Saturday, February 09, 2008
Our Pops concert continues with Marek Weber from 1927, The Casino Orchestra from 1913 (!), Victor-label Andre Kostelanetz from 1935, Lew White from 1937, Morton Gould from 1946, and George Melachrino from 1953. Time to put some fresh batteries in the time machine.
I've always wanted to type, "Time to put some fresh batteries in the time machine." I have no idea why.
The Kosty track, Don Redman's Chant of the Weed, is making its 47th or so appearance here, with many more to come. Awesome stuff, and you won't believe it's Andre. But it is. The fidelity is terrific until maybe the last 30 seconds, at which point groove wear rules the day. ("Groove wear rules the day"? Try saying that thirty times in a row.)
Morton Gould's 1946 Columbia Masterworks recording of Beyond the Blue Horizon uses the same charts as the 1955 RCA remake, minus a sound effect or two. The 1955 recording was later reissued in RCA Living Stereo. I'm not making any of this up.
The 1913 Nights of Gladness Waltz is old, old-style Pops, and catchier than we'd expect a 1913 waltz to be. To the extent that most of us give much thought to 1913 waltzes. The 78 in question is quite worn, but beneath all the hiss the music comes through surprisingly well. I'm guessing a wider 78 needle would have helped.
Let the concert continue: Saturday Morning 78-rpm Pops Concert, Continued.
PART TWO PLAYLIST
PRELUDE (Rachmaninoff, Op. 3--C. Morena), Marek Weber and His O., 1927.
NIGHTS OF GLADNESS WALTZ--Casino Orchestra, 1913.
CHANT OF THE WEED(Redman)--Andre Kostelanetz Presents, 1935.
LIEBESTRAUM (Liszt)--Musical Dramatization by Lew White (organ), 1937.
MYSTERY STREET--The Melachrino Strings, 1953.
BEYOND THE BLUE HORIZON--Morton Gould and His O., 1946.
SHADOW WALTZ (Warren)--Morton Gould and HIs O., 1946.
A HANDFUL OF STARS (Shapiro)--The Melachrino Strings, 1953.
Think of this as a special edition of the Easy Listening Blowout series. I know that I do. Every sound we're about to hear is shellac-based, albeit digitalized and sound-edited. How Space Age is that?
Sorry. I have that HughesNet ad burned into my memory. It's been on TV for, what? Three years? ("You're through with dial-up....")
But, back to topic, we are about to experience a two-part Pops concert, starting with the Band of the Royal Air Force, as conducted in 1931 by Flight Lieut. J.H. James. The Band of the R.A.F. gives us two of THE all-time Pops staples, A Hunt in the Black Forest and In a Clock Store. Missing are the elaborate sound effects of the Arthur Fiedler and Victor Concert Orch. versions, but these are fun, regardless. I love the way they rush through the pieces.
Then four by Andre Kostelanetz, including a repeat of 1940's Porgy and Bess Highlights, only in a better-sounding file. I just replaced my seventy-buck 78 stylus, and it seems I let the old one go a little too long--hence, the previous file (made with the old needle) didn't track as well. Shame on me. Anyway, this file sounds noticeably better--and what a relatively modern-sounding piece of Pops/easy-listening for 1940. From the same year, Andre's versions of Clair de Lune and Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte, the sort of "semi-Class" (-ical) we might expect from Mantovani, circa 1951. The 1944 Oklahoma Medley, also by Andre, is the eptiome of hi-fi-era Pops--an example that managed to arrive ahead of any hi-fi sets to play it on. The arranger of this and the first title--Nathan Van Cleave.
1931's Clatter of the Clogs sounds not unlike the Three Suns. "Xylophone Solo, Introducing Vibraphone, Paino, and Accordian accomp.," reads the label. When I first saw this, I wondered what a "Vibraphone Piano" was, since Columbia didn't think to include commas.
Click here to reach the first seven numbers: Saturday Morning Pops Concert, Part One.
The rest is yet to come....
PART ONE PLAYLIST
A HUNT IN THE BLACK FOREST--Band of the R.A.F., 1931.
IN A CLOCK STORE--Band of the R.A.F., 1931.
CLAIR DE LUNE (Debussy; Arr: AK)--Andre Kostelanetz and His O., 1940.
PAVANE POUR UNE INFANTE DEFUNTE--Andre K. and His O., 1940.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM PORGY AND BESS (A: Nathan Van Cleave)--AK Orch., 1940.
"OKLAHOMA!" MEDLEY (A: Nathan Van Cleave)--Andre K. and His O., 1944.
THE CLATTER OF THE CLOGS (Flynn)--Rudy Starita, 1931.
Concert concludes next post....
Monday, February 04, 2008
"OH, BOY!! MORE FUN SOUNDS AT MY(P)WHAE!!!"
Have I ever mentioned that this room (which we call the Media Room) dates back at least to 1860? True. It was part of the original two-floor, two-room house, which had the front door where the dining room cat window is today. This was the upstairs. As in, the entire upstairs. Hard to believe.
Gradually, stuff was added, and now--at twice the size--it's more or less a modern house, what with a bathroom, TVs, kitchen (with electric stove and dishwasher), a basement with a furnace and water softener unit, bunches of cats, and so on. A barn foundation sits out back, south of the house--I know it when the riding mower hits it--and there are the remains of an outhouse path behind John's studio. The barn across the street, now long gone, once belonged to whomever lived here. There were also two barns just to the west of the house.
Oh, and there was a two-floor summer kitchen out back--it was torn down around 1975, its basement filled in by the debris. The site now functions as a garden. And an outdoor cat box.
Anyway, keep in mind that the sounds you enjoy at this blog are ripped and burned in a room so antqiue that Lincoln could have visited it, though we have no reason to believe he did. He'd have bumped his head on the inclined portions of the ceiling, that's for sure.
Anyhow, today's fun sounds are a sight to hear. I mean, a sound to see. The last six titles are 78 rpm rips straight from my collection, and the first five are vinyl treats. Prepare to have f-u-n, which spells, um... er.... I forgot.
Click here to get to the goodies: Fun Sounds for Tuesday!
HOUSE OF BLUE LIGHTS--Artie Malvin, w. The Light Brigade.
YOU TURN ME ON (THE TURN-ON SONG)--Ian Whitcomb, 1965.
AS THE WORLD TURNS--Ginny Gibson, w. Dick Wess Orch.
ROUND ROUND GET AROUND--The Denison Hilltoppers.
BLUE MOON--The Denison Hilltoppers.
RUNNING OFF THE RAILS--The Columbia Orch., 1948.
STRINGOPATION (D. Rose)--The Columbia Orch., 1948.
A SIREN DREAM--Anglo-Persians, dir. Louis Katzman, 1927.
KING EDWARD VIII (Trad.)--Stan Wilson, 1954.
THE MOSQUITOES' PARADE (Whitney)--London Novelty Orch., 1931.
THE MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE--Andre Kostelanetz Conducts, 1938.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
Today (er, tonight), our examples span the years 1955-1961. Burtyears, that is. I just now made up that term--cool, no? Then again, let me Google it to see if someone else thought of it first.
Hey, looks like a new cyber-term! Burtyears. You read it here first.
The Burt Bacharch-Jack Wolf number Keep Me in Mind is one of the nicer early Burts, my ears think. At least as recorded in 1955 by the great Patti Page. But Burt despises it, apparently. Keep that in mind as you listen to it. You might end up agreeing with me that Burt is being too hard on himself, as he often seems to be. Artists are like that.
Moon Guitar and My Heart Is a Ball of String are two very pleasant surf-style instrumental sides from 1961. The type that I listen to and say, "Those were nice," and never return to. But there are Burts, so return to them I do. And I can't believe I just typed "So return to them I do," but I did.
Sad Sack is the title song from the 1957 Jerry Lewis movie of the same, um, title. Essentially a ten-bar blues (with a bridge), it's pleasant light (very light) R&B. Or pop-R&B. Choose your term. I recall that the soundtrack version was faster and jazzier. The following year's The Night That Heaven Fell is an interesting ballad until the final four bars, where it sort of falls down. The ending sounds utterly tacked-on. This is almost Tony Bennett in Johnny Mathis mode, save for the fact that Tony lacks Johnny's remarkable ability to, when necessary, sing in a whisper. I won't note that I consider Mathis the better singer, because I don't to start any.... (Oops.)
Jim Richards, in his Waldorf Music Hall sound-alike version of The Story of My Life (the huge 1958 hit for Bacharach-David and Marty Robbins), does a good enough job sounding-alike. Which sort of renders this version redundant, but that's half the fun with cheap-label covers.
To the early Burt: Early Burt Special, 2008--Part 5.
Keep Me in Mind (B.-Wolf)--Patti Page w. Jack Rael Orch., 1955.
Moon Guitar--The Rangoons, 1961.
My Heart Is a Ball of String--The Rangoons, 1961.
Sad Sack--Jerry Lewis, Sonny Burke Orch. and Cho., 1957.
The Night That Heaven Fell--Tony Bennett, Ray Ellis Orch. and Cho., 1958.
The Story of My Life--Jim Richards, 1958.
More early-Burt to come!