Russ Conway was a household name in 1950s and 60s Britain and had a string of chart hits with his unique piano playing style. As well as being an interpreter of popular songs, Russ Conway composed many pieces which he published under his real name Trevor H. Stanford. His immediately recognisable and original style was built upon playing ‘backwards’ broken tenths in the left hand and high register melodic lines in his right hand. He had a great left hand technique (it helps to have a large stretch) and it is difficult to perform! There is real a stroke of genius in the best of Russ Conway’s work.
When I was around 12 years old, my sister gave me a cassette tape of Russ Conway hits which I loved to play at bedtime on my portable cassette player and headphones!
During the Coronavirus lockdown in 2020 I decided to make some accurate transcriptions of recordings made my this great British popular piano composer and performer. It was fascinating to at last work out what he was playing. They are not the easiest records to transcribe due to the lacquered hammers on the Honkey-Tonk piano used in the recording and all the overtones that creates. There is also the bass player and percussion to hear through!
Pianist Mike Thompson did much to keep alive interest interest in Russ’s piano playing. Russ never wrote down exactly what he played, (it would vary slightly from performance to performance). The chances of a commercial publication maybe slim but it has now become possible to self publish on the internet and make some of these great performances available for the first time. This will be of great interest to historians of nostalgic British light music and piano players keen to study and play Russ’s authentic style.
I have painstakingly recreated some my favourite classic recordings, tracks which I love listening to now as much as I did when I was a child. I dedicate these transcriptions to memory of Russ Conway for all the happiness he gave with his original and inimitable style. I hope this will help keep the interest in Russ Conway alive and help future generations appreciate his wonderful music making.
These transcriptions are now available to BUY from SHEET MUSIC PLUS:
Side Saddle 1959 original version https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/russ-conway-side-saddle-original-1959-version-digital-sheet-music/22013525
Side Saddle 1966 https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/russ-conway-side-saddle-1966-digital-sheet-music/22005066
China Tea 1959 https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/russ-conway-china-tea-1959-digital-sheet-music/22008666
Snow Coach https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/snow-coach-1966-version-digital-sheet-music/22010239
Royal Event Original Take 1960 https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/royal-event-original-take-1960-digital-sheet-music/22012621