Friday, June 22, 2018

Symphony of the Blues--The Vienna World Pops Symphony Orch., c. Hans Hagen (1958)

A cool thrift find on the Crown label.  Not in the best condition, but I did my usual obsessive de-clicking (most of it with MAGIX's "Draw Wave Shape" tool, which allows the user to manually remove clicks and pops), so it sounds pretty good.  Time-consuming, and I could have simply left in the noise, but I'm obsessive.  What can I say?  And I'd rather restore a 50-cent copy than buy one on eBay for $18 plus postage (the lone copy presently at the joint).  And given the wildly inaccurate vinyl grading that happens at eBay, how do I know I'd get a better copy?  I just tossed out a "near mint" copy of a 12 Top Hits disc so littered with scratches, I gave up trying to restore it.  The dealer has 100 percent positive feedback, somehow, despite his or her inability to see long and deep tone-arm trails on a vinyl surface.  Astounding.  Apparently, it takes a specialized eye to spot such things, and a specialized knowledge of playback to know that long scratches produce noise.

I don't bother contacting dealers about small-ticket items, since I'd end up spending more to return a disc than I paid for it.  There's always the chance of a refund (vice return), but buying records on eBay is a roll of the dice, and when I get a lemon, I simply avoid the dealer from then on.  So there.

I'm supposed to be describing this record, not writing an essay on eBay.  But let me add that I take it easy on record graders given that most of them have nothing to play vinyl with.  (A handy, but legit, excuse.)  In which case, they'd hear the clicks, snaps, pops, etc.  That is, unless their hearing was as challenged as their vision....

But this is a thrift, not an eBay, buy, and being a person with the remarkable ability to actually see marks on a record surface, I knew right off this would be a MAGIX workout.  The Vienna World Pops Symphony Orch. (doesn't that sound completely made up, and badly?) is directed by Hans Hagen, who is a professor of computer science at the University of Kaiserslautern in, of course, Germany.  No, wait--that can't be the same guy.  Let's see--Hans Hagen Homes?  No, no.  Okay, here we are: Hans Hagen.  He looks a little like Danny Kaye in the picture.  How did he end up on Crown, I wonder?  I mean, this guy was on some genuine labels.

Amazingly, all but one of these are actual Tin Pan Alley classics, meaning royalties had to be paid.  Highly atypical for a junk label (save for the "Top Hits" type of collections).  Unless it skipped the royalties-paying part.

I love the music on this disc.  Love the cover, too, despite the cheapjack photo quality.  (I'm assuming it's a professionally done pic badly reproduced.)  Very 101 Strings but less gimmicky.  Pretty much what we'd expect from Pops renditions of blues (and "blues"-in-the-title) numbers, but with terrific stereo sound and highly competent arranging and playing.  A pleasant surprise.

Should be an apostrophe after "Nothin" in the sixth title, but I'm repeating Crown's typo.  Proper archiving and all.

Click here to experience: Symphony of the Blues

Basin Street Blues
Things Ain't What They Used to Be
Stormy Weather
Heartache Blues
Shades of Blues
I Ain't Got Nothin but the Blues
St. Louis Blues
Prelude to the Blues
Goodbye Blues
Vienna Blues

Symphony of the Blues--Vienna World Pops Symphony Orch., c. Hans Hagen
Crown CST 118 (1958)



Ernie said...

Isn't that The Hollywood Bowl in the picture? Do they have one of those in Germany? Or Austria? Hmm...seems legit.

Lee Hartsfeld said...

Looks like the HB to me, too, but maybe it's an imitation. Those Europeans want to be like us so badly, you know. (Just kidding!)

Ernie said...

There's probably one in China, too. They like to copy American architecture. :)