Monday, October 24, 2016

The Frankenstein Brothers Present... Halloween Instrumentals, Part One!

I heard a rumor that Halloween is coming.  So did the Frankenstein Brothers (pictured above).  Don't they look like they're out to avenge someone or something?  They have that going-to-the-showdown look.  Well, except for the guy in the bib (a finger puppet, for people with raccoon-sized digits).

Maybe we can send them over to Windstream headquarters to get some action going on this on/off, off/on connection thing.  No, no, just kidding.  Never threaten your ISP, even in jest.  Of course, should these guys decide to march on over there, it's not within my power to prevent them.  First, they'd have to find out where Windstream headquarters are.  That would help.

Frankie 1: Must find Windstream headquarters.  By the way, where is it?  Frankie 3:  I was wondering that, myself.  Frankie 2: Shut up and keep hulking.

For this slaylist, I've resurrected Sammy Kaye's extremely space-age-pop recording of the theme from William Castle's The Night Walker (1964), plus Mantovani's marvelous 1955 recording of Morton Gould's Deserted Ballroom--the best-ever version, imo.  The Sundowners are back, in a new rip, with Charles R. Grean's The Thing.

New, much better rips on Earl Fuller's Graveyard Blues (1918) and Mummy Mine (1919), and an improved Greenwich Witch, with composer Zez Confrey on the piano.  Hal Herzon's rendering of Morton Gould's Robot comes from a genuinely weird LP, one which gives the buyer zero idea what to expect, unless multiple poses of an attractive bikinied model with too much makeup shouts "concert jazz by Morton Gould."   It's not the same bandleader's 1948 MGM recording, as far as I know.  Just to clear that up.

Ferde Grofe's Rip Van Winkle is from the composer's Hudson River Suite, and this is an edited-down version of Andre Kostelanetz' 1955 recording.  Grofe's 1963 Trick or Treat is Kostelanetz again, from the two-record Spirit of '76 set.  Recorded in 1976, of course.

What can I say about John Arthur Meale's The Storm (recorded by the composer in 1926)?  Well, first off, it may have originated as an organ improvisation, and it doesn't appear to have been published.  It existed as early as 1905, and appears to have originally been called Storm at Sea (which would explain the stanza of Eternal Father, Strong to Save).  The sections (quoted from a 1906 recital announcement) are:

Calm at Sea--Distant Thunder--Rising Wind--Hooting of Sirens in the distance--Hymn, "Eternal Father, strong to save"--Tempestuous Sea (theme on the Pedal Organ during the storm)--Thunder rolls away--Thanksgiving Hymn, "O God, our help in ages past," etc.

To my ears, perfect Lon Chaney, Sr. silent film background music.  Gramophone magazine called The Storm "a ludicrous piece of theatricalism," and "a demonstration of the worst excesses of which the organ is capable."  Hm.  But did they like it, otherwise?

To the sounds:  Halloween Instrumentals, Part One!


Prelude  (Rachmaninoff, Arr. C. Morena)--Marek Weber, 1928
In the Hall of the Mountain King--Bill Bell, Tuba, 1958
The Storm (Meale)--1926 (from 1928 Victor pressing)
The Thing--The Sundowners Band, 1951
Greenwich Witch (Confrey)--Zez Confrey, piano solo, 1922
Rip Van Winkle (Grofe)--Andre Kostelanetz, 1955 (edited 45-rpm version)
Deserted Ballroom (Gould)--Mantovani, 1955
Graveyard Blues--Earl Fuller's Rector Novelty Orch.,, 1918
Mummy Mine--Earl Fuller's Rector Novelty Orch., 1919
Robot (Gould)--Hal Herzon and His Orch.
Theme from the Night Walker (V. Mizzy)
Trick or Treat (Grofe)--Andre Kostelanetz



garrido said...

say lee, you owe it to yourself to hear the composition "Hyperion Polka" performed by brett baker. In case you hadn't heard the musical news, Manuel Yingling Day was proclaimed by the town of Newcomerstown, Ohio. he died very young 1872-1925 and was born in newcomerstown, going on to join the John Philip Sousa band. try to hear it at this website: (look under heading audio-video) you will not be disappointed, it is a wonderful wonderful tune.

Lee Hartsfeld said...


Very nice piece! It's like hearing one of my 1911 78s in digital stereo!

We're not too far from Newcomerstown....