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The North Walton Ratepayers Association House Band were active as a live act from 2000 to 2003, notably with their ‘variety night’ events with The NWRA Choir and various other performers. They have never released any records. Until now. Owd Scrat presents their most ambitious achievement, the rock opera Tony’s A Winner which they toured with The NWRA Operatic Society in 2003. The record has combined fragmentary demos recorded in early 2003 with new lead vocals where necessary, and includes a live version which assembles the best recordings from the 2003 tour.
The opera is inspired by the true story of Laurel and Hardy fan Tony Hawes, who was the voiceover announcer of British TV gameshow The Generation Game. At a Laurel and Hardy convention in the United States he met and later married Stan Laurel’s daughter, Lois. The libretto deals in real time with a twenty minute period when the protagonist is waiting at an airport departure lounge for his flight to the United States for the convention, unaware of what awaits him. But Tony never utters a spoken or sung word, instead we hear a Daily Mirror reporter sing Tony’s story (from the future), along with the sung thoughts and experiences of airport staff, who are getting on with their jobs, oblivious, as Tony waits for his flight.
1. Tony’s A Winner, Overture (band)
2. Tony’s A Winner, Scene 1: Mirror Song 1 (Mirror Reporter)
3. Tony’s A Winner, Scene 2: On the X-Ray Machine (Airport Security Officer)
4. Tony’s A Winner, Scene 3: Mirror Song 2 (Mirror Reporter)
5. Tony’s A Winner, Scene 4: 9:42 (Airport Baggage Handler)
6. Tony’s A Winner, Scene 5: Mirror Song 3 (Mirror Reporter)
7. Tony’s A Winner, Scene 6: 140 Bags (Airport Security Officer, second Airport Baggage Handler)
8. Tony’s A Winner, Scene 7: Mirror Song 4 (Mirror Reporter)
9. Tony’s A Winner, Scene 8: I Make Announcements Here (Airport Tannoy Announcer, Passenger, Taxi Driver)
10. Tony’s A Winner, Scene 9: Mirror Song 5 (Mirror Reporter, cast)
11. Tony’s A Winner (live in full 2003, original cast)