Tony Hatch is best known in the UK today as the composer of classic TV theme tunes such as Crossroads, Emmerdale Farm and Neighbours.
Some people will also remember him as the 70s Saturday night talent show blueprint for Simon Cowell, delivering uncompromising and occasionally very blunt criticism of acts who appeared on the hit TV talent show ‘New Faces.’
Graduates of the Easy Listening music boom of the early 1990s know him best as the composer, arranger and producer of some of the best original orchestral music the UK has ever produced. The glorious ascending horn riff from the title track of Hatch’s superb 1970 LP ‘Sounds Of The 70s’ was sampled in 2001 by Pepe Deluxe for the track Before You Leave and later used by Levi Jeans as the theme tune to their Twisted Jeans advertising campaign.
Older heads will cite his collaboration and numerous hits with Petula Clark. 'Downtown', 'Don’t Sleep In The Subway' and 'The Other Man’s Grass Is Always Greener' were just a few of the hits leading to Hatch and Clark being labelled the UK equivalent of Burt Bacharach and Dionne Warwick. He also wrote Call Me for Chris Montez, Joanna for Scott Walker and the Searchers hit Sugar and Spice under the mysterious pseudonym of Fred Nightingale.
No slouch in the production chair, Hatch produced 'Don’t Mind If I Cry' in late 1969 when under contract for Pye Records as an in-house producer.
J A Freedman ; who also recorded songs as Jules Freedman, was the arranger and composer of Don’t Mind If I Cry and recalls it was Craig Douglas’ manager Bunny Lewis who assembled the musicians for the recording session.
‘I was only twenty one years old at the time of the recording and only changed the key of the original arrangement for the song which was on my solo LP for Decca ‘I Also Sing.’ I recall Bunny Lewis telling me the session musicians were the best in the business. I didn’t know any of them at the time but realised later just how respected they all were. I can only remember the names of the musicians I spoke to a lot during the session and they were Herbie Flowers, Kenny Clare and Don Lusher.’
Jules recorded the LP ‘My Name Is J. A. Freedman…I Also Sing’ for Decca records in the autumn of 1969. In his excellent book Galactic Ramble ; an exhaustive survey of the 60’s and 70’s UK music scene ; Richard Morton Jack describes the LP as "One of the most obscure Decca LPs of the era, this consists of oddball orchestrated pop, with taut bass and drums."
He concludes that amongst a mixed bag of songs there are some minor gems "...and the best track is kept for last – the strange jazzy ballad ‘Love Got A Mind Of It’s Own."
J A Freedman went on to record three singles for EMI in 1973 under the name Jules Freedman. Now married with four children, he works as a guitar tutor in Croydon and Sutton schools. McTwoRight
In total contrast to the austere Craig Douglas beat ballad the flip side of our first release is a little known but fiery rockabilly revenge murder ballad from 1966 performed by country singer Shirley Bates who was the daughter of a genuine American showman. The extraordinary lyrics relating the tale of how Elsie the gun is used to ‘tickle’ cheating lover Smackareenas ‘through the heart’ are by Winona ‘Nona’ Oliver.
Winona was born in England to a show family and in her youth was an accomplished trick cyclist. She spent many years travelling all over the US with her mother and sister appearing in Vaudeville shows as part of the Diacoff Velodrome Bicycle act. She can be seen practicing stunts in the background of the Roy Rogers movie ‘Trigger Jr.’
We have been unable to find any other songs written by Winona but have reason to believe that in the early seventies she was a neighbour of singer Andy Williams who expressed interest in recording some of her songs.
Winona ‘Nona’ Oliver died in June 2001 and Spoke Records is presently engaged in a search for more information about her life and times beyond the information already posted at her Memorial site on the internet.