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
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)