Saturday, July 31, 2010
A gem of a cover, from my latest trip to the local Goodwill. The moment I encountered this in bin #2 (or was it #1?), I said, "Blog material!" (Not out loud, of course.) Anyway, I took it home, presented it to the blog, watched as it was swallowed into the cyber-void, and stood there listening for the burp, which came ten seconds or so later. "Excuse you," I said.
Yes, fabulous cover. The music turns out to be fine, as well--pianist Richard Nussbaumer is terrific, and the selections--mostly medleys--are fun, even if Chopin's Op. 9, No. 2 Nocturne in E flat Major is listed as Etude in E Flat. (Don't you hate it when that happens?) I'm not positive, but I find it very possible that this is the same Richard Nussbaumer who played organ for the St. Paul's Cathedral Choir of Pittsburgh on a 1973 recording of Schubert's Mass in G Major (listed on this page ). In part, the LP jacket (quoted on eBay) reads: "Performance Dedicated to the Memory of Richard Nussbaumer - Former Associate Organist - Who died November 14, 1978."
The Vesuvius Crucible Company, which put out this LP, is (or was) headquartered in Pittsburgh. So....
If you're wondering about Rotolok (rotating lock?), wonder no more: Here is the obituary of Crawford B. Murton, inventor of the Rotolok Stopperhead. I quote: "The Rotolok, for which Mr. Murton held a patent, was a major product in its day for Vesuvius Crucible, his employer at the time of its development."
The obit also notes that Murton, while still a Vesuvius Crucible employee, returned to the U.S. from Germany in 1965, the year of this LP. Was Music for Pouring Steel recorded in honor of this occasion? Probably not--Murton isn't mentioned in the notes, after all. Then again, the LP label is named after his invention. Heck, I don't know. I do know that, for me, background music isn't the first thing that comes to mind when I think of steel factory work, but I'm glad Rotolok welded the two themes. To the music:
ROTOLOK's Music for Pouring Steel
MUSIC FOR POURING STEEL--Richard Nussbaumer, pianist (Rotolok 3999/14000)
CONTINENTAL INTERLUDE--Foggy Day in London Town, The River Seine, Wunderbar, Arrividerci Roma
"LOVE" MEDLEY--I Wish You Love, When I Fall in Love, Love Is a Simple Thing
"YOUNG" MEDLEY--You Make Me Feel So Young, Young at Heart, When the World Was Young
MANHATTAN SUITE--Manhattan, Autumn in New York, Manhattan Serenade
ETUDE IN E FLAT--Chopin
CLAIR DE LUNE
THEMES FROM THE MASTERS--Concerto in B-Flat Minor (Tchaikovsky), Concerto No. 1 (Rachmaninoff), Romeo & Juliet (Tchaikovsky), Symphony No. 6 (Tchaikovsky).
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Movement titles like Digital Godzilla, Godzilla Rhapsody, and Godzilla in Therapy may suggest a less than serious suite, but in fact this music is dead-earnest. No, not really. But it's very carefully constructed, even if some of the sections sound unplanned. Save for some improvised doodling on the keyboard, every inch of this suite was premeditated. Just because I could never, in ten years, describe the plan doesn't mean I didn't have one. I think.
One of the first things I discovered about my MAGIX software is that I can manipulate sounds to ridiculous degrees--for instance, I once created a "piece" from a one-second sound at the start of a 78. With enough filters, any person with way, way too much time on his or hands can utterly alter the nature of a tone, musical or otherwise. My favorite gimmick involves changing the length and speed of a partial passage and overlapping the results. That sounds like fun, doesn't it? Well, it is.
I've balanced out my exercises in digital alteration with sections more easily recognizable as music--hence, the Disco, rhapsody, and whatever the Showbiz section happens to be (polka? galop?). The Disco section took up ten staves on my music software, with three devoted to the rhythm. There was voice-doubling, too. Keeping track of all the moving parts wasn't easy. The Rhapsody, by contrast, was two staves. The polka, four or five. The rest of the music was "live," with me on my Casio, often overlapped. (Sounds painful? Not really.) Since my version of sound-on-sound recording doesn't allow me to hear the previous track, I have to wing things considerably.
With that vague description as your guide, it's time to experience the Godzilla Suite. Click here to hear: Godzilla Suite (Hartsfeld, 2010)
Godzilla Rhapsody, Part 1
Godzilla Stomps Into Town
Not Pleased By the Response, Godzilla Leaves and Stomps Back
Godzilla in Therapy
Godzilla in Showbiz
The Godzilla Parade
Godzilla Mystery Hour
Godzilla Disco (Complete)
Godzilla Rhapsody, Part 2
Lee Hartsfeld, 2010. Lee
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Excellent bluegrass gospel from 1972, recorded in Brighton, Michigan for the Old Homestead label by the Miller Brothers. The jacket notes tell us that James, Charles, and Earl Miller are from Kentucky, as is mandolinist Nolan Faulkner. Bass (?) player Herman Lewis hails from Saulte Ste Marie, Michigan. Highlight of the set, in my opinion, is the superb Tramp on the Street. Which, I should note, dates back to 1877 under the title Only a Tramp. (The song, that is.)
I'll Fly Away was written by Albert E. Brumley. I'd meant to removed the "P.D." credit but forgot to. For anyone who was wondering. To the bluegrass gospel:
Sacred Songs with a Down Home Flavor--The Miller Brothers (1972)
PREACHING BY THE ROADSIDE
DEATH CAME CREEPING
THE PAPER BOY
THIS EVENING LIGHT
INSURED BEYOND THE GRAVE
I SHALL BE AT HOME WITH JESUS
SOME GLAD DAY
TRAMP ON THE STREET
TURN YOUR RADIO ON
WHAT IS HOME WITHOUT LOVE
SIX MORE MILES
I'LL FLY AWAY
Sacred Songs with a Down Home Flavor--The Miller Brothers (Old Homestead 90005; 1972)