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Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Versatones

Rock And Roll My Blues Away
The Versatones
RCA Victor LPM-1538

From the back cover: The year – 1956; the month – January; the organization – the DePaur Infantry Chorus. Here two buddies with excellent singing voices, and a third, who not only could sing but could also play guitar, began performing for their own enjoyment. In October 1956, these lads with nothing on their minds but music put aside their given names and became what is today one of the most potential trios in the music industry... possessing handsome features, fine showmanship, and great talent... The Versatones.

John Greenwood, leader, had varied childhood ambitions. However, he was constantly exposed to music at home and soon became fascinated by melodious tones. Completing Kent State University, receiving an invitation to a Marian Anderson Contest, and encouraged by his family by his family, John started his voice training as a tenor. First and foremost in his mind was music. He has appeared in "Carousel" and "Street Scene." When caught after a recording session and asked what he enjoyed most, John is apt to remark, "Why, hearing the song played back is just about the biggest thrill I get."

Music began early in life for Herbert Stubbs, his father being a guitarist. Since time commenced for Herbie he wanted nothing but to sing, and with assistance from teachers and friends, music became his life. He continued on to Juilliard with a scholarship. All types of music, appeal to this young man, but he feels that he gets the most satisfaction out of singing "work songs" whereby he can project the strength and depth of his voice (baritone bass). Prior to forming The Versatones, Herbie worked with the Melody Men, played the Palace, and appeared in "House of Flowers" and "Carmen Jones."

Ronald Chapman, with a childhood ambition of commercial illustration, soon trained his sights toward the musical field when his brother gave him a guitar. This was just the start of a great career of many fascinations. Glee Clubs and Gershwin Night at the Lewisohn Stadium are just a small portion of what went into forming his fine talent. He feels that the formation of his chosen profession began with the DePaur Chorus and the beginning of The Versatones. Here, indeed, is a man of many talents, composer of many tunes, processor of a fine baritone voice, and expert at the guitar and piano.

Bikini Baby!
The Sun Hasn't Shone
Hawaiian War Chant
Lovel Teenage Girl (Lovely Hula Girl)
Wagon Wheels
Rock And Roll My Blues Away
A Light Will Shine
All Around The Bush
Where Should I Begin
Ninety-Nine Percent Won't Do
Don't Darling Don't
Just Can't Hate For Lovin' You

Thinking Of You - Andre Previn

Lost Letter
Thinking Of You
Andre Previn
His Piano and Orchestra
Arranged and Conducted by Andre Previn
Cover Photo: Leigh Weiner
Columbia CS 8395

From the back cover: 

I might as well tell you at the outset that on the subject of Andre Previn, I am not an impartial observer. I have been observing I'm at close quarters for a good many years now, under all sorts of circumstances and in all kinds of roles, and from the beginning of our friendship, I have been what you call a partial observer. Unlike Will Rodgers, I have met a lot of men I didn't like – but Andre isn't one of them.

For the moment, let's forget the fact that he was born in Berlin in 1929, arrived in this country 10 years later (already an accomplished pianist), played with dance bands, graduated to soloist, developed into a wickedly talented movie composer and arranger, appears with first-line symphony orchestras, won two Academy Awards, swings in the best smoke-filled jazz spots – and, at 31, has only realized a smidgin of his colossal potential. No, let's not go through all that. You already know it by heart. It's one of the authentic musical legends of our time.

Let's talk for a moment about Andre Previn, the man, In the first place, he's a delightful conversationalist – witty, perceptive, original. You won't be surprised, if you've listened to only four bars of Previn, to know, he's a man of exquisite tastes. One small example: his growing collection of American paintings is well on the way to becoming one of the finest private holdings in the land. He's an insatiable reader. My job as a columnist requires me to read continually, but Andre has not only read every book I've read, he's read books I'll never get around to reading, plus books I never heard of, and to make it worse, he can quote long passages from most of them. Most important – and this is getting to be a quality almost unique among jazz pianists – he has humor. He can laugh at himself, and at the solemn pretensions of those who would take all the bounding, boundless joy out of jazz. He is, in short, the most eclectic of all the musicians I've met. The only reason I will now go on and call him the leader of the eclectics or, General Eclectic – is that he is as addicted to monstrous puns as I, Previn knows. Add to this the fact that he is married to an attractive, intelligent and talented girl named Dory Laugdon – she collaborated with him on When Will I Hear From You, one of the songs in this album – and you will understand why I am happy to tell you that Andre Previn is a lousy tennis player. He is not perfect.

I frist met Andre in 1950, during the Korean War, and there will be no puns at this point about "Body And Seoul" or "My Little Yalu Basket," At this time, I was in the morose habit of hanging around a tacky Market Street jazz spot called Fack's, drinking down my disappointment at not having been summoned to active duty by a grateful nation that had found me indispensable during World War II.

Well, I was standing at the bar there one night, choking on my own bitterness, when in walked this young soldier from the Presidio. I hated him on sight. Here he was, a defender, whereas I, who had been in the first wave to hit Omaha Beach in Nebraska, had been deemed too old, too soft. Also shy and nervous. Approaching the saloon's owners, George Andros, he asked diffidently: "Okay if I play the piano a little?" "Go ahead, kid," said Andros. I swung around to watch, sourly, as the soldier sat down. His hands, I noted, were short and stubby; at least he wouldn't play octaves in the manner of Carmen Cavallaro. But then he underwent a remarkable metamorphosis. The slouchy posture over the keyboard became a powerful crouch. The pudgy hands turned into steel traps. I could swear smoke came out of his ears as he suddenly pulled himself together and swooped down the keyboard with all the authority and confidence of pure talent. as a marvelous flood of notes, clear and sparkling as diamonds, swirled through the fetid air, I whisper to George: "Who's THAT?"

"Don't you know?" he answered, looking down his nose as though I had asked for a drink from Beethoven's Fifth, "That's Andre Previn. You never heard of him?"

Yes, I had heard of him, and now at last I was hearing him – the enfant incroyable who, though barely out of his teens, had already become the most hotly-discussed new pianist in a field overcrowded with formidable practitioners. To his detractors, and there were several, undoubtedly worried, he was "nothing more than a clever cocktail pianist." To his supporters, and there were many (and how they grew!), he was the most refreshing young gale to come blowing down the stale halls of jazz in years.

I think Andre, being intelligent, was aware of his critics, and he set about to prove them wrong with a vengeance. Year by year, he has expanded his style and range and repertoire until, from the standpoint of technique and imagination, he is the very definition of what cocktail piano isn't. His classical training and interest has stood him in good stead: unlike too many of his contemporaries, he knows the value of dynamics and shading. And his facility continues to be awesome. Today, there is hardly a jazz pianist around who doesn't suspect, secretly, that he has found a way to play the cracks.

To use perhaps the most overworked word in the lexicon, I think you'll like the sound of this album, the latest in the long string of Previn successes. It is the sound of quality – the sounds of Andre Previn. – Herb Caen, San Francisco Chronicle

Thinking Of You
When Will I Hear From You
I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter
P.S. I Love You
Hello My Lover, Goodbye
Yours Sincerely
What's New
Lost Letter
I Remember You
Don't Worry "Bout Me
Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me
Signing Off

Rodger & Hart Percussion & Strings - George Siravo

My Funny Valentine
Rodgers & Hart
Percussion & Strings
Arranged and Conducted by George Siravo
Artist & Repertoire: Bob Shad
Original Engineers: Frank Abbey & Bob Arnold
Re-Recording Engineer: John Cue
Mastering: Hal Diepold
Liner Notes: Leonard Feather
Album Coordination: Arpena Spargo
Album Design: Burt Goldblatt
Typography: The Composing Room, Inc.
Recorded August 10, 22, 1960
STEREO Series 2000
Time S/2015

Personnel and Instrumentation


Mac Ceppos
Jack Zayde
Paul Winter
Alvin Rudnitsky
Harry Melnikoff
San Rand
Paul Wolfe
Max Hoffman
Alex Cores
Leo Kahn
Julius Brand
Felix Orlewitz
Abram Bell
David Novales
Stan Kraft
David Montagu
Harry Cykman
David Nadien
Sylvan Shulman
Harry Katzman
Julius Schacter
Harry Urbont
Max Hollander
Paul Gershman
Avram Weiss
Felix Giglio
Ira Finkstein
Charles Libove


Isidore Zir
Ted Adoff
Leon Frengut
Sidney Brecher
Howard Kay


Maurice Brown
Seymour Barab
George Ricci
Maurice Bialkin
Alan Shulman

French Horn:

John Barrows

Piano, Celeste, Keyboard Glockenspiel:

Henry Rowland


Urbie Green
Frank Rehak
Chauncey Welsch
Dick Hixon
Louis McGarity


Barry Galbraith
George Barns

Drums and Percussion, bongos, xylophone, vibraphone, triangle, tympani (2 sets), tambourines, temple blocks, bells, chimes, orchestra bells:

Don Lamond
Ted Sommer
Sol Gubin


Dominic Cortese


Margaret Ross

From the inside cover: Siravo was born (and still lives) in Staten Island, New York. There were no musicians in his family: "I was the only one who got off on the wrong track," he observes. Studying saxophone, clarinet and flute, he made his professional debut very early. He played in, and helped to organize, the original Glenn Miller orchestra in 1937.

For several years Siravo lived on the West Coast, brightening the studio scene for Ray Heindorf of Warner Brothers, Johnny Green of MGM and others for whom he orchestrated diligently. His experience as a background writer for vocalists has also been extensive; two of his best known associates are Frank Sinatra and Doris Day.

For the present album George employed an orchestra that included some twenty violins on the right channel; four violas, four celli, four trombones (and on some tracks one French horn) on the left; a regular four-piece rhythm section (piano, bass, guitar and drums) stretched across the landscape, plus two additional percussion men, one on each channel; a harpist, and, on one track only, an accordion.

From Billboard - October 17, 1960: Another of an interesting number of recordings where the emphasis lies principally in sound, with the song material merely a device for showing off the sound. In this disking, a tremendous compliment of strings (29 violins, 5 violas and 5 celli) were used against French Horn, trombones, guitar, accordion, harp, bass and a large assortment of percussion and drums. The sound is topnotch with the only possible drawback being an overemphasis on percussion on the kind of melodic material that doesn't require that kind of treatment. Fine tunes include "Blue Moon," "Spring Is Here," "Funny Valentine," etc.

Where Or When
My Funny Valentine
Blue Moon
Falling In Love With Love
I Married An Angel
Spring Is Here
The Most Beautiful Girl In The World
The Lady Is A Tramp
You Are Too Beautiful
I Didn't Know What Time It Was
My Heart Stood Still

Love Story - Percy Faith

My Sweet Lord
Love Story
Percy Faith and His Orchestra
Arranged and Conducted by Percy Faith
Produced by Irving Townsend
Cover Art: Kim Whitesides
Back Cover Photos: Bruce Wilson
Engineering: Jack Lattig
Columbia C 30502

From Billboard - February 13, 1971: Percy Faith's orchestra and vocal chorus are in top form again as they charmingly delineate some of the current pop hits. "I Think I Love You" is the title song and the key to sales but so could cuts like "Theme From Love Story," "My Sweet Lord," "Rose Garden" and "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother."

Everything's Alright (From the Rock Opera "Jesus Christ Superstar")
Theme From "Love Story"
Love The One You're With
He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother
Easy Days – Easy Nights
The Green Grass Starts To Grow
I Don't Know How To Love Him (From the Rock Opera "Jesus Christ Superstar")
I Think I Love You (From the TV series "The Partridge Family")
My Sweet Lord
Rose Garden
Don't Say Goodbye

The Love Songs Of A. Willbur Meshel

The Love Song Of A. Wilbur Meshel
Written and Performed by Billy Meshel
Some song arranged by Nicky Welch except those with * arranged by Lew Warburton
Produced by Billy Meshel
Creative Supervision by Lewis Futtermen
Cover Photo: Norman Trigg
Cover Design: William Duevell and Henry Epstein
A Concert House Production
Probe ABC Records CPLP 4502S
Manufactured by Grand Awards Record Co.

Today Has Been Cancelled
If You Could Put That In A Bottle
(It Ain't Easy Being) Shirley Newman's Boyfriend
I Don't Like Liking You*
I Blew It
Take A Bow, Rufus Humfry*
That's What Sends Men To The Bowery*
I Didn't Come To N.Y. To Meet A Girl From My Hometown
I Say Hello When I'm Leaving

Friday, February 14, 2020

Themes From The Great Foreign Films - Leo Diamond

Themes From The Great Foreign Films
Leo Diamond
Harmonica and Orchestra
Featuring Twin Pianos
Cover Design: Jim Shade
Art Direction: Merle Shore
Reprise R9-6009

From the back cover: The arrangements that Frank Hunter and Leo Diamond have here worked out take the tunes only as musical provocations. Where a theme has become universally familiar, as with The Third Man and Never On Sunday they have treated it unfamiliarly. (Listen to the latter's bolero arrangement.) Both men insist they wanted Continental sound, especially the sound of Naples, and this has not meant only the use of mandolins but of an accordion as well. On four numbers Leo's harmonica is backed by eight men and on the rest of the album he is set against a large orchestra with a preponderance of strings. Especially effective in creating the album's tone are the twin pianos of William Miller and Victor Piemonte, playing dramatically one against the other and frequently counterbalancing piano with harpsichord or piano with celesta.

La Strada
Rocco And His Brothers
La Dolce Vita
The 400 Blows (Hide Me In Your Arms)
La Ronde (Love Makes The World Go 'Round)
The Third Man
Never On Sunday
Black Orpheus (Carnival)
Room At The Top (The "Susan" Theme)

Get Smart - Don Adams

Too Many Chiefs - Countersign
Don Adams
Get Smart
United Artists Records
Special material for Don Adams written by Buck Henry
"Get Smart" Segments written by Stan Burns, Mike Marmer, Geraldo Gardner, Dee Caruso & Buck Henry
Produced by Burt Nodella for Talent Associates, LTD
Special Effects & Engineer: Art Becker
High Fidelity UAL 3533


Barbara Feldon
Ed Platt
Vince Howard
James Millhollin
Rodger Prince
Susanne Cramer
Robert Cornthwaite
Frank De Vol
Donald Curtis
Bill Zuckert
Willis Bouchey
Robert Simon
Joey Foreman

Wasnington 4 - Indians 3
School Days
Satan Place
Too Many Chiefs - Countersign
The Latest Devices
All In The Mind
The Incredible Harry Hoo
I'm Only Human
Kisses For Kaos
Plane Sequence
Too Many Chiefs - Hotel Sequence
Weekend Vampire
Sorry 'Bout That

HSPSCH / String Quartet No. 2 - Cage / Hiller & Johnston

HPSCHD (1967 - 1969)
John Cage & Lejaren Hiller
For Harpsichords & Computer Generated Sound Tapes
Including KNOBS computer printout for playback control
Antoniette Vischer, Neely Bruce & David Tudor - Harpsichords
Computer Printout: John Cage / Legaren Hiller

Anoinette Vischer: Neupert Bach-Model harpsichord (Solo II)
Neely Bruce: Hubbard double harpsichord with 17% Eltro time compression (Solo VI)
David Tudor: Baldwin solid-body electronic harpsichord (Solo I)

Messers. Cage and Hiller gratefully acknowledge the special assistance of Laetitia Snow, who wrote some of the original computer programming for HPSCHD; James Cuomo, who helped prepare the original sound tapes with ILLIAC II; Jaap Spek, who supervised the technical processing of the tape collage; and George Ritscher, who engineered the final recording.

The recording of HPSCHD was made possible through the use of facilities of the Experimental Music Studio and the Department of Computer Science of the University of Illinois, Urbana.

String Quartet No. 2 (1964)
Ben Johnson
The Composers Quartet: Matthew Raimondi, Violin; Anahid Ajemian, Violin; Bernard Zaslov, Viola; Seymour Barab, Cello
Engineering: Marc J. Abort

Coordinator: Teresa Sterne
Art Direction: William S. Harvey
Artwork: Isadore Seltzer
Cover Design: Hess and/ or Antupit
Jacket Notes: Peter Yates
Nonsuch Records H-71224

From the back cover: The computer-output sheet included in this album is one of 10,000 different numbered solutions of the program KNOBS. It enables the listener who follows its instructions to become a performer of this recording of HPSCHD. Preparation of this material was made possible through the Computing Center of the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Visions - Larry Elgart

Vermont Foothills
Larry Elgart and His Orchestra
American Legends: A New Look and A New Sound
Composed by Bobby Scott
Produced by Grace & Larry Elgart
Cover Collage by Jon Henry
Notes by Dom Derulli
Comments by Bobby Scott
Recorded at Webster Hall, N.Y.
Engineer: Ray Hall
MGM High Fidelity E3961

From the back cover: Bobby Scott, at 24, has a long career of jazz and popular music already behind him. But the career in composition toward which he is pointed seems limitless. Scott has had teen-age pop record hits, has played with jazz combos, has headed and recorded his own jazz trio, and has been writing a wide variety of music for radio, TV, the stage (he scored and appeared in "A Taste Of Honey"), and the concert stage. He is in love with America and its past, and this record displays that devotions.

From Billboard - October 9, 1961: The Elgart band performs a specially written American suite by pianist Bobby Scott on this LP. All of the material is original, but culled from the composer's acquaintance with musical forms of the United States. There are touches of country music, the gospel accent, soft flowing folk-like melodies and hard driving rhythm. The tour is 12 tracks in length and features the leader on soprano sax and some punching piano, presumably by the composer.

Back Country Shuffle
Johnny Appleseed
For The Soul
Many Leaves
Vermont Foothills
Bayou Call
Chief Joseph
Hill Song
Meetin' Feet
Fulton's Folly
Green Valley

Wake Up America - Terry Nelson

Wake Up America
Wake Up America
The Battle Hymn Of Lt. Calley
"C" Company
Featuring Terry Nelson
Produced by Shelby S. Singleton, Clark Bentley and James M. Smith
Plantation Records PLP-15
A Division of Shelby Singleton Corp.

From Billboard - May 8, 1971: A bevy of patriotic tunes, well done. Best cuts: The nationwide hit of "The Battle Hymn of Lt. Calley" and "Buffalo Soldiers" which soul music stations might consider playing strictly for its ethnic uplifting quality. Dealers: The hit single is here swept the nation like wildfire. Capitalize on this and the publicity surrounding Calley for bonus sales.

The Battle Hymn Of Lt. Calley
When The Great Men Sign Their Names
Mr. Sherman's Army
Wars and Wars
Johnny Reb
The Star Spangled Ballad
Wake Up America
Buffalo Soldiers
War Baby
Til We Bring Our Johnnies Home Again
Yankee Doodle Dandy