skellernThis instrumental track originated as a hand bell piece used in a documentary I’ve been unable to trace. It then appeared in a re-arranged version on Skellern’s 1980 album Still Magic and as the B-side to the single “Raining in My Heart” – a perfect B-side, I’d say. I’ve always admired Skellen’s quirky songwriting, and owned the 1975 album Hard Times, which had mostly original material on it, though I was less interested in his subsequent arrangements of standards.

“Cold Feet” is a beautifully assured and cheerfully relaxed piece of light music, inspired (I think) and in the spirit of the well-known vibraphone instrumental “Left Bank Two”. The melody is similarly constructed from arpeggios where each note has space to resonate even as the melody progresses, and the chord sequence is similarly jazzy. It features prominent parts for saxophone and piano accordion, which gives it something of a French feel. The accordion player is Jack Emblow (born 1930), best known for his work with the Cliff Adams Singers on the saccharine BBC radio show Sing Something Simple (which I admit, I always loathed). However, Emblow was a very active session musician and played with everyone from British trad jazzer George Chisholm through to the Beatles (where he is somewhere in the mix of “All You Need is Love”), and who went on to play for Camel, Elton John, Marc Almond and many others. Still Magic is hard to get hold of nowadays, but “Cold Feet” can be heard here.

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