Catalogue number JBH071LP
UNRELEASED SEXY BAROQUE POP HORROR SCORE
Ted Dicks has to be one of my favourite composers. I play “Busy Boy” (The Catweazle theme) every week as the intro to the OST Show on Resonance FM. I grew up hearing and singing his fine novelty songs. He even wrote the best Carry On theme song ever, to Carry On Screaming. But it was only when I started seriously digging about in old music history that I started to spot him popping up in very interesting places. He worked with the eccentric art genius Bruce Lacey whilst they were at The Royal College together. He was later to pen On Pleasure Bent, a remarkable album for Kenneth Williams. And, most unusually, he wrote the score to the 1972 British exploitation film, Virgin Witch. This was a film produced by legendary wrestling commentator Ken Walton (under his Sexploitation pseudonym of “Ralph Solomans”), with the help of Hazel Adair, a woman famed for co-creating Crossroads. It was a racey film, turned down at least once for certification by the BBFC, passed uncut with an X for release just in London, then cut and passed for general release shortly afterwards.
I knew very little about Ted’s infrequent ventures into film scoring until I was contacted a few years ago by his son Adam, asking if I’d be interested in issuing an album of the music from the Virgin Witch master tapes. I have to admit that the decision to release an unissued pop / baroque score to an X-rated British movie all about virgins, lesbians, witches and sacrifice was a very difficult one to take.
Thanks for listening.
Adam Dicks writes
In June of 1972 Virgin Witch was released. The music for the film was composed and scored the previous year by my father Ted Dicks after being approached by Hazel Adair, for whom he had previously written with on Compact and Crossroads; asking him to write the score for Virgin Witch and subsequently a film called Our Little Lot.
They had been introduced a few years earlier to each other by the actor Donald Hewlett, a member of the cast of Look Who`s Here! a revue by Ted Dicks at the Fortune Theatre in 1960. This was swiftly followed by another revue also staged by Charles Ross, called And Another Thing and it is here that my father began his writing collaboration with Myles Rudge.
Their partnership musically penned the song “Folk Song” amongst others for the show, which was sung by Bernard Cribbins. It was here that the Abbey Road producer George Martin spotted the musical talents of Dicks and Rudge inviting them to write a list of Chart topping songs such as “Right Said Fred”, “Hole in The Ground”, “The Mouse In a Windmill”, which they received an Ivor Novello for. They were much in demand writing songs for Jim Dale, Kenneth Williams, Leslie Philips, Petula Clarke, Bruce Forsyth, Matt Monro, Val Doonican and Topol amongst others.
My father was a self-taught musician and like most of his generation was influenced by a mixture of jazz and music hall.
Whilst at the Royal College of Art, qualifying in 1954 he wrought many of the college revues to entertain his fellow students, which were renowned for there popularity with queues for tickets tailing back as far as the local station at South Kensington.
As well as chart success my father found himself writing more for film and TV such as Carry On Screaming, Clinic Exclusive and the children’s programme Catweazle and it was around this time he studied Orchestration at the Guild Hall School of Music, which aided in the composition for the score of Virgin Witch.
However though fascinated by the technique of writing for film he found the discipline of writing music as is required for film too inhibiting and returned to writing songs and scripts, completing just before his death in 2012 the musical STRIP.
Adam Dicks 2017