Saturday, October 02, 2010
More 78s, freshly ripped by me. I'm always re-ripping titles, convinced I can do a better job. Often, that turns out to be the case. But is it worth the "man-hours"? And what about woman-hours? Cat-hours? Do they receive the same level of respect?
These are the questions that keep us up at night.
Anyway, I think the 1926 Holst 78 ("Mercury" from The Planets) came out best--I'm really pleased with the results. There were two recordings of The Planets as conducted by Holst, and this was part of the second (I believe it was released ahead of the other movements). I found it in an album of 12" 78s at a Columbus, Ohio, bookstore. The album was randomly assorted, but the clerk regarded it as a single, complete set and didn't want to break it up. And I didn't want to purchase the whole thing--so, no sale. Next visit, he changed his mind. That's the exciting tale of how I came to buy this disc.
Also, from 1934, an eight piano ensemble (!) led by Philip Finch and recorded at the Carlton Theatre, Islington, England--they're pounding out Rachmaninoff's ultra-famous C-sharp minor prelude, which wasn't written as a Halloween work, but neither was Bach's Toccato and Fugue in d minor. That is to say, some things just happen.
Want cheap Halloween-hit knock-offs? (Who doesn't?) Then savor Cliff Holland's Tops label version of The Thing and Frank Thomas' Witch Doctor knock-off on Big 4 Hits. Did I say cheap?
Mantovani's Poem to the Moon expertly imitates Ravel and Debussy--and it is Mantovani's composition as well as performance. Of course, there are collectors who treat Monty like the epitome of schlock, like THE thrift-store maestro to avoid. Whatever. That just leaves more Monty for the rest of us.
1934's The Loch Ness Monster, a humorous monologue by British music hall star John Tilley, is hard to describe--but only because I know little about the genre in question. One source gave Vesta Tilley's birth and death dates for John's--Vesta having been a famous music hall male impersonator. Anyway, Monster makes much fun of the subject, in spots casually treating it as a hoax (which it was and is). Especially interesting is the tourist-attraction theme, the suggestion being that the L.N. tale was just another in a sea of local-monster myths. Again, which it was and is.
Media rumors never die. They just keep ringing up profits.
To the slaylist: Slaylist #2.
POEM TO THE MOON (Mantovani)--Mantovani and His Concert O., 1948.
PRELUDE IN C SHARP MINOR (Rachmaninoff)--Eight Piano Ensemble, 1934.
MERCURY (THE WINGED MESSENGER) (Holst)--Gustav Holst, c. London Symphony O., 1926.
DRY BONES--Bob Crosby and His Orch., 1940.
THE THING (Grean)--Cliff Holland w. Les Morgan Orch. (Tops 267)
WITCH DOCTOR--Frank Thomas (Big 4 Hits 233, 1958)
THE LOCH NESS MONSTER (J. Tilley)--John Tilley, 1934.
Friday, October 01, 2010
Our first slaylist for 2010 consists of thirteen 78s, all freshly restored by your blogger. The selections, dating from 1909 to 1947, are highly Halloween. So much so, you'll thrill. You'll chill. You'll cackle like Grandpa from The Munsters. You'll imitate the sound of a theremin by going "Ooooo-weee-oooo" in a high-pitched voice. You'll yell "Igor, throw the switch!" in an outrageously fake Boris Karloff accent. You'll use Halloween adjectives like "bat-tastic" and "scare-ific" as you laugh loudly and insanely and without stop. You'll yell "No! No! Let go of me! What are you doing?" as the white-coated attendants gently but firmly escort you to the van waiting outside.
So long. Don't forget to write.
To the slaylist: Slaylist No. 1
CHOPIN'S FUNERAL MARCH--Prince's Orchestra, 1909.
AH-HA!--Paul Whiteman and His Orch., 1925.
WITCHES' DANCE (HEXENTANZ) (MacDowell)--Leopold Godowsky, piano, 1921.
DANCE MACABRE (Saint-Saens)--Lew White, organ, w. xylophone and piano, 1941.
PRELUDE (Rachmaninoff)--Marek Weber and His Orch., 1926.
ON THE LEVEL YOU'RE A LITTLE DEVIL--Irene Farber & Lewis James, 1918.
GREENWICH WITCH (Confrey)--Zez Confrey, piano solo, 1921.
SNAKES HIPS--Original Memphis Five, 1923.
CAT STEP--Sanford's Famous Dance Orch., 1920.
IN THE HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING (Grieg)--Victor Symphony Orch., 1926.
THE FIRE DANCE (Manuel de Falla)--Hollywood Bowl Orch., c. Eugene Goossens, 1928.
FANTASTIC SYMPHONY: MARCH TO THE SCAFFOLD (Berlioz)--Same.
IT'S WITCHERY--Charlie Spivak and His O.; vocal: Tommy Mercer, 1947.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
I was shocked. Matt Taibbi, who I naturally thought was a rock'n'roll kind of guy, appeared last night on the MSNBC show of Catholic Lawrence O'Donnell, and yet Matt didn't so much as call Lawrence a God person, let alone point out how incredibly stupid, dangerous, and certifiably insane he considers Lawrence-style "God people" to be. And how they should be sent off to some camp. But you can read all about it in this sophisticated 2001 Taibbi piece at The Exile.
Matt, Matt. Is your career THAT important? Don't you feel cheap selling your principles down the line (and on cable TV) in return for an article plug? Not very rock'n'roll, dude.
Man up, Matt!
In other news, I read a sound-and-video-preservation article in today's paper that I thought could have been clearer. Luckily, this BBC News version is better. It talks about a fact that sound geeks like me are very geekily aware of--namely, that older recording mediums virtually preserve themselves, at least compared to newer technologies. For instance, I have some 1995 cassettes which feature "bleed-through" sound in quiet spots (a consequence of storage), whereas a reasonably well-preserved 1905 shellac disc sitting in a Goodwill stack will probably contain all, or most, of its original sound data, and ready to be retrieved with the proper needle and speed. (But who wants to listen to those, you ask? All right, leave, please.)
On the other hand, the piece talks about digital-only recordings that may disappear for want of being captured. But the same is true for past radio and TV broadcasts that weren't recorded, or for the many taped shows (in the reel to reel era) that were subsequently "wiped."
It's fascinating, and highly ironic, that copyright law might get in the way of recording preservation. No surprise there. Probably, the whole thing is hopeless.
On that can-do note, we see that it's only one day until Halloween posting. Am I ready? (Gulp.) I don't know....
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Are you ready to boogie? Really? Boy, are you at the wrong blog! Because we're about to hear five 1919-1926-era 78s, all recently remastered (love that word) by me. We start with Jose Maria Lacalle, who is famous for composing Amapola, leading his own band in his own composition (Plus Ultra) in 1926. So worn is the 78, I'd rate its condition as G- on a good day--and yet I was able to get fairly decent sound from it, my devotion to audio resurrection being so obsessive... I mean, absolute.
Joining Jose in our 78 party are Paul Whiteman, the Happy Six (directed by Harry Yerkes), and the Charles A. Prince-led Prince's Dance Orchestra. The Whiteman 78, from 1925, is mildly to moderately worn, but I saved the audio with my usual ruthless filtering. The first of the two Whiteman numbers--Charleston, arranged by Ferde Grofe--is brilliant, and it answers the question, "Can jazz be arranged and still be jazz?" with a resounding "Duhhh."
The Happy Six side, Do You Ever Think of Me, has a strong Grofe sound, whereas the Prince side, Yearning, has a Hugo Frey feel. (You were going to suggest the same thing? Cool.) The latter--written by Charles Neil Daniels, as Neil Moret--is superbly performed and arranged. How did people manage to have a good time before 78s?
Click here to hear: 78 rpm party
PLUS ULTRA (LACALLE)--Lacalle Spanish Band (Columbia 702-D; 1926)
CHARLESTON (Arr: Grofe)--Paul Whiteman and His Orch. (Victor 19671; 1925)
HONEY, I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU (Arr: Grofe)--Same.
DO YOU EVER THINK OF ME? (Intro: Coral Sea)--The Happy Six (Col. A-3372; 1921)
YEARNING (Daniels)--Prince's Dance Orch. (Col. A-2773; 1919)
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Great sacred choir music for our Sunday. My favorite--the Fanny Crosby-Charles Gabriel anthem Thou Mighty to Save, published in 1917, two years after Crosby's death. Read about Frances Jane Crosby at Cyberhymnal, THE source for such information, and MY(P)WHAE's favorite site.
Meanwhile, you'll notice that Fire Song's tune was the one used by Woody Guthrie for This Land Is Your Land.
Click here to hear: Old Fashioned Revival Hour Favorites (1964)
1. HEAVENLY SUNSHINE; EVERY DAY WITH JESUS; THERE'S AN OPEN HEAVEN TONIGHT; GLORY HALLELUJAH!
2. NO ONE EVER CARED FOR ME LIKE JESUS--Soprano solo by Marilyn Powell
3. TO GOD BE THE GLORY (Crosby-Doane)
4. NO NOT ONE (Oatman-Hugg)
5. FIRE SONG (WHEN THE WORLD'S ON FIRE)--Tenor solo by Bill Cole
6. O FOR A THOUSAND TONGUES
7. BY AND BY WHEN THE MORNING COMES
8. HIDING IN HIS LOVE
9. WHERE COULD I GO
10. SWEET BY AND BY
11. IT MAY BE TODAY--Duet by Ben & Beth Allen
12. THOU MIGHTY TO SAVE (Crosby-Gabriel)
Old Fashioned Revival Hour Favorites (Supreme 1020; 1964)