The twist: A 1958 Hank Ballard song whose chart success happened in 1960 and 1962 (courtesy of Chubby Checker), and whose chief period of popularity (the height of the twist-ploitation craze) occurred in the latter year. Thus, we have Ray Anthony presenting his 1962 variant.
I thought this would be a less time-consuming jacket photoshopping job and manual click removal task. That's what I get for predicting. Turns out that the VG-looking surface had its share of crosscuts. The type which elude VinylStudio (with its bass protection feature), with some easily removed by MAGIX's wave shape "pencil," but others requiring a track splice (hard to pull off without an audible gap).
And lots of black area to photoshop-fill on the front and rear jacket: The kind of wear that becomes painfully visible upon scanning. But, finally, it's ready to go. And I'm as sane as when I started. You can read that as you wish.
Should I start with the good features or the not so good ones? Drawbacks: Monotony of presentation: There seemed to be a lot of repetition in Anthony's arrangements. However, this impression could be a consequence of the many times I had to halt the file and review two- and three-second sections while deleting audio spikes. I can't make a fair judgment until I listen to the restored file straight through.
Plus, there's the Capitol stereo, which was no blessing to record buyers. Luckily, this is for-real stereo, as opposed to that awful "Duophonic" process (a type of fake stereo) too often employed by the label. But here we've got the all-of-the-instruments/singers-in-the-same-channel kind of unrealistic stereo separation, which may as well be binaural. But, again, it is stereo. Or binaural-sounding stereo.
The pluses? The excellent musicianship we would expect, and in fact do get, from Ray Anthony (albeit, not always in key). And the delightful "period" sound--in this case, the kind of "canned" Discotheque music so common to TV shows and movies of the early 1960s. Nice nostalgia trip. Plus, clever takes on (what else?) The Bunny Hop, Tequila, Peter Gunn, Hound Dog, Night Train, Mexican Hat Dance (oh, well), and Rock Around the Clock. That last title is the reason I thrifted this LP, oh, about five years back. Anthony's version is called Twist and Rock Around the Clock, though I don't know for certain that it's possible to do both at the same time.
Why not simply Twist Around the Clock? Well, there was a movie and single by that name, so I'm guessing this was an instance of copyright-claim avoidance. And the notes excitedly announce Ray Anthony twist originals ("hard-rocking Anthony originals"), including Twist Around Mister, Let's Twist (very evocative), Bookend Twist, and Twistin' Alice. All of which became cherished and honored members of the Great Rock and Roll Songbook. (Wait--they didn't?) But I love the idea of Ray Anthony twist originals. It appeals to me, somehow.
Worth a listen, and once more I'm inspired to wonder why the twist was greeted like a new era in popular music. Like a massively major event. I mean, eight-to-the-bar boogie-woogie had already been heard in the person of Pete Johnson, Will Bradley, Freddie Stack, Chuck Miller, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis (when not using triplets), and contemporary surf music. Some have suggested that the twist was an across-the-generations dance craze: nice and clean, with nothing suggestive (a la "rock") about "twist." Yet, I've read that the twist was criticized for not being close-contact dancing, like "real," respectable dancing. Of course, in an earlier era, close dancing had been scandalous (e.g., the waltz). These things go in circles, I guess. As someone once said, "You can't please anyone." And it just occurred to me that a bunny hop/twist hybrid is likely not something I'd want to see.
DOWNLOAD: The Twist--Ray Anthony and His Bookends (Capitol St-1668; 1962)
Bunny Hop Twist
Twist Around Mister
Tequila With a Twist
Peter Gunn Twist
Twistin' Hound Dog
Night Train Twist
Twist and Rock Around the Clock
Mexican Hat Dance Twist