Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Morton Gould--Elliot Everett and His Orch. (Varsity VLP6041)

Another Record Corp. of America classic, only this time in very acceptable sound.  In fact, the sound quality is pretty astonishing for Royale/Varsity.  (Note that the jacket says Varsity, and the label says Royale.  Typical fake-RCA attention to detail.)

Five excellent compositions by American composer and conductor Morton Gould, plus two filler tracks not by him--Brazilian Boogie and Third-Man (sic) Theme.  A perfectly good ten-inch LP, which makes it superb by Royale standards.  "Recorded in Europe," says the label.  Elliot Everett is a pseudonym.

I used my 3.5 elliptical LP stylus, and it was the right choice.

To the Gould: Morton Gould--Elliot Everett and his Orch. (Varsity/Royale 6041)


Sunday, March 19, 2017

An Hour of Lousy Sound Star Dust--Royale Concert Orchestra

The back jacket promises "full fidelity," which would normally be a good thing, but not when the label is Royale.

Royale, of course, was a member of the Record Corporation of America's stable of ultra-cheap labels, and An Hour of Star Dust is one of the least competently recorded and engineered fake-RCA releases of all--a horrifying charge, but true.  It also contains some of the funnest music anywhere in the company's catalog, so there's that.

By the way, I wrote "fake-RCA" to distinguish RCA from, for instance, RCA.

Did I say incompetently engineered?  Well, on top of the substandard (but full!) fidelity, we have the loud sound of a machine turning on and off between the tracks--a noise I graciously eliminated for you (am I a great guy or what?).  Where these recordings came from, I can't venture to guess--radio broadcasts, maybe?  I'm picturing a hand-held microphone, a tape recorder, and a radio.  That would explain the extremely low fidelity here.

Have I insulted the sound sufficiently?  Probably not.  But, as I noted, this is highly fun stuff, and it's one heck of a cheap-label relic. Note that Hollywood Concerto is actually a male chorus singing sea songs.  Possibly Royale had intended to include something by that name (Hollywood Concerto) but their clerk grabbed the wrong masters or something.  Not worth puzzling over.  It was just the RCA (not to be confused with RCA) way.

To the fun sounds:  An Hour of Star Dust

(See LP front for track listing.)


Friday, March 17, 2017

Ten-inch Kosty: Kostelanetz Strings (1950)

What can I say about this LP?  Well, for one, that I hope I didn't overdo the bass in my restoration.  After inverting the RIAA LP curve (my favorite thing to do!), I set the bass rollover frequency at 500, which might be too boomy (so to speak).  Let me know.

What else can I say about this LP?  Well, it's totally superb, and nobody else--repeat, nobody else--had Kosty's ability to give a fresh feel to music we've (possibly) heard a thousand times.  For instance, dig the angels-in-the-clouds opening to Londonderry Air (which I used to think was about a type of oxygen), and dig the brilliant work on Pizzicato Polka, Hungarian Dance No. 5, and the played-to-death Flight of the Bumble Bee.  This is music so beautifully performed and recorded, your ears don't care that they're on their umpteenth go-round.

I'll have to ask, though--is Schubert's The Bee a standard?  Unlike all the other titles, The Bee doesn't buzz a bell, so maybe it's not a Pops perennial.  If not, why not?  It's great.  I was going to try to make a "ring a bell" pun, but "sting like hell" is the best I could do, so I'll let it bee.  (Get it?  Let it bee???)

Somewhere, I read a review which used the term "Kostelanetized" (can't remember the spelling) to describe what Kosty (or his arrangers, more precisely) did.  Maybe it referred to all the added-sixth and I 6/9 chords. (On the piano, starting on the C below middle C, play C-G-C-E-A-D.  Transpose as needed per key.)  Add in a B under the D for flavor.

 For a more Bacharach-style chord, play C-E-G-B-D-E-G-B. This ends today's music lesson.

To the ten-inch Kosty: Kostelanetz Strings


Humoresque (Dvorak)
Hora Staccato (Dinicu-Heifetz)
Traumerei (Schumann)
The Bee (Shubert)
Flight of the Bumble Bee (Rimsky-Korsakov)
Lullaby (Brahms)
Pizzicato Polka (Johann and Josef Strauss)
Londonderry Air (Traditional)
Hungarian Dance No. 5 in F-Sharp Minor (Brahms)

(Columbia ML 2100; 1950)


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Night and Day--Andre Kostelanetz (1940)

DonHo57 mentioned Andre Kostelanetz' recording of Night and Day as one of his "top ten easy listening big band recordings," And here's my rip thereof.

I'm almost sure that this 1940 recording is the same one featured on that 1961 Lucky Strike LP (Remember How Great...?).  It's a cool rendition, anyway.

Click here to hear:  Night and Day--Andre K. and His Orch., 1940


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Kosty for Saturday

This is the music we'll be hearing today:

People from all around the globe have been asking me, "How about some Saturday Kosty?"  And so here is some Saturday Kosty for today (Saturday--coincidence?).  Kosty=Kostelanetz, as in Andre.  Like Irving Berlin, Kosty was born in Russia.  Which has nothing to do with anything, but I like to mention it because I love to rattle off obscure pop music factoids.  But only if I know them.  And, come to think of it, Kostelanetz being from Russia isn't that obscure a factoid....  Anyway.

Today's Kosty is the usual light classical/Broadway/Tin Pan Alley mix.  We start with a brilliant performance of Villa-Lobos' 1930 classic, The Little Train of the Caipira, in superb 1953 sound, followed by a dreamy rendition of Debussy's Clair de Lune., either the 1940 or 1952 recording (I suspect '52).  I ripped both great-sounding tracks from the 1955 CL- (mostly a re. of the 1953 ML-) series Columbia LP, Clair de Lune and Popular Favorites, of which I'd planned to make a full-LP rip until I noticed (with my ears) the needle-drop marks throughout.  All pretty loud.  Curses.  But these two selections were more than repairable with MAGIX declicking.  Thank you, O Vinyl God.

Gabriel Pierne's Entrance of the Little Fauns (note: no w!), according to a Kosty discography I'm looking at right now, was recorded in 1955.  Then, a "medley" I edited together of selections (from three Kosty LPs) by Vincent Youmans, Hugh Martin, and Richard Rodgers.  We end with Harold Arlen's Blues in the Night (rec. 1944) and a perfect version of Arthur Schwartz' marvelous You and the Night and the Music (rec. 1950?).

People who pass over the Kosty LPs at Goodwill are only leaving more for us Andre fans to find.

Click here to hear: Saturday Kosty


The Little Train of the Caipira (Toccata; Villa-Lobos), 1953
Clair de Lune (Debussy), 1940 or 1952.
Entrance of the Little Fauns (Pierne), 1955.
Youmans-Martin-Rodgers Medley (edited together by me).
Blues in the Night (Arlen), 1944.
You and the Night and the Music (Schwartz), 1950?