This is where stuff that won't fit on the Shellac Shanty or AudiOddities blogs. Lounge, funk, or just stuff that I happen to like run through my addled brain. Eclectica forever!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Four Dimensions of Andre Previn

Andre Previn has always beenone of my favorite musicians. The fact that he is a great composer (he was working at MGM when he was 18), arranger, and conductor, just makes it all so much sweeter. I have somewhere in here some of his jazz piano stuff on Contemporary Records (GREAT trio jazz!), and every once in a while I'll throw it on the turntable, or on the playlist in the computer, or on the CD player, depending on where I'm at.

This is kind of a slice, or a group of slices, of his film work, From the Overture to "Gigi" to a suite of light pieces from "Invitation to the Dance" to the heavy orchestral themes from "The Four HOrsemen of the Apocalypse" to the jazz score of "The Subterraneans", this LP shows Mr. Previn is comfortable in any mode of composition.

This is great stuff from a 1963 MGM LP I picked up in the thrift store, I only wish that it had been the stereo release, but beggars can't be choosers for USD$0.99... this is one of those records I am not gonna blather on too much about, because the music speaks volumes on its' own.

Cover scans are here:
The front...
The back (good liners, worth reading!)

Enjoy The Four Dimensions of Andre Previn.

Friday, September 15, 2006

RCA sampler - Taken From the Top

A double shot of LP goodness today!

Got for you an RCA VIctor sampler form 1962, with all live performances. Unfortunately this was only available in mono, but the quality is so good, I ripped it at my "really good shiznat mono" setting, that being 160/44 FHg.

Lots of goodies here, from Al Hirt to Jan Peerce... waitaminnit, JAN PEERCE? What's an opera singer doing on a pops LP? A damn fine job of "September Song" actually... and we get to hear how cloyingly cute Ann-Margaret was. Also great performances by the likes of Della Reese, Jonah Jones, Lena Horne... it's a great set list of live performances.

...all, of course, to get you to buy the full LPs, Victor marketing ain't no dummies!

Cover scans are here:
The front...
The back

Sit back, and enjoy some GREAT live numbers, Taken From the Top.

The Mason Williams Ear Show

Let's take a little break from the lounge & light music to turn to a brilliant songwriter and one of his best efforts at musical art.

Mason Williams, creator of the great hit tune "Classical Gas", followed up that LP ("The Mason Williams Phonograph Record") with this one, which has some (relatively) newer compositions, plus some things that had been lingering in his briefcase. There are some great pieces that he did for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in here, even a little ditty he did for Bank of America in the 60s, that they paid for but never used.

So, you say, this is just a bunch of STUFF. Yes, but it is a GREAT bunch of stuff. And, to my knowledge, it's not currently in print on CD.

One interesting piece on here is one of the first uses of the Moog Synthesizer, aside from Wendy Carlos' "Switched-On Bach"... and the liner notes go through how long it took to get 2 minutes and 45 seconds of tune. The rest of the rear liner notes makes interesting reading as well, including the full list of performers.

Even though this is a collection of stuff, it's a great view into a composer's mind, as well as showing off some of his portfolio.

Cover scans are here:
The front...
The back

The Mason Williams Ear Show.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Mantovani- Gems Forever

Here's another wonderful sounding London FFSS 'Blueback', this time of Mantovani & his Orchestra. Unfortunately, this was a later pressing, but the jacket still has the goofy "StereoPhonic" bit on the upper right, so it was an earlier blueback recording, but a later pressing... the little grey blotch on top I think gives it away as a later press, that plus the "7E" in the matrix number...

It's still a nice set of mood musics, typical lush Mantovani string arrangements, something to chase the chill away on the autumnal evenings (which we are getting now here... the aspens are starting to turn colors, which means that we're gonna have some snow flying soon in the Rockies)...

Not much else to say about this, I'm gonna leave all the "Man-to-van-i, the F F S S Treat" (sing it to the Rice-A-Roni Song) jokes aside, and leave you with the music and the cover scans.

Cover scans are here:
The front...
The back

Light up the fire, grab your hunny-bunny, and offer her some Gems Forever.

You're Hearing George Shearing

This is an EP that I really wish I had a copy of in better condition than the one I have to post for you today. Why? Because, this EP shows George in a very transitional phase between 'just a jazz pianist' and where he would end up 8 to 10 years later, as a phenominal arranger & composer. This EP shows the beginnings of where the lounge classics that we all know and love... the ideas were percolating in his head for all those classics on Capitol... just listen to his solo rendition of "Summertime" on this disc and you'll see what I mean.

George goes solo on a couple of cuts, the remainder is his quintet, and the arrangements are all lush and in the Shearing Style.

I think that some of these may have been released on 78, because I distinctly remember a couple of cuts here... and there are none of the dynamic acrobatics from the mixing console that really impaired his recordings on Discovery in 1958-9... those were really really over-engineered... none of that here!

I got to meet Mr. Shearing in 1973 when he was on tour and played at my high school, such a gentleman, and he has HUGE hands! Now you know how he was able to achieve all those wonderful chord voicings!

Cover scans are here:
The front...
The back (with some very nice liner notes by Leonard Feather, including a little history of George's transition between the UK and the US in the late 40s).

Relax and celebrate, for You're Hearing George Shearing!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Bongos / Reeds / Brass (Vol. 2)

OK, time to get back into the lounge groove thing... with a little ping-pong stereo to boot! Here we have a Life label (from HiFi Records) record from the early 1960s, with some very interesting percussion arrangements, along with a LOT of low register reeds... this'll give the subwoofer a workout... the tunes are pretty stock, but done in an interesting manner... no Hugo Winterhalter here!

I have included the 2-page inner-jacket scans in here, because they show some interesting pics and descriptions (and prices!) of recording equipment in the early 1960s...

The tunes are great, the recording is wonderful, even though the disc was a little bit trashed, CoolEdit did its' thing.

Remember, leave comments if'n you like it, so I know more of what to put up here... and also, if you feel so moved, drop a few shekels into the donation box... please.

Cover scans are here:
The front...
The back...
The first part of the inside...
The other part of the inside...

Check out these nifty Bongos / Reeds / Brass!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Frank Chacksfield - Immortal Serenades

I had a request for some more Frank Chacksfield back from the run of UK Decca stereo stuff, so here is one to keep you going.... because I found ANOTHER stash of euro-Deccas and RCAs on LP!

Here we have Frank doing serenades, both from operas as well as light classical pieces, and all of them with the quality of arrangements and performance we associate with Frank Chacksfield. This is another London "blueback", noted for excellent recording qualities and fancied by collectors... but you get the goodies! Fer nuttin'!

Seriously, this is some very fine light classical music, very enjoyable, with the promise of more to come in the future.

Cover scans are here:
The front...
The back...

Get serenaded by Frank Chacksfield!

Renato Rascel con l'Orchestra Kramer

I found a couple of Italian 10-inch EPs a few months ago, and in the process of moving things around to put tup the new shelves for the reel to reel tapes, these got unearthed. I posted the other one over on AudiOddities, but since apparently not as many of you go there, I'll post the other one here.

I know even less about Renato Rascel than I do about Marino Marini, except that Rascel was apparently a HUGE cinema star in the 50s in Italy.... I looked at a couple of sites, all in Italian, and even saw in the search bar something called "Dracula Cha Cha Cha"... Born in 1912 and died in 1991, he was also something of the comic actor, but from what I saw, he had a screen 'charm' that a lot of people went for... this is making me curious to see some of his work now, I'm sure that there are snippets of it up on YouTube and other places...

Anyways, this is a 1955 EP, released on Italian Odeon, and it is very pleasurable listening, indeed! You can hear some of the comic element in a couple of the songs, and there is a VERY nice version of "Arrivederci Roma" on here, backed (on all tracks) by l'Orchestra Kramer. Nice stuff, this!

Cover scans are here:
The front...
The back...

Bon giorno, Renato Rascel!