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‘She Sold a Million Records’

Mexican magic by KEN MAC by tajmahalfoxtrot1

temp2A few weeks ago, Christine Holmes left a note on my site that added more details to this article:

“Beryl Templeman was my mother-in-law. She died at age 62. Usually at private parties she sang for Aly Khan, Maharajah of of Cooch Behar and Nizam Hyderbad while in the East. The actor Jack Hawkins urged her to join ENSA. By then, she had already made over 100 records for HMV and had her own radio show with All India Radio.

“She was awarded the Burma Star by the Duke of Edinburgh. She also worked for the American Forces Radio Network in Germany.

“Returning from India she performed at the London Palladium with Ted Heath, toured with Roy Fox and appeared regularly with Jack Jackson at the famous Churchill’s Club in London and at that time was sharing a flat with her friend, Pearl Carr.

Ken Mac’s Moonlight Becomes You

This week from the Marco Pacci collection, a recording from 1942 by the Anglo-Indian bandleader Ken Mac.  The vocalist is Poona-born Beryl Templeman.  Two years before this track was cut, the critic for the Times of India went into raptures about the crooner. “She has a good, versatile voice and personality enough to tackle anything,” the paper wrote. “Had she been out in France, I’ve a hunch she could have deputised for Gracie Fields without a tremor.”

The tune was written for the film Road to Morocco. It’s been recorded by several vocalists, but perhaps the best-known version is by Bing Crosby.

Moonlight Becomes You by Ken Mac by Taj Mahal Foxtrot

Tony Brent, Byculla Boy

“‘I hope this never happens again,’ the headmaster said ominously, as he held the cane in his right hand and slowly flexed and arched it with the index finger of his left hand. He removed his fingertip, the right hand brought the cane down, whacking me three times. My eyes turned red with restrained tears. I walked away clutching my buttocks.”

Category: Bombay  Tags: ,

Jinnah and Jazz

On the evening of August 14, 1947, “the Karachi Club, hosted a grand independence banquet (800 covers were laid) where the cities crème de la crème jostled to felicitate the Quaid”, as Pakistan’s first leader Mohammed Ali Jinnah was known. So began a letter by Mohammed Aziz Haji Dossa that ran in Dawn earlier this week. The newspaper, like the nation it serves, was founded by Jinnah.

From the Dawn website, I couldn’t figure out whether the letter, titled “Remembering Ruttie Jinnah”, was part of a continuing debate about Jinnah’s Parsi wife, but Dossa included a reference that will delight jazz lovers. He quotes a portion of Tai Yong Tan and Gyanesh Kudaisya’s compilation The Aftermath of Partition in South Asia to remind us that “Ken Mac, the musician and conductor who performed at the Cricket Club of India in Bombay, had been flown by a special Tata Airlines plane to perform at this special event”.

Category: Jazz  Tags: ,

Ken Mac’s Journey to a Star

When the long-time Bombay band leader Ken Mac made this recording in 1942, his singer was Poona-born Beryl Templeman. She spent her early life in England, before returning to India during the Second World War for what she imagined would be a short vacation. She stayed for seven years, touring India, Batavia, Hong Kong and Singapore. Back in England, she sang with Roy Fox’s band after the war. The male vocalist is Bob Parke.
A Journey to a Star by naresh.fernandes

Category: Audio, Bombay, Jazz  Tags: ,

The Girl with the Yellow Shoes


In the 1950s, the Anglo-Indian crooner Pamela McCarthy was among the most striking figures on the Bombay bandstand. She was always dressed in a stunning ball gown. Her swinging voice kept dancers on their floor to the very end of the set. And then, of course, there was her wheelchair.


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