Thu, Dec 05, 2019
Log in

Login to your account

Password *



Our friend, journalist and filmmaker Mary Catherine Brouder has launched a Kickstarter campaign for a short film.
"A Price Worth Paying"
The shocking untold story of Irish farmers who were poisoned by a giant alumina plant - and how the government fought to silence them.
Mary Catherine asks us to: "Please share this link around and get involved if you can!! Thank you!"

A Price Worth Paying

 This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Wed, December 25 2019

The Matt Monro Mystery Recordings

Wednesday, 14 June 2017 12:44

Over the past few years stories have circulated suggesting that John Barry did not arrange and conduct Matt Monro's 1972 single comprising of "This Way Mary" & "Wish Now Was Then", both based on themes from Mary, Queen of Scots.

The instigator of these stories may have been Richard Moore, the Audio Restoration specialist, in his book about the recordings of Matt Monro, which was part of a special edition of a biography of Matt written by his daughter, Michele.

Richard credited Colin Keyes as arranger/conductor on these recordings; despite the fact the original single credits JB; and EMI repeated the credit when providing me with "label copy" for the CD, The Don Black Songbook. In view of this, I asked Richard for more details, and his explanation is worth repeating in full.

"Yes this was a mystery solved in many ways. The original single doesn't list an arranger or conductor and no paperwork for this session other than the "red form" (which was the session booking form) survives and this has no indication of who it was. However, as I'm sure you're aware; Matt does not appear on the soundtrack of the film so it wasn't clear if John Barry had any involvement.

As luck would then have it, whilst Michele was interviewing Colin he spoke of his first session - This Way Mary/Wish Now Was Then.

A short while later Michele uncovered some contemporary paperwork which listed arrangers and conductors of all recent material (dating from about 1973) which once again confirmed Colin as Arranger and Conductor.

Matt must have recorded the songs due to his long association with Don Black without John Barry's involvement, in a similar vein to the Alice in Wonderland tracks in 1972 - also arranged and conducted by Colin.

All arrangers and conductors have been verified in the book and if I can find no documentation as to who it was (this only occurs two or three times and often to unreleased material) this is specified in the text.

There are no alternate versions of those tracks so I can only assume that EMI were simply guessing when they gave you that information as they did not know themselves - after all how many times has John Barry been credited as arranger (and even sometimes composer) of "From Russia With Love" (even to the point where Matt's version appears on one John Barry compilation when the recording has no JB involvement at all!)."

On the face of it his explanation sounds plausible, but he makes some assumptions which are contradicted by other evidence.

Firstly, he states that "The original single doesn't list an arranger or conductor" -- but it does; see the photos, kindly supplied by Gareth Bramley, below. Richard may have seen an on-line demo version which contains no credits.

Secondly, there is a photo of John, Don Black & Matt at a recording session, which, looking at their appearance, is clearly taken in the early 70s. There is no other Matt Monro recording involving John & Don at which this could have been taken. The later Matt Monro single of "Curiouser & Curiouser" & "The Me I Never Knew" was arranged & conducted by Colin Keyes.

Don Black, Matt Monro, John Barry
Don Black, Matt Monro, John Barry, early 1970s.

Colin could easily have confused his session with the earlier one when asked about it by Michele -- it was decades ago, after all.

Thirdly, the paperwork found by Michele "dating from about 1973" -- could have been compiled some time after the 1972 recording, and if, as suggested above, the paperwork for the session is missing, somebody could merely have assumed Keyes was involved, based on his work on the tracks from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Finally, I think we should also trust our own ears. If you listen to the two singles, it seems clear, at least to me and those with whom I've discussed it, that John was responsible for the MQOS recordings.

Hopefully, this will put the matter to rest!

Geoff Leonard

This Way Mary
This Way Mary
Wish Now Was Then
Wish Now Was Then
This Way Mary
This Way Mary
Wish Now Was Then
Wish Now Was Then
Read 1685 times Last modified on Wednesday, 14 June 2017 13:39
Rate this item
(1 Vote)

Latest Releases

  • Sourced from pristine LP
  • Improved sound quality.


Windmill Publications

windmill publications 1

Specialising in book publications and CD releases about John Barry and our book "Hit ans Miss: The Story of The John Barry Seven.

PIA website

Have a look at our old "Play It Again" label website here.

Play It Again Records CD catalogue offered the discerning listener a wide choice of digitally re-mastered recordings from film and television, and rare collections of work from the likes of Don Black and Ron Grainer.

Contact the JB site

If you wish to send an email, for example with content for the website, please contact Geoff Leonard:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Bristol, UK

Geoff (owner) and Ruud (webmaster) have been running the John Barry website since June 18, 2001.

This website is not endorsed by the composer's family.
Use of copyrighted materials and logos are for promotional purposes only.

All files on this website are for personal use only and cannot be bought or sold.


big screen hits s

Plays 007 s

John Barry related Events or Concerts

Submit your Event or Concert, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. We will not be responsible for any errors or inaccuracies.

A lot more James Bond concerts collected on the link below, I have put them all in this news item. So check it out from there!

 James Bond Concert Spectacular

Q The Music Show
James Bond Concert Spectacular
Sunday 24nd November 2019
West Cliff Theatre
Tower Road
CO15 1LE


Guest Compere: Caroline Bliss – Moneypenny in The Living Daylights & Licence To Kill.


WS: James Bond Concert Spectacular


Q The Music Show
James Bond Concert Spectacular

Saturday 14th March 2020

Wycombe Swan
St Mary St,
High Wycombe HP11 2XE,
United Kingdom


Guest Compere: Caroline Munro – The Spy Who Loved Me

 James Bond Spectacular

Q The Music Show
James Bond Concert Spectacular

Friday 1st May 2020

Watford Colosseum
Rickmansworth Road
WD17 3JN


Guest Compere: Madeline Smith - Live And Let Die

Q The Music Show
James Bond Concert Spectacular

Sunday 3rd May 2020

The Spa Pavilion
Undercliff Road West
IP11 2DX


Guest Compare: Madeline Smith – Live And Let Die

London Show Band

Q The Music Show
James Bond Concert Spectacular

Sunday 7th June 2020

White Rock Theatre
White Rock
East Sussex
TN34 1JX


Guest Compare : Caroline Bliss – The Living Daylights & License to Kill