Monday, April 28, 2014

Ain't no party like an easy-listening/sing-along par-tay!

This MCA Special Products compilation has an odd mixture of easy-listening/lounge music and Mitch Miller-like sing-along tunes. Since I'm a big fan of the lounge genre, I can tolerate the other stuff while waiting at the tiki bar.

Various Artists - Let's Have A Party DL734615

Roger Williams - The Girl From Ipanema
Sammy Davis, Jr. - Tenderly
Liberace - Anniversary Song
Pete Fountain - Hello Dolly!
Jack Jones - I'll Get By

Ames Brothers - Good Fellow Medley (Hail, Hail, The Gang's All Here/For He's A Jolly Good Fellow/Auld Lang Syne)
Lawrence Welk and His Champagne Music - Beer Barrel Polka
Johnny Long - In A Shanty In Old Shanty Town
Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians - Happy Days Are Here Again
Ames Brothers - Good Fellow Medley part 2 (Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight/Home Sweet Home/Goodnight Ladies)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Oh I Wish I Was In a Dixieland Band....

Pretty good stereo disc of trad jazz/Dixieland. The Kings Of Dixieland was a studio group that recorded for budget label Crown between 1957-1962.

Kings of Dixieland - Volume 5
(1961 Crown CST-220)

On The Banks Of The Wabash
King Fish Blues
Merry Widow Waltz
East Side, West Side
The Band Played On
The Stars And Stripes
Bicycle Built For Two
You Tell Me Your Dreams
Meet Me In St. Louis, Louis
Dark Eyes 

Calling 2004 - The Kings of Dixieland have a myspace page.

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).

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."