The Bab Ballads by W. S. Gilbert

Read by Redvers Kyle

Incidental music composed by Redvers Kyle and
Played on the Bassoon by Neil Levesley

HMV CLP 1672
HMV CLP 1672

I heard about this recording from Peter Parker and don't know much about it. Peter's copy is on reel-to-reel 3.75ips two-track tape. The Bab Ballads (or a selection of them, at any rate), are on track one. The other track is Lewis Carroll's "The Hunting of the Snark," narrated by Redvers Kyle and with music composed by him and with a small cast of 3 voices. The accompianment is played on a concertina by Alf Edwards.

Simon Moss added:

In his excellent on-line G&S discography, Marc describes a 1963 recording of some Bab Ballads by Redvers Kyle, known only from a British HMV reel to reel tape. I'm happy to be able to confirm that the recording was also produced in LP format, although my copy has a sticker on one of the labels which reads "Factory Sample — Not For Sale", so I wonder whether very few of the LPs were pressed?

Redvers Kyle is best known as an early British TV announcer, but he also made a number of recordings and apparently even composed music — the 33 rpm recording (CLP 1672), featuring Kyle as both narrator and composer.

On side one Kyle narrates Lewis Carroll's poem, "The Hunting of the nark" — his theme music played on the concertina by Alf Edwards. Side two features seven "Bab Ballads": "The Disagreeable Man", "To a Little Maid", "The Captain and the Mermaids", The Susceptible Chancellor", "The Reward of Merit", "Etiquette" and "The Terrestrial Globe", punctuated by his own theme played on the bassoon by Neil Levesley.

His warm, English tones are perfect for these readings, and he points the irony well, although I feel he misses an opportunity by not including the stage direction at the end of "The Terrestrial Globe", the tag line which makes it one of my personal BB favourites. The sleeve notes, written by the multi-talented Kyle and Denis C. Comper, draw an interesting link between Gilbert and Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), as apparently a copy of BB was found "in a prominent position" in Dodgson's library !

Issue History
1963 HMV LP CLP 1672
3.75ips two-track reel-to-reel TA-CLP 1672