Friday, March 22, 2019

The Twin String Orchestras Play George Gershwin--Warren Edward Vincent, Conducting (1960)

This "low priced popular" release got a good review in the November 21, 1960 Billboard, and I agree with the reviewer that these "Gershwin evergreens make for nice restful background."  My copy showed up with a split cover, but luckily the vinyl was housed in a sleeve, so the disc was unharmed.  The stereo sound is very nice--sort of on the level of 101 Strings stereo, only less shrill, less doctored.  A surprising amount of stereo separation for a Pickwick label of this era, really.  Maybe Pickwick was trying for some respectability.  If so, this would be the way to go.

At the moment, I'm listening to the pizzicato beginning to Liza, and the mood switched even before I got done typing this sentence.  Now, that's mood.  The audio is not Columbia-level, to be sure, but it's way better than the dollar-bin norm.  I praise the Design label engineer for not jacking up the treble, which would have robbed the string sound of its body, even if it might have made the less expensive rigs of the day sound more "hi fi."  Such restraint is admirable on a budget label, and the same goes for the lack of added echo.  Never thought I'd hear myself praising Pickwick, but here I am.

Yes, fine stuff, but we really have to wonder--are we in fact hearing two orchestras, one in each channel, or just a single orchestra in stereo?  Ah-haaa.

And what was the "uni-groove system"?   It's mentioned in the "Compatible Fidelity" sticker on the front jacket.  And was Design's "'TWO WAY' STEREO long playing record" really a "revolution in recording," as claimed  on the back jacket by Danton (I Believe in Ghosts) Walker?  And I'm no audio expert, but don't the words "flat from 30 to 15,000 cycles" describe the RIAA curve only when, and if, your amplifier is set to that curve?  "Listen--be amazed!"  Well, I'm reading, and I'm amazed.

These budget jackets deserve their own branch of pop culture analysis.  Luckily, for all the hype that went into the packaging, the audio is gimmick-free, tasteful, and downright un-Pickwick.  Pickwick should have tried the quality route more often.

LINK:  The Twin Strings Orchestras Play George Gershwin

Fascinating Rhythm
Love Walked In
Love Is Here to Stay
I Got Rhythm
For You For Me For Evermore
A Foggy Day
They Can't Take That Away from Me
Nice Work if You Can Get It
Strike up the Band

The Twin String Orchestras Play George Gershwin--Warren Edward Vincent, Cond. (Design DCF-1033; 1960)



RonH said...

Beautiful. Thanks a lot.

DonHo57 said...

Any time I see an older Pickwick release I go back over to their Wikipedia spot. Pretty fascinating history that includes Lou Reed. My first PW LP was "Soul Mann and the Brothers" doing a complete cover LP of the "Shaft" soundtrack, and I still prefer much of it to the OST by Isaac Hayes. Then came reissues of swing orchestras, etc.

The Design Compatible Fidelity shtick is pretty interesting. And I think you're right about the RIAA curve point. I'll comment more after I give this a listen this weekend. Thanks, Lee!

Buster said...

I see this is one of those records conducted by the Man With Three First Names - Warren Edward Vincent. I thought I had posted another record he conducted on my blog, but I couldn't find it.

Anyway, more Gershwin is good Gershwin, as far as I cam concerned.

DonHo57 said...

After an afternoon listen, I love this recording, probably the main reason being how much it sounds like the arranging was done by my favorite arranger, Richard Maltby. It all has a touch of his influence for me, especially the use of harmony and the contrapuntal strings in several places. So it goes on my regular rotation playlist. Thanks again, Lee!!!

Lee Hartsfeld said...


Glad to hear! Yes, the liner notes make a point (no pun intended) of the counterpoint.

Hope everyone else enjoys. I agree, Buster--you can't have too much Gershwin.

Buster said...

Very enjoyable record. I do think there is some reverb on the tracks, though, although the sound is very pleasant.

DonHo - For all we know, these are Richard Maltby arrangements. If you look on Discogs, Vincent is a creature of Pickwick, so the name could have been a pseudonym. On one record, he conducts the "Royal Farnsworth Orchestra," which certainly is a made-up name. And another Royal Farnsworth record features Suzanne Auber on piano, who was actually Sondra Bianca, if I remember correctly.

Lee Hartsfeld said...

Yes, on second listen, I hear some reverb. I guess I was just surprised to hear so little, as these budget massed-strings LPs go. And I can't believe I just typed "as these budget massed-strings LPs go."

Anonymous said...

Link returns "403 Forbidden"


Lee Hartsfeld said...


I just tried it, and it's working now. Maybe the hosting site was down.

DonHo57 said...

Buster - I was wondering that very thing, knowing that many artists worked under pseudonyms for multiple groups and labels.

Anonymous said...

Zippyshare seems to be barred to users in Europe!

Lee Hartsfeld said...


Oh, no. That's not good. What's happening, exactly? Is it giving you a message to that effect?

Anonymous said...

See comments section on Zippyshare's own site here

Lee Hartsfeld said...

Oh, wonderful. But what UK copyrights am I violating, I wonder? I'm putting up U.S. material on Zippy, mostly cheap-label stuff, as in this post. My larger shares are at, and they would alert me if they received any complaints. And they haven't. Weird. Very sorry for the hassle. Let me reup this to Box. The only problem with Box is that it has limits on downloading bandwidth, but that's usually a problem only during Christmas, when I'm getting lots of traffic. I'll get the link changed ASAP.

Lee Hartsfeld said...

New link is up. If Zippyshare is blocking its entire site for ANY illegal content uploaded by anyone, then of course it's not an issue of any content I'm sharing through its service. That seems insane. It's bad enough that it would block all downloads by a given user, but this sounds like it's going down for the entire UK the moment it hears from the whatsit organization. This shit is unreal. It's bad enough that copyrights are extended on pop culture material that was never meant to have a shelf life of decades--comics being the most outrageous example--but, at least in the U.S., the law (to use that word comically) is set up so that any P.D. material floating around can be claimed by faceless outfits who just wake up one morning and decide that they "own" this or that track or album. In short, public domain is dead. The public never gets to own the material that it hosted. Minus the public's money, none of this copyrighted-forever stuff would have existed in the first place. But profit is God.