Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bring on the Vibrato




















If you're under 70 and know Ken Griffin at all, you're probably familiar with his posthumous musical appearance (Ebb Tide) on Mad Men. Ken was possibly the highest-selling organist of the period, likely because he was the most middle of the road. This is almost-entirely unaccompanied organ, though midway through we get a light flirtation with some percussion.

Ken Griffen At The Organ - To Each His Own
Columbia ‎– CL 1599

A1 To Each His Own
A2 It Must Be True
A3 Music In My Heart
A4 Stormy Weather
A5 Crying In The Chapel
A6 Pretend
B1 Why Did You Break My Heart
B2 For All We Know
B3 Limberlost
B4 Lonesome
B5 Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucomp
B6 Galway Bay

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The (Legendary) Old Favorite Cutec MR402D

This blog gets a lot of traffic from folks looking for info about this old 4-track cassette recorder.
(In fact, that's exactly what I said in this post.)

I've gotten requests for the user manual, which I have finally located, scanned, and now made available in a zipped folder:

Cutec MR402D User Manual

 Mine came with a hardshell case, but this is a nice little gig-bag.




Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Wonder Twins Activate! Shape of a Piano!


































Another beautiful gatefold set from the 60's - this time it's United Artists getting in on the "Wall To Wall Stereo" game that was pioneered by Command Records.

Ferrante & Teicher were a duo of American piano players, known for their light arrangements of familiar classical pieces, movie soundtracks, and show tunes, and that's fully what I expected when I dropped this disc on the turntable for the first time. What I got, however, was something completely different - an album of songs as performed by John Cage had he grown up as an easy-listening piano player. F&T prepare/play their pianos with "sticks, mutes, bones, and strums" and blast through a set of show tunes and original compositions that neatly fall into the general "space age bachelor pad music" genre, complete with exaggerated stereo effects.

As usual, the liner notes (see below for an excerpt) are extensive, detailing the preparations and processes for each piece, as well as the general recording processes used to produce the final product.

Fantastic mid-century modern album graphics by


This is one of the best unexpected surprises ever in my crate digging.


Ferrante and Teicher - Dynamic Twin Pianos (United Artists Ultra Audio WWS-8504 1960)


Side 1:
Blue Skies (Irving Berlin - 2:07)
Tea For Two (V. Youmans & I. Caser - 2:38)
A Bee And His Honey (Ferrante & Teicher - 1:17)
The Lady Is A Tramp (R. Rogers & L. Hart - 2:27)
The Sheik Of Araby (Ted Snyder, F. Wheeler & H. Smith - 1:55)
Alternating Current (Ferrante & Teicher - 2:12)

Side 2:
Cold Turkey (Ferrante & Teicher - 2:05)
Mine (George & Ira Gershwin - 2:28)
Holiday For Strings (David Rose & Sam Gallop - 2:23)
They Can't Take That Away From Me (George & Ira Gershwin - 2:35)
Echo Canyon (Ferrante & Teicher - 2:04)
Liza (Ira Gershwin, Gus Kahn & George Gershwin - 2:17).


About FERRANTE and TEICHER
Ferrante & Teicher: Keyboard KapersFerrante and Teicher have been purveying their delightful style of twin piano work for many years. Both with serious classical backgrounds, they turned their talents to bright popular twin piano work early in their careers and ever since have enjoyed concert hall and record success as is attested to by their hit recording of "The Theme From The Apartment" on United Artist Records, the parent company of Ultra Audio. Ferrante and Teicher are the leading exponents of what are commonly called "prepared pianos." These are pianos in which the sound is altered to create effects the instrument itself is not capable of producing. Via the prepared piano technique Ferrante and Teicher have been able to develop exciting and striking musical effects that enhances their performances and makes them unique among piano duos. This album represents some of the most imaginative and dazzling sounds yet created by the artists.
Some of the effects that you can hear in this album are extremely complex and took Ferrante and Teicher years to develop. And the pianists are still keeping the manner in which they develop some of these effects a deeply guarded secret. However, the pianists have given names to many of the effects they are able to produce on their prepared pianos, and are willing to tell how they produce them. When Ferrante and Teicher started work with prepared pianos, they realized the need of a fresh set of musical terms to identify the sounds they were creating. This served to relieve the problems of communication between the artists and the recording engineers.
Here is a list of the terms used by Ferrante and Teicher to identify some of their special effects:
STICKS—Small pieces of wood or metal are placed on the strings to produce a sound similar to a harpsichord or honky tonk piano.
MUTES—Wedges of rubber, felt, or paper, are inserted between the strings. This allows the notes played to be heard without any ring. The effect is similar to a bongo or conga drum, or at times, even to a caliope calliope. However, in many cases the sound cannot be compared to any musical instrument.
BONES—This sound is achieved in similar fashion to mutes except for the place­ment of wedges producing a sound like a tuned bongo, xylophone or temple block.
STRUMS—The strings of a piano are strummed with the finger or a pick of varying stiffness. This produces the effect of a harp, guitar or zither.
These terms are used to describe the highlights of various selections in this album.
Ferrante and Teicher do not try, in developing their unusual piano effects, to imitate the sound of other musical instruments. Their intent has been to derive as many valid sounds from their prepared pianos as their imaginations make possible. That they have vivid imaginations is brilliantly illustrated in this new album, an adventure into "The World Of Recorded Sound."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Don't Worry, Be Fitty

 



















Bonnie Prudden  was an American physical fitness pioneer, expert rock climber and mountaineer. Her report to President Eisenhower on the unfitness of American children as compared with their European counterparts led to the formation of the President’s Council on Youth Fitness. Here she leads you through an LP worth of exercises to a peppy, jazzy industrial-music-type soundtrack.


Keep Fit Be Happy with Bonnie Prudden  (Warner Bros. Records ‎– WS 1358 1960)


A1 Adios
A2 Escape To Monaco
A3 Holiday For Strings
A4 Fiddle-Faddle
A5 Gobelues
A6 Tico-Tico
A7 Wait Till You See Her
A8 The Most Beautiful Girl In The World
A9 Escape To Monaco
B1 Adios (With Instructions)
B2 Adios (Without Instructions)
B3 Wait Till You See Her (With Instructions)
B4 Wait Till You See Her (Without Instructions)
B5 Fiddle-Faddle (With Instructions)
B6 Fiddle-Faddle (Without Instructions)
B7 Sophisticated Lady

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Paar For The Course






















Cuban pianist and arranger Jose Melis gained fame as the bandleader on The Tonight Show when Jack Paar took over as host from Steve Allen in 1957. Melis and Paar continued on the show until 1962.

Jose Melis Plays His TV Favorites -  Mercury MG-20683 1962  

  1. You Stepped Out of a Dream (2:12) Nacio Herb Brown - Gus Kahn
  2. Autumn Concerto (2:29) C. Bargoni - Danpa
  3. Blue Guitar (2:30) Jose Melis - F. Marino
  4. A Dreamer's Holiday (2:54)  Mabel Wayne - Kim Gannon
  5. June Concerto (2:54) Jose Melis
  6. Port-Au-Prince (2:30) Bernie Wayne
  7. I'll Remember April (2:35) Gene DePaul - Don Raye - Pat Johnson
  8. An Affair to Remember (Our Love Affair) (3:03) Harry Warren - Harold Adamson - Leo McCarey
  9. The Breeze and I (3:07) Ernesto Lecuona - Al Stillman
  10. My Melancholy Baby (2:50) Ernie Burnett - George A. Norton
  11. I Cry By Night (2:40) Jack Segal - Marvin Fisher
  12. Let's Do It (2:37) Cole Porter

Friday, March 07, 2014

Let The Good Times Jelly Roll



















Released on this 10" LP circa 1953, this is some classic Americana and includes trombonist Kid Ory.


Jelly Roll Morton and His Red Hot Peppers - Volume One  (Jolly Roger 5001)

* Doctor Jazz
* Original Jelly Roll Blues
* Smokehouse Blues
* Steamboat Stomp
* Grandpa's Spells
* Cannon Ball Blues
* The Chant
* Black Bottom Stomp

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Getting Put Through The Mill




















The Ray Sisters closed the Tribute to Lou Reed show at the Mill in North Charleston on Valentine's Day 2014. Unfortunately, due to the late start of the event the band had less time than the usual painful hour to drive patrons out of the bar - slightly over 16 minutes (or shorter than the original song). The band for this event included two newcomers and one regular playing a different instrument than at previous shows.


Greg Corbett: vocal, guitar
Kevin Crothers: bass
Matt Butler: drums
Stefan Rogenmoser: keyboard
Issac  Story: guitar
David Vincent: harp
Josh McDowell: guitar

The Ray Sisters - Sister Ray - The Mill 2-14-14