Sunday, December 17, 2017

Cleo Laine: Thieving Boy

Turning on Radio 4 was dangerous in the 1970s. There was every chance you would encounter Instant Sunshine, the King’s Singers or James bloody Galway.

Worse, it could be Cleo Laine.

She invariably went:
Doo wop, doo be doo, diddly diddly shoo, doo wop, doop doop diddly diddly whop, woop woop shoo wop shoo wop, diddly diddly, bip bop bap, shoobly shoobly woop woo.
I knew I was supposed to like her, but I couldn’t

But my new favourite television station, Talking Pictures TV, has twice shown the 1960 film The Criminal this week.

It is a genuine British noir – a crime and prison drama starring Stanley Baker. He was a real tough-guy actor who played hard-bitten cops and hard-biting villains.

The song that accompanies the opening credits of The Criminal, sung by Cleo Laine, occupies an interesting space between folk and jazz.

It sounds traditional, but was written by Laine’s husband Johnny Dankworth.

Best of all, she doesn’t go “shoobly shoobly woop woo” once.

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