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It is some time since we included in these Garlands a Victorian dance music composer, so it is right that we briefly remember W. Jarrett Roberts, composer, amongst other things, of Capstan Polka, the sheet music of which shows a group of bluejackets turning the capstan, apparently tripping to polka rhythm as they do so!

Now for another group of nearly forgotten composers (from the 1970s) of musicals most of which had only the one show. Mark Brown, with Yobbo Nowt (1975), Mum's The Word (1977) and Bitter Apples (1979), had more than one, but none of them made the West End. Lynne and Richard Riley wrote lyrics and music for Drake's Dream (82 performances at the Westminster, 1978), whose book was written by script-writer and detective author, Simon Brett. Ron Pember, an actor, made a hit with Jack the Ripper (1974: 228 West End performances) whose accompaniment was for just two pianos. Tony Sharp's Foxy (1977) did not get beyond Watford. The reputation of Peter Sanderson's Dear Jo (1974-5), based on Louisa M Alcott's Little Women, was limited to Farnham. The conductor Graham Field was responsible for Dick Deterred in 1974. Terry Mortimer's Faust! adorned the Young Vic for 26 performances in 1979. At Christmas 1975, Willie Rushton's adaptation of Gulliver's Travels was enhanced by songs provided by Mark d'Abo.

Cliff Adams is best remembered for his direction of the eponymous Singers, long-running Radio 2 broadcasters. He, however, also wrote songs and advertising jingles and in 1976 was responsible for the musical Liza of Lambeth.

Philip L Scowcroft

November 2000


Enquiries to Philip at

8 Rowan Mount



Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is currently out of print.

E-mail enquiries (but NOT orders) can be directed to Rob Barnett at

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