Friday, September 07, 2018
Moods for Pleasure Time--Royale Concert Orch. (Allegro-Royale 1506)
Gilmarvinyl asked if I have any background or showtune albums on the Eli Oberstein budget labels, and yes, I do. This is one of them--and it's terrific. Even the recording quality is mostly quite decent, and that's often anything but the case with this family of discs. My copy may very well have been unplayed prior to me placing a stylus in the grooves--no way to be sure, since cheap label pressings are never the best. But the occasional clicks and pops--all removed--sounded to my ears like imperfections in the vinyl. So I'm guessing that, when this arrived in my collection, it was fresh as the day it was born--if we don't count the sixty or so years it spent sitting around (or standing up, if it was properly stored).
Over the years, I've formed all kinds of elaborate theories about the evolution of mood music/easy listening. I had it starting with light concert works (some of them novelties) of the late 19th and early 20th century--A Hunt in the Black Forest, Lotus Land, etc. But nowadays I think of it simply as a specific treatment of song standards. And I just typed two paragraphs in which I tried to describe that treatment in detail, but I failed completely, so I deleted them. Let's forget it ever happened.
Easy listening/mood music is best described as, um, something. Yes. As a... kind of music. That's it.
Whatever it is, it has coexisted with light concert music ("Pops") for decades--hence, Andre Kostelanetz and other "beautiful music" conductors made LPs of both the more salon-type works of Debussy, Ravel, Schubert, et al. and collections of tunes by Arlen, Berlin, and Youmans. The two strains ended up on concert stages together, and eventually "Pops" came to include... anything. Nowadays, "Pops" means, "There's an orchestra, yes, but nothing serious is going to happen, so don't worry."
The charming Every Little Movement is from 1910, so I don't know how it became a mood/easy standard (Meredith Willson did a version in that mode, too), but I'm all right with that. Except for the piano sides (good, but not the "Royale Concert Orchestra"), these all have a heavily 1940s feeling, which means they could well be repackaged material by a name conductor or bandleader, despite the "Recorded in Europe" claim on the cover and the "Royale Concert Orchestra" credit. Not that these covers would lie, except most of the time.
Is Limehouse Blues a mood standard, you ask? To the best of my knowledge no. The tempo's too fast, but Allegro-Royale doesn't care what I think. It's another mood track of many moods, like Every Little Movement. It reminds me of the Paul Whiteman "concert" arrangements, all of which featured four or five approaches to a given song in the space of a single twelve-inch 78 rpm side. The over-the-top track on this LP, though, is Temptation, which starts out like King Kong waking up from a nap and finding Ann gone.
Before I close, here is the alternate version of this LP's cover (I think it's more common). I swiped the image from Discogs.
Personally, I don't associate pleasure with an arrow in the, um, chest, but this is certainly way more interesting than my version.
Click here to hear: Moods for Pleasure Time--Allegro-Royale 1506
I'm in the Mood for Love
Body and Soul
I Didn't Know What Time It Was
All of Me
Every Little Movement
I've Got Five Dollars
April in Paris
I Can't Give You Anything but Love
Moods for Pleasure Time--Royale Concert Orchestra (Allegro-Royale 1506)