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10/23/14

A Tribute To Glenn Miller: Johnny Gregory and his London Orchestra (Halo Records)

This Halo release is very special. You see, this was an album composed of Jerry Grey, pause of dramatic effect, and The Glenn Miller Orchestra recordings! In 1952 Jerry Grey was the leader of the Glenn Miller Orchestra when these recordings were cut for radio transcription disks. Oberstien used some of these recordings as filler on some of his albums prior to this Halo Release. This time Oberstien got cocky, and took these recordings and released an entire album of this ill gotten material. He was sued by Jerry Grey shortly after the album was released for the grand sum of 500,000 dollars according to the Billboard in 1958. Oberstien probably realized he was in very hot legal water, and settled out of court for a lesser sum. He never released the Glenn Miller material again (except for reissue of a couple of albums that used "Shine On Harvest Moon" by the Glenn Miller Orchestra as filler on previous releases). This is some pretty great material, Mood Indigo, Blue Champagne, Holiday For Strings, what more could you ask from an budget release?

Besides the fascinating history and content found on this record, there are some technical details I wish to bring up. My copy has some scratches, which resulted in some jumps and other artifacts. There is even a few moments of hiss, but forgive that, this is still a very great auditory experience!



Tracks are listed as the appeared in the video:

Side 1

My Isle Of Golden Dreams (0:00)
Blue Champagne (2:00)
Holiday For Strings (3:58)- Certainly an amazing track, well worth the 6 minute investment one would make in listening to this track.
Flow Gently (10:02)
Long Ago (11:30)
Don't Be That Way (13:10)
Anvil Chorus (14:45)
Shine On Harvest Moon (17:35)
Valse Triste (19:52)
Loch Lomond (22:26)
Mood Indigo (24:29)

10/21/14

The Broadway Orchestra & Singer Present: It's A Grand Old Flag, A Collection of George M. Cohan Hits and others…

George M. Cohan, a man who's music is the very personification of the American spirit. This albums first side gives us 10 tracks of Cohan greatness, of which two songs are featured twice (So Long Mary and Over There). My copy has been played one times to many, and so there are jumps and noise that are commonplace with a worn styrene record. Yes ladies and gentlemen, Halo records were pressed out of styrene... I will get to the boring technical stuff that explains that later. Anyways, the first selection starts you off with a smooth Female vocalist (unknown because of the generic label credit), then the stylus takes us through very 40's style recordings, and then precedes with a fantastic Instrumental of "So Long Mary". The A side closes with a  stirring marching band rendition of "Over There". The B side's contents relate in no way to the previous side. It was typical for Oberstien (Owner of a slew of budget labels in the 1950's) for his late budget reissue labels. Most of the B sides of these release were just simply sides from previous albums Oberstien has issued before, and this album is certainly no acceptation to that practice. The B side is a collection of, for the lack of better term "Elevator Music" or background music. It's swell music still, I enjoy this as much as the previous side's offering make no mistake about that.

The engineering on this album was pretty decent from a sonic perspective. The problem with this copy is due to the fact that it is worn and slightly scratched (Halo records almost never play through without at lease a jump or skip). The first selection is rather damaged, yet the artistic value merits its inclusion in this video. First tracks on this label's release are not often free from sonic flaws in my experience. I own quite a few Halo releases, so I can say this with some level of confidence. Regardless of the sonic flaws of this copy being presented here, I think people that are used to dealing with such flaws as the price to pay in order to hear rare and or obscure music will find this well worth their time.






Songs and times they appear in the video:

Side A

Give My Regards To Broadway (0:00)
Your A Grand Old Flag (2:24)
So Long Mary
Over There
Yankee Doddle Dandy
Mary's A Grand Old Name
Harrigan
45 Minutes From Broadway
So Long Mary (Instrumental)
Over There

Side B

I'm Following My Secret Heart
La Petite
Falling In Love Again
Apache Waltz
Oh, What A Pal Was Mary
The One Rose
Oh How I Miss You Tonight

Somerset Records Presents: The Most Politically Correct Minstrel Show You Can Possibly Hear


This is about as politically correct as a minstrel show can get. I don't imagine anyone getting offended by this album. This album was released in 1959, a few years prior to the Civil Rights Movement, so these kinds of albums were still marketable. This album reminds of an album released by Crown Records released around the same time, "Songs Al Jolson Made Famous", which featured a man in black face. I have that posted on YouTube, just in case you wanted to see or hear it.

The engineering is flawless, the numbers featured on this record are nothing short of awe inspiring. This is truly an album that you must hear in its entirety. So I hope you have some time to spare for this amazing budget record release!

From the back cover: "A complete. Old time minstrel show in your living room to-night! Through brilliant performances and sparkling stereophonic recordings you can sit down in your armchair and avoid the hard seats and the drafty old town hall where grandpa got the "Boot" out of the opening march and all the acts that followed, None of the great color or hilarity is missing! It's all here, the band, chorus, and banjo and bones, all the great solos and the comedy between Mr. Interlocutor and his end men. This is American entertainment at it's best- Circa 1890......." There is more liner notes, however the rest of it goes on to explain the boring technical details of this albums production.

I hope you will enjoy "A Complete Minstrel Show!"

10/16/14

The Royale Concert Orchestra performs "Broadway Hits"

Yet another fine Royale record album. This album is a collection of Broadway hits arranged by Russell Bennett. Robert Russell Bennett, was an arranger that worked with Richard Rogers, Jerome Kerns and George Gershwin. Russell was well known for his relationship with these composers, as he often worked side by side with them when making his arrangements. His greatest arranging work was for "Victory At Sea", where he took the twelve themes contributed by Richard Rogers and arranged eleven and a half hours of music for the show. Bennett described his own philosophy: "The perfect arrangement is one that manages to be most 'becoming' to the melody at all points." Through this, he kept his commercial arrangements simple and straightforward, with a careful ear for balance and color. 

The recordings were made under the direction of Russell Bennett…. However they were made in mid-1940's. That explains the less then stellar sound quality, as the tracks on this LP came from 78 rpm records. The album sound quality as a result is not that great even for an early 50's release when combined with the noisy vinyl and shellac mixture this record was press on.



Side 1

Rose Marie Overture
Soft Lights and Sweet Music
With A Song In My Heart
What Is This Thing Called Love
Oh What A Beautiful Morning
Surrey With The Fringe On The Top
The Song Is You
Softly As In The Morning Sunrise

Side 2

You Are Love
Thou Swell
Summertime
Why Do I love You
Speak Low
Hoops
Of Thee I Sing

A Pickwick Symphony (or the first post I have made since last Christmas)

Were you wondering if I would ever made another post again? Well, I'm back for awhile, and I might even make regular (and almost daily) posts for the next couple of months.

I have been very busy on Youtube since the last post, so I will not be short on material to present you.

I now present you with:

 The Hampshire Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra plays, Beethoven's 5th and Schubert's 8th Symphony on Design Records!

Design records was Pickwick's first LP record line. The initial releases were had liner notes, jackets with the album title printed on the spine, and inner sleeves. 1957-1958 was the golden age for budget record labels. In an era where "Tops/Mayfair" was king, every budget label had to match the high production standards, high quality pressings, and quality jackets and sleeves to match.

That being the case, Design was trying to release the best possible products for the very competitive budget record market. The stereo recordings were true stereo, and the quality of the recording were excellent.

This album is a example of how the budget labels were making their albums in the 1957-1958 era. This album features extensive liner notes, blurb after blurb about how high quality the album was. In short this album is one of the better budget Classical releases. After this time period, all acrossed the board budget labels issued albums in shoddy jackets and with noisy vinyl.

The albums features two infamous Classical compositions;  Beethoven's 5th Symphony, an Schubert's Unfinished Symphony (8th). The first side has almost the entire Beethoven's 5th symphony. They decide to trim the 2nd movement with no explanation.

Side 1

Beethoven's 5th part one (0:04) -The complete 1st movement
Beethoven's 5th part two (6:31) -Portion of the movement 2, and the complete movements of 3 and 4.



Side 2

Schubert's Unfinished 8th Symphony (18:19)