in 1962, Boots With Strawberry Jam (with John Neville) in 1968, and eventually to her show-stopping Julie in Wendy Toye's production of Show Boat at the Adelphi Theatre in London in 1971.

Dankworth died on 6 February 2010, hours before a planned concert at The Stables Theatre in Wavendon to celebrate the venue's 40th anniversary. He had been ill for several months following a concert tour in the United States. Despite her grief, Laine performed at the 40th anniversary concert, along with the John Dankworth Big Band and several members of her family - only announcing his death at the end. Laine's decision to perform featured on newspaper front pages all over the world, including a full photograph of her on the front page of The Times.

A week after Dankworth's death, Laine stepped in for her late husband and appeared again in concert at Pinner in North West London. Laine has continued to perform and give interviews in the months following Dankworth's death. She appeared as a headline act at the Music in the Garden festival at Wavendon in June and July 2010.

In March 2010, Laine and Dankworth's final musical collaboration was released on CD and for download - Jazz Matters. The recording featured the Dankworth Big Band playing new compositions written by Dankworth for the couple's performance at the 2007 Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.

Shakespeare And All That Jazz- Cleo Laine  (1964)

01. If Music Be The Food Of Love
02. O Mistress Mine
03. Duet Of Sonnets
04. Winter
05. My Love Is As A Fever
06. It Was A Lover And His Lass
07. Dunsinane Blues
08. Take All My Loves
09. Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind
10. Shall I Compare Thee
11. Witches, Fair And Foul
12. Fear No More
13. Sigh No More, Ladies
14. The Complete Works

Spotlight On - Cleo Laine & John Dankworth

01. I Want To Be Happy
02. I Think Of You
03. I Can Dream Can't I
04. I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
05. I've Got It Bad And That Ain't Good
06. I'm A Dreamer Aren't We All
07. Popular Song
08. I'm Just Wild About Harry
09. On A Slow Boat To China
10. Perdido
11. They Say It's Wonderful
12. If We Lived On Top Of A Mountain
13. Peel Me A Grape
14. Songs Without Words
15. Fascinating Rhythm
16. Oh, Lady Be Good
17. Little Boat
18. I Cover The Waterfront
19. Biding My Time
20. Come Rain Or Come Shine
21. Lines To Ralph Hodgson, Esquire
22. Ridin' High
23. Woman Talk
24. I Could Write A Book
25. The Second Time Around
26. On A Clear Day
27. The Compleat Works
28. Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you SO MUCH for this,I have collected some 40+ original Cleo Laine albums through the years and always found this 1964. album to be her best work. She re-recorded it a decade later under the new title "Wordsongs" but I still love freshness and beauty of the first,original Shakespeare album. It has been out of print forever and now I finally have it in digital version,THANK YOU again!