Saturday, October 03, 2009
My copy of Found Sound from Outer Space came with a pile of 45s from eBay, and I was expecting campy sounds. I mean, it had to be campy--the Wurlitzer 4037 Organ with a built-in synthesizer (Orbit III) and tracks like Spinning Wheel and Aquarius.
And it is. It's also expertly arranged and brilliantly performed. The first question that came into my mind as I listened to these numbers: "Who is Glenn Derringer?"
So far, I've discovered that he was a child prodigy on the accordion, a la Dominic Frontiere. He made a 1956 LP for ABC-Paramount called Young Ideas--at the time, he was a performer on the Mickey Mouse Club. Plus a 1957 ABC LP called Accent on Youth. And a bunch of albums for Wurlitzer.
And he is or was the president of Kustom. Well, I knew he was somebody, as they say. And he is. So nice to see the ultra-talented succeed.
The perfect background for a space-music Halloween (and who doesn't want a space-music Halloween?). The music is great fun, and this guy is good. Scary-good. And scary fits with Halloween. My favorite? If I had to pick, it would be the beautifully Bach-style arrangement of Walter Donaldson's Love Me or Love Me.
No year, but we can guess 1969/70. To the spacey sounds:
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AQUARIUS (MacDermot, Rado, Ragni) SUNNY (Hebb) SPINNING WHEEL (Thomas) LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME (Kahn, Donaldson) THE GIRL FROM IPANEMA (Jobim, Gimbel, DeMoraes) WHEN THE SAINTS GO MARCHIN' IN
Glenn Derringer, Wurlitzer 4037 Organ, w. Orbit III synthesizer.
Friday, October 02, 2009
"The Halloween posts are everywhere!!"
Halloween Countdown, explained: CTH Explained
List of participants: CTH Participants
To partially quote Jeff Corey from the "O.B.I.T." episode of The Outer Limits, "The Halloween posts are everywhere!!"
A nice space motif, and not a space-related track to be heard today. Ah, but wait.
Meanwhile, if only I could remember if the spaceman on the left went with a Buck Rogers toy series or a Flash Gordon set. Or neither. I have a bunch of these, including a wonderful robot--all Fifties plastic. Twenty minutes of Google searching hasn't helped, though I suspect Buck Rogers. The robot in the middle is vintage Rite Aid.
But today, it's all about Dracula, Chopin, Grieg, and a friendly ghost. A ghost friend, anyway. My two pieces--including Dracula's Doorbell--are examples of what can be done, mad-composer-wise, to a Casio CTK-551 organ and piano patch with echo, reverb, filtering, track overlaying, and other sound mutations. Dracula's is definitely a doorbell you want to press and then run. Then again, once you're on the doorstep of Drac's castle, where is there to run to? You can't run back to the coach--it's gone. And the road leading to the castle can't be any safer than inside the castle--and it's raining, to boot. Wolves are howling. Bats are swooping. You're screwed. Sorry about that.
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MARCH FUNEBRE (Chopin)--Whittemore and Lowe, duo-pianists, 1958. IN THE HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING (Grieg)--Same. POKER NIGHT IN DRACULA'S CASTLE (Hartsfeld)--Lee Hartsfeld, Casio CTK-551, 2009. DRACULA'S DOORBELL (Hartsfeld)--Same. MY FRIEND THE GHOST--Jill Whitney, 1954.
Thursday, October 01, 2009
Tommy sez, "Halloween is coming!" And it is.
Our five-song playlist starts with my very own arrangement of Gounod's theme for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, which Gounod had no idea he was writing. In my hands, his Funeral March for a Marionette becomes Funeral Disco (you can tell I was stuck for a name). It's not exactly Disco, but the overall sound reminds me of those great Merv Griffin instrumentals from the Disco era. (Insert segue) Speaking of Merv, no Halloween is Halloween without Merv's 1961 Screamin' Meemies from Planet "X". I mean, in my opinion. And no helping of Screamin' Meemies is complete without Burt Bacharach's sci-fi novelties Moon Man and Take Me to Your Ladder. Again, in my view.
Beatrice Kay's Hooray, Hooray, I'm Goin' Away, predates They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa! by nineteen years, and--while not nearly as intense--is nearly as classic a novelty in its own fright. Er, right. Anyway, the plan is to present a five-song playlist (or thereabouts) for each day of October. To which Tommy (above) says, "Buwa-Ha-Ha!!"
Meanwhile, post-Halloween weather has invaded our neck of the haunted woods. Lower 30s last night. Welcome to October.
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HALLOWEEN DISCO (Gounod-Hartsfeld)--Lee Hartsfeld, Noteworthy Composer, 2009.
HOORAY, HOORAY, I'M GOIN' AWAY (Skylar)--Beatrice Kay, 1947.
THE SCREAMIN' MEEMIES FROM PLANET "X" (Roberts)--Merv Griffin, 1961.
MOON MAN (Bacharach-David)--Gloria Lambert, 1959.
TAKE ME TO YOUR LADDER (Bacharach-Hilliard)--Buddy Clinton, 1960.
My friend Pete Grendysa confirmed that all four Ferrante and Teicher tracks featured last post had indeed been recorded for Joe Davis' label in 1952. Pete quoted from Bruce Bastin's Never Sell a Copyright (Storyville, 1990):
"On September 8 (1952), (Joe Davis) recorded the piano duet of Arthur Ferrante and Louis Teicher, cutting four selections. The first recorded was Deryck Sampson's 'Boogie Express', given a far smoother treatment, while the originally titled 'St. Louis Boogie' by them was retitled on their contract to 'Mississippi Boogie.' Perhaps Davis wished no conscious riding on the coat-tails of W.C. Handy's 'St. Louis Blues.' 'High High High" and 'African Echoes' completed the session."
From later in the text:
"In 1962 the four titles he had cut by pianists Ferrante and Teicher were leased - United States rights only - to Synthetic Plastics Record Corp. who had offices on New York's 8th Avenue, close to the old Mastertone Studios."
There we have it. Oh, and I just discovered another copy of the LP in my collection. It's on Diplomat, and it sports a cover and label design even less inspiring than Guest Star's.
The 1966 Metro label Roger Williams & Ferrante and Teicher LP features a measly five tracks from Art and Lou's 1952 Piano Playouse LP on MGM, but five are far better than none (given that I don't have the MGM original). Whereas two of the four Joe Davis tracks were played on prepared pianos, none of these were. Just plain, non-prepared (unprepared?) piano(s), the astoshingly well-coordinated playing of Art and Lou, and arragements that manage to be soothing and substantial at the same time, complete with plenty of thick, gorgeous Shearing-style chords. A short but unforgettable playlist by the late, great two-piano team.
Click here to hear: ZIP FILE NO LONGER AVAILABLE
BEGIN THE BEGUINE
Roger Williams % Ferrante and Teicher (Metro MS-534)
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Four sides recorded for Joe Davis' label in 1952 and reissued on the ultra-cheap Guest Star label. And the transfers sound surprising good. Now, technically, I only know for sure that two of these (Mississippi Boogie and African Echoes) are Davis sides, but I'm almost completely nearly certain that the other two F&T tracks on this Guest Star LP are from the same session and label, even if they originally didn't see the light of disc.
I've never been more nearly certain in my life, to the best of my memory.
With only four Ferrante and Teicher tracks, and an entire cash-in-on-the-duo's-'60s-chart-success album to fill, Guest Star added six sides by Phillips and Burns with the Metropolitan Strings (and a vocal chorus)--sides that would be perfectly fine if both pianos were in tune with one another. They were not.
I've seen at least three versions of this LP, cover-art-wise, but this is the one (above) that resides in duplicate in my collection. Makes a perfect white-against-white-background image, no? (Oh, wait--I switched to a flesh-colored text background. Never mind.)
Just typing out loud. Sorry. To the prepared pianos of the late, great Art and Lou:
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HIGH, HIGH, HIGH (JAI, JAI, JAI)
(Wow--High, High, High. Chortle. Drugs. Sixties. Ha, ha. Youth culture. Wink, wink. Unintentional reference to. Guffaw.)