Sunday, October 19, 2014
Acker Bilk: Stranger on the Shore
There was a clarinetist busking in St Mary's Place, Market Harborough, yesterday and because he was playing this I stopped to give him some money. Because it was pure nostalgia for me.
We did not have many records at home when I was a little boy, but one of them was an Acker Bilk
EP which included Stranger on the Shore. Released as a single in 1961, it reached no. 2 in the UK and (remarkably for a British record in those days) no. 1 in the USA.
Still playing at 85, Acker Bilk was one of the stars of the British trad jazz boom that preceded the British invasion groups of the 1960s. Such was his fame that people used to joke about their being a Bilk Marketing Board.
Stranger of the Shore was written by Bilk and originally named after his young daughter Jenny. It got its new title when it was used as the theme for the BBC television series Stranger of the Shore.
I had always imagined this was a mystery story of some kind, but Wikipedia says it was about a French au pair living with a family in Brighton.