Chris Ingham: Hoagy’s Children

Leon Nock enjoyed another genial broadcast from the living room of pianist and raconteur Chris Ingham

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Chris Ingham, lockdown locks, mk3

Far be it from me to cast aspersions on distinguished musicians but it occurs to me that the soul of Mr C.J.R. Ingham may harbour a touch of larceny. I know, for example that it is impossible to copyright a song title which is why, should you look closely, you will find at least two songs entitled Shall We Dance?

One was written in 1937 both for and as the title song for a film of the same name by George and Ira Gershwin; a second with the exact same title but completely different in both words and music, was written in 1951 by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein as part of the score of their Broadway musical The King And I.

A further example: in 1928 Noel Coward wrote A Room With A View for the review This Year Of Grace and exactly 10 years later Einar Swan and Al Stillman wrote a one-off pop song with the same title.

If that copyright ban extends beyond single songs to collections of songs then Mr Ingham may be in trouble: back in 1981 a group of performers – Barbara Lee, Dick Sudhalter and Bob Dorough – issued a CD with the title Hoagy’s Children, containing not just the stuff we all know – Skylark, The Nearness Of You – but (wh – aaat?) stuff like Casanova Cricket. In 1993 Audiophile issued two CDs with the same title Part 1 and Part 2 amounting to 40+ Carmichael titles.

Now Chris Ingham, in a third concert emanating from his living room in Suffolk on 29 January via headhunterslive.org, offers us a programme entitled Hoagy’s Children. I am going to banish all thoughts of litigation and just describe the proceedings as I saw it.

The key seems to be the word “children” and how it is interpreted; in the case of Lea, Dorough and Sudhalter they see the children as the actual songs of Carmichael whereas Mr Ingham sees the children as fellow singer-songwriters – one of whom is that same Bob Dorough we met back in 1981.

I have to say that overall I found the first set slightly more interesting than the second inasmuch as Chris was playing, singing and talking about the likes of Bobby Troup, Matt Dennis, Nat Cole, Dave Frishburg etc whereas in the second set he spread his net wider to take in Georgie Fame and Alan Price.

As I’ve mentioned on other occasions, in addition to his skills as a musician Chris is an accomplished raconteur and although I added little or nothing to my knowledge of popular music it was still pleasing to hear civilised, sophisticated words and music like Route 66, Ev’rything Happens To Me and Let’s Get Away From It All attended by anecdotes surrounding their provenance – and all from my own hearth. These streamings may be a poor substitute for live performance but they are a substitute and as such I, for one welcome them.