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Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Moon Dreams - Norman Petty


You Stepped Out Of A Dream

Moon Dreams 
The Norman Petty Trio
Columbia Records CL 1092

From the back cover: Either the composition or the performance of a hit song is often all it takes to make a star, and when both functions are performed by the same person, the process is a good deal easier. This is what happened with Norman Petty and Almost Paradise, one of the biggest successes of 1957. Norman wrote the song at his home in Clovis, New Mexico, recorded it with his trio, and suddenly found the fame and fortune for which he had been working tumbling into his lap. The performance, of course, was not entirely single-handed; Norman had the expert assistance of his attractive wife Vi, who plays the piano and sings, and of the drummer who forms the third member of the Trio. In this collection, the Trio's first for Columbia Records, the theme is taken from another Norman Petty composition, Moondreams, and is carried on through a delightful series of ballads dealing either with moonlight or dreaming, forming a singularly attractive listening session.

Norman Petty began playing the piano when he was only five but took no formal instruction until he was eleven. As it happened, he had become so accustomed by that time to playing by ear that he completely frustrated his teacher, copying mistakes she made intentionally in her demonstrations. This led to an impasse that ended the lessons, but Norman continued his playing, adding the Solovox to his repertoire of instruments and working up an avid interest in recording techniques at the same time during his high school years. After graduation, he was hired by the Clovis radio station as musician and announcer, and at the same time he opened his own recording studios in the town. This kept him busy until 1948, when he married his childhood sweetheart, Vi Brady, and almost simultaneously lost his job. Vi was an expert pianist, so they decided to form a trio consisting of organ, piano and guitar. They began work in Dallas and soon were welcomed warmly throughout the Midwest and Southwest.

With his interest in recording, Norman decided to make a record of one of his most-requested numbers, Duke Ellington's Mood Indigo. Word got around about the recording, and it developed into a hit of fairly impressive proportions. But just about that time the guitarist was forced to retire from the trio, and Norm and Vi, decided to employ a drummer instead, and the Norman Petty Trio as it now stands came into existence: Norman at the organ, equipped with vibrachord, Vi at the piano, and the drummer. Norman continued his experiments with recording whenever they were able to spend a little time at home, and one day he wrote a melody for himself which he recorded in his home studio. Later, he made a second recording track in a theatre with unique acoustics, mixed the tapes together, and came up with his best-selling Almost Paradise. Since that time, the Trio has been in demand for appearances from coast to coast and has been signed to record for Columbia.

From Billboard - March 31, 1958: Here is Petty's first Columbia LP – a listenable collection of "dream and moon songs" – "How High The Moon," "Dream Lover," "Moonlight Sonata," etc. The trio (organ with vibrachord, piano and drums) performs attractively, while album theme lends itself nicely to mood music programming.

How High The Moon
Magic Is The Moonlight
Full Moon And Empty Arms
"Moonlight" Sonata
All I Do Is Dream Of You
Dream Lover
A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes
You Stepped Out Of A Dream
I Dream Too Much
If You Are But A Dream

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