Sunday, May 13, 2018

A near-legit collection of TV themes from SPC

Diplomat was a Synthetic Plastics Co. label, which makes The Themes from Ben Casey, Dr. Kildare and Other Great TV Shows a fairly extraordinary issue--for SPC, I mean.  First off, despite the typically lousy pressing, the sound quality is mostly very good.  Second, there's amazingly little fakery going on, selection-wise.  That is to say, most of these really are the TV themes in question.  (Helps that several are public-domain pieces.)  Exceptions: Victory at Sea (while a clever arrangement, this is not the VAS theme), The French Review and The Hawaiian Spectacular--the last two, because I can find no record of any such TV shows having ever existed.

Plus, there was no Alfred Hitchcock TV Show.  There were Alfred Hitchcock Presents and the Alfred Hitchcock Hour, however.  And it was The Danny Thomas Show--no "TV." Minor points, but still....

The p.d. selections are Tales from the Vienna Woods (Arthur Murray), Danny Boy (Danny Thomas), and Funeral March of a Marionette (Hitchcock).  No doubt, SPC had recordings of these sitting around in their vast, cheap library.

The Late Show theme is, of course, Leroy Anderson's wonderful The Syncopated Clock.

Anyway, a whopping seven out of ten of these TV themes are the real McCoy, making this a near-legit collection in that regard.  Most astonishingly, the titles on the back jacket are listed in the actual order they appear on the disc.  And the cover is rather nice.  Maybe I dreamed the whole thing.

(Bear with the lethargic Ben Casey rendition--it gets much better.)

Click here to hear: The Themes from...

Theme from Ben Casey
Theme from Cheyenne
Theme from the Late Show
Theme from Arthur Murray's TV Party
Theme from the French Review
Theme from Dr. Kildare
Theme from Victory at Sea
Theme from the Danny Thomas TV Show
Theme from the Alfred Hitchcock TV Show
Theme from the Hawaiian Spectacular

(No artists credited; Diplomat 2269; 1962)

Sorry about the Zippshare shenanigans--just close the fake page that comes up when you first press the donwload button, then try again.  Should work second time.  And, of course, choose "block" for notifications.


Sunday, May 06, 2018

An easy-listening LP of current hits from just BEFORE the Beatles

My reason for buying this LP?  The colorful cover?  No, it had more to do with the track line-up, a very unusual one for an easy-listening LP.  Surfer Girl My Boy Friend's BackThen He Kissed Me?  Not tracks you expect on an LP of this type.

There's a simple reason for that, I think--this LP is pre-Beatles, chart-wise.  Barely (late 1963), but it's pre-Beatles (as in, before the Beatles hit the American shores).  I have a theory that, post-Beatles, it was easier for the big bands, Ray Charles Singers-type groups, and individual pop singers to do LPs of current hits in pretty much the same style from track to track, simply because the Top 40 lost a measure of diversity during the Invasion.  A big measure.  (Nothing against the B. Invasion--I love a lot of it.)  Plus, post-Beatles, labels seem to have developed a sense of keeping the adult stuff separate from the teen stuff.  No More and My Boyfriend's Back on the same collection.  That would be like Satisfaction and People on the same 1965 easy-listening disc.  Not likely.  (Now, watch me find such an LP in my next thrift trip.)  So this LP is an important relic.

This LP is also fascinating in the variety of approaches employed.  And in the attempts to achieve something like the sounds of the originals in the rock numbers My Boyfriend's Back/Then He Kissed me, Candy Girl, and Wait 'Til My Babby Gets Home.  A very pleasant surprise.

And how could I not have bought an easy-listening LP that includes Surfer Girl?  Impossible.

A classic, for its weird line-up and the completely unexpected diversity of approaches to the big hits being covered.  However, while writing this post, I spot-listened to the 1961 "Living Stereo" LP,  Ray Ellis Plays the Top 20, which has a rock and roll sound throughout, plus a line-up of songs that are mostly in the same vein.  Kind of blasts my pre-Beatles/post-Beatles theories out of the water!  So, uh, just disregard my previous speculations.

Oh, well.  Some nights are like that.  Enjoy:

Click here to hear:  Leroy Holmes Singers--14 Big Hits

If I Had a Hammer
Blue Velvet
My Boyfriend's Back
Then He Kissed Me
Hey Girl
Wait 'Til My Bobby Gets Home
Treat My Baby Good
Green, Green
Cry Baby
Danke Schoen
Candy Girl
Blowin' in the Wind ("Originally made famous by Peter, Paul & Mary"--from jacket)
Surfer Girl

Above is the track listing as presented on LP's rear, but at least a couple tracks feature two titles in one cut.  No accounting for the typos "Then He Kissed Me Mother" on the front jacket or "Wait 'Til My Baby Gets Home" on the label.  (It's "Bobby")

14 Big Hits--The Leroy Holmes Singers (United Artists UAL 3306, 1963)