Monday, December 28, 2015

Columbia Oratorio Chorus--"Hallelujah Chorus" (1916)

Christmas is over?  Not here, it isn't.  At least, not until I've posted this gem of a 1916 78:

Great fidelity, though the disc contains more than the usual share of rumble.  I was able to cancel most of it out, but I didn't dare bring out the lower frequencies.  So, things are little more trebly than I wanted, but it works, because the voices ring out loud and clear, and the voices are the thing.

Our third (?) vintage recording of Hallelujah Chorus for your just-after-Christmas.

Click here to hear: Halleljuah Chorus (Handel)--Columbia Oratorio Chorus, 1916.


Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas pieces--Your blogger on the Casio WK-3800!

It's Christmas 2015!  But of course we're all focused on the GOP presidential candidates.  As in, exclusively and obsessively.  Well, at least MSNBC is.

Maybe, like me, you've been wondering why MSNBC, which prides itself on not being Fox, is nevertheless spending 99 percent of its time hyping Donald Trump.  Well, MSNBC explained it tonight: You see, by giving tons of free publicity to the GOP frontrunner, we (the left) are hurting the GOP.  Yo, ho ho!  We're so smart.

Dems: "We're helping our cause by ensuring the GOP frontrunner's primary victory."  
Attending psychiatrist (writing in his pad): "Uh-huh.  I see.   Tell me more."

But let's try to focus on Christmas.  To help, I've recorded four Christmas selections on my Casio WK-3800.  Here they are:

Vom himmel hoch, da komm ich her (Luther-Scheidt)
Good King Wenceslas
Angels We Have Heard on High
Come, All Ye Shepherds

Lee Hartsfeld, Casio WK-3800, multi-tracked and live.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"Keeping Christmas," and other seasonal gems!

Here are three of the things to come in this sleightlist.  Don't say you weren't warned.  ("I wasn't warned.")  I asked you not to say that....

I had been numbering these Christmas zip files, but I lost count, so... here we are.  On Number Whatever.

In this zip, two tracks by Don's brother Jim Ameche, of whom Wikipedia says, "James Ameche was a familiar voice on radio, including his role as radio's original Jack Armstrong on Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy."  We'll hear him on the 1949 Line Material single, Keeping Christmas and the not-sure-when disc called The Story of the First Christmas Tree.  I'm sure the latter predates A Charlie Brown Christmas by at least a decade, so could it have inspired Schultz's "little Christmas tree that could" theme?  Both texts concern the true meaning of Christmas, as well as a runt tree that triumphs. (I've always wanted to type, "a runt tree that triumphs.") The 50th anniversary of Schultz's cartoon has been an occasion for much hype and praise from the media, but a certain Kentucky school district deemed some of Schultz's text unfit for kiddies.  Oh, well.  I guess they didn't get the the NYT, USA TODAY, Huffington Post, NPR, et al. memo.

American Chamber of Commerce Executives Presents At Home with Santa is just as campy as the title suggests, only much more so.  In other words, it's great stuff.

We have two recordings of One Solitary Life, which went by another name, too.  Once upon a time, I had a lot of data about the number and its long history.  In another life, at another blog.  (No, wait--it was this one.)

And... two gorgeous John McCormack sides, two rousing Bonnie Gulan numbers (Greetings to her daughter Kathy!), and Allen and the Lads' The Ghost on Christmas Eve.  An eBay dealer describes Ghost as "sought after."  I wonder if I had anything to do with that?

Click here to hear: Keeping Christmas


Keeping Christmas--Jim Ameche (Line Material, 1949)
ACCE Presents At Home with Santa, Part 1--Mutual Radio Networks
ACCE Presents At Home with Santa, Part 2--Mutual Radio Networks
Ave Maria (Bach-Gounod)--John McCormack-Fritz Kreisler, 1914
The Holy Child (Easthope Martin)--John McCormack, 1925
Sohio ET #54 ads (Radio station acetate)
Jingle Bells Fantasy--The RCA Victor Salon Orch., 1948, Arr. and Cond. By Rosario Bourdon
One Solitary Life--Frank La Spina (Holy 6010, 1983)
Christmas Yodel (Bonnie Gulan)--The Do-Gooders, 1980
Christmas in Our Town (Bonnie Gulan)--The Do-Gooders, 1980
Ghost on Christmas Eve--Allen and the Lads (Beaver 8679)
One Solitary Life (Fred Brock)--Robert Goulet, w. Choir of Bel Air Presbyterian Church
The Story of the First Christmas--Jim Ameche (Regina Recording E3CB-5192/3)
Jingle Bells Galop (Bowmar Records 1554)
Santa's Toy Shop (Voco VX-630; 1952)


For your Christmas sound effects party....

So, it's December 22, and you're thinking, "Wherever can I find 'Horse and Sleigh (Continuous)' sound effects, especially at this late date?  Where?  Where???"

And then you stumble across this blog post.

From the early 1930s.  Author Rick Kennedy reports there were nearly 400 recordings in this series!  Whoa....

Horse and Sleigh (Continuous)--Gennett Sound Effects (Gennett 1195)


Monday, December 21, 2015

"Santa Claus is Flying Thru/Through the Sky," and more!

Santa Claus is Flying Thru the Sky is one of my favorite cheap-label Christmas tracks, and I believe I discovered at one point that Enoch Light was connected with it, but don't take my word for it.  Anyway, today's rip is from the Treasure label LP, Merry Christmas!, on which Santa Claus rides thru the sky.  On the Tops for Tots 78 rpm single shown above, he's riding "through" the sky.

Exact same recording, however.  I thought I'd clarify this vastly important point before moving on.

Merv Griffin's wonderful Christmas City was recorded for....  Well, let me refer you to a site which explains it all: The Real Story Behind Merv Griffin's Iconic Song Christmas City.  Thank you, Chris!  And gives me a recording year of 1962.  I'd have guessed more like mid-Sixties, but there you go.

Winter Song appears for the third time this season, in a version by the Goodfellows Male Chorus, a Camden label pseudonym for the RCA Victor Male Chorus.   Meanwhile, for everyone who came to my blog this season hoping to encounter a square dance version of Jingle Bells, your dreams have been answered--Massachusetts Mixture is here!  And you get two non-square dance versions, to boot--Johnny Cole's, from a Grand Award LP, and a super high fidelity rendition by the legendary ensemble, "Vocals and Orch. By Popular Artists," from a Value Hit Parade Tune 78 rpm EP.

All this, and more to rock your almost-Christmas holiday!!

Click here to hear: Santa Claus Is Flying Thru the Sky


Christmas City--Merv Griffin (WDSM GRC 7999; 1962)
Santa's Christmas Party--Kathryn Hume and Grace Lynne Martin--Rhythms Productions CC-617
Activity Songs for Christmas--Ruth White and Grace Lynne Martin--Same
Parade of the Wooden Soldiers--Ray Bohr, pipe organ, 1956
Massachusetts Mixture--Lawrence Loy, Wilbur Waites, 1951
Santa Claus Is Flying Thru the Sky--from LP Merry Christmas! (Treasure 824)
Jingle Bells--Dick Byron and the Sandpiper Cho., Dir. Mitch Miller
All Around the Christmas Tree--Vocals and Orch. By Popular Artists (Value Hit Parade Tunes)
Snow Flakes--Fontanna, His Orch. and Chorus (Palace label)
Deck the Halls--Up on the Housetop--Michael Stewart, Sandpiper Cho., Dir. Mitch Miller
The Santa Claus March--Russ Morgan Orch., voc: Joey Alfidi, 1956
It's Santa Claus--Scott MacGregor, 1948
Jingle Bells--Vocal and Orch. By Popular Artists (Value Hit Parade Tunes)
Jingle Bells--Johnny Cole (International Award)
Winter Song--Goodfellows Male Chorus (RCA Victor Male Chorus), 1925 (Camden CAL-134)


Friday, December 18, 2015

Merry Christmas from Line Material!!

                                 Scans by me, from my collection

Ahhhh... Line Material Christmas singles--one of the best parts of any Christmas, anywhere. How to explain? How about with a capsule history of the company: Line Material.

Luckily for all of us, Line Material gave Christmas booklets and records to its employees during the holiday season.  A number of these have survived.  Here are eight of the LM singles, starting with 1956's The Magic of Christmas.  (I own a ninth--1949's Keeping Christmas--but I haven't yet located the CD-R containing it.  I could always re-rip it....)

Oh, yeah--and London-born John McCarthy (1919-2009) was the arranger on tracks 2-7.  That's why they sound so incredibly professional.  John is way better known for his Ambrosial Singers Christmas sides.  From 1961 to 1966, the Ambrosian Singers were known as the London Symphony Orchestra Chorus.  (Last bit of info swiped from Discogs.)

Here's John, from 1989:

Click here to hear:  Merry Christmas from Line Material!


The Magic of Christmas--1956
Santa's North Pole Band--1957
The Kinds of Christmas--1958
The Sound of Christmas--1959
Santa's Factoree--1960
The Day That Santa Was Sick--1961
Let's Trim the Christmas Tree--1962
The Story of Santa Claus--1964

Ripped and de-clicked by Lee Hartsfeld, 2007.


Protecting our children from Charles Schultz

                                 "That's not a Newton Tree, Charlie Brown!  It's a Christmas Tree!"

I was eight when A Charlie Brown Christmas first aired, and I remember being surprised by Linus' Bible reading.  "Can they do that on TV?" I wondered.  Apparently, yes.  My 81-year-old foster mother, Bev, says she was surprised at the time, too.

Seriously--this seemed daring.  The non-stop secular claim that our past pop culture was saturated by religion is a line of woo-woo.  It's baseless propaganda.  If faith was all over the place in 1965, why was this eight year old astonished to hear a Bible reading on network TV?  And I'm from the flyover state of Ohio, thank you.

Anyway, 50 years later, a Kentucky school district is censoring Charles Schultz in the name of ACLU's version of the establishment clause.  (File under, "You Can't Make This Stuff Up.")  Here's the story.  Per my consistent Googling, it appears that none of the usual suspects--Hufington Post, Atheism Rocks! (a.k.a. Religion Dispatches), Salon, Friendly Atheist, et al. are covering this story, probably because 1) it's true, 2) the behavior it documents is indefensible, and 3) because it's true and indefensible, they don't feel all that easy about ridiculing the situation in their usual fashion.

The tragic truth is that the left-of-center press (on line and off) tends to respond with mocking scorn to any story of this type.  It's the default response, and it's quite stupid, because a "laugh at the rubes" stance is not a sustainable one.  Why?  Because popular perceptions are not always incorrect, nor are the concerns of average folks always invalid.  So what do we do when, say, Bill O'Reilly (who broke the story) makes a valid point about something as absurd as censoring a beloved 50-year-old Charles Schultz text?  Well, if we're smart, we say nothing.

That, or maybe Huff-Po, et al. just haven't gotten around to the story yet.  Well, I wish them luck in concocting a good and snarky dismissal to this situation, because it's clearly a case of the down-on-faith attitude run amok.  I can't imagine how anyone could downplay this.

I eagerly await left-of-center coverage.

There's no war on Christmas--just on poor Charles Schultz, I guess!  My, my.  Write a cartoon that people are still loving half a century later, and have the state deem a portion of your script unfit for children!!

Gotta protect the kiddies from Peanuts.  In the name of preserving our democracy, ya know....

Update: Meanwhile, get your A Charlie Brown Christmas stamps here.  Hurry, before the Eastern Kentucky school district bans them!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

The miracle of the rescued Christmas 78: "Hallelujah Chorus"--Arthur Pryor's Band, 1908.

When I placed the needle on Arthur Pryor's 12" 78 of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus, the tonearm did a bunny hop over the starting grooves.  Examining the disc closely, I spotted a pronounced lip warp.  Another side for the dead disc pile. (Muted trumpet, descending in "wah wah" half steps.)

Luckily, I thought to Google for a solution to the problem, and I found it at Youtube, where I witnessed a badly warped big band 78 being flattened with a blow dryer and some gentle pressure.  A blow dryer!  I was thinking glass plates and an oven (the conventional remedy).  Something I've never tried, because someone told me the possible fumes/heat combination could be bad news.

So I plugged in Bev's blow dryer and held it over the warped area until it was nice and hot.  Then I placed a small stack of 12' 78s and some books atop the area (light pressure wouldn't do for a thick 1908 12" Victor 78), and I left it overnight.  (The Youtube video had noted that 78s retain heat for some time.)

Next morning, not expecting much in the way of results, I unearthed the disc, took it to the Media Room, and played it.  The needle tracked flawlessly.  No warp!!

I'll have to re-find that video and link to it (Youtube link).  Meanwhile, here's Arthur Pryor's Band, from 1908.  I think you'll agree it was worth the extra trouble:

Hallelujah Chorus--Arthur Pryor's Band, 1908.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas 78s, Part 5--Al Goodman, Gilbert Girard, Arthur Pryor, Hayden Quartet!

Fifteen titles in today's sleighlist, but you actually get seventeen sides, since two of the files (Christmas Time in Merrie England and Gilbert Girard's Santa Claus sides) combine A and B sides.  Why did I combine the sides for some medleys and not for others?  Beats me!

I'm too busy ripping and restoring these things to plan logically.  Getting these things labeled and numbered is enough work in itself, owing to the weird sorting feature of my free mp3 converter.  Technology helps and victimizes us at the same time.  (Yes, you may quote me.)

The great-sounding Al Goodman side (Christmas Fantasy) was ripped from my near-pristine copy, and, because it's from 1949 or 1950, my pre-amp's 78 curve made it sound tinny and lousy.  "Why not switch to the LP curve?" I thought.  I did, and it sounds great.  I think, anyway.  A light concert classic.

Memories of Christmas is also from a looks-new 78, and you don't get many of those from 1918.  A very charming medley--straightforward and unpretentious.  I find equivalent modern pop/pops numbers a bit overstated, at minimum, and I think this is because, in our post-rock era, people feel the need to be entertained LOUDLY.  The Boomer label is kind of ironic, giving my generation's love for BOOM BOOM BOOM.  In the distant popular past, one could mark time gently and without an incessant accent on 2 and 4.  How quaint, no?

Massenet's Angelus is a gorgeous concert piece from, um... well, sometime.  A quick search didn't give me the year.  My guess is late 1800s.  The 1925 fidelity on this Victor-recorded pipe organ solo (always wanted to type that) is absolutely unreal.  As in, superb.

The sound effects on Gilbert Girard's Santa Claus sides are marvelous--in a few spots, the audio presence is uncanny.  (Keep in mind they were recorded with a large horn.)  Listening to this track in my car, I could swear the effects were happening in stereo.  This kind of thing happens when your ears are 58 years old....

Enjoy!  And always remember that Christmas, the biggest festival on our planet, is just another December holiday.  It's easier that way.  That way, no one accuses you of being a benighted culture warrior.  ("Oh, yeah, Christmas.  I think that's... in December?  Maybe? Dunno.")

Click here to hear: Christmas 78s, 2015--Part 5


Christmas Fantasy, Part 1 (Arr: Goodman)--Al Goodman and His Orch., 1949 or 1950
Christmas Fantasy, Part 2 (Arr: Goodman)--Al Goodman and His Orch., 1949 or 1950
Memories of Christmas, Part 1--The Village Church (R.H. Bowers)--Prince's Orch., 1918
Memories of Christmas, Part 2--The Tree at Grandmother's--Prince's Orch., 1918
Christmas Time in Merrie England--Regimental Band of H.M. Grenadier Guards, 1922
Angelus (Massenet)--Charles O'Connell, Pipe Organ, 1925
Christmas Chimes (Vandersloot)--Salon Orch., 1932
Cathedral Chimes (Arnold-Brown)--Salon Orch., 1932
O Come, All Ye Faithful--Temple Quartet, 1925?
Yule-Tide--A Christmas Fantasia--Arthur Pryor's Band, 1912
Christmas Carols--Collegiate Choir, 1924
Silent Night, Hallowed Night--Hayden Quartet, 1908
Santa Claus Tells About His Toy Shop--Santa Claus Gives Away His Toys--Gilbert Gerard, 1921
The New Born King (L'Espoir)--Hamilton Hill, 1909
The Sabbath Morn (The Holy City, with Chimes)--Harry Macdonough, Tenor, 1909


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Christmas 78s, Part 4--A Paul Whiteman Christmas!!

We start with a 12" Columbia Paul Whiteman Christmas 78--Ferde Grofe arranged the first side, Bill Challis the second.  Then, a guest appearance by the Peerless Quartet, with a tune that quotes a portion of Snow Time.  Looks like the same guys also recorded this for the Victor label.  Back to Whiteman for the acoustical (1923) and electrical (1928) recordings of Parade of the Wooden Soldiers, and I ripped the second track from two sources--a 1930s reissue and an original copy.  The tuba tones were shredded on the reissue, so I subbed two portions from my 1928 copy.  If you listen for the cuts, you might hear them--listen for a subtle EQ change.

Several more guest recordings follow, including the exact same Trinity Choir arrangement of Christmas Hymns and Carols, but in (you guessed it) acoustical (1921) and electrical (1926) versions.  It's a chance to compare pre-microphone and microphone fidelity on essentially the same performance.  (Timing's different, of course--I tried overlapping with no success.)

We close with the season's second appearance of Frederic Field Bullard's Winter Song, this time by the Peerless Quartet.  Er, with Orchestra.  We mustn't forget "Orchestra."

Click here to hear: Christmas 78s 2015 Pt. 4


Christmas Melodies (Arr: Ferde Grofe)--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1928
Silent Night, Holy Night (Arr: Bill Challis)--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1928
On a Good Old-Time Sleigh-Ride (Gumble)--Peerless Quartet, 1913
Parade of the Wooden Soldiers (Arr: Grofe)--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1923
Parade of the Wooden Soldiers (Arr: Grofe)--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1928
Day of the Lord (A Carol Scene) (Kruetzer)--Criterion Quartet, 1924
Silent Night, Holy Night--Columbia Mixed Quartet, 1926
Christmas Hymns and Carols (Electrical recording)--Trinity Choir, 1926
Christmas Hymns and Carols (Acoustical recording)--Trinity Choir, 1921
Winter Song (Bullard)--Peerless Quartet w. Orch., 1920


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas 78s, Part 3--Trinity Choir, Zonophone Orch., St. Olaf Choir, Shannon Quartet!

No time for notes--I'd add them later.  Three versions of Martin Luther's great Vom Himmel Hoch hymn, starting with the second selection (Fra himlen hoit kom budskap her), which is a cool instrumental recorded in 1909 in Germany and marketed to several ethnic groups on the Victor label in the U.S.

Click hear to hear: Christmas 78s 2015, Part 3

Gloria from Twelve Mass (Mozart)--Trinity Choir (1926)
Fra himlen hoit kom budskap her--Apollo Musikkorps (Zonophone Orch., 1909)
Vom Himmel Hoch (From Heaven Above)--Christmas Chorus w. Orch. and Chimes (year unknown)
Messiah--Hallelujah Chorus (Handel)--Trinity Choir (1926)
Calm on the Listening Ear of Night--Shannon Quartet (1925)
Silent Night, Hallowed Night--Shannon Quartet (1925)
Ave Maria (Bach-Gounod)--Elizabeth Wheeler w. Orchestra (1910)
From Heaven Above (Christiansen)--St. Olaf Choir (1927)
O Tannenbaum--Kinderchor (1908)
Ihr Kinderlein Kommet--Kinderchor (1908)
Stille nat, hellige nat--Apollo Musikkorps (Zonophone Orch., 1909)
Around the Christmas Tree--Little Christmas Tree--Elsie Baker, Contralto (1914)
Merry Christmas--Sleighing Song--Olive Kline, Soprano (1913)
The Christmas-tree Man--Bessie Calkins Shipman, w. Orch. (1920)
Christmas Tree (Niels W. Gade, c. 1901)--Members of the NY Philharmonic Orch., Dir. Henry Hadley (1925?)


Thursday, December 10, 2015

The inevitable Christmas essay by me

I can't help it.  I've been trying not to do this, but I guess my desire to editorialize at Christmas is too strong to resist.  Music is coming after this post, so feel free to skip this essay.  ("Sure thing"??  Hey, wait a minute.)

Well, we've all heard that Jesus is NOT the "reason for the season" (It's the winter solstice, dude), and that Christmas is a rip-off of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti.  But now an additional claim of the same type has emerged.  (At least I think it's new--maybe not.)  Namely, that Christmas never had anything to do with Christ.

I'm not making this up.  Now, I don't know through what process of logic'n'reason anyone concluded that the festival of Christ's birth has nothing to do with Christ, but....  Well, actually I do.  You see, the logic'n'reason folks seem to be limited to a single logical thinking template: namely, debunking.  They take claims and test them.  For instance, "we Christians" will claim that Jesus is the reason for the season, and they'll test that claim and conclude that, no, Johnny Cash is the reason for the season.

The problem with the debunking approach is that it simply "tests" common wisdom.  At most, it tells you what select portions of the public think about one topic or another.  Now, if you want to know whether or not Christmas is about Christ, logic dictates that you consult the scholarship of holiday experts--and there's a ton of same out there (paging Jack Santino).  In other words, if you want to know what's up with some aspect of cultural history, you check out the scholarly consensus.  DUH.  Or, if you if have absolutely no respect for yourself or the people who love you, you Google Bill Maher or Penn Jillette to find out what they think.

And the scholarly consensus appears to be that Christmas is about Christ.  Therefore, those folks who insist otherwise have a pretty substantial burden of proof to deal with.  That's how these things work.  For instance, those who insist that global warming is nothing to worry about have to contend with the consensus of climate scientists.  And those who claim Christ has nothing to do with the festival of his birth have to contend with the consensus of serious scholars.

Did I mention that the scholarship in question (largely Christian scholarship) dates back to the 19th century, if not earlier?  None of this stuff is new.  The mess media makes it its job to treat old controversies as if they sprung up last week, but they're idiots--ignore them.

For instance, the controversy over the choice of Dec. 25 for the celebration of Christ's birth dates back nearly 1800 years.

Holidays evolve.  They change in form, sometimes drastically.  They merge.  They have their original themes altered when they turn up in a different portion of the year than when they were originally conceived.  And so on.

After all these centuries, the celebration of Christ's birth is still going.  Those who consider that a bad track record need to keep whatever they're smoking away from my person, because I don't want to be sniffing any of the fumes.


Saturday, December 05, 2015

Christmas 78s, part 2--"Santa Claus Polka," "The Skaters Waltz," more!

Yes, the Santa Claus Polka, from 1926, no less.  It's pretty cool.  No words, however.  Here are four of the five sides you'll be hearing this time around:


Messiah--Hallelujah Chorus (Handel)--Mark Andrews, Pipe Organ Solo, 1925,
The Skaters--Waltz (Waldteufel)--International Concert Orch., Dir. Nat Shilkret, 1926.
Santa Claus Polka--Ottar Argee's Quintette, 1926,
Parade of the Wooden Soldiers (Jessel)--International Concert Orch., Dir. Nat Shilkret, 1928.
Winter Song (Bullard)--Shannon Four, 1922.

Ripped by me from my 78 collection.

Click here to hear: Christmas 78s, Part 2 .

The sound quality on Mark Andrews' 1925 Hallelujah Chorus organ solo is fabulous.  Astounding, really.  Remember that 1925 was the first year, commercially at least, for electrical recordings.  I played this arrangement on the piano many years ago for a choir concert, and it's tons of fun, especially the last part and the 16th (8th?) notes in the right hand.  Unlike Joy to the World, Hallelujah Chorus really was written by Handel.  Great piece, but it starts sounding like modern pop music by the umpteenth time, owing to its incessant repetition.  Is Handel the father of today's play-the-same-phrase-over-and-over school of pop composition?  (No.)

Leon Jessel's Parade of the Wooden Soldiers (Die Parade der Zinnsoldaten) hails from 1897, though it achieved mass popularity in the 1920s.  We'll be hearing Nat Shilkret's 1928 recording.  Wonderful piece, even if the composer was in with the Nazis.  Or so he had hoped.  Didn't work out that way, according to Wikipedia.

Winter Song isn't really a Christmas song, but why let that get in the way of including a neat season-of-snow number in the sleighlist?  And so here it is.  The Shannon Four (soon to become the Revelers) is superb, as usual.  The piece, composed in 1898 by Ferderic Bullard, is pure glee club.  (I'd say "hardcore glee," but this is a family blog.)

The Santa Claus Polka is beautifully performed and, polka-wise, very much of its time (1926).  I revised my initial equalization to help the xylophone ring out.  Be prepared for some virtuoso polka-ing.

Emile Waldteufel's pops concert staple The Skaters Waltz is something my brain insists on associating with Alvin and the Chipmunks, which means I must have first heard it on their cartoon.  I can't believe that I once found the Chipmunks hilarious, but I did.  Of course, the waltz predates the Chipmunks by many decades--French composer Waldteufel penned it in 1882.  A gorgeous piece of composing, and its simplicity is completely intentional.  It takes a master composer to pare a piece down to only the essential notes and chords.  Many decades later, that was Leroy Anderson's forte, too.


My foster mom, Bev

First off, thoughts and prayers for Bev, if you will.  (Unless you're one of those thoughts-and-prayers dissenters,)  We had to have her taken by squad to the local hospital on Thanksgiving eve for what turned out to be bleeding stomach ulcers, gastritis, and congestive heart failure.  Her blood oxygen was quite low, and her lungs had fluid in them.  She was treated for possible pneumonia, too, though her hospital doc is skeptical--he thinks it was the CHF masquerading as pneumonia.  Of course, they gave her antibiotics just in case.  Erring on the side of caution is standard procedure when your patient is old and frail.  (But, because she's Bev, also mentally sharp and fully alert.)

Apparently, while Bev's 81-year-old heart is strong, she tends to retain fluids, owing to her age and small size.  That, plus the drastic decrease in her physical activity since she broke her hip in 2013.  The fluid build-up prevents the left side of her heart from fully functioning.  Shortness of breath, plus other complications, result.

She's in nursing home rehab right now, and while some of the aides are terrific, others aren't.  The place has the usual moronic, corporate-dictated "get the patient up and moving" policy (hey, it's rehab), despite the fact that Bev is suffering a major sleep deficit right now.  Since there's absolutely no coordination between the various folks who visit her room, no one got the "Do not disturb" memo. For Christ's sake, if the woman can't get any sleep, how can she perform the various exercises they want her to do?  A bureaucracy is a dysfunctional organism wherein one limb has no clue what the other limb is doing (or not doing).  It's all about checking off boxes.

Update: Bev reports that she's up to the rehab requirements, now that they've been explained to her.  Things aren't as dire as I thought.  Which is always a good thing.


Friday, December 04, 2015

Thoughts and prayers--some thoughts

Apparently, a mass shooting over the holidays is the perfect occasion for select journalists, comics, and whoever to lecture the clueless masses on our heinous habit of closing our tweets, emails, etc. with the phrase "Thoughts and prayers."

To use this cliche is discriminatory. That's because there are people in our midst who want nothing to do with praying or thinking, and we need to respect their disposition.

Please modify your behavior accordingly.

Disregard and curses,

PC Lee

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Christmas 78s, Part 1: 1911-1925!

Just in time for the 2015 Honda Days, fifteen 78s from my collection, ripped and restored by me with my MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab MX program.  In 1925, the Shannon Quartet was about to become The Revelers.  Meanwhile, The Columbia Quartette is better known to us shellac collectors as The Peerless Quartette:

To the music: Christmas 78s 2015, Pt. 1

Jingle Bells--Shannon Quartet, 1925
On a Christmas Morning--Descriptive (Currie)--Prince's Orch., 1911
Adeste Fideles--Thomas Mills and Charles A. Prince, Chimes and Organ, 1911
Children's Toy March (Currie)--Prince's Band, 1911
Children's Symphony (Haydn)--Pince's Orch., 1913
Around the Christmas Tree (Prince)--Prince's Orch. w. Mixed Quartette, 1913
Joy to the World--Trinity Choir, 1911
Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful--Trinity Choir, 1911
Snow Time--Columbia Quartette, 1911
Kiddies' Patrol (Christmas Eve)--Brunswick Concert Band, 1920
Kiddies' Dance (Christmas Morning)--Brunswick Concert Band, 1920
Overture Miniature (Tchaikowsky)--Arthur Pryor's Band, 1912
Good Christian Men Rejoice--Temple Quartet, 1925
Come Ye Faithful People, Come--Temple Quartet, 1925
Nut Cracker Ballet (Tchaikowsky)--Arthur Pryor's Band, 1911

Merry Shellacmas!!


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day 2015--with your host, EW2 Hartsfeld

Your blogger, 29 years ago, when he was EW2 Hartsfeld:

It was the fourth year of my second enlistment, and I'd decided not to reenlist--this kid was heading to Ohio and Bowling Green State University.  When I got there, I had $225 a month to help me survive, thanks to the Navy's Veterans Educational Assistance Program.  And so I worked all sorts of part-time jobs--carpet cleaning, sweeping, busing tables, and like that.  Sometime during my senior year, I even had a car--a $300 Chrysler boat from the late 1970s that required ten minutes of gas-pedal pumping to start.  Prior to that, I had to walk everywhere I wanted or needed to be, so I was fairly fit--which, unfortunately, didn't put a dent in my asthma.

Anyway, how I missed the days of catching a train to Yokohama, cruising antique shops in Hong Kong, buying vinyl albums in Australia, and (in my first go-round) hopping the train to Edinburgh, Scotland to buy 78s.  At least I got to live off campus, and within walking distance of  a small, old fashioned convenience store.  (The closest supermarket was a bit out of the way.)

Also during my senior year, one of the profs in my major asked about my military service.  "This must be quite an adjustment," he said.  He was right, of course.  That shook me a little--no prof, in or out of my major, had ever asked me about my service!  Ah, well.  This was 1989, and no one had gotten the "Thank our vets for their service" memo.

Jump to 2005, and I'm hosting three or four blogs.  My second, Music You (Possibly) Won't Hear Anyplace Else, enjoys its share of popularity, and eventually I stick with it only, discontinuing Fields on Fire, LeeWorks, and Vintage Lounge.    Jump forward 10 years, and we're at this post, where I've just linked to seven great patriotic 78s, some from back when my late grandfather was a teen.  All but one of these is a fresh rip.  A few sides are fairly hammered, but, hey--they're 78s.

Click here to hear: Vets Day 2015

The Trumpeter (Descriptive Ballad)--Raymond Newell, Baritone; Ion Swinley, Narrator, 1929.
War Songs--Victor Male Chorus, with Orch., 1913.
Sailor Song--The Peerless Quartet, 1915.
American Fantasie (Victor Herbert)--New York Police Band, 1920.
We're Going Over--Medley--Pietro, Piano Accordion Solo, 1917.
Call to Arms (Descriptive)--Peerless Quartet, 1915
American Patrol (Meacham)--Howard Kopp, Xylophone w. Orch., 1915.

All ripped and destroyed--er, restored--by me from my collection.


Sunday, November 01, 2015

Ghost Cat Presents... Three last-minute Halloween pieces!!

Three original pieces, and with only minutes to spare (before it's Nov. 1).  The first, Thirteen Kitties, is a tribute to our thirteen cats.  Nothing like having thirteen cats on Halloween.  Next, Midnight at the Thrift Store.  Midnight at the thrift store has to be pretty spooky, especially on Halloween, when the ghosts of all the unsold thrift items come back to haunt whatever "new" items are taking their former shelf spots.  And, finally, Hauntovani Waltz No.2.  It's a waltz, and it's the second.

To the last-minute sounds: Three Last-minute Halloween pieces

Thirteen Kitties (2015)
Midnight in the Thrift Store (2015)
Hauntovani Waltz No. 2 (2015)

All composed and played by Lee Hartsfeld on his Casio WK-3800, with multi-tracking and effects.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Haunted Victrola returns!!--Isham Jones, Oriole Orch., Red Nichols, more!

What do you call a record thief?  A groove robber!  Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!

Sorry.  Anyway, the Haunted Victrola is wound up and ready to grind out the grim grooves of thirteen more terrifying titles from the cobwebbed corners of my 78 collection, or something like that.  I did some Googling to determine whether or not "witch hazel" (or, in this case, "Which Hazel"--ha, ha!) has a Halloween association in our pop culture, and, yes, it does.  So, we'll be hearing Al Herman's Which Hazel, whose lyrics include the phrase "padded cell."  My kind of lyrics.  Edward MacDowell's Witches' Dance was composed in 1883, and it contains many of the standard melodic and harmonic musical cliches of this season.  Which is to say, those cliches were around that early (and probably earlier), proving that nothing is new under the moon.  George L. Cobb's Peter Gink uses themes from Grieg's music for Peer Gynt (the source of the Halloween standard, In the Hall of the Mountain King), so that's why it's here.  Last time, we heard Zez Confrey's solo piano version of his Greenwich Witch--now we get to hear Frank Westphal's slower but just as jazzy band version.

And there are nine other jazzily jarring, creakily quirky, and disturbingly delightful dance doings and concert concoctions sure to keep the Halloween crowd crashing your crypt to join your Spook Age Boo-chelor Pad party.  Just don't send them over here--they're your worry!

Click here to hear: The Haunted Victrola, Part 2


Ah-Ha! (Clare-Monaco)--Paul Whiteman and His Orch., 1925
Jabberwocky--Joseph Samuels' Jazz Band, 1921
Peter Gink--Columbia Band, Dir. Charles A. Prince, 1918
Greenwich Witch (Confrey)--Frank Westphal and His Orch., 1922
The Sneak! (Nacio Herb Brown)--Club Royal Orch., 1922
Which Hazel (Abner Silver)--Al Herman, 1921
In the Hall of the Mountain King (Grieg)--Victor Symphony Orch., 1926
Eccentric--Red Nichols and His Five Pennies, 1927
Prelude in C Sharp minor (Rachmaninoff)--Victor Concert Orch., Dir. Rosario Bourdon, 1928
Dangerous Blues (Brown-Brown)--Bernie Krueger's Orch., Voc: Al Bernard, 1921
Eccentric Rag (J. Russel Robinson)--Oriole Orch., 1924
Danger (Kahn-Jones)--Isham Jones Orch., 1925
Witches' Dance (MacDowell)--Leopold Godowsky, 1921 or 1922


Friday, October 23, 2015

The Haunted Victrola--78s for Halloween 2015!

For Halloween, thirteen selections from my overflowing 78 collection, covering the years 1908 to 1934, and all ripped and restored by me.  What titles--Mummy Mine, Vamp Me, Spooky Spooks, Dance of the Demon, Greenwich WitchThe Loch Ness Monster....  This slaylist will have you tapping your toes all the way to the cemetery.  As the beatnik ghost said, "It's just tomb much, man."

Note that British radio comedian John Tilley's "humorous monologue," The Loch Ness Monster, hails from the same year (1934) as the famous Nessie hoax photo known as the "Surgeon's Photograph."  In this brilliant skit, not only does Tilley treat the Nessie legend as a joke (and then some), he presents it as the latest in a long line of tourist-baiting scams.  If Tilley could figure that out back in the day, why is the myth still afloat eight decades later?  Extremely abstract humor, and not unlike modern stand-up.  And I just discovered that Tilley died one year after this recording--he was only 36.  Damn.

Meanwhile, Joe Haymes' Little Nell sort of anticipates Spike Jones' 1945 send-up of Chloe.  Also Jones-style are the sound effects on the Columbia Orchestra's 1918 A Cat-Astrophe.  In the realm of corny humor, nothing is new, I guess.  And I should note that Eduard Holst, the composer of the awesome two-piano Dance of the Demon, is no relation to Gustav (The Planets) Holst.  The duo-piano team on the Demon disc, Victor Arden and Phil Ohmen, were one of the best of the 1920s.  Appropriately, our slaylist ends with the famous funeral march from Chopin's B-flat minor piano sonata.  One of the all-time "Where did that come from?" themes, of which we usually only hear two bars when it's quoted in cartoons and movies.  MY(P)WHAE is giving you the whole thing, and from a cracked 1908 78 (which I repaired with audio splices).

To the slaylist: The Haunted Victrola


Vamp Me (And I'll Vamp You)--Rega Dance Orch., 1922
Mummy Mine--Earl Fuller's Rector Novelty Orch., 1919
Ghost of the Violin (Two-Step; Snyder-Kalmar)--Prince's Orch., 1913
Little Nell--Eliot Everett (Joe Haymes) and His Orch., 1932
Variations on Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?--Jacques Fray-Mario Braggiotti, piano duet, 1934
Fire Dance (De Falla)--Hollywood Bowl Orch., Eugene Goossens, 1928
Dance of the Demon (E. Holst)--Victor Arden-Phil Ohmen, piano duet, 1922
Spooky Spooks (Edward B. Claypoole)--Prince's Band, 1916
A Cat-Astrophe (Daniel-Kopp)--Columbia Orch., Dir. Charles A. Prince, 1919
Greenwich Witch (Confrey)--Zez Confrey, piano, 1922
The Loch Ness Monster--Pts. 1 and 2--John Tilley, 1934.
Graveyard Blues (Woods-Caldwell)--Earl Fuller's Rector Novelty Orch., 1918
Chopin's Funeral March--Arthur Pryor's Band, 1908


Sunday, October 18, 2015

More Halloween sounds: "Telegram from Pluto," "Hauntovani Waltz No.1," and "The Deserted Launch Pad"

For our Halloween, three Lee originals, two of them new to the blog.  Wind-up Pumpkin Man commands you to download without delay:

More Halloween Sounds--Lee Hartsfeld


Telegram from Pluto (Hartsfeld, 2015)
Hauntovani Waltz No. 1 (Hartsfeld, 2000-something)
The Deserted Launch Pad (Hartsfeld, 2012)


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Halloween in Space Suite (2013)

From 2013, my Halloween in Space Suite, consisting of "Dangers, Thrills, and Monsters;" "Space Spooks;" "View from the Space Station;" "Meteors!!" "Memories of Earth," and "Peacocks in Space." I did a little bit of MIDI entry and even less pitch and time expansion/compression, but otherwise everything is "live."  What you hear is what I played.  That's not a take on Flip Wilson's once-famous "What you see is what you get, baby!  WOOOO!"  Okay, yes, it is.

I think my suite nicely shows off the terrific tones to be found on the Casio WK-3800, whether it's Halloween on Earth, or... HALLOWEEN IN SPAAAAAACE!!! (Space... space... space....)

Click here to hear:  Halloween in Space Suite, Complete

Danger, Thrills, and Monsters
Space Spooks
View from the Space Station
Memories of Earth
Peacocks in Space

Composed and played by Lee Hartsfeld on his Casio WK-3800, with assistance from Sonar X2 Essential and Magix Audio Cleaning Lab MX.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Christmas at Halloween (2008)--Link fixed

I've been having a devil of a time linking correctly to my Christmas at Halloween zip file.  I blame early-Fall allergies, my sinus meds, and the debate coverage.  No full moon until Oct. 27, so I can't blame the night sky.

Anyway, I think I finally got it right.  Click here, download, and enjoy!:  Christmas at Halloween                   

  CHRISTMAS AT HALLOWEEN (Lee Hartsfeld, 2008)

Misteltoes and Cobwebs
Santa's on His Way
Noisy Night
The Brittle Mummy Boy
The Little Train of Bethlehem
We Three Things Abhorrent Are
Call Dumb All the Faithful
Check the Halls
Door to the Weird
Desist Ye Scary Gentlemen
The First Noel
The Second Noel
The Third Noel
The Fourth Noel

And if you want a condensed version of the suite, here's the five-part version I posted at SoundCloud: Christmas at Halloween, Five-Part Version.  At SC, looks like you'll have to do each part individually if you want to download.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"Stand by to catch fainting females!"--Sunset House catalog, late 1964

The 1964 Sunset House Christmas mail-order catalog has a number of creepy, Halloween-style gifts of the type also featured in the comic books of my youth.  I figured out the year from four clues: two 1965 calendars, a commemorative JFK bracelet charm, and a reproduction of the Beatles' Royal Command Performance poster ("complete with authentic autographs of Ringo, Paul, John and George," no less).  So this is probably Sunset House's Christmas 1964 edition.  (Another clue: the Ripley's--Believe it or Not! Sea Circus was copyrighted in that year.)

The order form and envelope are still there, so it appears no one sent for anything from this copy.  Maybe he/she/they already had multiple toe-warmer footrests, indoor hopscotch games, bobble-head car trolls, grenade lighters, 4" replicas of a genuine Amazon Jivaro native shrunken head, pocket-sized fortune tellers, electric back scratchers, and Gingerbread beanbag families.  Maybe their kitchen table was covered with the last five Sunset House orders.   Maybe they were under a court order to abstain from catalog ordering of any kind.  We have no way of knowing, so we're free to make things up.  (Or, describe the History Channel's format in a single phrase.)

Anyway, here are some of the more Halloween-specific ads, not counting the genuine shrunken head replica, from this priceless document of cheap gifts past.  Personally, I'm torn between the pants-falling-down Frankenstein monster, the creeping hand, and the winking skull turn-signal.  Pick your own favorites:


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Monsters on Mars!!

My latest Halloween composition, created last night.  Water on Mars means monsters on Mars, because, where there is water, there are monsters.  Somebody said that at some time, though I don't know who or when.  Maybe no one ever did.  But that doesn't mean it isn't true!

To the music:

Monsters on Mars!! (Lee Hartsfeld)--Lee Hartsfeld at the Casio WK-3800, Oct. 9, 2015.


Sunday, October 04, 2015

Beggars' Night Rag, and more!

More original Halloween compositions.  At this point in the Halloween countdown, I would be sharing David Rose, Morton Gould, Bob Hudson, et al., but you know how my vinyl and shellac sharing worked out.  If you don't, read this 2013 post for the whole horrible story.  This was a very different blog until that point....

Anyway, seven original Halloween pieces by me, with the first four extracted from my Ghoultide suite of 2011, which I have on disc in a confusing collection of complete and in-progress tracks.  At that time, I was multi-tracking with a method too cumbersome to describe--I have no idea how things came out so well.  The last three numbers are from my 2006 Halloween Suite (though "Phone Calls from the Dead" is a 2007 rewrite).  The "Herrmann" in "Herrmannesque" is Bernard Herrmann, and it was inspired by a Twilight Zone harp figure and a Herrmann radio soundtrack featured somewhere at some site.

"So, Lee what inspired your 'Herrmannesque"?"  "A Herrmann radio soundtrack featured somewhere at some site."  "Oh."

To the music....

Click here to hear: Beggars' Night Rag, and more!

The Looming Fiscal Cliff (2011)
Beggars' Night Rag (2011)
Flying Saucers on Parade (2011)
Ghosts on the PC (2011)
Phone Calls from the Dead (2007)
Herrmannesque (2006)
Ghosts on the Stairs (2006)

All composed, played, and/or programmed by Lee Hartsfeld.


Thursday, October 01, 2015

Godzilla Suite (Lee Hartsfeld, 2010)

From 2010, my eleven-part tribute to the big green guy, plus three bonus Godzilla tracks, including my 22-year-old "Godzilla Rag."

You'll be hearing both live and step-recorded sounds--some from my Noteworthy Composer program, others from my long-gone Casio CTK-551.  Some tracks, like Godzilla Stomps Into Town, have been heavily altered with echo, time-stretching, multiple sampling, etc., so expect some odd sounds.  But how to musically depict the life, deeds, and many moods of Godzilla without the occasional weird stretch of sound?  Whatever I just typed.

Godzilla says, "REOOOAAAARRRRRRRRRRR!!!!" ("I'm Godzilla, and I approve this music.")

Click where appropriate....

GODZILLA SUITE (Lee Hartsfeld, 2010)

1. Godzilla Disco

2.  Godzilla Rhapsody
3.  Godzilla Stomps Into Town
4.  Not Pleased By the Response, Godzilla Leaves and Stomps Back
5.  Godzilla in Therapy
6.  Godzilla in Show Biz
7.  The Godzilla Parade
8.  Godzilla Mystery Hour
9.  Godzilla Disco (Complete)
10.  Digital Godzilla
11.  Godzilla Rhapsody, Part 2


12.  Stairway to Godzilla (Hartsfeld, 2006)  
13.  Godzilla Rag (Hartsfeld, 1993)
14.  Godzilla vs. the Debt Ceiling (Hartsfeld, 2013)

Lee Hartsfeld on Casio CTK-551, Casio WK-3800, and/or Noteworthy Composer.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Rosie commands you to hear "Christmas at Halloween" (Lee Hartsfeld, 2008)

Today, my 2008 Christmas at Halloween suite.  Above is the original art I Photoshopped for it, with a young Rosie (right) looking highly Rosie.

This suite has been getting around cyberspace (without my input!), showing up, for example, here: Radio Relaxo Requests: C   (See under, "CAH" and "Christmas at Halloween.") No composer credit, I notice.  I'm not sure what "Radio Relaxo" is.  Oh, wait--"Affordable & Professional Radio Station live assist and automation software."  Ah, that explains it.

In 2013, selections from my suite were played on KDVS, 90.3 FM.  Cool.  I did not know that.

It's also at  kickasstorrents--again, minus composer credit.  I guess, to end up at kickasstorrents, my suite must kick ass.  Or at least it did in 2009, the year it was uploaded. (Whoa! Downloaded 10 times! Rock and roll!)

And you can buy it for .71 euros (78 cents!) at Music Bazaar.  (Is that all my music is worth??)  Genre: "Traditional pop music."  And Music Bazaar swiped my Rosie-with-pumpkin blog art, to boot.  However, they give my name!

OR you can opt to download my Christmas at Halloween suite here:   Christmas at Halloween                     

  CHRISTMAS AT HALLOWEEN (Lee Hartsfeld, 2008)

Misteltoes and Cobwebs
Santa's on His Way
Noisy Night
The Brittle Mummy Boy
The Little Train of Bethlehem
We Three Things Abhorrent Are
Call Dumb All the Faithful
Check the Halls
Door to the Weird
Desist Ye Scary Gentlemen
The First Noel
The Second Noel
The Third Noel
The Fourth Noel

By the way, not having the 2008 "Christmas at Halloween" image handy on disc or hard drive (or at this blog anymore), I searched for it on line, finding it at a blog(?) called Weeswaakzaam, which I believe translates to "Be vigilant."  The post in question is titled, "Als je Halloween afwijst, dan ook Kerst."  Or, "If you reject Halloween, then Christmas."  I tend to agree.  I can't see not being cool with both holidays.

I told Rosie that her likeness is up at a Dutch blog, but she has no idea what that means...


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The original Chia Pets?

Judging by the text, these "giant monsters" (which could be used in a "'science project' for home or school") were Chia Pet forerunners.  And don't you love the way my scan brought out all the age spots in the paper of this 1966 Charlton comic?


Monday, August 31, 2015

Dance and Jazz 78s, Part 2!!

Nine 78-rpm tracks, all ripped and restored by me from my collection.  A subset of the Paul Whiteman orchestra, the Virginians performed arrangements by Ferde Grofe and Ross Gorman, and they tended to sound more Dixieland than the larger orchestra.  Less big-bandy, anyway.  I've always wanted to type "big-bandy."  Her Beaus... is one of bandleader Fred Waring's jazziest sides of the post-acoustical era, and my copy yielded a great rip (I think).  Possibly the coolest of the set is Joseph C. Smith's remarkable Money Blues, penned by Hugo Frey, who, far as I know, was Smith's chief arranger.  Though recorded in 1916, in style the side sounds more like 1922 or 1923.  Meanwhile, its aggressive percussion is something we would expect from James Reese Europe or Wilbur Sweatman, not a white society band known for its genteel approach to post-WWI pop!  Totally cool.  The flip side, I've Got a Shooting Box in Scotland (penned by Cole Porter), is a far more typical Joseph C. side, and, like most of his Victor tracks, is fantastically well played.  Ted Lewis' very fun and corny Queen of Sheba is way-early jazz--stylistically, it harkens back to jazz when it was just on the brink of becoming so.  When jazz was a kind of ragtime music with the parts going their own way, ad-libbing but not exactly improvising, being that the rules of jazz polyphony had yet to be codified.  Or whatever the heck I just typed.  Actually, the traditional jazz-historical verdict on Lewis is far harsher--as in, Lewis' music as an inept parody of jazz, vice the almost-jazz I think it is.

Footloose is better in Paul Whiteman's version, but Carl Fenton's is quite a kick, too.  Too bad they couldn't have gotten Billy Murray to sing this one, too.  Enjoy!

Early in the Morning Blues--The Virginians, 1922.
Why Is Love (Arr: Grofe)--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1925.
Her Beaus Are Only Rainbows--Waring's Pennsylvanians (Voc: Tom Waring), 1926.
Humming--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1921.
Rosie--Medley--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1920.
Money Blues (Hugo Frey)--Joseph C. Smith's Orch., 1916.
I've Got a Shooting Box in Scotland (Porter)--Joseph C. Smith's O., 1917.
Queen of Sheba (Lewis)--Ted Lewis Jazz Band, 1921.
Footloose--Carl Fenton's Orch., 1925.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday morning gospel for 8/23/15

Me, on the Casio WK-3800, multi-tracked with Sonar X2 software.  Today's three gospel hymns are

Sound the Battle Cry (William F. Sherwin, 1869)
The Banner of the Cross (Chas. H. Gabriel, 1918)
Storm the Fort (John H. Tenney, 1879)

Click here to hear: SMG for 8/23/15



Monday, August 17, 2015

Sunday night/Monday a.m. gospel for 8/16!

That's me, from my beard(ed?) period of recent times.  I was able to sustain it for several months, but eventually my skin said no.  Always happens.  Sucks, because a beard is ideal for me, but no point getting hairy about it, I suppose.

The hand is mine, too, and I'll have to note that it's had far fewer dry-skin issues after we switched to Mrs. Meyers liquid hand soap.  This is not an ad, but give Mrs. Meyers a try.  Ditch the 409 and get her Multi-Purpose Everyday Cleaner.  Best stuff in the world.

This evening's gospel selections are, as ever, me on my Casio WK-3800, multi-tracked up to eight times via my Sonar X2 program--the one I gave up on at least four times in the course of learning it. I guess my favorite (after God Is Working His Purpose Out) is Hubert Parry's 1916 Jerusalem, which I first heard from Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Brain Salad Surgery (my brother's LP, not mine) and then on a Monty Python episode.  The tune shows up in the Methodist hymnal with the hymn text O Day of Peace That Dimly Shines, but it will be forever associated with the following awesome William Blake poem:

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England's pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire;
Bring me my Spear: O cloud unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand;
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England's green & pleasant Land

I piled up a ton of tones on Jerusalem, because I like the thick sonic texture that results from doing so, even if some of the sounds end up slightly lost in the mix.  I'm thinking the three pianos, for example, which provide wonderful support but don't exactly dominate.  The cello and flute are the stars of this arrangement.

Be Strong! and Holy Is the Lord are killer tunes I've been using over my past 20 years as a small-church organist and pianist.  (They're in my "Old Standbys" folder, along with Vom Himmel Hoch and The Glory Song.)  Plus, six more, including a Lee Hartsfeld original from around 1990--my Offertory in F Major, in F Major.

Don't B-flat.  B-sharp.  B-natural.

Click hear to hear: Sunday Evening Gospel for 8/16


God Is Working His Purpose Out (Millicent Kingham, 1894)
Jerusalem (Hubert Parry, 1916)
And Can It Be That I Should Gain (Thomas Campbell, 1825)
Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah (John Hughes, 1907)
Infinite God, To Thee We Raise (Joseph Barnby, 1872)
Be Strong! (Carl Price, 1921)
Mighty God, While Angels Bless Thee (Francois Barthelemon, 1785)
Offertory in F Major (Lee Hartsfeld, 1990)
Holy Is the Lord (William Bradbury, 1869)

Lee Hartsfeld, on the Casio WK-3800.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday (shortly after) morning gospel for 7/26!

Six selections for our Sunday just-after-morning, all played by me on my Casio WK-3800 and multi-tracked and mixed on/with my Sonar X2 program, with audio effects added on my MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab MX and I think I'm missing a few commas here but what the heck it's cyberspace.  That's me, above, matted in front of some church (the photo was titled "pretty church").  Now you know.

These selections will make you feel all gospel-y.  Charles Gabriel's Thou Mighty to Save is my favorite, even if my Casio orchestration makes it sound like a Ferris wheel accompaniment.  I also love Ira Sankey's Go and Work! tune, a totally new one on me.  It does the once-standard routine of having the verse in 3/4 and the chorus in 4/4.  That was cutting-edge back in the day (late 19th and early 20th centuries).  1868's Christian, Dost Thou See Them? is a gorgeous tune which I'm playing a little too fast here. It's by the great John B. Dykes, best known for the music to Holy, Holy, Holy! and the magnificent Eternal Father Strong to Save, which I've always placed second on my Greatest Hymns list, after Martin Luther's A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (a.k.a. the Davey and Goliath theme).

The other three are church standards, but only at this blog can you hear me playing them in seven or eight combined tracks--hence, they don't betray the name of my blog.  That is, you (possibly) won't hear them anyplace else, unless the tracks are swiped, a la my SoundCloud tracks, and featured in various free-mp3 playlists--in which case, my blog title is a lie, and I'm a fraud, and Limon isn't really the secret of Sprite.

To the hymns:

Sunday morning gospel for 7/26

Thou Mighty To Save (Chas. H. Gabriel, 1917)
Go and Work (Ira Sankey, 1907?)
Spirit of the Living God (Trad., arr. Ralph Vaughn Williams, 1906)
Christian, Dost Thou See Them (John B. Dykes, 1868)
St. Thomas (Aaron Williams, 1770)
O, Master Let Me Walk with Thee (H. Percy Smith, 1874)

Played by Lee Hartsfeld on his Casio WK-3800.