Friday, July 13, 2018
Manhattan Serenade--David Whitehall and His Orchestra (1958)
This is an LP I've had for many years and love to death. (Scan-n-Stitch Deluxe worked this time on the cover. We dispose of failed experiments in the back of the lab.) Gorgeous easy listening, though my last couple plays, the effect had dimmed from too much familiarity. Hopefully, this is new to you. If so, I envy you!
Chief liability: the cruddy sound on Side 2, not to mention the unequal volume between the two sides. The first one sounds more recently recorded--and very well for 1957--while side 2 is compressed and over-EQ'd (I cut some treble, and it helped, but the bass is still flabby and out of balance with the rest). I had to normalize the volume on the Savinos, but it's a valid move, because normalizing, of course, simply maxes the volume--it doesn't compress. That would be adding injury to injury. (Oh, and please bear with the annoying hum throughout. RCA Camden, remember.)
The Domenico Savino selections are as good as mood music gets, and seem to have comprised a suite (was Stars Over Manhattan the title?). If it was a suite, why didn't RCA Camden provide the title? Because they were cheap? Okay, I answered my own question.
No liner notes--just the shameful cheap-label bit of listing other titles on the same label. ("6 Record Deluxe Packages"?? Come again?)
Anyway, I'm sure the Savino tracks qualify as fluff, but masterfully composed fluff, so I dig them. Savino wrote pop songs during the 1920s, like Burning Sands, and sometimes spelled his name backwards on the record label (and, I presume, sheet music): Onivas. I'm sure there was a reason. Anyway, LP collectors have likely encountered his RCA Camden LPs, and he arranged for Paul Whiteman, and arranged for piano all of Ferde Grofe's orchestral pieces for Robbins Music Corp., and you get the picture. He even arranged Grofe's once-hyper-famous On the Trail for two pianos. The man had talent. Whitehall's orchestra is terrific, too.
A ten-stars-out-of-ten light music classic, and if my ears have become too used to the tracks, it's only because they're so good, I've felt compelled to play them over and over through the years. (Thank the stars for light-tracking tonearms.) I didn't anticipate dulling the thrill, but these things happen. Great stuff. (Update: Dawn still moves me like crazy.)
Click here to hear: Manhattan Serenade--David Whitehall and His Orch. (1958)
Love Is the Sweetest Thing
Song of the Flame
Stairway to the Stars
Song of the Vagabonds
Stars Over Manhattan (Savino)
Album Leaf (Savino)
Pretty Cinderella (Savino)
Central Park Casino (Savino)
Lovely Lady (Savino)
Manhattan Serenade--David Whitehall and His Orch. (RCA Camden 324; 1958)
I won't mention the fact that this LP contains thirteen tracks. (Theremin wail.) Oh, I just did.