Welcome to The World of Kevin Daly

Kevin Daly

Kevin Daly (1942-1989) is one of the unsung talents of the record industry. As a top recording engineer for Decca in the 1960s, then General Manager and head producer for Argo during the 1970s, he helped create some of the most distinctive albums of the time, and nurtured and helped grow the careers of many notable artists. He was a founder of the ASV record company, and created its prestigious Living Era reissue label. Kevin worked with many notable and wide-ranging artists: Bing Crosby, Stanley Holloway, Arthur Askey, Jacques Louissier, Sir Michael Tippett, The Yetties, P.G. Wodehouse, Ewan MacColl, Leopold Stokowski… his complete recording credits show he worked with an extraordinary range of diverse talents.

He was also a writer and broadcaster, a graphic artist and painter, a record collector and expert on 78rpm recordings and reissues, and one of the founders of the George Formby Society.

This site will also cover Kevin’s extensive folk music productions from the 1970s, his jazz and spoken word records, and his love and unparalleled knowledge of George Formby and Music Hall. And of course the many unique, talented individuals who circled Kevin’s professional career, and who were central to his personal life as friends, such as film and record producer Deben Bhattacharya, Oscar® winning sound recordist and steam-train enthusiast Peter Handford and jazz pianist and bandleader Keith Nichols.

It is hoped that this site will be a ‘stopping off point’ for those of you with shared interests – and become a friendly resting place for those trudging along the virtual way.

6 comments to HOME

  • Bryan Coventry

    Hi I enjoyed reading this site very much. I worked at 165 Broadhurst Gardens from 1982 until 2009 with English National Opera. I managed to save so much of the fabric history of the studios. I have all the clocks and the moody blues name plate Threshold. I also have their airline seats from Threshold, along with a real to real tape machine I see in one of the photographs. I wish I knew were these things might be appreciated . Best wishes. Bryan

  • Ikuko Miyagi

    I use to know your father in the 1980s when he was producing Liiving Era reissues.

    While being the first to recognize true talent, Kevin had a healthy contempt for pretentiousness, whatever its source. Indeed, according to the late Richard Bebb, professional honesty was the real catalyst in Kevin’s departure from Decca, as Richard related in his sonorous voice over a Fulham Rd. lunch with Kev and a couple of my friends some years later.

    Apparently, Decca had organized a formal studio audition for the finished master of an album of operatic bon-bons by the veteran French singer Régine Crespin, whose vocal prowess was distinctly on the wane.
    .
    Those present included the diva herself and various grovelling Decca suits. Kev had spent several days and nights laboriously editing together a master that wouldn’t dishonour the singer’s reputation, and one imagines he was underslept and perhaps recently returned from the pub.

    With the customary arrogance of fragile performing egos, Régine barely nodded to the technical staff before launching into rapt and emotional praise for her own magnificent performance. After putting up with this for some minutes, Kev finally interrupted her and, in a brief speech of his own, gave chapter and verse about how, in the present case, it was actually his talents rather than hers that made the performance even remotely listenable. Collapse of stout party, and exit Kev.

    On being reminded of all this, Kevin just laughed. So I suppose Richard’s account must have been fairly accurate.

  • Dear Mr. Daly,

    I was a BBC music Studio Manager and from 1960 to 90 based in Birmingham. East Anglia was then part of the BBC’s Midland Region and as such Aldeburgh was in my patch and I spent many days at the Snape Maltings. As you know, no doubt, the Maltings was used a great deal by Decca and, especially after the fire, we worked in harmony over several projects. I may well have met your father or though I am afraid I cannot be certain. I did however become very friendly with a Decca engineer called Peter van Biene (grandson of the great cellist). A terrible tragedy hit Peter in that, at a party, he was given neat alcohol which damaged his hearing amongst other things. I have often wondered what happened to him so I put his name into Google and was directed to your site.

    I was very interested to read the pieces about your father and yourself and it just made me envious for the days when I worked for the BBC when it was a great and honest organisation and integrity and respect were its hall-mark. Sadly it is not so today.

    I wonder if you have any news of Peter van Biene and what happened to him – I would be delighted to know.

    You can always contact we at my email address.

    With kind regards,
    Alan Ward.

  • Kenneth Henderson

    I met Kevin when he was in Australia with his then wife (I think she had just written her book on the Industrial Revolution in Britain, a very interesting era we studied in college. Kevin had been doing broadcasting with our national BBC-like Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC Radio). I had a record shop selling all types but specialising in the older recordings of recording history. Kevin was also a friend of the late Bert Langdon who lived, during the 70s and before until his death c.March 1980 from a stroke upstairs in a council flat in Kentish Town. Bert had been to a flat of Kevin’s in London and said the walls of his bedroom? were lined with cassette tapes of Music Hall recordings a type of entertainment both men loved, me also. It was probably Kevin who told me that equipment he and Geoff Milne devised for restoring 78s etc for LPs reissues, and worked wonderfully well, was destroyed by Philips after their takeover and other materials sent to Holland.

    Geoff Milne told me every Decca LP lined the walls of his office and if one was not there Decca did not issue it. I did not see his office, although I met him at Albert Embankment, so I can’t verify this statement in any form.

    From a recording history preservation point of view Kevin & Geoff are owed a lot for their efforts with sometimes difficult source material (very poor pressings etc).

  • Tony Watts

    A dear friend, a wonderful colleague and a great man with whom to share a few drinks (well rather a lot actually) and a lot of stories. Much missed even today. Warmth, laughter, fun and a mutual love of a wide variety of music bonded us for a happy time in the late ‘seventies and early ‘eighties. A great man and the sort without whom the record industry is very much the poorer.

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Kevin in Seaton Market, 1957 The Wonder of the Age Kevin with Harley Usill Bing Crosby - Feels Good, Feels Right Kevin in characteristic pose at the mixer of Decca's Studio 4, Tollington Park, London Frank Crumit - portrait by Kevin Daly