A (relatively) minor oversight on my part was the double acquisition of Enoch Light and His Orchestra’s 1961 release, Far Away Places. You see, I’d found Far Away Places Volume 2 little over a year ago, and had forgotten picking up Volume 1 (this) a few short months after. I paid a whole $3 for this, now my second copy. Anyone want a free Enoch Light record? I mean, the cover states the obvious, “Featuring Harpsichord and Exotic Percussion”… EXOTIC PERCUSSION, PEOPLE!!
Enoch Light was a powerhouse in the late 50s / early 60s. Conducting a series of legendary, well, series (Persuasive Percussion, Provocative Percussion) while manning the Command Records label, and releasing a variety of 20s and 30s volumes, he managed to release random, and essential one-offs like this 1962 record with the Light Brigade titled, Vibrations. With Enogh Light-style twists on these well known classics (I Get A Kick Out of You, As Time Goes By, The Old Black Magic, Dancing on the Ceiling, Temptation), and a frame-worthy, minimalist cover, Vibrations is a steal for $2, and of course, comes highly recommended.
Nowhere among the sea of self-taughting verbiage is Enoch Light’s name found on this, seemingly LAST installment in the Persuasive Percussion series. Complete with abstract minimalist cover, PP 1966 holds steady with the original four installments, but doesn’t offer very much other than, “more of the same.” That’s certainly not to say that Persuasive Percussion 1966 isn’t worth a spin, it just lacks a bit of that late 50’s flair found so prominently with the originals. The lack of Enoch Light may have something to do with that.
Since we were recently talking about it, have a look as the showcased albums from the Time Records Series 2000 collection, and count the number of percussion-based titles: Percussion on Stage, Percussion Espanol, Gypsy Strings and Percussion, and Concert Percussion for Orchestra. Four. I count four. Command Records knew it had a revolutionary and timeless release with Persuasive Percussion, which is further evidenced by its competitors, in this case Time Records and their Series 2000 team, trying at great lengths to cash in.
Time Records and their Series 2000 collection is a great partner (or competitor) to the early Command Record albums. This self-proclaimed “demonstration record” is a perfect introduction to the series and contains choice selects from Jim Tyler, Hugo Montenegro, Maury Laws, Al Caiola, and Kermit Leslie (among others). If you’re looking to expand your Space Age Pop chops (and who among you isn’t?), check out Music with Sound.
SLOWLY beginning the much anticipated digitizing process of our Space Age Pop collection. The plan was to ingest all four volumes of Persuasive Percussion… I managed to gather only the first. This painstaking process will yield countless hours of road trip entertainment. I encourage all of you to digitize your collection. A 160gb iPod comes in handy.
Passionate Percussion was Directional Sound’s answer to the largely popular Command Records series Persuasive Percussion and Provocative Percussion. Don Catelli and the All Stars belt out easy listening Bossanova-style jazz with a Latin twist and a bombastic, almost passionate backing percussion. The covers from Directional Sound rival those from Command Records and feature minimalist, mid-century designs on high quality gatefold sleeves. There appears to only be 22 released from Directional Sound between 1960 – 1963, so start your checklist today with Passionate Percussion. You won’t be disappointed.
Another holiday camp outing in the works, and we had to start with Volume 2 of Persuasive Percussion. Happy Friday, wherever you lay your head and drop your needle.
Nothing too exciting here except for the backside of Enoch Light and His Orchestra’s Far Away Places Volume 2. The layout is a bit wonky, what, with 90 degree angles being thrown out the window, but Command Records did a pretty decent job of offering a ton of info while not seeming any bit overwhelming. That Stereo 35mm logo, though…
The title is all you need to know about Enoch Light’s 1960 insta-classic, Bongos / Flues / Guitars. Command Records, and Mr. Light specifically, cranked out a substantial number of quality LPs in the late 1950s – early 1960s. Though officially credited to Los Admiradores, Mr. Light acted as Director and Producer, not to mention he released the album on his Command label. Buy it for the mid-century cover, keep it for the floral, Latin jazz.
So happy to FINALLY complete the much anticipated, critically acclaimed Provocative Percussion series by Mr. Enoch Light and the Light Brigade. Hernando’s Hideaway is an early standout, followed by Foggy Day Cha Cha and What is This Thing Called Love. Completing a set is so gratifying, though I’m a bit sad that my journey is over. Oh, well. Now, it’s time to listen.
One doesn’t need to dig very deep to find the fabulous in Dick Hyman’s 1963 classic, Fabulous (RS33-862 Command Records). Billed as Dick Hyman at the Lowrey Organ and His Orchestra, this 12-track organ-tastic ensemble covers Danke Schoen to The Best is Yet to Come, and a wide sprinkle of early 60s pop radio in between. Originated and Produced by Enoch Light (owner of said Command Records), Fabulous is yet another phenomenal Dick Hyman release sandwiched between 1960’s Provocative Piano, and 1963’s Electrodynamics, both also on Command Records. If you’ve ever thought to yourself, or out loud, that the organ couldn’t be sexy, get yourself some Fabulous, and you’ll be changing your tune.
Ahhh (sigh of relief). Another day, another early 60’s Space Age Pop album. Enoch Light? Check! High quality gatefold cover? Check! Command Records quality? Check! Groovy, minimalist album art? You bet’cha! Provocative Percussion Vol. III is probably my favorite so far, of those I own. Still missing Vol. II, then we’ll have all 8 volumes of both the Provocative and Persuasive Percussion series. Volume IV of Provocative currently rests on the wall of our kitchen after the wife knocked over the previous framed accent. She’s a fan of these volumes as well, so secretly, I think she wanted to display the album art. Who can blame her?!
So, I’ll admit that I had to look this up, and from what I retained, here goes. (Clears throat) 35mm, when referring to audio / sound recording, was a technique championed (in the music recording world) by Enoch Light and Command Records (Mr. Light’s label). Feature films of the time were using 35mm for their film prints, and when stereophonic and widescreen advances became the popular buzz around Hollywood, Mr. Light utilized this technique to record his Space Age Pop, which, if I’m understanding this correctly, allowed for more instruments / artists to be recorded individually due to the wider, 35mm film. Magnetic sound recording had been the norm at the time, but 35mm offered much more range, which Mr. Light wisely capitalized upon. Anyway, pretty much any Command Record release from the time will diligently detail this unique and groundbreaking recording process, and I encourage you to discover the magnificent (and magnetic) wonders of 35mm sound.
I’ve taken to listening to records in the morning, now. To hell with exercising and the healthy lifestyle that comes with it, am I right?! More on that at another time. INSTEAD, let’s travel to Far Away Places Volume 2 by Mr. Enoch Light and His Orchestra. This 1963 Command Records release reinvents some distinguished classics with the sensible sophistication only this master of Space Age Pop can manage. Some cuts include, but are not limited to: Istanbul (yes, that one), Flying Down to Rio, Colonel Bogey, The White Cliffs of Dover, and The Moon of Manakoora. I (stupidly) hesitated to secure this release as I knew it would require the hunting and bagging of its sister, Volume 1. Fair enough. Challenge accepted.
Don’t take my word for it (no, please don’t. I’m still wrapping my head around this “astonishing new achievement in stereo recording.”) Ladies and gentlemen, taken straight from the inner sleeve of Enoch Light and the Light Brigade’s 1964 classic, Dimension – 3 – .
Remember when you first discovered stereo recording? Remember the excitement of finding that a single groove on a record could actually carry two separate channels of sound? Remember the revelation that the solid mass of sound which was what you were accustomed to in phonographic reproduction could actually have directional values? And that this sense of direction could also provide a sense of perspective and depth? What a tremendous change this made in the pleasures and excitement that could be provided by a phonograph! Suddenly you were in a completely different world of sound! Remember? You can experience that same sense of discovery again.
Dimension – 3 – is one of the most unusual records that has ever been made. On it you hear for the first time the perfection and an extra dimension in stereo reproduction that engineers have been striving for ever since stereophonic recording was introduced.
Dimension – 3 – the amazing new recording technique revealed on this disc, makes it possible to achieve triple presence in sound reproduction! This means that you actually hear sound coming from three sources – even though you are only using the customary two speakers!
(Truncated… for more on the mysterious and marvelous Dimension – 3 – sound, check your local record retailer, or visit us again at The Prudent Groove.)
By far the best late 60s Moog record I’ve ever heard, Dick Hyman’s 1969 insta-classic Moog – The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman offers two parts satisfying melody, equal parts goofball, and a twist of the unexpected. I imagine the Moog to be like the zither for those who aren’t keen on the distinct sound, but for those in the mood (the Moog mood?) for a cheerful listening adventure, The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman are just a needle drop away.