Riverside

Specialty #800 (12”)   

RLP12-801~850


RLP12-801
JAZZ OF THE ROARING TWENTIES

Dance music of the Charleston Era  

 

 

As originally played by The California Ramblers: 

Loring “Red” Nichols (tp)  Bill Moore (tp)  Tommy Dorsey (tb)  (possibly replaced by Miff Mole on some selections)  Jimmy Dorsey (reeds)  Arnold Brillhardt (reeds)  Freddie Cusick (reeds)  Bobby Davis (reeds)  Adrian Rollini (b-sax)  Irving Brodsky (p)  Tommy Fellini (bj)  Stan King (drs)  W. T. (“Ed”) Kirkeby (leader)

New York; 1924-27

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SIDE 1

  1. Charleston (3:36) (James P. Johnson) 

  2. Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue (3:48) (Lewis – Young – Henderson)

  3. Crazy Words, Crazy Tune (3:49) (Yellen – Ager) 

  4. Collegiate (4:05) (Jaffe – Bonx)

  5. Miss Annabelle Lee (3:27) (Clare – Pollack) 

  6. Clap Hands, Here Comes Charley (4:14) (Rose – McDonald – Meyer)

SIDE 2

  1. Manhattan (4:06) (Hart – Rodgers) 

  2. The Flapper Wife (2:53) (Burton – Rupp) 

  3. Cheatin’ on Me (3:46) (Yellen – Pollack) 

  4. Everything Is Hotsy Totsy Now (4:13) (Mills – McHugh) 

  5. Keep Smiling at Trouble (3:31) (Jolson – De Sylva – Gensler) 

  6. Sweet Man (3:33) (Turk – Pinkard) 

   Thirty years is a long time, any way you care to measure it.  When you pace off three decades back from the America of today – the world of the split atom and the television set – to the era of the dozen recordings reissued here, the distance might seem almost astronomical.  But it’s not really that long, not when your ultra-modern LP phonograph brings you music like this.

   For these bouncing, swinging, exciting records come straight out of the Roaring Twenties.  They bring with them a fascinating, authentic, glimpse of a most remarkable chapter in American life – and for many listeners they surely carry a full share of memory and nostalgia.

With the first frenetic notes of Charleston, you are plunged into an excursion back in time: back to the days of bobbed hair and hip flasks; knee-length skirts and racoon coats; open galoshes, yellow slickers, Stutz Bearcats; flappers and sheiks.  The music on this LP is no mere recreation of the era: it is the mid-Twenties – the songs of the period, as played by one of its top dance bands, recorded then and revived now in all their original verve and spirit.

   Some of these songs are from the Broadway musicals that were packing them in then.  The ver-popular Manhattan made its first appearance in the “Garrick Gaieties,” the 1925 revue that launched the young songwriting team of Rodgers and Hart.  Keep Smiling at Trouble was first sung by Al Jolson (who gets partial credit for the lyrics) in his 1924 hit, "Big Boy.”   Note also that Clap Hands, Here Comes Charley is partly the work of a successful young songsmith named Billy Rose.

   These and most of the others are the sort of tunes that are likely to be revived, in some brand-new version, every so often.  Here they are played exactly as you (or your parents) first heard them while listening to the wind-up phonograph in the living room, or while prancing on a dance floor bordered by potted palms, or sitting at a table sipping strange Volstead Act beverages from a tea cup.

   This was a boisterous, widely exuberant age, with dance music to match.  It had its share of “fast girls, who Charlestoned madly to numbers like these before slipping off for petting sessions with young men boasting pomaded hair and a general resemblance to an Arrow collar ad.  It also had its share and more of banality and corn – such as is achieved here by the vocal refrain of The Flapper Wife.  But it could quickly rescue itself from such sentimentality with a furious burst of action, just as that song and others do with the hot choruses the follow the vocals.

   Those choruses serve to emphasize that it was this music that gave The Jazz Age its name.  And it was the group you hear on this LP, more than any other, that set the jazz-age jazz-band pace.  They were best known as the California Ramblers, although they made records under a wide variety of names, for just about every label then in existence.  Neither Californians nor ramblers, they held forth for years at their own celebrated roadhouse – the Ramblers’ Inn – just outside of New York City.  They included some of the most talented musicians of the period, several of whom were to go on to considerable fame.  (Red Nichols was to become New York’s top jazz man of the era with his Five Pennies; Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, of course, had ahead of them the glories of stardom in the later hey-day of Swing.)  Although they perform as a dance band, playing the popular songs of the day, there is a very decided overall jazz feeling here, and considerable room left for hot solos.

   The exact line-ups of the Ramblers’ very many records during this span of time have never fully been pinned down by discographers.  But Wallace T. ("E“")”Kirkeby – who organized and led the group, and directed all its recording sessions – has dug into his memory and provided us with his authoritative reconstruction of the band’s roster.  A few other musicians passed briefly into and out of the group, but his listing, as given above, can be taken as a basic personnel, primarily for the 1924-25 period, when almost all of these dozen tunes were recorded.  

   As for the soloists; it is almost certainly Nichols’ vibrant, Bixian horn that breaks loose on such numbers as Sweet Man and Manhattan; on some of the others it is Bill Moore, who could sound very much like Red.  Young Tommy Dorsey can be heard playing in a manner most unlike his later famous “Sweet” tones; and brother Jimmy can easily be spotted on Clap Hands and others.   Throughout the LP, in solo and ensemble, there is the very recognizable sound of Adrian Rollini’s bass sax, which actually served as the core around which the band’s style was built.  And there are others, too, much less well known but all playing the music with the great zest that characterized this early big-band jazz.

   You may want to listen to these records to enjoy the spirited early efforts of these jazzmen, or to recall the days when you, too, could do a mean Charleston.  You may just want to hear, perhaps for the first time, the authentic musical sounds of the good old days when Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey were champions, when Lindberg was just getting around to crossing the Atlantic, and the stock market hadn’t yet gotten around to crashing.  Whatever your reasons, there’s enjoyment here for all.  And if you feel and irresistible urge to get up and dance, don’t let it worry you.  That’s what this music is for …

 

There’s more recorded recreation of the pat on several ten-inch LPs, including: 

RAGTIME PIANO ROLL, Volume 1, 2 and 3 (RLPs 1006, 1025, 1049)

RED NICHOLS and MIFF MOLE (RLP 1048) 

TOMMY and JIMMY DORSEY with The California Ramblers (RLP 1051) 

For somewhat more recent reminiscence, the ten-inch Riverside Special offers: 

I LOVE NEW YORK: Love Songs to the Big City, sung by Pat Morthrop (RLP 8001) 

POLKA DOTS AND MOONBEAMS: Memorable Songs of the Pre-War Era (1937-41)

piano solos by Tony Burrello (RLP 8002) 

And for absolutely undated pleasure, there’s: 

HERE’S MORGAN: Henry Morgan in ten of his best and most biting monologues (RLP 8003) 

 

Reissued by arrangement with the original producers.  The slight surface noise audible on this LP is due to the limitations of early recording processes; it has not been entirely removed in order to preserve highest fidelity possible and to give more faithful reproduction of original tone qualities.

 

LP produced by BILL GRAUER

Notes by ORRIN KEEPNEWS

Cover by GENE GOGERTY

RIVERSIDE RECORDS are released by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, 

418 West 49th Street New York City 19, New York


RLP12-802
OFFBEAT FOLKSONGS sung and played by BOB GIBSON 

 

 

Bob Gibson (vcl, bj)

place unknown; April 1956 

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SIDE 1

  1. Mighty Day (2:32)

  2. The Pig and the Inebriate (0:42)

  3. Andalucian Dance* (3:44)

  4. Greenwood Side (2:05)

  5. Delia (3:32)

  6. The Abdication (2:27) 

  7. The Rejected Lover (2:09)

  8. The Horse Named Bill (2:30) 

  9. Snake Cure (1:06)

SIDE 2

  1. Lula Gal (1:26) 

  2. Bahaman Lullaby (3:33) 

  3. Pretty Boy (2:14) 

  4. Block Island Reel* (1:04) 

  5. What Are Folks Made Of (2:02) 

  6. Noah (2:59) 

  7. Linstead Markt (2:28) 

  8. A Maid Went to Dublin (1:52) 

  9. Chickens (1:38) (S-2) 

(*instrumental solo)

   This is the first album devoted to the voice (and banjo) of an unusual young performer of folkmusic.  BOB GIBSON is an uniquely talented artist: only 24 years old at the time of this recording, he could be called “highly promising” if that were not a rather patronizing term to apply to someone who has already mastered the art of presenting virtually every type of folkmusic. 

   Equally unusual is his choice of repertoire, as demonstrated by this LP.  These selections are “offbeat” folk-songs in a quite literal sense, being for the most part far off the beaten path followed by most current entertainers in the folksong field.  To be sure, there is a good deal of value and pleasure left in the numbers that have served as standard folk music fare during the nightclub-concert-and-recording upsurge of the past decade and a half; but there is also a vast wealth of material that has remained virtually ignored.  By turning primarily to such material, Bob Gibson has hardly chosen the easiest path; but he would seem to have chosen a highly fascinating and rewarding one. 

   Gibson is, to begin with, a notable example of the combination of seemingly conflicting qualities that are absolute necessities for the successful folksong performer.  He understands and appreciates the native character and integrity of his varied material; he has his own substantial interpretive additions to make; he is a highly skilled instrumentalist; and he is performer of considerable charm.  Thus he has proved able to retain the vitality, expressiveness nd meaning of the folk material he sings.  This has aided him in building a steadily-increasing and loyal following in Florida and throughout the Midwest, where he has worked in nightclubs, on radio and TV, and in concerts before school and university audiences. 

Although he has been a full-fledged professional only since 1954 (when he left a promising career as a junior executive in a New York management-consultant firm), Gibson’s interest in music goes back at least as far as high school days, when he played leads in community theatre group performances of Gilbert and Sullivan, and of Kurt Weil’s “Down in the Valley.”

   A further “offbeat” aspect of the Gibson approach is the very wide scope of his repertoire.  He ranges from the intricacies and subtle nuances of Flamenco dance (as played, uniquely, on banjo rather than guitar) to the hard-driving banjo-picking style of Southern mountaineers; from the tender lyrical beauty of Irish love songs to the rocking rhythms of a Calypso.  Such selections as The Pig and the Inebriate (which may be familiar to a good many listeners who’ve just never thought of it as “folksong”) suggest the open-mindedness of Gibson’s song-collecting habits. He has recognized that a college student can be as valuable a source as a venerable mountaineer!  In travel throughout the United States, and in the West Indies, he has collected from traditional singers, other club performers, students – from “folk” in every walk of life.  Nor has he been afraid to delve into the numerous book and recordings of folksongs, from which come some of his best material.

   As a combination scholar, collector and performer, Bob Gibson had thus been able to recreate-and crate-the essence of the best of folkmusic, to the great satisfaction of audiences, reviewers and even the severest of all critics – thus people from whom he has learned much of the materials he presents. 

 

SIDE 1

  1. MIGHTY DAY: This intensely dramatic ballad describes in vivid detail a West Indian hurricane which struck Galveston, Texas, in 1900, piling up enormous tidal waves which swept across the city and resulted in the loss of more than five thousand lives.  Gibson’s version comes from an early recording by a New Orleans jazz singer, although similar versions have also been performed by Southern Negro ministers as a song-sermon on death. 

  2. THE PIG AND THE INEBRIATE: A favorite student and camp song, in which the pig shows an obvious lack of discrimination and taste in choosing his curb companion. 

  3. ANDALUCIAN DANCE: This banjo solo is Gibson’s interpretation of Spanish Gypsy dance music as played by leading Flamenco guitarists, whose instrumental wizardy he has long admired. 

  4. GREENWOOD SIDE: Here we have a twentieth century American version of an old British ballad on infanticide tracing back more than two hundred fifty years.  The dramatic intensity of the original has been retained in all its stark detail, and is highlighted by the driving banjo accompaniment. 

  5. DELIA: American singers long neglected this murder ballad, which began its career in the South in about 1900.  Negro sailors shipping to the West Indies took it with them to the islands and years later American folksingers borrowed it back … with the motive for murder having undergone a slight change in the interim.

  6. THE ABDICATION: Gibson learned this topical Calypso in the Bahamas, where it is still a favorite with native professional performers.  It was of course inspired by the abdication of King Edward VIII of Great Britain, in 1936, in order to marry an American commoner.  The circumstances surrounding such an empire-shaking occurrence formed ideal material for Calypso composers. 

  7. THE REJECTED LOVER: Here is a Scottish mountain version of an old British ballad on the all-too-common theme of unrequited love.  Cecil Sharp collected several beautiful variants during his trip through the Southern Appalachians at the time of the first World War, and the version sung here is a compilation fro several of his texts. 

  8. THE HORSE NAMED BILL: This delightful piece of nonsense has been a favorite on college campuses for many-undergraduate generations.  The version Gibson sings here was learned from a student at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois. 

  9. SNAKE CUBE: This curious little song is just what its name implies – a medicine show song with an old-fashioned commercial tied to the end. 

SIDE 2

  1. LULA GAL: Gibson learned this Southern folksong from a Chicago ”city-billy,” Fleming Brown.  Tunes like this were as familiar to Southern Negroes, who called them “reels,” as they were to the white mountaineers who knew them as “hoedowns” and banjo tunes. 

  2. BAHMAN LULLABY: This combination lullaby and spiritual is widely known in the Bahamas, where it is sung as a hymn.  Gibson learned this arrangement from the singing of Erik Darling of New York. 

  3. PRETTY BOY: Another of the many Calypsos that Gibson picked up during his stay in Nassau in the Bahamas.  It is extremely popular there on recordings, and this version is from the singing of Roy Modell, better known as “Lord Composer.” 

  4. BLOCK ISLAND REEL: This exciting dace tune was learned in Cooperstown, N.Y., from a fiddler and banjo player who had come from Block Island, Maine. 

  5. WHAT ARE FOLKS MAD EOF: This children’s song and lullaby has charmed youngsters –and their elders – for many years, and is prime favorite with Bob Gibson’s nightclub audiences. 

  6. NOAH: The biblical story of the ark and its inhabitants finds perhaps its most delightful expression in this “jubilee” (a triumphant Negro spiritual). 

  7. LINSTEAD MARKET: Gibson learned this favorite Caribbean folksong in Jamaica.  It is the story of a woman who took an ackee (a West Indian vegetable, to the famous Linstead Market, but couldn’t make a sale. 

  8. A MAID WENT TO DUBLIN: this beautiful Irish love song, also known as The Next Market Day, would seem to deserve to be much better known.  Gibson learned it from Rowena Reik of Detroit. 

  9. CHICKENS: Here’s another college song which has also gotten a big hand from Gibson7snightclub audiences.  Bob learned the first stanza of this version from George Margolin and wrote the second stanza himself. 

Notes by KENNETH S. GOLDSTEIN

Bob Gibson plays Vega banjos exclusively.

 

   Those who enjoyed this album are sure to find many others to their liking among the substantial number of collections of English-language folk material to be found on 12-inch Riverside LPs.  Particular attention is called to albums by two talented young American folksingers and folklorists: 

MERRY DITTIES: folksongs of love and play – sung by Milt Okun (RLP 12-603) 

BLOODY BALLADS: classic British and American murder ballads – sung by Paul Clayton (RLP 12-615) 

 

NOTE: S-2 “Riverside Folk Sampler” 

 

Edited and recorded by Kenneth S. Goldstein 

Cover designed by Gene Gogerty and photo by Lawrence Photo.

 

RIVERSIDE RECORDS are released by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS

418 West 49th Street New York 19, N. Y. (white, deep groove) 


RLP 12-803
LAND OF MILK AND HONEY 

Israeli Songs, sung and played by HILLEL AND AVIVA 

 

 

Hillel (vcl, challil: shepherd’s pipe)  Aviva (vcl, Tof Miriam: made of goat skin) 

Reeves Sound Studios, NYC; May 16, 1956 

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SIDE 1

  1. To the Spring (2:18) (Lama – Ayan)  

  2. My Beloved Is from the Vinyards of Ain-Gedi (3:07) (Dodi Li Becharma Ain-Gedi) 

  3. The Shepherd’s Pipe (2:25) (He-Challil) 

  4. On the Mountains (2:32) (Al Harim) 

  5. The Cowboys from Lachish (4:09) (Bokrai Lachish) 

  6. Twilight (2:36) (Bain – Arbaim) 

  7. Caravan in the Mountains (3:31) (Shayeret Becharim) 

  8. The Land of Milk and Honey (3:00) (EretzZavat – Chalav Udvash) 

​SIDE 2

  1. My Field (3:07) (Sh’demeti) 

  2. Not Day and Not Night (2:25) (Hu Lo Yom Velo Lila) 

  3. The Field in the Valley (2:36) (Sadot She-Baemek) 

  4. Who Comes to Meet Me? (2:21) (Mezot Likrati Ola) 

  5. David Among the Roses (2:29) (Ve David Yefeh Ainaim) 

  6. Shepherd’s Song (2:36) (Challil Ro-Im) 

  7. The Sheep Bells (1:45) (Pa-Amonai Hatzon) 

  8. She Drives Me Crazy (3:31) (Dhenantini)

   To most American who have had the pleasure of hearing them, HILLEL and AVIVA represent the singing voices of Israel.  Concert and television audiences have been thrilled by the exotic melodies and rhythms which they weave through a most exciting combination of vocal and instrumental virtuosity.

At various times, well meaning people have called them Israeli “folk” singers.   This is not, however, an accurate description of their talents.  Much of the music of Israel is of recent creation, just as modern Israel itself is a young nation.  The texts may occasionally be derived from traditional sources, such as the Bible, but the melodies to which they are sung are the work of contemporary composers.

   Nevertheless, in performing the modern music which is Israel’s, they have drawn upon the ancient music of Palestine for their inspiration.  The very instruments upon which they play are re-creations of traditional instruments which undoubtedly were in use in biblical days.  Hillel plays a shepherd’s pipe fashioned from a reed found near the river Jordan.  The pipe, called a Challil, takes its name from the Hebrew word meaning “hollow,” for that is exactly what the instrument is: a hollow reed.  Aviva plays a Tof Miriam.  It is made of a goat skin stretched tightly across the top of a clay jar.  Similar instruments are in use throughout the Middle East.  But, although there are identifiable similarities to other instrumental music of the region, the music which Hillel and Aviva play upon them is uniquely Israeli.

   In the past year and half they have performed more than 250 concerts throughout Israel.  These recordings were made during their first visit to the United States in more than two years, a short stay in which it was immediately apparent that the tremendous following which they had built up in previous trips to the United States had not forgotten them.  They were enthusiastically received everywhere, performing in several “standing room only” concerts, as well as to enthusiastic television and night club audiences.

   Theirs is a unique art and talent.  Riverside Records is proud to present HILLEL and AVIVA in a recorded concert of their most exciting Israeli songs.

 

SIDE 1

 1. LAMA-AYAN (To the Spring):

No trace has been found of the person or persons who composed this beautiful shepherd’s song.  In the song, a shepherd is drawing water from a well and he sings:  

I look over the spring when the sun is rising.  I wonder if the bucket will bring me more joy today that yesterday.  I hope the bucket will be full and I shall be able to satisfy my thirst and that it will give me water for my flock.  I am a lonely palm tree in the fields of Canan.  The flocks descend to the spring.  I hope the bucket will be full and that it will give me water for my flock.

 2. DODI LI BECHARMAI AIN-GEDI (My Beloved Is from the Vineyards of Ain-Gedi):

The text is from the Song of Songs and was set to music by the 17 years old Israeli composer, Ami Gil-Ad.

The beams of our houses are built from Cedar and our furniture from some beautiful wood.  My beloved is from the vineyards of Ain-Gedi.  My beautiful wife, your yeys are like a pair of doves.

 3. HE-CHALLIL (The Shepherd’s Pipe): 

The music of this beautiful pipe solo was composed by David Zahavi to a song by Leah Goldberg dedicated to and in praise of the shepherd’s pipe.

 4. AL HARIM (On the Mountains):

This is a shepherd’s love song.  The music was composed by Joseph Hadar and the text by Urial Ofek.

The dawn climbs up the mountains.  A shepherdess is coming down a path.  The flocks surround the watering trough with a hum of thankfulness. 

From your jar I drink water.  From your voice I have a song.  Your pipe will play for me and I am full of joy when you look at me.  To the spring came the shepherd boy who waited for the shepherdess and the mountains and the surrounding trees heard the song he sang to her.

 5. BOKRAI LACHISH (The Cowboys from Lachish):

Lacihsh, where Delilah rendered Samson weak by cutting off his hair, is the future cattle-raising center of Israel, presenting excellent year-round grazing grounds.  The music is by Yedidya Admon and the words are by Mihcael Regev.

Get up, cowboy, and round up the cattle quickly.  In the shadows falling across the mountains of Chevron, the wind followed after the herd and the cowboy sang the evening song to the mountains.  We long to see the little calves lying on the grass.  O land of hills, how beautiful you are.  Get up, cowboy, and round up the cattle quickly.

 6. BAIN-ARBAIM (Twilight):

A shepherd pipe improvisation by Hillel Raveh describing the few moments in the late afternoon when the sun is setting and the moon hasn’t yet come up.

  1.SHAYERET BEHARIM (Caravan in the Mountains):

The words and music to this beautiful song are by an 18 year old boy, Nisan Hav-ron.

You can hear the sounds of the pipe as the caravan makes its way up and down the mountains, trying to make the top as quickly as possible.  In the shadow of the rocks I can rest with my camel.  O, rock, you are my shield from the sun.

  2.ERETZ ZAVAT CHALAV UDVASH (The land of Milk and Honey):

The music to the title song of this recording was composed by Eliyahu Gamli-el.  The single line, which is repeated over and over, is taken from the bible.  Hillel notes that Israel is today the land of milk and honey … and oil.

 

SIDE 2

 1. SH’DEMATI (My Field):

A farmer songs of the beauty of his fields and crops in this 30-year-old song to which Yedidya Admon composed the music.

My field, I sow you with tears by the light of the dawn.  And the prayer of the farmer was heard.  My field absorbed plenty of dew and was drunk from the light of the sun.  With great vigor the farmer swings his scythe.  My field looks like a golden carpet, and our joy is great because the wheat is so high.

 2. HU LO YOM VELO LILA (Not Day and Not Night):

The words to this song are from the prophet Zachariah, to which music was set by Oded Boorla.

On the great day there will be neither light nor dark.  Not day and not night.  Then, one day, toward evening, there will be a great light.

 3. SADOT SHE-BAEMEK (The Field in the Valley):

The music for this farmer’s pipe solo is the work of Ben-Chaim, a member of Kibbutza Kiryat Anavim.

 4. MEZOT LIKRATI OLA (Who Comes To Meet Me?):

This song is styled after the Song of songs and is the composition of Gil Aldema.  It describes a conversation between two lovers:

Who comes to meet me?  I chose you from the rest.  You were more and more beautiful as you danced …  I am as light on my feet as the deer.  Come and dance with me.  Whose face shines towards me?  It is the one for whom I have searched for a long time …  Here is your beloved.  When I come close to you, my attraction increases tremendously.  Come and dance with me.

 5. VE DAVID YEFEH AINAIM (David Among the Roses):

The music to this chant in praise of David, greatest of the Kings of Israel, was composed by Matiyal Shelem.

And David, with his beautiful eyes, was surrounded by the roses.  King Saul slew the Philistines by the thousands and David slew them by the ten thousands.  And the son of Ishai will live forever.

 6. CHALLIL RO-IM (Shepherd’s Song):

This pipe and drum instrumental is the composition of Hillel Raveh and is an expression of a shepherd’s mood.

   1.PA-MONAI HATZON (The sheep Bells):

This shepherd’s song describes a serious problem in al Middle Eastern countries: the Kack of abundant water supplies.  The music is the work of Joseph Hadar and the text is by Urial Ofek.

The flock moves towards the spring to quench its thirst, but when it arrives there no water is to be had.  How can they quench their thirst on this hot day.  They continue wandering around looking for cool water.

  2.DJENANTINI (She Drives Me Crazy):

This is a love song of the Druzes who live in the mountains of Galillee and in Syria.  The tongue is an Arabic dialect, but the song has become very popular in Israel in recent years.  It tells of a man who has met a beautiful woman, and the way in which he describes her many attributes.  Understandably so, she drives him crazy.

 

Notes by KENNETH S. GOLDSTEIN

 

NOTE: RLP12-803 reissued as Washington WLP-732 “Hillel and Aviva: Israeli Songs” 

 

A High Fidelity Recording (Audio Compensation: RIAA Curve).

Produced by Kenneth S. Goldstein

Cover designed by GENE GOGERTY; photograph by LAWRENCE Photo Studio

Recorded at Reeves Sound Studios, New York; May 16, 1956

Engineer: JACK HIGGINS

 

RIVERSIDE RECORDS are released by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS 

553 West 51st Street New York City 19, New York (small blue, deep groove) 

 


RLP 12-804
Dancing at the Embassy Club with CHAUNCEY GRAY and his Orchestra 

Chauncey Gray and His Orchestra (details unknown) 

Reeves Sound Studios, NYC; August 1956 

 

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SIDE 1

  1. The Most Beautiful Girl in the World (2:35) (Hart – Rodgers) 

  2. Who Cares (2:16) (Gershwin) 

  3. That Certain Feeling (2:14) (Gershwin) 

  4. The Street Where You Live (2:37) (Lerner – Loewe) 

  5. I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Face (2:24)(Lerner – Loewe) 

  6. I Could Have Danced All Night (2:13) (Lerner – Loewe) 

SIDE 2

  1. ‘Bye, ‘Bye Blues (2:17) (Hamm – Bennett – Lown –Gray) 

  2. By Myself (2:16) (Dietz –Schwartz) 

  3. When the Saints Go Marching In (2:31) (traditional) (S-4) 

  4. You’re All the World to Me (2:23) (Lerner – Lane) 

  5. I Could Write a Book (2:22) (Hart – Rodgers) 

  6. Just One of Those Things (2:56) (Porter) 

Notes by FRANK FARRELL (“New York – Day by Day” columnist, N. Y. World-Telegram and Sun)

 

   With this album and a little floor space, you don’t have to envy Prince Rainier.

   Because I’ve never yet signed as co-maker for a panting Romeo who didn’t swear he could get the most beautiful Juliet to say “Yes” – if only I’d help him rent a toupee for an evening of dancing to Chauncey Gray’s music in the Hotel Ambassador’s Embassy Club.

It’s pretty powerful stuff, this Gray magic.

   Moreover, if it were not for Chauncey Gray, no less than three of New York’s smartest supper clubs would have second-class music this year.  The original Gray treatment can only be experienced, of course, in the Hotel Ambassador.  But the tempo and arrangements one dances to in the El Morocco and the Stork are as unmistakably carbon copies of Chauncey’s as if he were still reigning as maestro on both of those bandstands.

   I first became aware of Chauncey Gray one night when I was dancing with Elizabeth Taylor and one of her shoulder straps popped.  We were right close to Chauncey’s keyboard at the time, and I’m sure it was the only occasion, in his 25 years of perfect pitch, that anyone ever heard Gray hit a clinker.

It was not without justification, as the maestro later explained.  The dull snap of the shoulder strap was a discordant note.  He felt certain that no member of his crew was responsible.  And when he looked up from his piano to trace the sound …   Normally, however, Chauncey Gray and his incomparable troupe are equal to any surprise than can occur among their far-flung sophisticated following.  

   Whenever he’s playing to the cinema set in Hollywood’s Mocambo, the tropical vacationeers of Ciro’s in Florida, the bigtime spenders of the Beverly Country club in New Orleans, for youngsters at a college prom or debut party, or for the suave coterie of the Embassy Club – Chauncey is always personably aware that perhaps even more flattering than remembering a guest’s name is to remember a favorite melody associated with that time.

   I have no idea what system Chauncey has used, if any, to train his mind to retain so many musical selections, so many people, and then so many titles they are prone to request when in his audience.  But let Marlene Dietrich stroll into the Embassy Club after theatre and, without visible signal, Gray’s ensemble effortlessly eases from a fast foxtrot into Marlene’s song of songs, Vous Qui Passes sans Me Boir (Passing By).  Colonel Serge Obelensky has a wide range of musical favorites, ranging from the sublime to ragtime.  But Chauncey knows that, for at least another year, I Could Have Danced All Night, from the hit musical score of My Fair Lady, will rank with the handsome nobleman who is vice-chairman of the Ambassador.  Joan Crawford, who loves to dance, never visits New York without spending an evening with Gray’s tempos.  Long before it occurs to her to request it, the band has saluted the Oscar-lady with From this Moment On.

   When Henry Fonda is in the Embassy Room, he always requests something moody, like Ebb Tide.  Ginger Rogers is one of the most enthusiastic dancers Gray has ever observed; any tempo will do – but most of all the number titled Cheek to Cheek, from her movie dancing days with Fred Astaire.

For some strange reason, the perennial background music preferred by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor is Bye Bye, Blackbird.  Mrs. Boyd Hatch, wife of the Midas who owns the Ambassador International chain, prefers Mon Coeur Est un Violin (My Heart Is a Violin).  And Her Serene Highness Grace and Prince Rainier became engaged to the tune of Your Eyes Are the Eyes of a Woman in Love.  Just mention a song – and Chauncey will tell you who likes that one more than any other.  Or he will recall who fell in love to the enchantment of that melody.  Or who proceeds to get plastered every time Chauncey plays it.

Gone are the playboys who used to grab Gray and his team at booze-serving curfew for an irresistible price and keep them playing in their penthouses until noon.  The last such all-night hooley the Gray outfit indulged in was a victory party for Air Force General “Toohey” Spatz at the end of World War II.

   Now, at three in the morning, you ill most likely find Chauncey Gray and Chauncey, Jr. (who is regular drummer at the Embassy Club) sanely driving home to Valley Stream out on Long Island.  There Chaunce has a beautiful suburban home, compete with rumpus room in the cellar swimming pool in the backyard, a mobile charcoal broiler and all the tools you can cram into a do-it-yourself kit.

   He’s unlike any orchestra leader or razz-ma-tazz musician I’ve ever known.  It’s a pleasure to spend a day off with the Grays, because Chaunce neither talks nor acts like a pianist.  He’s a sincere, spunky little guy.  And if you didn’t know for sure he is an artist, you’d suspect he’d box or rassle you for $100 just for the rough and tumble of it.  Mrs. Gray, now a delightful housewife, was once a band singer.

It’s a long way from Chaunce’s decision, as a teenager in Schenectady, to study the voltage of a piano instead of his pop’s electrical business.  But, in all that time, Chaunce never lost sight of one goal: to be the best pianist-composer-bandman in his business.

He has only one real bugaboo.  He can’t stand maitre d’s who jam a dance floor, with extra tables.  (That’s why he and the Embassy Club’s Henry are close pals in and out of tuxedos.)

   Over the years, Chauncey has played piano in the bands of Ozzie Nelson, Dick Stabile and other favorites.  But he considers 1940 the turning point of his career.  That’s when he started as boss of his own combo for a fourteen-year stretch in El Morocco, which is still the NO. 1 nightspot of its type in the world.

   There Chauncey Gray became as famed as its zebra stripes and as closely identified with its success as its esteemed proprietor, John Perona.  Multi-millionaires, royalty from all over the glove, diplomats, movie stars, glamor debutantes – Chauncey knows them all.  And they all know Chauncey Gray.

   And for a final word on his music, it was neatly summed up recently by Arthur Astaire, head of the forty-four-million-dollars-a-year international dance-studio chain.  After listening to Gray’s orchestra for three hours, he sadly shook his head and concluded: “One of us has got to go.  With that kind of music, people don’t need dance lessons.”

 

NOTE: (1) also on S-4 “A Date with Riverside” 

       S-4

 

A High Fidelity Recording (Audio Compensation: RIAA Curve)

Produced by BILL GRAUER

Cover photograph: PAUL WELLER

Cover designed by PAUL BACON

Recorded in New York City; August, 1956

Engineer: JACK HIGGINS (Reeves Sound Studios)

 


RLP 12-805
Songs for Patricia and other music of ALEC WILDER

sung by SHANNON BOLIN piano accompaniment by MILTON KAYE   

Shannon Bolin (vcl)  acc by Milton Kaye (p)  music by under the personal supervision of Alec Wilder; 

Reeves Sound Studios, NYC; 1956? 

 

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SIDE 1

  1. Songs for Patricia (14:28) (Norman Rosten) 

SIDE 2

  1.  Chick Lorimer (2:08) (Carl Sandburg) 

  2. Cedars Are Growing (2:17) (Arnold Sundgaard)

  3. Definition (1:14) (William Engvick) 

  4. Did You Ever Cross Over to Sneden’s? (3:39) (Alec Wilder) 

  5. Where Do You Go? (1:24) (Arnold Sundgaard) 

  6. The Plowman (1:38) (traditional) 

  7. River Run (2:22) (Marshall Barer) 

  8. The Colleen (2:27) (James Stephens) 

  9. Margaret (2:03) (Gerald Manley Hopkins) 

  10. Pied Beauty (2:02) (Gerald Manly Hopkins)

   The music of ALEC WILDER defies description and has done so consistently for quite some time. Of course there is no such single entity as “the music” of Wilder: there are, rather, compositions in widely differing categories – and also compositions that refuse to be neatly categorized.  This ability to walk through the walls that normally subdivide music appears to disturb those who prefer to have creative artists stand still long enough to have suitable labels pinned on them.  It does not, however, disturb those who love music that is compelling, non-superficial and lucid – no matter what forms it may take.

   In every area that he turns to, Wilder inevitably functions as a maverick.  His jazz-oriented works are not standard jazz (the most recent examples of these are on Riverside RLP 12-219: New Music of ALEC WILDER; composed for Mundell Lowe and his Orchestra).  His popular songs are so far from the norm that the difference becomes one of kind rather than of degree; his several longer works do not conform to the stereotypes of either the “classical” or the “modern.”  And in the songs that are so movingly interpreted by Shannon Bolin in this album, he seems in danger of having created and entirely new form.

   Specifically, the material here is of two kinds.  Some are songs written with lyricists with whom Alec has frequently and effectively collaborated.  Others are musical settings for the existing efforts of distinguished poets, covering the very wide range from Sandburg t Hopkins.  The major work here, Songs for Patricia, is of this type.  It is Wilder’s setting, as a song-cycle, of selected portions of a wonderfully tender and evocative long poem about (and addressed to) a young girl, by Norman Rosten, a vastly skilled and sensitive contemporary poet and playwright.

   In each instance Wilder displays his awesome ability to capture the mood and message of the writer, to underline and emphasize and add new dimensions to meaning and emotion.  (To anyone reading this before hearing the album, that last sentence will sound like very strongly purple prose: but listen and be convinced.)

   A problem can arise when you turn to the question of what to cal this music.  Art songs? – no; that carries a misleading connotation of a very different, formalized, European and all-too-often rather stuffy musical idiom.  ‘Serious’ songs? (as distinguished from popular songs) has been suggested, but also sounds pretty forbidding.  Concert songs? – perhaps, but the fact is that this material would be almost as far from home in standard concert repertoire as in the hands of a pop vocalist.  Let’s settle for calling the question unnecessary: this is simply music that is not precisely like any other music; it is one more important facet of the considerable and unclassifiable talents of Alec Wilder.

   SHANNON BOLIN was first heard by Wilder at a concert at which she performed songs of another composer.  His immediate reaction was that she was exactly the singer for his material – which is no small compliment; her first encounter with the songs made the feeling ardently mutual and led, in due course, to this album.  Miss Bolin (who is also Mrs. Milton Kaye) was born in South Dalota and began her career at a Washington, D.C., radio station where she sang, of necessity, “everything from gospel to pop to opera,” Moving on to New York in the ‘40s, she has appeared at several supper clubs and has been featured on Broadway in such musicals as “Regina,’ “The Golden Apple,” and “Damm Yankees.”  She notes that her thoroughly eclectic musical background, which also includes learning folk music from her parents, and an early interest in jazz, turns out to have been ideal preparation for performing these Wilder songs.  MILTON KAYE, whose work here must be described as truly creative accompaniment, has been Yascha Heifits accompanist and is a concert artist in his won right, having appeared with, among others, the New York Philharmonic and Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra.

 

   SONGS FOR PATRICIA was published as a book by Simon and Schuster, Inc.  (copyright, 1951, by Normann Rosten). In developing his song cycle. Alec Wilder has chosen the several sections of the full poem which are reprinted by permission, in the next column.

 

Now that you’re born / And I spell the word out 

To be alive / Is much more than your weight

Or the balance of blood / So new in your veins

To be born is / Mostly musical

Like a hymnody / After the utter dark

From a sleep is seen / The growing light

And I sit and wait / Listening to clocks

While a shadow is thrown / Beyond my death

 

Darling / Those are birds

Little balls / That live in the air

Tinkle with leaves / Fly away somewhere far

O you’ll never / Catch them in your white hand

Their lifting light / Inside your very own heart

Your breathing / The hush of their wings becomes

They wont’ hurt you 

 

Wake up / I blow the petal of sleep from your eyelids

Where were you / Yes yes I know you stood tiptoe looking down

From the cloud / And weren’t we all funny to your clapping hands

Yes yes / I know it was so exciting even without words

I see the wonder / With you waking and wanting to talk

And tell me / Wasn’t it wonderful where you have been 

I know of course / There was music and toys and tumblers

Tell me / How can anyone little as you do this

Tell me yes / I want to listen all my life long

 

The year has wakened / a fawn in your blood / Stumbling and foolish / And playing dead

The house is a world / And each morning fresh / You take to your day / by taste and by touch 

Your laughter follows / Through cavernous rooms / From dragon in mirror / To thimble or spoon

And one day comes / I am suddenly seen / by your leaning eyes  / As always having been

Run to me safely / And your giant will fall / If you toch him so lightly / with your littlest smile

 

One day, from your sleep / I lifted you to my shoulder

And your hand, softer than a wish / Stroked my dace as your head rested on my shoulder

(In a room with its wall of roses / In a day fading as music)

 

Shall I write a poem / Of your first tried kiss

Not quite knowing / the shape of it

Yet your lips / Like a butterfly’s wing

Touched my cheek  / so lightly did cling

O lightly as lace / As a whisper it fell

And a knowledge / Even the heart won’t tell

 

This is my name / I have my own name 

(Patty, Patty, Patty)

I look in the mirror / and I’m still the same

I hide in the hall / but I’m not lost at all

(I’m Patty, Patty, Patty)

Just like a bell / That hangs on a cat

Wherever I go / It can bring me back

(Call Patty, Patty, Patty)

 

What did you do outside today? / I did sitting

And what did you see? / People

And what were they doing? / Running up and down

For what, can you tell sweet? / To catch a white bird

Will they ever? / Too fast, too fast

What was prettiest? / Little dogs and cats

What were they doing? / Smelling and kissing

 

Before you went down / the longest stair

You turned to me / With a sudden smile

To make you safe / While going down

And I stand above / Counting each step 

So you needn’t fear / What comes after five

Only the years / That have such quick numbers

Only your life / That moves farther away

 

Goodbye goodbye / I’m going away / Next morning will come / Quite without me

Goodbye goodbye / What will you say / to the morning after / That comes without me 

Here is a kiss / I put on each eye / Weightless as love / But will they stay

Here is a touch / On your laughing mouth / Don’t watch me / As I go out

 

 

A HIGH FIDELITY Recording (Audio Compensation: RIAA Curve).

Produced by ORRIN KEEPNEWS and BILL GRUER 

Recording under the personal supervision of ALEC WILDER 

Notes by ORRIN KEEPNEWS

Cover designed by PALU BACON

Engineer: JACK HIGGINS (Reeves Sound Studios)

 

The Cover Photograph, by Barney Cowherd, appeared in Edward Steichen’s celebrated Museum of Modern Art exhibit, “The Family of Man.”

 

RIVERSIDE RECORDS are released by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, Inc.

418 West 489th Street New York City 19, New York


RLP 12-806
I Come for to Sing: BOB GIBSON  

 

Accompanying himself on banjo (guitar on side 2, #4 only) assisted by Dick Rosmini (g) (on Side 1, #1-3, 6, 7 and Side 2, #1-3, 7,8 only)  Trigger Alpert b) (on side #1-3, 6, 7 and side 2, #1-3, 8)  Pete Berry (cng)) (on Side 2, #1 only) 

Reeves Sound Studios, New York; January 24 and 25, 1957

 

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SIDE 1

  1. John Henry (2:02) 

  2. Dance Boatman, Dance (2:10) 

  3. Alilene (2:20) 

  4. Kaite Morey (2:15) 

  5. Lost Jimmie Whelan (2:11) 

  6. Ol’ Bill (2:57)

  7. To Morrow (2:32) 

  8. Take This Hammer (2:16) 

SIDE 2

  1. Money Is King (1:36) 

  2. Drill, Ye Tarriers (1:46) (S-4) 

  3. I’m Gonna Leave Old Texas (1:21) 

  4. Mattie Groves (6:43) 

  5. The Squirrel (1:27) 

  6. I Come for to Sing (1:16) 

  7. The Lily of the West (2:25) 

  8. Springfield Mountain (2:23) 

   There can be few musical experiences more exciting than the emergence of a young new star in a beloved old tradition.  And it is precisely such an experience that can be sampled in this album.

   BOB GIBSON is a folk-singer in every sense of the word.  He knows and loves the music that has been one of America’s most enduring inheritances from England.  He is fully familiar with the songs that have developed out of the folk patterns of both Negro and white life in this country.  He is deeply aware of the fact that folk music is not part of the musty pages of history, but is a living, constantly evolving force – that valid folk material is just as likely to be crated or newly transmuted today as two centuries ago.  He has traveled extensively through the United States and the West Indies, collecting his ever-expanding repertoire from all possible sources: traditional singers, night club performers, college students, books, records.

All this amounts to an exceptionally through groundwork.  In itself, however, it is actually not too much more than any firmly dedicated amateur might do.  But Gibson has been able to take all this knowledge of and love for folk music several steps further.  For he is also a thoroughgoing professional: a skilled singer and banjoist, and the possessor of a rare and remarkable natural charm as a performer that has, in a comparatively short time, won him a large, rapidly-growing, and highly enthusiastic following.

   And, possibly most important of all, he is a performer with his own style and his own point of view.  This is something that can be heard immediately, and is to be appreciated and understood, once you have heard Bob at work, far more readily than it can be described in words.  But there can be advance indication of it in the unusually wide range of material he offers here; from calypso to work songs to nonsense song, from lumberjack and cowboy ballads to those that have their roots in old English tradition.  It is the surest sign of Gibson’s artistry that, although none of the material here is in any way distorted, all of it clearly bears the stamp of his individual approach.

   Still in his early twenties, Gibson has crowded a great deal of activity into an as0yet brief career: concert appearances in Florida, New York, throughout the Midwest and New England (often before school and university audiences); a particularly successful long engagement at The Gate of Horn club in Chicago; and in the Spring of 1957, a New York night club debut at the Village Vanguard, one of the country’s most celebrated jumping-off spots for new talent on its way to the top.

   Bob Gibson’s first appearance on record was in a Riverside album featuring rarely-recorded material: Offbeat Folk Songs: BOB GIBOSON and his banjo (RLP 12-802).   

 

ORRIN KEEPNEWS

 

SIDE 1

  1. JOHN HENRY: one of the best loved and most widely dispersed of all native American ballads, the legend of the great Negro steel driver John Henry is believed to have arisen from the building of the Big Bend tunnel in West Virginia in 1870-1872.  Though originally a Negro creation, it has become widely known to white folksingers, mainly from phonograph recordings, from which an entirely new oral tradition has sprung.

  2. DANCE, BOATIMAN, DANE: This rustic dance song is well known to folksingers throughout Ohio and neighboring states.  Few singers are aware, however, that he original for this song (which has undergone numerous changes in tradition) was a creation of the great American minstrel writer, Dan Emmett, Ohio born and bred. 

  3. ABILENE: Little is known about he origin of this song.  In any case, the version of the song performed here is a typical example of modern tradition in practice.  To the original stanzas have been added several written by various big city writers, including Les Brown of Chicago and others.

  4. KATIE MOREY: there are numerous ballads concerning the outwitting of an impatient young lad by a shrewd young lady, and this is one of the best.  It appears to e a secondary form of the traditional ribald ballad of The Baffed Knight (Child #112).  In this Ohio version of the ballad, the young man appears to have lost out in the end even after he wins the lady’s hand.

  5. LOST JIMMIE WHELAN: There are several lumberjack ballads from the northwoods which refer to the unfortunate young man in this ballad.  One of these describes the drowning of James Phelan at King’s Chute in Ontario, Canada, about heart calling her drowned lover to rise from his watery grave.  The ballad probably arose out of the rich Irish-American folk tradition which draws from Celtic mythology the spirits and ghosts of ancient times.

  6. TO MORROW: This delightful piece of tongue-twisting dialogue in song is probably the creation of some anonymous undergraduate at one of America’s great college campuses, a perennial hotbed for folksongs and pseudo-folksongs, and the source of a new and vital oral tradition.  Gibson learned it from Bob Black at the University of Indiana.

  7. OL’ BILL: This song about Ol’ Bill and his fate is the creation of some anonymous city-bred Negro.  But the song probably goes back to some rural original, for the refrain lines have been printed in Carl Sanburg’s great folksong collection, “The American Songbag”.

  8. TAKE THIS HAMMER: This Negro work song is still sung by prisoners on Southern work farms and chain gangs.  Roads have been built and railroads have been laid to the singing of such songs.  The hot sun burns down mercilessly on the steel muscles and tired black bodies, and as the end of each line of the song is reached, the long handled hammers swing in a great arc over the shoulders of the singers, biting into the rock and pulverizing it, or driving great steel spikes into the sun-baked ground.

 

SIDE 2

  1. MONEY IS KING: Genuine Calypso songs (not the type being performed on recordings in the preset “Calypso” boom) cover a multitude of subjects relating to the social, economic and political lives of the people of the West Indies.  Often these songs are satirical comments on the shortcomings of our modern society.  Such a song is Money Is King, and its complaint is a familiar one, though rarely is it so succinctly expressed.

  2. DRILL, YE TARRIERS: This song was sung by numberless quarry workers and railroad builders of Irish extraction who settled in this country in the 19th century.  The song has been taken over by laborers of every kind in all parts of the country, and has been collected from turpentine workers in Florida, from lumber mill loaders in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, and from steel workers in Indiana.

  3. I’M GONNA LEAVE OLD TEXAS: the last vestiges of the glory of the old West have long since passed into history.  Only some songs remain to remind us of the romance of the cowboy’s life.  I’m Gonna Leave Old Texas was probably created by some old cowboy at a time when the old ranges were beginning to give way to the highly mechanized ranches of the modern west.  Gibson learned this version from Pat McLoughlin of Wichita, Kansas.

  4. MATTIE GROVES: Old World versions of this ballad tell the story of Little Musgrave and Lady Bernard (Child #81).  In America, where the ballad has been better preserved than in the country of its origin, Musgrave have been orally corrupted to Matthew Groves or Mattie Graves.  As a gory tale of adultery and swift retribution, it has no peers in traditional balladry.

  5. THE SQUIRREL: Songs about animals have charmed children of nursery age for centuries. Thisis one of the most delightful of such songs.  The singer may make up additional stanzas as long as his imagination and genius permits.  Stanzas from this song crop up in courting songs, banjo pieces and nonsense ditties in all parts of this country.

  6. I COME FOR TO SING: This song needs little explanation, for its lines explain in simple detail the why and wherefore of the countless young Americans who pick u an instrument and open their mouths in song.  The song was written by Chick Young of Ann Arbor, Michigan, from whom Gibson learned it.

  7. THE LILY OF THE WEST: This ballad was a favorite with broadside printers in England in the 18th and 19th centuries.  American singers have changed the locale to their own liking, but the ballad tale has remained essentially the same.  In some versions, the unfaithful young lady is named Flora, in others she is called Mary.  This version comes from Ohio.

  8. SPRINGFIELD MOUNTAIN: This ballad is often referred to as America’s first native ballad.  It was based on an actual occurrence.  Timothy Myrick, of Springfield Mountain, Massachusetts, was bitten by a rattle snake on Aug. 7, 1761, and died a few hours later.  There are several distinct forms of the ballad, two of which are serious, and the others resulting from a comic stage tradition.  This version, collected by Majorie Loomis near Cooperstown, New York, obviously stemmed from the stage tradition.

Notes by KENNETH S. GOLDSTEIN

Bob Gibson plays Vega banjos exclusively

 

A HIGH FIDELITY Recording – Riverside-Reeves Full Fidelity Spectrosonic Engineering (Audio Compensation: RIAA Curve).

Produced by BILL GRAUER and ORRIN KEEPNEWS

Cover designed by PAUL BACON; cover photograph: PAUL WELLER

 


RLP 12-807
BARROOM BALLADS sung and declaimed by ED McCURDY
 

Ed McCurdy (sung, decleaimed)

place and date; no credit 1956?

 

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SIDE 1

  1. My Darling Clementine

  2. A Persian Kitty

  3. The Baggage Coach Ahead

  4. The Face on the Barroom Floor

  5. The Orphan Girl

  6. Liquor and Longevity

  7. Casey Jones

SIDE 2

  1. Abdul the Bul-Bul Amir

  2. Handsome Harry

  3. The Letter Edged in Black

  4. When a Fellow Begins to Get Bald

  5. The Lily of the West

  6. A Poor Unfortunate

  7. A fireman’s Life

   These are “Barroom Ballads” because they belong to that period of American life – let’s say the late nineteenth century and before, and a small, bygone segment of the early twentieth century – when the barroom (or, if you prefer, the saloon) was a focal point of social life. 

   These are selections either indelibly associated with such surroundings or reflecting the aura of those times.  And none of them would have been out of place on the lips of any impromptu entertainer (drunk or sober) behind those swinging doors. 

   The kind of barroom depicted in the John Held, Jr., illustration on this album’s cover has long since been replaced, almost universally, by the neon-lit and spittoon-less bar of today.  Similarly, the kind of sung and spoken balladry contained in the album has been replaced by the far less robustious songs on that bar’s juke box.  But these ballads can never die.  Whether or not they make us sign for good old, old days, whether we laugh with or at them, they retain a special charm and a feeling for zestful conviviality that should transcend such minor considerations as the passing of time. 

O. K.

 

   Since the days when most of these ballads were born, times have most decidedly changed.  What was deadly serious then seems laughable now.  What was intended then to be honest sentiment seems maudlin today.  Therein lies a very perplexing problem for the performer.  How best to treat this material?  As quaint period pieces, to be presented in a lightly tongue-in-cheek style, or as straightforward, serious examples of Americana? 

   Of course, some of these ballads were not in any sense meant to be treated seriously.  But looking at them now, it is not always easy to know which!  For such reasons, the problem becomes quite acute: a choice must be made, and it is clearly not at all as simple a matter as you might have thought.  For example, take The Letter Edged in Black.  Although this is a piece that was obviously written in complete earnest, it is difficult to accept it any longer as it originally meant to be taken.  Should it, then, be ‘kidded,’ sung in an overblown manner?  If so, how much overblown?  Or should an effort be made to recapture the original mood and to present it, as far as possible, as a legitimately tragic song? 

   Perhaps this debate may not seem as important to the listener as it is to me.  But the singer who cares about the songs he sings and the way in which he presents them knows just how crucial a matter this is.  For, as most singers realize, there is always one special, particular way to treat a song that will bring it to life and make it complete, make it what it was meant to be (or at least what the performer conceives it was meant to be!). 

So here you have one singer’s views on these songs in particular and – inevitable – on songs in general.  How closely I have come to presenting these selections in the “proper” light is of course to be judged by you, as you hear them (and will undoubtedly depend to a large extent on whether you agree with my carious interpretations of what is “proper” in each case). 

   If those ballads that were meant to be serious cause you to smile, then let your smile at least be a gentle one.  As for those intended to make you chuckle – let your chuckle be a deep one. 

Personally, I have a genuine regard for all these ballads, spoken and sung, and I’m grateful to Riverside for giving me the chance to set them down on record.

Now let the ballads speak for themselves … 

ED McCURDY

 

A NOTE ON THE SINGER: 

   Ed McCurdy describes his background as a “somewhat checkered one.”  Born in southeastern Pennsylvania in 1919, he has studied voice “off and on” since 1932.  He has been a radio gospel singer, announcer, children’s story teller and writer; he has performed extensively in vaudeville and night clubs (including a short stint in burlesque); and has spent the past few years in television, both in Canada and the United States.  On TV he has covered a gamut ranging from CBS’s erudite “Camera Three” series to a recent stint as “Freddie the Fireman” on a daily noontime children’s program. 

Actually, McCurdy is best known as a folk-singer of outstanding skill, conviction and versatility.  He can also be heard on the following 12-inch LP in Riverside’s Folklore Series. 

 

THE BALALD RECORD – 20 outstanding British and American ballads (RLP 12-601) 

 

   Those who enjoyed this album will surely be interested in such other lusty 12-inch LPs in the varied Riverside catalogue as: 

Specialty series – 

Offbeat Folksongs: BOB GIBSON and his banjo (RLP 12-802) 

BOB GIBSON: I Come for to Sing (RLP 12-806) 

Jazz of THE ROARING TWENTIES; original recordings from the Charleston era (RLP 12-801) 

Folklore Series – 

AMERICAN DRINKING SONGS: Oscar Brand, with Erik Darling (RLP 12-630) 

IRISH DRINKING SONGS: Patrick Galvin (RLP 12-604) 

SCOTS DRINKING SONGS: Ewan MacColl (RLP 12-605) 

ENGLISH DRINKING SONGS: A. L. Lloyd (RLP 12-618) 

BLOODY BALLADS: British and American Murder Ballads, sung by Paul Clayton (RLP 12-615) 

MERRY DITTIES: Folksongs of Love and Play, sung by Milt Okun (RLP 12-603) 

THE GRAT AMERICAN BUM and other hobo songs: John Greenway (RLP 12-619) 

THE OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL and other traditional songs of the Old West: Merrick Jarrett (RLP 12-631) 

BAD LADS AND HARD CASES: British Ballads of Crime and Criminals, sung by Ewan MacColl (RLP 12-632) 

Thar She Blows!: Whaling Ballads and Songs, sung by A. L. Lloyd and Ewan MacColl (RLP 12-635) 

HIGH FIDELIT Recording (audio Compensation: RIAA Curve)

Produced by Bill Grauer

Cover designed by Paul Bacon

The cover illustration reproduces a woodcut by John Held, Jr., which is copyright, 1926, by the artist and is used by permission.

 

RIVERSIDE RECORDS are released by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, Inc.

553 West 51st Street New York 19, New York

 


RLP 12-808
This Could Lead to Love

Love songs by: MUNDELL LOWE, TONY BURRELLO, BARBARA LEA with BILLY TAYLOR  

Mundell Lowe (g) with George Duvivier (b)  Jack Green berg (English hrn)  

Barbara Lea (vcl)  with Billy Taylor (p)  Johnny Windhurst (tp)  Jimmy Shirley (g)  Earl May (b)  Percy Brice (drs)

Tony Burrello (p) solos

 

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SIDE 1

  1. Mundell Lowe: This Cold Lead to Love (3:10) 

  2. Barbara Lea: Come Rain or Come Shine (4:02) (Mercer – Arlen) 

  3. Tony Burrello: A Sinner Kissed an Angel (2:53) (Davis – Joseph) 

  4. Tony Burrello: Polka Dots and Moonbeams (3:11) (Burke – Van Heusen) 

  5. Barbara Lea: Thinking of You (2:40) (Kalmar – Ruby) 

  6. Mundell Lowe: I Guess I’ll Have to Dream the Rest (2:42) (Black – Stoner – Green)

SIDE 2

  1. Mundell Lowe: Wonderful One (2:12) (Terris – Whiteman – Grofe) (S-4) 

  2. Barbara Lea: I Didn’t Know About You (3:16) (Russell – Ellington) (S-3) 

  3. Tony Burrello: I Remember You (3:13) (Mercer – Scertzinger) 

  4. Tony Burrello: It’s Always You (2:14) (Burke – Van Heusen) 

  5. Barbara Lea: A Woman Alone with the Blues (5:10) (Willard Robison) 

  6. Mundell Lowe: I Hadn’t Anyone ‘Til You (2:28) (Ray Noble) 

   The ingredients of romance are many and varied, and each of us is certainly entitled to his own favorite recipe.  But high on almost everyone’s list in planning the right setting for romance would surely be what one lyricist has described as “soft lights and sweet music.”  The lighting effects are entirely up to you, but this album provides the rest: a full assortment of sweet music, of mellow and moving songs about love … 

   “Sweet,” of course, does not mean saccharine.  The proper music for romance should not be cloying or vapidly sentimental or lethargic; it should be languid and relaxed, but it should also have a touch of life and sparkle to it.  We do not hold with the school of thought that insists that what is called for is the sighing and sloughing of approximately a thousand violins.  (This is, after all, not an album of ‘Music to Go to Sleep By.’  Besides, there is something rather disturbing about having those thousand violinist eavesdropping on your private romantic scene.)

   On the contrary we claim, there is infinitely more romance in the kind of music this LP offers: pretty and pleasing tunes, as interpreted through the rich, tender sound of a guitar, the warm tones of a fresh young voice, the reflective mood built by a solo piano.  For there is really no need to abandon, or even to compromise, standards of musical quality in order to build an album of what is most often referred to as “mood music.”  In the present instance, Riverside has put together highly suitable examples of the work of several remarkable performers: an outstanding guitarist; a most promising new singer supported by some of the best and most responsive accompaniment that any vocalist has ever been blessed with; and a pianist with a distinctive and evocative style.  There is a feeling of jazz to most of their selections (which is natural enough, since most of the performers are primarily of that field), but it is as far removed from the driven, raucous kind of jazz as it is from the violin-syrup noted above.  It is all music with much soul and heart, each unit different from the others in its approach but all complementary to each other, put together in sequence as the ingredients in a decidedly romantic concoction: 

   MUNDELL LOWE, one of the most talented of today’s jazz guitarists, and also a musician of many moods, is at his very softest and most insinuating in the four selections he provides here.  With English horn and bass filling in a delicate background, Lowe opens with the album’s title song, and returns with three other haunting tunes.

   BARBARA LEA is a young singer with just a touch of the right husky throb in her voice and a rare feeling for the meaning of the words she sings.  Flawlessly supported by a group led by the brilliant pianist BILLY TAYLOR and also featuring the rich trumpet of Johnny Windhurst, she contributes three beautiful ‘standards’ and, as her finale, a rarely-heart song of almost painful poignancy, A Woman Alone with the Blues.

   TONY BURRELLO has served as arranger, vocal coach and accompanist for many noted current singers of love songs, including Tony Bennett.  As a solo pianist, he tenderly extracts the last full measure of romance from the four selections allotted to him in this concert dedicated to love.

Music is undoubtedly a most effective means of setting any scene.  What you make of the scene is, of course, up to you.  But here are songs of love, recorded in all the richness of high fidelity sound by performers of great skill and sensitivity.  With such assistance, the album title might possibly be considered as a hint: this could lead to love.

 

   (Lowe’s selections are issued here for the first time.  Burrello’s were originally part of the Riverside album titled ‘Polka Dots and Moonbeams”; Miss Leas songs originally appeared in the album “A Woman in Love.”)

 

   Mundell Lowe is also featured on three High Fidelity 12-inch LPs in Riverside’s Contemporary Series: 

Guitar Moods by MUNDELL LOWE (RLP 12-208) 

MUNDEL LOWE Quartet (RLP 12-204) 

New Music of ALEC WILDER; composed for MUNDELL LOWE and his Orchestra (RLP 12-219) 

   Other unusual albums of interest in Riverside’s Specialty Series include: 

Songs for Patricia and Other ALEC WILDER Music, sung by SHANNON BOLIN (RLP 12-805) 

BOB GIBON and his banjo: Offbeat Folksongs (RLP 12-802) 

BOB GIBSON – I Come fro to Sing (RLP 12-806) 

BARROOM BALLADS, sung by and declaimed by ED McCURDY (RLP 12-807) 

DANCING AT THE EMBASSY CLUB with CHAUNCEY GRAY and his Orchestra (RLP 12-804) 

A HIGH FIDELITY Recording (Audio Compensation: RIAA Curve)

Produced by BILL GARUER and ORRIN KEEPNEWS

Notes by PETER DERW

Cover designed by PAUL BACON; cover photograph: PAUL WELLER

Lowe and Burrello recorded at Reeves Sound Studios; Miss Lea at Van Gelder Studio

  

RIVERSIDE RECORDS are released by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, Inc.

418 West 49th Street New York City 19, New York

 


RLP 12-809
Dance Party: LENNY HERMAN and His Orchestra  

Lenny Herman (vibraharp, accordion)  Alan Shurr (cl, ts)  Charlie Shaw (p, org, solovox, eleste)  Earl “Gumpy” Comfort (violin, bass)  Stan Scott (drs) 

“The Hermanaires”  (Herman, Shurr, Comfort)  

Recorded by Livingston Audio, possibly in 1957?

 

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SIDE 1

  1. Just One of Those Things (2:42) (Cole Porter) (S-4) 

  2. Manhattan (2:59) (Rodgers and Hart) 

  3. Get Happy (2:31) (Koehler – Arlen) 

  4. Linger Awhile (2:56) (Owens – Rose) 

  5. Pagan Love Song (2:45) (Freed – Brown) 

  6. Cecilia (2:20) (Ruby – Dreyer) 

SIDE 2 

  1. Love for Sale (2:06) (Cole Porter) 

  2. Rose of the Rio Grande (2:22) (Leslie – Warren – Gorman) 

  3. Tea for Two (3:00) (Caesar – Youmans) 

  4. Rose of Washington Square (2:50) (McDonald – Hanley) 

  5. In the Still of the Night (3:05) (Cole Porter) 

  6. I’m Always Chasing Rainbows (3:10) (McCarthy – Carroll) 

   “The mightiest Little Band in the Land,” as Lenny Herman’s group has been billed for many years, has been supplying dance music for happy couples and festive occasions for close to two decades.

   This is a deceptively small band.  Count the personnel and you’ll find that you can do it exactly with the fingers of one hand.  But count again, this time noting that all except the drummer “double’ on from one to three additional instruments, and you arrive at a much higher total.  Stop counting and start listening (or, better still, start dancing – which is what you should have been doing in the first place) and you’ll soon appreciate that mere numbers have nothing to do with it.  For it’s danceable rhythms that count, not bulk of manpower; and for sheer ability to make you move your feet, the smooth “big” sound of the little Her man band is just about unbeatable.

   This fact is no longer news to those who have danced to this group over the years.  You haven’t been able to encounter Lenny Herman at many different places, though, for long tuns have been this band’s constant habit ever since they scored their first big success, in the early 1940s, at New York’s Hotel Astor.  That was actually a nationwide success, for broadcasts over four major radio networks carried the Herman music to thousands upon thousands of dancers.  Their say at the Astor lasted for ten years.  They have also played at the Sahara in Las Vegas, and at two other prominent New York hotels: the Roosevelt, where they spent four years; and the New Yorker, where they began operations in 1955 and at this writing (a mere two years later) are barely beginning to feel settled.  Much of the material in this album, incidentally, was recorded at the New Yorker.

   This is, then, unquestionably a band that pleases and holds the customers.  Herman attributes this to the original dance style achieved by arrangements that emphasize the ability of his five-men-and-many-instruments to sound like a big band.  He also gives much credit to their unique quality of anticipation: like such equally steady-going large orchestras as Guy Lombardo’s and Lawrence Welk’s, the Herman group has played together as a unit for so long that they fit together quite instinctively.

   Lenny Herman was born in Brooklyn, in 1915, and his early training was as a classical pianist.  As a dance band musician during the ‘30s, he took up the accordion, and now concentrates on that instrument and the vibraharp, as well as piano.

   The selections he offers here are typical of the Herman repertoire: “standards” that have weathered the changing musical and dancing styles of a good many years simply because they are basically sound and sturdy material.  Naturally enough, some of the foremost American songwriters are represented here: Cole Porter by three tunes from the ‘30d; Rodgers and Hart by their first great hit, the 1925 Manhattan;  Harold Arlen by the rhythmic Get Happy, a 1930 composition; Vincent Youmans by his most celebrated song, Tea for Two (1924).  Of the others, I’m Always Chasing Rainbows dates back to 1918 and Rose of Washington Square to 1920; Pagan Love Song is a comparative new comer, from 1929.  But all are equally capable, when played the Herman way, of turning whatever room your record player is in into a dancing floor.  That’s Lenny Herman’s proven specialty: good dance music, which is something you hardly get enough of nowadays.

   But for just that reason, that’s enough conversation for now.  Roll back the rugs and on with the Dance Party!

 

   (This material is selected from several best selling Stereophonic High fidelity tapes issued by Livingston Audio Products.  By special arrangement, it is now being made available on records for the first time.)

 

   The Riverside catalogue on High Fidelity 12-inch long-play recordings covers wide range of interesting and unusual albums, including: 

Dancing at the Embassy Club with CHAUNCEY GRAY and His Orchestra (RLP 12-804) 

I Love JEROME KERN: piano solos by Kenny Drew (RLP 12-811) 

This Could Lead to Love: Love Songs in Hi-Fi, by Mundell Lowe, Barbara Lea, Tony Burrello (RLP 12-808) 

A TRASURY OF RIBALDRY: read by MARTYN GREEN (RLP 7001) 

I Come for to Sing: folksongs by BOB GIBSON (RLP 12-806) 

BARROOM BALLADS: sung and declaimed by ED McCURDY (RLP 12-807) 

Jazz of the ROARING TWENTIES: Dance Music of the Charleston Era,

   as originally played by Red Nicholes, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey (RLP 12-801) 

A HIGH FIDELITY Recording (Audio Compensation: RIA Curve.  Recorded by Livingston Audio)

Cover by PAUL WELLER (photography) and PAUL BACON (design)

The evening slipper in the cover photograph is an exclusive Delman design, courtesy of Delman Shoes.

 

RIVERSIDE RECORDS are released by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS

553 West 51st Street New York City 19, New York

 


RLP 12-810
THE LEGEND OF ROBIN HOOD
 

ED McCURDY, singer – MICHAEL KANE, narrator guitar accompaniment by Frank Hamilton 

Recorded NYC; April 1957

 

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SIDE 1

  1. Robin Hood’s birth

  2. Robin Hood and the Fifteen Foresters

  3. Robin Hood and Little John

  4. Robin Hood Rescues Will Stuttley

  5. Robin Hood and Maid Marion 

  6. Robin Hood and the Butcher

SIDE 2

  1. Robin Hood’s Golden Prize 

  2. Robin Hood and the Prince of Aragon 

  3. Robin Hood and the Pedlar 

  4. Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow 

  5. Robin Hood’s Death 

   ROBIN HOOD – historical figure of mythical character?  This is the question which leading literary historians and folklorists have been attempting to answer for several centuries.  There is still great divergence of opinion on the matter, but there can be no question about Robin’s popularity with the common folk of at least the last six centuries (right down to his current status as the hero of a television adventure series). 

   To what may we attribute the popularity of this here-outlaw?  It can hardly be said that his position was an enviable one: an outcast from the society into which he was born, he was forced to spend his lifetime roaming the forests of Nottinghamshire, without a roof over his head, without any of the luxuries and many of the necessities of life.  With a price on his head, he was forced to choose his companions with extreme caution, for his life was constantly at stake.  Looked at in such practical terms, there is nothing romantic or enviable in his status; yet it has been precisely these circumstances which have led the folk of several centuries to hold him in such high esteem … 

   The very fact that Robin Hood was an outlaw was initially responsible for his popularity.  To the plain folk of “merry” England, he was a symbol of revolt against the social and political order that made their lives so miserable.  Here was a man who was undeniably a thief and a murderer, yet with a personal code that specifically limited and channelled his activities and gave them a purpose that the sorely oppressed peasantry could understand and applaud. For his thievery was in answer to taxation and expropriation that the common folk could only consider as legalized thievery; his murders replied to officially condoned or ignored murder.  And never did he rob the poor, but only the rich – whose purses had been fattened in the first place by outrageously taxing the peasants.  Never did he raised his bow against the common yeoman, but only against the criminal nobility and their hirelings.  And if his home was only the green forest (rather than some castle, which might seem more fitting for a robber folk-hero), this too was a symbol of the freedom for which the serfs of England’s feudal society strived.  A gallant figure who dispensed his own form of egalitarian justice – for everyone knows that Robin stole from the rich to give to the poor.  If he was legend, he was obviously a symbol of revenge and of a romanticized desire to revolt; if here was actually a Robin Hood, he was a formidable folk-champion. 

   There were still other attributes that made this knight of the green wood so beloved from the start.  Robin was no mystic or miracle-maker, but a human and fallible man like those sang of his deeds.  Unlike the godlike heroes in the epics of other nations, he was human enough to be occasionally defeated in battle: but only by lowborn country folk (like Little John or Friar Tuck) never by the rich and important forces of evil.  He surrounded himself with a variety of men, but almost all had been concerned with some common trade or calling – pedlars, ploughboys, trade apprentices and friars – and almost all were driven into Sherwood Forest by specific oppression and injustice, which made very readily for identification with Robin’s and by the downtrodden. 

   Nor did Robin array himself only against the nobility, for there were the higher clerical orders to be counted in when crimes against the poor were being reckoned up.  Robin was a devoutly pious man, but when unscrupulous monks, bishops and archbishops passed through his territory, they too were made to pay for their crimes.  And, finally, of course there was Robin the romantic lover who wooed and won the fair, gentle Maid Marion who was, fittingly, a highborn lass with an understanding of the true state of things that was shared by hardly any persons of her high estate. 

   In such a mold was robin Hood cast.  It is, then, not at all surprising that he became and remains the classic her of the folk throughout the English-speaking world.  For even when the specific problems of the England of his era were long past, robin could still serve as a romantic magnet, drawing to him the eager imaginations of vicariout adventure-lovers seeking escape from humdrum lives, as well as those to whom he continues to represent vengeance-with-gallantry.  Sophisticated though we may be today, the name and story of Robin Hood have not yet lost their meaning or their considerable charm, and so we continue to come upon the telling and retelling of his deeds even in the present day: in song, story, movie, on radio and television. 

   This recording turns to the early ballad sources in and effort to present, at least in part, the fabric of the Robin Hood legend.  Through a weaving together of swift narrative and compelling verse we are taken from his birth to his death, from his first meetings with his comrades to his struggles against the higher orders, from his glorious victories to his eventual treachery-laden downfall.  Ed McCurdy and Michael Kane recreate the romance and chivalry of the days when Robin and his merry men, all in their tunics of Lincoln green, stove mightily to lighten the burdens of the peasantry of the area surround Sherwood Forest.  May you enjoy his zestful story as untold millions have enjoyed it before you.  

KENNETH S. GOLDTEIN 

 

About the performers: 

 

   ED McCURDY describes his background as a “some what checkered on.”  Born in southeastern Pennsylvania in 1919, he has studied voice “off and on” since 1932.  He has been a radio gospel singer, announcer, children’s story teller and writer; he has performed extensively in night clubs and vaudeville (including a brief turn in burlesque); and in the past few years he has appeared widely on TV, both in Canada and in the United States.  His television work has covered a gamut from the erudite “Camera Three” series on CBS to a recent stint as “Freddie the Fireman” on a daily noontime children’s program.  

 

   Actually, McCurdy is best known as a folk singer of considerable skill, conviction and versatility. 

     He can also be heard on two other 12-inch Riverside LPs:

BALLROOM BALLADS; favorite American songs and declamations (RLP 12-807) 

THE BALLAD RECORD; twenty outstanding British and American ballads (RLP 12-601) 

 

   MICHAEL KANE was born in Canada and underwent his early acting apprenticeship there.  He has been performing primarily in the Unite States for the past six years, and has p\appeared frequently on network radio and TV.  He has gained a reputation as one of the outstanding narrators of TV, radio and film documentaries.  His gamut can match that of McCurdy, ranging from leading roles in daily soap operas to an appearance as Leartes in “Hamlet” at the Canadian Stratford Shakespearean Festival in Ontario, in the Summer of 1957.  His New York stage debut in James Joyce’s “The Exiles,” early in 1957, brought him outstanding critical praise. 

 

A HIGH FIDELITY Recording (Audio Compensation: RIAA Curve). 

Edited by Kenneth S. Goldstein.

Cover by Paul Weller (photography) and Paul Bacon (design).

Engineer: Mel Kaiser.

New York; April, 1957.

 

RIVERSIDE RECORDS are released by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS

553 West 51st Street New York 19, N.Y. 

RLP 12-811
I Love JEROME KERN

The Memorable Music of a Great American Composer

Piano solos by KENNY DREW; accompanied by Wilbur Ware, bass

 
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SIDE 1 

  1. The Way You Look Tonight (2:22) 

  2. I've Told Every Little Star (2:26) (S-4) 

  3. Can't Help Lovin' That Man of Mine (3:43) 

  4. Make Believe (2:19) 

  5. I'm Old Fashioned (3:06) 

  6. All the Things You Are (2:34) 

SIDE 2 

  1. Long Ago and Far Away (2:46) 

  2. All Through the Day (2:12) 

  3. The Song Is You (2:30) 

  4. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (3:21) 

  5. Why Do I Love You? (2:13) 

  6. Yesterdays (4:12) 

   As the album title should make quite clear, this collection is dedicated to the proposition that the music of Jerome Kern is to be regarded with affection – and to be played in precisely that way, too. 

   This is not the sort of statement likely to stir up any arguments.  Love for the many richly romantic, enduring melodies crated by Kern is an emotion shared by a great many people.  These range all the way from deep-dyed and fervent students of Kern to those listeners who know a beautiful tune when they hear one, but who don’t pay much attention to composer credits.  (When they start noting the numbers included here, members of this latter group may be surprised to find that, although they didn’t know it before, they have been in love with Kern music all along.) 

   This is the first in a projected series of piano albums, each devoted entirely to the work of one of the major figures of American popular music: Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Harold Arlen, George Gershwin and many others.  As with this LP, each album will be based on the premise of deep affection for the work of the composer, unabashedly announced through the title: “I love …”  It is not at all by accident that this group of albums is led off by one concerned with Jerome Kern.  For, although there are songwriters whose efforts are fully comparable to his, there is surely no popular composer whose name so fully deserves to be linked with “love.”  Sentimentality – but of a rich, full-bodied and completely uncloying kind – is the essence of Kern’s music; warmth and tenderness are implicit in virtually all his melodies, and certainly in all of those that have been selected to represent him here. 

   Kern’s death in 1945, at the age of sixty, cut short a very long and active career during which he, more than any single other composer, presided over the coming-of-age of American musical comedy.  The transition from the “operetta” of Victor Herbert’s day, based on 19th century European models, to musicals whose characteristics are of our own time and place was obviously accomplished by the joint efforts of a great many songwriters, lyricists, and librettists.  But there is good reason t wonder if it could have been accomplished at all if there had been no Jerome Kern. 

   His first important song was probably They Didn’t Believe Me, which was written for “The Girl from Utah,” in 1914.  If you stop to consider that that was only seven years after the first New York production of “The Merry Widow” and a full ten years before “The Student Prince,” you can begin to realize just how much of a musical radical Kern actually was! 

   He was also a composer firmly dedicated to the theater, in one form or another.  With the single late exception of The Last Time I Saw Paris, every song he wrote was specifically designed for a musical play or movie.  The dozen selections that make up this album reflect these two interests in about the right proportion: four are from movie, eight from Broadway musicals. 

   The earliest of these selections are from his greatest success: “Show Boat,” the 1927 dramatization of the Edna Ferber novel.  Oscar Hammerstein II was his lyricist (people who are young enough, or have short enough memories, may think of Hammerstein only in connection with Richard Rodgers; but in the late 1920s and early ‘30s he was Kern’s most frequent co-worker).  This must have been the first musical to dare to tackle a serious theme, making it a very advanced fore-runner of many shows of the past few years.   The Kern music which was a vital part of the depth of the production included such lasting parts of the American musical heritage as Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man, Make Believe, and Why Do I Love You?. 

   The lilting I’ve Told Every Little Star and the lush The Song Is You are both from 1932’s “Music in the Air,” for which Hammerstein was also the lyricist.  Two other thoroughly immortal songs, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes and Yesterdays, both showing Kern’s unequalled ability to create a truly moving, plaintive tune, are form “Roberta”, for which Otto Harbach wrote the lyrics. 

   That was a 1933 show, the last Kern wrote before turning most of his attention to Hollywood.  He actually came up with only one more Broadway score, for “very War for May” in 1939. Again, he was working with Hammerstein, and although this was not particularly a hit, it did give us All the Things You Are, which is enough, all by itself, to have made it worthwhile.  

   The Way You Look Tonight is from “Swing Time,” a 1936 Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers picture (lyrics by Dorothy Fields).  From the 1942 movie, “You Were Never Lovelier” comes I’m Old Fashioned (with Johnny Mercer words).  The beautiful Long Ago and Far Away (words by Ira Gershwin) emerged from an otherwise undistinguished 1944 film, “Cover Girl.”  Finally, there is one of his very last melodies, All Through the Day, which reunited Kern with Hammerstein for a movie, “Centennial Summer,” that was actually released the year after his death. 

   It should be apparent that no dozen songs could do complete justice to anyone’s love for the music of Jerome Kern.  His devotees are sure to complain about the absence of such ‘necessities’ as the previously mentioned They Didn’t Believe Me and The Last Time I Saw Paris, of such graceful tunes as Look for the Silver Lining and I Dream To Much, of such lovely portions of the score of “The Cat and the Fiddle” as She Didn’t Say Yes and The Night Was Made for Love.  But, by simple arithmetic, that much more material puts you well on the way to another whole album and indicates the only defense for such omissions: there just isn’t enough room here to make possible the inclusion of everything that represents Kern at his so-very-frequent best. 

 

   KENNY DREW, the pianist who so lovingly interprets Kern on this LP, is a New Yorker of quite varied musical tastes.  Still a student of classical piano and of composition, and still in his twenties, he has made his name largely in the jazz field but demonstrates here that his talent is by no means limited to any one area.  (He is represented in Riverside’s “Contemporary” jazz series of High Fidelity 12-inch albums by The KENNY DREW Trio: RLP 12-224; and THIS IS NEW: RLP 12-236.) 

 

A wide range of American music of unusual interest can be heard on 12-inch Riverside LPs, including: 

Dancing at the Embassy Club: CHAUNCEY GRAY and His Orchestra (RLP 12-804) 

New Music of ALEC WILDER; composed for MUNDELL LOWE and His Orchestra (RLP 12-219) 

Songs for Patricia and other ALEC WILDER music; sung by SHANNON BOLIN (RLP 12-805) 

THIS COULD LEAD TO LOVE – love songs in Hi-Fi; by Mundell Lowe; Tony Burrello; Barbara Lea with Billy Taylor (RLP 12-808) 

Guitar moods by MUNDELL LOWE (RLP 12-208) 

Traditional AMERICAN LOVE SONGS; sung by Milt Okun and Ellen Stekert (RLP 12-634) 

I Come for to Sing: folk-songs by BOB GIBSON (RLP 12-806) 

A HIGH FIDELITY recording – Reeves-Riverside SOECTROSONIC High-Fidelity Engineering (Audio Compensation: RIAA Curve)

Produced by Bill Grauer

Notes by Orrin Keepnews

Cover photograph; Paul Weller; design: Paul Bacon

Engineer: Jack Higgins (Reeves Sound Studios)

 

RIVERSIDE RECORDS are released by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS

553 West 51st Street New York 19, New York

 


RLP12-812
Deep River and other classic Negro spirituals

– sung by ROBERT McFERRIN  

Robert McFerrin (vcl) piano accompaniment by Norman Johnson

Reeves Sound Studios, NYC; June 5 & 6, 1957

 

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SIDE 1

  1. Ev’ry Time I Feel de Spirit

  2. Fix Me, Jesus

  3. His Name So Sweet

  4. I’m Gonter Tell God All o’ My Troubles

  5. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

  6. A City Called Heaven

  7. Ain’t Got Time to Die

SIDE 2

  1. Here’s One

  2. Let Us Break Bread Together

  3. Deep River

  4. I Got to Lie Down

  5. Oh, Glory

  6. Witness

  7. Ride On, King Jesus!

   ROBERT McFERRIN was almost unknown to the general public three years ago, but today is hailed by many critics as one of the greatest American voices of our time.  Making his Metropolitan Opera debut on January 27, 1955, as Amonasro in Verdi’s “Aida”, McFerrin was only the second Negro to have sung with the Metropolitan in its 70 year history, and the first member of the Metropolitan Opera Company. 

   McFerrin’s step from the ranks of little-known singers to regular member of the “Met” is indeed a dramatic one.  Born in Marianna, Arkansas, McFerrin was one of eight children of a Baptist minister.  In 1936 the family moved to St. Louis, where McFerrin entered Summer High School.  His music teacher there discovered the youth’s amazing voice, and spent many hours giving him voice training.  When McFerrin finished high school, this teacher and others organized an interracial committee to raise funds to enable him to continue his education.  McFerrin spent one year at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, and then started his vocal studies at the Chicago College of Music.  While there, he won the Chicago Musicland Competition and then appeared as a featured soloist at the summer series of concerts at Grant Park. 

   McFerrin’s studies were interrupted by four years spent as a member of the Army Engineers and Air Force but were resumed immediately upon his discharge in 1946.  A year later, arriving in New York, he was brought to the attention of Boris Goldovsky, who promptly offered him a scholarship in the Opera Department at Tanglewood.  The leads he sang there and repeated with the New England Opera Company resulted in Broadway roles in the revival of “Green Pastures” and in Kurt Weill’s “Lost in the Stars.”  Following the road tour of “Lost in the Stars,” McFerrin spent a year in convert work with the National Opera Company.  It was during this period that Eugene Ormandy heard him sing and enthusiastically termed him “as great as any baritone before the public today.” 

   But all of this was mere preparation for the event that has proved the fulcrum of McFerrin’s career: in the Spring of 1953, he entered the Metropolitan Auditions of the Air.  Singing an amazing sequence of the most taxing baritone arias in the repertoire, he was proclaimed a winner by unanimous vote of the judges.  He was given a scholarship at the Kathryn Turner Long Opera Courses, six weeks of training usually reserved for Metropolitan singers under contract, and thus made American musical history by becoming the first Negro singer to be trained at the Metropolitan. 

   McFerrin thought his actual “Met” debut would be several years off, but after working hard at the Kathryn Long School, and putting in only a single season of nationwide covert and orchestral appearances, he was asked to sign a contract as a regular member of the country’s leading opera company. 

   His Metropolitan debut was greeted by New York critics with unusually strong praise: “A well-deserved success, the native beauty of his voice came through fully.”  … “a voice solidly in focus and it has fine, ringing top tones.”  … “A valuable addition to the company.  His voice is forcefully projected and artistically employed.  McFerrin command attention as a singing actor from the moment he appeared on the stage.”  The acclamation received then, as well as for his later performances as Valentin in Gounod’s “Faust” and in the title role of Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” has made him one of the company’s most valuable members.  His recording of “Rigoletto” is one of the best selling releases of the Metropolitan Opera Record Club. 

   He has since toured the nation in recital and orchestra engagements; his Town Hall debut was hailed by the New York critics as “a major recital discovery;” and he has sung with the Italian Opera Company at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. 

   As he continues to become more widely known by his concert appearance throughout the country, McFerrin meets with ever-growing public and critical recognition as one of the most sensitive interpreters of operatic and convert material singing today, and as the possessor of one of the most thrilling and moving voices of our times.  A vital part of his many appearances on convert stages has been the inclusion of a group of classic Negro spirituals, sung in a manner that combines trained artistry and a valid approach to this traditional material with a degree of success that few other singers have matched.  It is therefore quite fitting that in this first album he presents a concert of such songs, aided by the skilled and sensitive piano of his accompanist, Norman Johnson. 

 

   (The arrangement of Here’s One by William Gran Still; of Let Us Break Bread Together by Williams Lawrence; and of Deep River by H. T. Burleight.  All other arrangements are by Hall Johnson.)

A High Fidelity Recording – Riverside-Reeves High Fidelity SPECTROSONIC Engineering (Audio Compensation: RIAA Curve).

Produced by Kenneth S. Goldstein

Photographs by Lawrence Photo

Cover design: Paul Bacon

Engineer: Jack Higgins (Reeves Sound Studios)

 

RIVERSIDE RECORDS are released by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS

553 West 51st Street, New York 19, New York

 


RLP 12-813
The Art of the Five-String Banjo 

played by BILLY FAIER assisted by FRANK HAMILTON, guitar  

Billy Faier (5-stiring bj)  Frank Hamilton (g)

Cue Recording Studios, New York; May, 1957

 

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SIDE 1

  1. The Rakes of Mallow (1:13) 

  2. H’Kotsrim (Israeli Dance) (1:56) 

  3. Green Corn (3:19) v

  4. Irish Medley: (2:42) Garryowen / MacLeod’s Reel / Haste to the Wedding

  5. Yugoslav Kolo (1:00) 

  6. High Barbary (2:33) v x2

  7. Spanish Fandango (2:11) 

  8. The Last of Callahan (2:43) 

SIDE 2

  1. Farewell Blues (1:12) 

  2. Dance of a Spanish Fly (2:03) 

  3. Three Jelly Rogues (1:41) v x2

  4. Sailor’s Hornpipe (1:42) 

  5. The Wren Song (2:49) v x2

  6. Greek Dance (1:48)

  7. The Darby Ram (3:53) v

  8. Lute Song for Five-String Banjo (2:08) v x2

   The five-string banjo was developed in 19th century America from an earlier model of the instrument introduced by African slaves.  In the 20th century, popular music abandoned it for the shorter necked, four-stringed tenor banjo.  The latter ad the sharp, crisp volume of tone needed to accompany early jazz bands.  Its heyday was the roaring twenties, and then it, too, was abandoned.

   Within the last ten or fifteen years the old 5-stringer has been enjoying a new popularity, largely as are result of the general revival of interest in country music, and folk music of various types.  Usually, it has been used either to accompany singing or in square dance bands.  But the young people who have spent long hours in communion with their instrument must sooner or later be heard for with their banjos taking the solo spot.  

   BILLY FAIER is one of these young people.  He is not only a deft technician but a real artist.  He sifts through the folk traditions of many peoples, selecting what he likes best and adapting these to the capabilities of his banjo. 

   What are these capabilities?  They consist, first of all, of a variety of sharp short notes, from milk soft to needle sharp.  They can tumble after one another in astonishing crisp profusion.  Some notes are plucked with the left hands as well as the right.  Some are gently brushed with the thumb, other are forcefully twanged with a fingernail.  All notes, however, can be arranged in a mathematically precise design.  The banjo is, above all else, a rhythm instrument; its best players are not necessarily those who can play the fanciest notes, but those who can play in the best rhythm.

   Perhaps this is why the banjo consistently appeals to those of a scientific bent.  In the various colleges where I meet banjo picker, I notice time after time after time in eight cases out of ten they are majoring in the physical sciences or mathematics.  In a way they are fooling themselves.  Perfect precision is an unattainable ideal, as much so as any other ideal of perfection.  But it is an ideal worth striving for, as generation of banjo pickers (and mathematicians) will testify.

   Perhaps it is this proclivity for mechanics which has led some banjo players into a mania for gadgets and attachments, and to preoccupation with the techniques rather than the art of the 5-string banjo.  Perhaps it is true that precision is all they wish the instrument to say to them.  But what does it say to others?

   Here is Billy Faier’s great contribution.  His music gives you a feeling for places and peoples.  Generation s of Irish step dancers, Greek, Israeli, Yugoslav, Spanish and Negro dancers would perk up their ears and find their feet starting to move in time upon hearing their favorite songs reborn in his banjo.

   I hope that Billy Faier will have time some day to notable the tunes he plays so well on this record.  As it is, I see thousands of banjo pickers, from teenagers to those of us with greying hair, crouched low by their phonograph turntables, playing certain passages over and over again, trying to analyze the method of fingering so that they, too, can produce that lovely sound on their own banjos.  Lucky will be those who have the new turntables which can turn as slow as 16 rpm.

   And then these future generations of banjo pickers, people who do not intend to be professional musicians in any sense (but who like to keep a banjo hung handy on the wall to pass away the time of an evening), can hand on to their children the tunes which Billy Faier and Riverside Records have been so kind as to hand on to us.

PETE SEEGER

 

SIDE 1

  1. THE RAKES OF MALLOW: One of the most famous of all Irish airs.  Though sometimes attributed to the 17th century, its style and tone is that of the early 18th century.  The words to this song are scarcely know, except to the literati.  The tune, however, may invariably be heard at Irish hooleys  throughout the world.

  2. H’KOTSRIM: An Israeli dance usually performed during the harvest festivals of Omer, Hag Habikkurim and Succoth.  The movements of this couple dance are those made by reapers when the grain is cut – the man taking the part of the farmer, and the woman being swung back and for the like a scythe.  Learned from Guy Garawan.

  3. GREEN CORN: Typical of the dance music familiar to Negro country instrumentalists throughout the South.  Perhaps the most famous performances of this reel are the several recorded by Leadbelly.  Billy Faier’s contribution in this recording, takes the form of a series of variations on a theme’ composed by himself.

  4. IRISH MEDLEY: These three numbers, Garryowen, MacLeod’s Reel and Haste to the Wedding, are widely known in the Gaelic-speaking countries where they are favorite instrumental pieces (on fiddle, pipes and whistle) and dance tunes.  In recent years, the banjo become popular with Irish street singers, and these same tunes can be heard played on the banjo in pubs In large urban Irish centers throughout the world.

  5. YUGOSLAV KOLO: The Kolo is a popular open round dance of Serbia and Dalmatia.  The number performed here is not traditional, but is one composed by Faier based on Kolo melodies he heard and saw performed during the past several years.

  6. HIGH BARBARY: a British sea song sung by English and American folk singers for several centuries.  Faier utilizes the banjo here primarily as an accompanying instrument.

  7. SPANISH FANDANGO: a popular couple dance which some authorities believe dates back almost a thousand years.  In the United States, undoubtedly originating among the Spanish-American peoples of the Southwest, it has become a favorite guitar instrumental with cowboys and rancheros.  Learned from Woody Wachtel.

  8. THE LAST OF CALLAHAN: Originally a fiddle tune collected in Kentucky.  Faier learned it from a Library of Congress recording (AAFS L2), and transcribed it for the 5-string banjo.  Like many other fiddle tunes, there is a folk legend connected to it.  Callahan was sentenced to hang for killing a man in a feud.  As he stood on the scaffold, he asked to be allowed to play his fiddle, played this tune, and then offered to fiddle to any man in the crowd who could play the piece.  When no one stepped forward, he smashed the fiddle to pieced moments before he was hung.

SIDE 2

  1. FAREWELL BLUES: though not often viewed as a “blues” instrument, the 5-string banjo has served countless Negro instrumentalists and singers throughout the South as a second voice to their own.  Billy Faier learned this sprightly blues melody from an old recording.

  2. DANCE OF A SPANISH FLY: This title is a literal translation from the label of a recording of a Spanish Jata from which Faier learned the number.  The Jata is a Spanish courtship dance mainly from the province of Aragon, performed in spectacular manner with a great deal of castanet and heel-stamping virtuosity.

  3. THREE JOLLY ROGUES: In England, this song is about King Arthur’s Three Songs, but in the New World it has undergone a change of setting and is better known as In Good Old Colony Times or The Three Rogues.

  4. SAILOR’S HORNPIPE: The “hornpipe” is a lively solo dance of the clog and shuffle variety, named for the now-obsolete wind instrument to whose music it was originally danced.  The Sailor’s Hornpipe is one such dance, whose tune became identified with the men who manned the great many-masted ships of the 19th century.  British and American merchant crews may have passed the time between watches by dancing to this very tune.

  5. THE WREN SONG: Several centuries ago, the hunting of the wren on St. Stephen’s Day was part of a familiar annual ritual of British country people.  Having long since lost most of its totemistic meaning, this song is best known today as a children’s nursery thyme.  One recognizes in the wren the same qualities of strength and endurance that can be found in the grey goose of Negro prison songs.

  6. GREEK DANCE: The name of this Greek couple dance escaped Faier’s attention when he first heard it, but he melody stayed indelibly imprinted on his mind, leading him to arrange it for five-string banjo.

  7. THE DARBY RAM: Folk singers today view this song merely as a highly humorous and widely exaggerative one.  At one time, however, it had considerable significance, and is believed to have been part of a primitive folk ritual in which the wonderful ram was one of many sacrificial animals worshipped by ancient priests.

  8. LUTE SONG FOR FIVE-STRING BANJO: IN this number, one of Faier’s own compositions, the composer has tried to simulate the mood and sound of lute music from the Elizabethan period.  This imaginative young instrumentalist has been surprisingly successful in capturing the feeling of the highly sophisticated music of England’s ‘Golden Age’ on so primitive san instrument as the 5-string banjo.

KENNETH S. GOLDSTEIN

About the Artist

   BILLY (William Boyd) FAIER has traveled widely and done any things in 27 years.  He has resided in Greenwich Village, San Francisco, Jalisco (Mexico), New Orleans, Brooklyn, Chicago, San Diego and elsewhere, and has variously made his living as ice cram salesman, shipping clerk, dish washer, cable-car conductor, carnival barker, bartender, night club performer, and banjo instructor.  In 1946, he bought his first banjo and took a few lessons from Allen Block in New York’s Greenwich Village.  Since then, he has learned various techniques from other banjo pickers and from recordings, until at present he is recognized as one of America’s finest virtuosos on the 5-string banjo.  He has performed as a solo act at the Purple Onion in Hollywood and at he Gate of Horn in Chicago, and as an accompanist for the talented popular-folk singer Vince Martin in numerous night clubs.  His musical talents also include unique composing abilities.  In addition to numerous arrangements of folk music he has composed classical and popular music for the banjo and guitar.  Faier is assisted on this recording by the sensitive guitar playing of FRANK HAMILTON, an instrumental virtuoso in his own right.

A HIG FIDELITY Recording (Audio Compensation: RIAA Curve)

Produced by KENNETH S. GOLDSTEIN

Cover by PAUL WELLER (photography) and PAUL BACON (design)

Engineer: MEL KAISER (Cue Recording Studios) New York; May, 1957

 

RIVERSIDE RECORDS are released by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, Inc.

553 West 51st Street New York 19, New York

 


RLP 12-814
A CONCERT OF English Folk Songs 

Sung by JOHN RUNGE accompanying himself on guitar  

John Runge (vcl, g)

recording place and date; no credit (1957?)

 

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SIDE 1

  1. Little Sir William

  2. Old Daddy Fox 

  3. Poor Old Horse

  4. The Foggy Dew

  5. Turmut Hoein’ 

  6. The Lady and the Swine

  7. Joe, the Carrier Lad

  8. Sylvie

  9. The Three Crows

SIDE 2

  1. The Mermaid

  2. The Water Is Wide

  3. Barley Mow

  4. I Will Give My Love an Apple

  5. Sucking Cider Through a Straw

  6. Geordie

  7. The clucking Hen

  8. Soldier, Soldier

  9. Star, News, Standard

   The singing of folksongs as “art” songs has occupied the varied talents of highly trained vocalists and instrumentalists for many centuries.  As a tradition, if we may call it that, it has its roots in medieval minstrelsy, dating back to the times of feudalism and pageantry when gifted minstrels were hired by courtly personages and nobility for the purpose of entertaining the high-born inhabitants of walled communities, whose time was equally spent between warring and boredom.  Many of these minstrels were itinerant by desire as well as necessity, and in their travels they drew inspiration for their musical creations from many sources.  Some of their songs were entirely of their own creation; others were deep-rooted in the folk traditions and lore of the country communities through which they passed.  The latter songs were occasionally recreations of some folk theme, but more often then, not a talented minstrel would retain in their entirely folk songs learned orally from ploughboys and dairymaids.  To be sure, they would try their hand at improving texts, but their original song for courtly presentation.  This tradition was passed on to minstrels of later centuries whose livelihood was dependent upon the patronage of a latter-day nobility: people whose appreciation of the arts resulted in their subsidizing or supporting artists, so that these talented individuals might be sufficiently free of the worries of economics to allow them to spend their hours in artistic creation – in the name of their patrons.  

   Modern-day minstrels are rare.  There are numerous operatically trained singers who include in their concerts a small handful of folk songs – frequently badly arranged, and just as poorly performed.  But the art singer who devotes himself to the tasteful arrangement and presentation of folksongs, retaining, at the same time, the inherent beauty and meaningfulness of the material he presents, is a rarity, indeed.  Such Twentieth Century minstrels may be counted on the fingers of one hand.  In the United Stated, we have been fortunate to be able to hear the art of Richard Dyer Bennett – performances in the best tradition of ancient minstrelsy.  And now, from England, comes another richly endowed modern minstrel.  Riverside is proud to present JOHN RUNGE in his first recordings for an American audience: a recorded concert of English Folk Songs.

KENNTH S. GOLDSTEIN

 

The Singer Views his Art:

   The widespread popularity of folksongs – and songs written in the folk idiom – undoubtedly owes itself in part to the absence of any absolute criterion for their enjoyment.  For some devotees, the chief interest is in their being “folk”; for others, in their being “songs”.  For myself, like many other singers whose field is not restricted exclusively to folk music, they represent a wonderful source of raw material for accompanied art song. 

   Although the originals had no accompaniment, one can safely assume that their authors, had they been musicians, would have provided them just as they provided their own texts.  In preparing an accompaniment to a folk song – and for this I prefer the intimacy of the guitar to that of any other instrument – my first aim is to preserve and enhance the musical interest of the melody.  As most of the songs have emanated from simple folk, it is right that the accompaniments should have a ring of simplicity about them, and, in the case of songs with a predominantly modal interest, only those harmonies are appropriate which are implied by the particular mode.  My endeavor is to make the accompaniments simple without being monotonous, and musically interesting without sounding “fussy”.  In this way is bred the art song, where vocal line and accompaniment are truly complementary to one another. 

JOHN RUNGE 

 

About the Performer: 

   JOHN RUNGE was born in London in 1914.  After displaying a strong taste for music in early childhood, he went to school at Charterhouse at the age of thirteen, where he pursued his musical studies under Dr. T. P. Fielden, then professor of pianoforte at the Royal College of Music.  On leaving school, he entered Oxford University where, in addition to his primary studies in physics, he continued his musical education, studying harmony and composition under Dr. R. O. Morris and conducting under Dr. Reginald Jacques.  Science and music went hand in hand after he left the university and in 1938, he started his career as a schoolmaster-physicist, at the same time undergoing training as a singer with Dr. Arnold Smith of the Royal College of Music.  At the end of the war, in which he served as a Major in the Royal Signals, he studied singing in Florence and gave a number of recitals on the Italian radio.  On his return to England in 1946, he resumed his life as a schoolmaster, and in 1951 had his first B.B.C. appearance as a singer-guitarist.  Since then, he has been a frequent broadcaster both in Britain and in Germany and has given a large number of concert-hall recitals.  Since 1956, he has been residing in the United States where, in addition to his chores as an instructor at Exeter, New Hampshire, he has been building an ever-growing following among affictionados of the folk song as art song. 

   For his repertoire Mt. Runge, who sings in seven languages, has written his own guitar arrangements and has drawn on the songs of many different lands and of many different periods. 

 

A HIGH FIGELITY Recording (Audio Compensation: RIAA Curve.)

Edited by Kenneth S. Goldstein

Cover by Paul Weller (photography) and Paul Bacon (design)

 

RIVERSIDE RECORDS are released by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS

553 West 51st Street New York 19, New York 

 


RLP12-815
Sepy presents: La Godeguita del Medio 

THE MUSIC OF HAVANA’S MOST FABULOUS CAFÉ 

Carlos Puebla, Santiago Martinez, Pedro Sosa and others; details no credit  Sepy Dobronyi 

(director of the Cuba Art Center)  at La Bodeguita; March 1957 

 

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SIDE 1

  1. Ten Valor, Corazon (2:23) (Carlos Puebla)

  2. Un Trago Para Mi Son (2:22) (Puebla)

  3. a) En El Tiempo De La Colonia (traditional)

    b) Mata Sibaraya (traditional) (3:46)

   4. Influencia (3:22) (Puebla) 

   5. Una Menos (3:09) (Puebla) 

   6. Te Espero (2:38) (Puebla) 

   7. Con Un Solo Pie (3:31) (Manuel Barrera)

   8. el Bodeguera (3:26) (Richard Egue)

SIDE 2

  1. Quiero Hablar Con Tigo (3:43) (Puebla)

  2. Un Brujoen Guanabacoa (3:21) (Hermenegildo Cardenas)

  3. Sinfonia Submarina (1:48) (Puebla)

  4. El Muneco de la Cuidad (3:29) (traditional)

  5. Media Naranja (3:26) (Alberto Kaisse)

  6. Amorosa Guijira (4:28) (Jorge Gonzlez Allue)

  7. Frutas del Caney (2:03) (Felix B. Caignet)

  8. Sun Sun Damba E (3:47) (Rogelio Martinez)

   If you were walking down a very dark Havana street near Cathedral Plaza, you might come upon a dimly lit grocery store and bar.  You might pass it by very much in a hurry, for from the outside its appearance is – to say the least – extremely dubious.  You would pass it by if you were just a tourist, or just a Habanero.  But if you were in the know; if you had friends involved in the arts: writers, painters, photographers, models, newspapermen, intellectuals; if you were in any way aware of the ways of bohemia in Havana; or if you knew an unusual gentleman named Sepy – you would never pass it by.

   Because behind the tawdry exterior lies one of the most remarkable eating and meeting places in the western hemisphere: La Bodeguita del Medio. 

   Literally translated, this comes out to mean: “half a small grocery.”  But this tiny enclosure behind a grocery is the nightly gathering place of virtually every important creative mind in Havana.  The sight which greets you on entering is one of apparent chaotic makeshift.  There are perhaps eight tables and twenty chairs, all of plain sanded wood of primitive design.  The walls are covered with hundreds of photographs of famous Cubans and Americans who are habitués – and also with old shoes, paintings, garter belts, calling cards, a plaster of paris cast for a broken leg, African masks, and similar memorabilia of denizens past and present. 

   The kitchen, off to one side, is open to view, clean and aromatic.  There is no menu or wine list.  After appropriate cocktails (either daiquiris or mojitos), you simply call out to Armando (our favorite waiter) for La Comida, the meal.  You will then have your table filled with a fabulous array of food: roast pork n a heavy garlic sauce; roast chicken in a casserole; fried bananas; something that is like a tamale but heavily flavored with garlic and eaten with a toothpick; a dish of brown or yellow rice with black beans, peas and pimento in a unbelievable sauce; stewed beef with a rich brown gravy; and a bottle of a vin ordinaire that is so adequate that the same bottles have been used over and over again since this incredible place opened some six years ago.  After a cup of the thick black coffee that is so perfectly Cuban, you can sit back and enjoy the music that has been going on ever since you entered, and to which you have probably already begun to sing (almost everyone does join in at one time or another). 

   If you are present on a night when a handsome Hungarian ex-fighter pilot named Sepy Dobronyi is also on hand, you will are doubly fortunate.  Sepy is unlike any other human we have ever known, and his story is inextricably tied in with that of La Bodeguita.  Born into the Hungarian nobility, very rich until the wars came, he escaped, penniless, to Sweden, where he proceeded to learn the art and trade of jewelry design.  Being of a restless nature, Sepy was on his way to a job in Venezuela some few years ago when his place landed in Havana for refueling on New Years Eve.  The combination of the place and the occasion was too much for him to miss – and he has been in Havana has never really recovered.  Jewelry designer, metalworker, photographer, sculptor, painter, skin diver and possessor of an unequaled imagination, Sepy went into the business of making spectacular creations for natives and visitors.  It was he who prevailed upon the owner of the grocery to open a restaurant catering to the many fascinating friends Sepy had made, and it is he who is the dynamic force that keeps La Bodeguita the center of Cuban bohemia that it is. 

   (Sepy has recently gained worldwide fame and notoriety through his celebrated nude statues in gold of Anita Ekberg and Hayne Mansfield.  Besides rocking international art centers, his sculpting earned Sepy a very widely publicized punch in the nose from Anita’s husband.  Among other things, the publicity has done wonders for the Cuban Art Center, of which Sepy is director.  The Center, located on Cathedral Square, is a cooperative association aimed at fostering modern art – painting, ceramics, sculpture – in Cuba and bringing it under one roof for exhibition and sale.  The beauty and success of the Center has earned for Sepy the title of Art Director of the Cuban Tourist Commission, a position that he fills – in spite of some of his flamboyant antics – with ability and dignity.) 

   Almost from the start the music at La Bodeguita has been supplied by the trio to be heard on this LP.  It is led by a remarkable composer, Carlos Puebla (many of the numbers played here are written by him), and includes Santiago Martinez and Pedro Sosa.  Two guitars and maracas, together with three blending voices, provide the very listenable, extremely melodic background for fining, taking and living a la Bodeguita.  The musicians wander about the room, frequently sitting at the few tables to serenade. 

   In several of the numbers here you will hear Sepy’s name sung, for the group has written more than a few songs about him.  And if Sepy is on hand, you cannot miss his voice as he leads the singing of what has become the theme song of the restaurant: “Zul, zul, zul.”  (incidentally, Sepy can be seen seated at the table in the cover photo.) We were lucky enough to be present at the huge party celebrating Bodeguita’s fifth anniversary, with five hundred people, more or less, wedged into a space where but two dozen normally can sit.  We will probably never forget standing with about twenty others on a table top, shouting the theme song while Puebla’s group played, and with Sepy’s shrill voice clearly audible above all the rest …

   The sixteen representative numbers included here were recorded in March, 1957, in a corner of the back room.  Ampex tape-recording equipment was used, and this, along with what must be considered phenomenal luck, resulted in remarkable recording quality that does justice to the superb performances of the trio.  For those who know La Godeguita, for those who love Cuban music, and also for those who wish they knew a place like this, here is an album designed to reproduce the full aura of a unique home-away-from-home. 

 

A HIGH FIDELITY Recording (Audio Compensation: RIA Curve)

Produced, recorded, and notes written by Bill Grauer

Cover photograph courtesy of Sepy Dobronyi; cover design by Paul Bacon

 

RIVERSIDE RECORDS are released by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS

553 West 51st Street New York 19, New York


RLP 12-816
BOB GIBSON : Carnegie Concert

 

Bob Gibson (vcl, bj)

Recorded at Carnegie Hall; February 11, 1957

 

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SIDE 1

 Bob Gibson:

Sail Away, Lady

Alberta

The Erie Canal

Pushboat

John Riley

There Once Was a Poor Young Man

Some fragments of marital advice:

Hard Is the Fortune

When I Was Single

Marry a Texas Girl

Mighty Day

SIDE 2

 Bob Gibson and audience

Day-O

Go Down to Bimini

Wheel-a Matilda

You Must Come in at the Door

Good News

Michael, Row the Boat Ashore

   Few musical experiences can be as stimulating and as satisfying as those in which strong, direct contact between the performer and his audience are clearly in evidence.  For this reason, few studio recordings – o matter how high the degree of technical excellence – can approach the excitement of a first-rate live performance by an artist whose personality reaches out to speak his listeners. 

   BOB GIBSON is just such an artist; and the evening on which he captured his audience at New York’s Carnegie Recital Hall was one of those excitingly live occasions.  Gibson is a young folksinger of rare charm and talent: his many club appearances (including the Village Vanguard in New York, and Chicago’s Gate of Horn) and his two previous 12-inch LPs on Riverside* have made this quite clear and have helped to provide him with a rabid following and a swiftly zooming reputation as one of America’s most outstanding performers in the wide field of folk song.  The present album offers those who may not previously have heard him in club or concert performance a substantial taste of Gibson in action.  Those who are familiar with Bob’s in-person approach will know what to expect … and should need no further urging. 

   The LP offers considerably more than the songs listed in the next column.  There is Gibson’s running introductory commentary on the selections, his remarks to the audience and their spontaneous reactions to his comments and his songs.  (This is authentically “on the soot” recording, right down to the sound of Bob’s banjo being tuned and re-tuned now and again.) 

The second side of the album is entirely devoted to what might be called group singing – but don’t let that put you off.  As an old scorner of “community sings” (Where no one really seems to know the words and half don’t particularly care), I was notably surprised at this concert.  For one thing, Gibson as a leader and impromptu teacher is a wonderfully warm individual: you will immediately sense and hear the enthusiasm and high spirits he generates.  Foe another, the Gibson comment on the audience’s doings and shortcomings are, as the saying goes, worth the price of admission all by themselves.  Particularly noteworthy is the segment that opens this side of the album, in which Bob sets forth his views on group singing. 

   The material is Gibson’s usual adept combination of the unhackneyed and fresh treatment of the familiar.  He can breathe new life into as standard an item as Erie Canal, can restore a full folk feeling to Day-O (which has recently undergone the Tin Pan Alley face-lifting treatment), can convey the rich beauty of John Riley and Bimini, and the sheer nonsense of There Once Was a Poor Young Man, as well as the rousing power of the three quasi-religious songs that close the album.  As a result, everyone has an extraordinarily good time at a concert by Bob Gibson and his banjo.  This time, “everyone” can include record-buyers, too. 

ORRIN KEEPNEWS

 

SIDE 1

SAIL AWAY, LADY:

  Our pioneer ancestors who came from the British Isles brought with them a vast tradition of country dance tunes and styles.  In the New World, these hard day’s work, they would gather at someone’s cabin and play and dance their troubles and tiredness away.  Out of such a tradition came fast and furious fiddle ad banjo numbers like Sail Away, Lady.  

ALBERTA:

  The roustabouts and steamboat workers on the Ohio River were a singing lot, and their songs would relieve the long hours of working under the hot sun.  One of their songs was Alberta, and its slow, romantic tunes could be heard as the rousters loaded produce, cotton and luggage onto and off the big river steamers. 

ERIE CANAL:

  This song comes from the days when flat-bottomed barges floated the busy and prosperous Eric Canal.  The work was hardly as strenuous as that demanded of the sailors on board the many-sailed clipper ships, but the canal ‘sailors’ liked to imagine their life being as romantic as that of their ocean-bound cousins.  Their drams of pirates and adventure were crystallized in satirical drinking songs like this one.  

PUSHBOAT:

  There were flat-bottomed barges on the Ohio River, too.  These barges would float with the current downstream, requiring only a steerer to keep the rafts in the center of the river, and would be poled upstream against the current on the return trip.  The raft or pushboat workers had their songs, many of them known by rousters up and down the great river.  Pushboat was a favorite with the men who worked the long poles.  The text carried, but always concerned the loves and working life of the rivermen. 

JOHN RILEY:

  One of the most popular of all folksong themes is that concerning the lost over who returns in disguise, makes love to his sweetheart, and finds she is still true to him, whereupon he reveals himself to her.  This theme is known in numerous versifications, but this is one of the best known.  This version was learned from the singing of Ricky Neff at the University of Chicago. 

THERE ONCE WAS A POOR YOUNG MAN:

  For every beautiful folksong there is likely to be a ridiculous one, and comedians of an earlier day delighted in writing their own parodies of such songs, in mock-authentic ballad style.  One such comedian was Charlie Case, whose successful take-offs on the 19th century ballad became favorites with vaudeville singers in this country and in the British music halls.  This is one of his most widely known burlesques.  

  Some Fragments of Marital Advice: Very numerous among the folk of every land are songs pertaining to the marital status of both men and women. Some are genuinely sincere, others are satirical or outright profane in sentiment.  The three fragments Gibson offers here – Hard Is the Fortune, When I Was Single, and Marry A Texas Girl – pretty well cover the entire gamut of approaches to this touchy subject. 

  MIGHTY DAY:

  This intensely dramatic ballad describes in vivid detail a West Indian hurricane which struck Galveston, Texas, in 1900, piling up enormous tidal waves which swept across the city and resulted in the less of more than five thousand lives.  Gibson’s version was learned from an old recording by a New Orleans jazz singer, although similar versions have been performed by Southern Negro ministers as a song-sermon on death. 

SIDE 2

  DAY-O:

  The rousters of the West Indies also sing to make their work load easier.  A great amount of their work is done by moonlight rather than under a hot sun, and, after loading a banana boat all night long, they will usually strike up this song as they see the first light of dawn.  The song leader will bawl out the stanzaic lines, and the loader will answer back “Day dah light an8 me wan’ go home” (“Day is dawning and I want to go home”) in much the same way that Gibson and his audience perform the number in this recording. 

  GO DOWN TO BIMINI:

  All types of work are accompanied by singing in the West Indies.  This selection is sung by fishermen in the Bahamas, with the song leader calling out his i9ntersting couplets to be answered by the crew with the refrain to the song. This pattern is very similar to that employed by Negro workers in the prison farms scattered throughout the deep South.  Gibson learned this version from Tommy Gerraci of New York.WHEEL-A MATILDA: Another work song from the Bahamas, especially well known among the roadworkers and diggers in the West Indies.  Many of these have become widely known through the singing of native West Indian Calypsonians, who utilize them as part of their professional singing repertoire. Gibson leaned Wheel-a Matilda from Roy Modell, better known as Lord Composer. 

YOU MUST COME IN AT THE FOOR:

  Many of the religious songs of the Bahamas are closely related to spirituals known by Negroes through the southern part of the United States,  Some are indigenous to the Bahamas; others found their way to the islands by means of Negro sailors who shipped there, and from American missionary groups.  In any case, this jubilant spiritual, or ‘jubilee’, is known both in the Bahamas and in the South.  Gibson learned this version while working in the Bahamas several years ago. 

GOOD NEWS:

  This (jubilee’ has long been a favorite with convert singers in this country, who find in its exuberance better understanding of the Negro slaves who, in the face of adversity and forced subservience, still were able to sing of their aspirations in positive terms.  Students of the spiritual have long theorized that the frequency with which “chariots” are mentioned suggests a possible hidden reference to freedom. 

MICHAEL, ROW THE BOAT ASHORE:

  One of the oldest work songs known to have been sung by Negro slaves, this first appeared in a little-known collection entitled “Slave Songs of the United States,” published shortly after the Civil War.  The song was utilized by slaves who rowed dugout canoes between the Georgia Sea Islands and the mainland. Its lines are an interesting mixture of religious and secular references. Gibson learned it from Pete Seeger, who is largely responsible for bringing the song to the attention of folk music audiences.  

KENNETH GOLDSTEIN

 

Bob Gibson plays VEGA banjos exclusively

 

*BOB GIBSON’s other Riverside  albums are – 

Off-Beat Folk Songs (RLP 12-802) 

I Come for to Sing (RLP 12-806) 

Recorded at Carnegie Hall; February 11, 1957

A HIGH FIDELITY Recording (Audio Compensation: RIAA Curve)

LP produced by Orrin Keepnews

Cover by Paul Weller (photography) and Paul Bacon (design)

Engineer: Ray Fowler

 

RIVERSIDE RECORDS are released by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, Inc.

553 West 51st Street New York 19, New York

 


RLP 12-817
Man Is For the Woman Made 

and other songs from England’s ‘Golden Age’ : Sung by JOHN RUNGE 

John Runge (vcl, g)

Cue Recording Studios, New York; June 1957 

 

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SIDE 1

  1. Man Is For the Woman Made 

  2. If Music Be the Food of Love

  3. When Laura Smiles 

  4. Follow Thy Fair Sunne

  5. I Care Not for These Ladies

  6. The Cypress Curtain of the Night

  7. Never Weather-Beaten Saile

SIDE 2

  1. Fill Me a Bowl

  2. Greensleeves

  3. Come Again

  4. Willow Song

  5. Bryng Us in Good Ale

  6. Since First I Saw Your Face

  7. Have You Seene But a Whyte Lillie Grow

   The Age of Elizabeth, extending from 1558 to 1603, began one of the greatest periods of creative writing in poetry and music that England has known.  This was also a period in which the English composer and lyricist learned to write of love and life in a language which brought him closer to the English people than ever before. 

   Previously, the composer had written exclusively for the courtesans and the nobility: stilted and humorless songs, laden with chivalrous language and coached in romantic and polite terms consistent with the politico-clerical orientation of the times.  But this was neither the sentiment or language of the English countryman; when he sang of love, it was with the sensuous freedom and delight of uncontained passion.  Numerous songs of that period and later (mostly kept in private libraries for dear of contaminating polite people) indicate a realistic attitude towards sex and love in general, and the earthly pursuits of living expressed through convivial drinking and jesting.  To his everlasting credit, the 16th and 17th century composer learned to share these sentiments and to write of such activities on a realistic level.  The English composer of Elizabeth’s time, and of the periods which followed, became the lauerate of an age of bold and unabashed lustiness and frankness. 

   To be sure, not all of their compositions were expressions of erotic experience.  But amatory songs, for the first time, could be sung without a blush and a turner head.  Love was no longer idealized – it was first experienced and then used s an inspiration for creativity.  No wonder, therefore, that not only a amatory songs, but all musical compositions, showed a marked improvement over the thoroughly inane efforts of earlier days.  

   This album contains a fine sampling of songs from England’s Golden Age, sung by an outstandingly talented English voice.  Here, the songs of Henry Purcell and Thomas Campian, of John Blow and John Dowland, share the stage with anonymous pieces of the period.  Today, they stand as examples of the creativeness of glorious period in England’s history.  But even more important, they have come down to us to be as revered in our times as they were in their own.  They are as truly universal in time and place as have been the greatest works of art from the beginning of history. 

KENNTH S. GOLDSTEIN

 

   Truly representative of this great ear were the songs of the English Lutenists and those of the seventeenth century composers that followed them.  Since the lute was essentially a six-stringed instrument similar in timbre and method of playing to the modern concert guitar, the latter is an admirable instrument with which to accompany these old songs. 

   It was my interest in the songs of these periods that first led me to the guitar.  Here, I realized, was a wealth of material for the singer-guitarist – a rich heritage just waiting to be explored. In Elizabethan times, composers of the period (often court musicians) performed their own songs, accompanying themselves on the instruments of their day.  What apter presentation, I asked myself, could they have in modern times than by a singer accompanying himself on the guitar?  To understand fully the subtleties of the period one must, as far as possible, become steeped in its musical idiom.  The effort alone for me has been a pleasure, and has therefore brought its own reward.  My hope is that this album may help to make it so for others, too. 

JOHN RUNGE

 

SIDE 1

  1. MAN IS FOR THE WOMAN MADE (Words by John Motteux; music by Henry Purcell): Purcell was born in London in 1659 and started his musical career as a choirboy of the Chapel Royal, where it is almost certain that he was a pupil of Dr, John Blow.  After serving an apprenticeship as organ-maker and repairer of musical instruments of all kinds, he was appointed organist of Westminster Abbey in 1679.  His duties there led him to the composition of music for the church and for special royal occasions.  Purcell’s genius, as exemplified in all his works, both instrumental and vocal, was the natural culmination of England’s Golden Age; his early death at the age of 36 must be regarded as national tragedy. 

  2. IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF LOVE (words by Colonel Heveningham; music by Purcell): The poem to this song, sometimes attributed to Shakespeare, actually was Heveningham’s.  Purcell was evidently fond of it as he composed three separate settings to it.  This one, the second setting, appeared in 1693. 

  3. WHEN LAURA SMILES (words and music by Thomas Campian): Campian was born in London in 1567 and sent to Cambridge to study for a legal career.  He left the University without a degree, but strongly imbued with tastes for classical literature which exercised powerful influence upon his subsequent work.  He later earned his degree in medicine and practiced as a physician until his death in 1620.  His immortality, however, was earned as a poet and composer.  In 1601, Philip Rosseter, a well-known lute player of the day, published “A Book of Ayres for Lute, Orpherion and Bass Viol,” the music of which was contributed in equal proportions by himself and Campian, while the words were wholly by Campian.  When Laura Smiles, one of the best known pieces in the book, was entirely Campian’s work. 

  4. FOLLOW THY FAIR SUNNE (words by Campian): Another of the songs from Rosseter’s “Book of Ayres” which was entirely the work of Campian. 

  5. I CARE NOT FOR THESE LADIES (words by Campian; music by Philip Rosseter): This song, which appeared in the latter half of “A Book of Ayres,” represents one of the finest examples of Rosseter and Campian’s cooperative efforts.

  6. THE CYPRESS CURTAIN OF THE NIGHT (words and music by Campian): This and the following song are among the most striking, poetically and musically, to come from Campian’s pen.  Both depict a dying spirit: the first tormented by grief and despair; the second strengthened by faith in an eternal haven.  The Cypress Curtain of the Night first appeared in Rosseter’s 1601 book. 

  7. NEVER WEATHER-BEATEN SAILE (words and music by Campian): This song was published in Campian’s “The First Book of Ayres,” in 1613.

SIDE 2

  1. FILL ME A BOWL (words by Sir John Oldham; music by John Blow): Dr. John Blow (1648-1708) was in his youth one of the first choirboys of the Chapel Royal, where he was later appointed organist.  In addition to the fame belonging to him for his own works, he is also given credit for having been one of the teachers with whom Henry Purcell studied.  Fill Me a Bowl was published in “John Playford’s Theatre of Music” in 1685.

  2. FREENSLEEVES (words and music anonymous): The tune to Greensleeves was mentioned twice by Shakespeare in “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” and by other writers of the period.  It was first referred to in a publication of 1580 as a New Northern Dittye, but its origin is probably earlier.  Many ballads were written to the melody, including political ones by the Royalists in the English Civil War.  That it was also converted to pious use is evident from Shakespeare’s reference to the disparity between words and deeds of Falstaff: “they do no more adhere and keep pace together, than the Hundredth Psalm to the tune of green Sleeves!”  It was also the tune of the old English carol, What Child Is This.  The words to the version sung in this album are by an anonymous Elizabethan. 

  3. COME AGAIN (words and music by John Dowland): Dowland (1562-1626) was an English lute-player and composer who enjoyed considerable popularity both in his own country and in Denmark, where he spent several years at the tune of the century as lutenist in the court of King Christian.  This song appears in his “First Book of Ayres,” published in 1597.

  4. WILLOE SONG (words and music anonymous):  the earliest manuscript of this song is in the British Museum, dating from about 1615.  The original has eight stanzas, the first and third of which, with some alteration, were used by Shakespeare in “Othello.”

  5. BRYING US IN GOOD ALE (words and music anonymous):  This song forms one half of manuscript containing two airs in the Bodleian library, Oxford.  The first is a Christmas carol, Tydings trew ther be come new, at the foot of which is written: “This is the tewyn for the song foloyng. – this one of ale.” 

  6. SINCE FIRST I SAW YOUR FACE (words and music by Thomas Ford):  Ford (1580-1648) was employed as a salaried musician (at 30 pounds a year) in the court of Henry, Prince of Wales, and his successor, Charles I.  This song appears in his “Musicke of Sundrie Kindes” published in 1607.

  7. HAVE YOU SEENE BUT A WHYTE LILLIE GROW (words by Ben Johnson; music anonymous):  Johnson (1573-1637) was one of the leading English dramatists of his time, and a good friend of Shakespeare.  Included among his many talents was that of song-writer, his Drinking to Me Only With Thine Eyes (To Celia) being perhaps the best known of his compositions.  Have You Seene But a Whyte Lillie Grow was included in his play “The Divell is an Asse,” written approximately 1614.  The music is from a British museum manuscript of uncertain date, but probably before 1620. 

 

About the Performer:

   JOHN RUNGE was born in London in 1914.  A student of both music and science since childhood, in 1938 he started his career as a schoolmaster-physicist, at the same time undergoing training as a singer with Dr. Arnold Smith of the Royal College of Music.  At the end of the war he studied singing in Florence and gave a number of recitals n the Italian radio.  As a singer-guitarist, he has been heard frequently since 1951 in Britain and in Germany, both as a broadcaster and in concert-hall recitals.  Since 1956, he has been residing in the United States where, in addition to his chores as an instructor at Exeter, New Hampshire, he has been building an ever-growing following as a performer. 

 

   Runge is also represented on Riverside by 

A CONCERT OF ENGLISH FOLK SONG (RLP 12-814)

A HIGH FIDELITY Recording (Audio Compensation: RIAA Curve).  

Produced by Kenneth S. Goldstein

Cover design by Paul Bacon 

Cover illustration courtesy New York Public Library

Engineer: Mel Kaiser (Cue Recordings); New York; June, 1957.

 

RIVERSIDE RECORDS are released by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS

553 West 51st Street New York 19, New York

 


RLP 12-818
A Frenchman in New York: songs by LUC PORET 

Accompanied by The JIMMY LYON TRIO: Jimmy Lyon (p)  Jimmy Raney (g)  Beverly Peer (b) on Side 1, #2, 5, 7, 8 and Side 2, #2, 3; 

Accompanied by Lyon on Side2, #7; and accompanying himself on guitar on all other selections.

New York; September 25, 1957

 

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SIDE 1

  1. Introducing M. Poret (0:36) 

  2. La Vie en Rose (2:40) 

  3. Lola (2:07) 

  4. Ballad of the Ragpicker (2:02) 

  5. When the World Was Young (3:12) 

  6. Demons et Merveilles (1:45) 

  7. Take My Love (1:53) 

  8. A Shame and a Scandal (3:20)

SIDE 2

  1. Gtanadinas (3:34) 

  2. Canotage (2:34) 

  3. Medley: (2:34)

Sur Le Pont D’Avignon

Frere Jacques

Alouette

    4. My Little Donkey (2:19) 

    5. I’m So Glad (2:40) 

    6. Unchained Melody (2:15) 

    7. L’Ombre (1:27)

    8. Le Fiacre (3:25) 

   The jaunty, charming and witty French entertainer who makes his starring debut on records with this LP has been an increasingly in-demand attraction at a wide variety of American night clubs for the past year and more.  “Wide variety of clubs” is a standard publicity phrase, but in the case of M. Poret it has a really astonishing ring of truth.  There is surely something unusual – and unusually appealing – about an artist who can capture audiences at, for examples, both the Gate of Horn in Chicago (one of the country’s best-known showcases for top folk-singers) and the Blue Angel in New York (one of the most celebrated of sophisticated supper clubs).

   His material is as far-ranging as this accomplishment would suggest.  The cross-section included here runs several gamuts: from current French and American popular songs to a melody in a Medieval vein (Demons et Merveilles): from children’s songs to musical settings of poems by such distinguished writers as Lorca (Lola) and Nobel prize winner Francois Mauriac (L’Ombre); from the authentically fiery flamenco of Granadinas to a lightly ribald “French calypso,” A Shame and a Scandal.

   That so much diversity can be effortlessly bound together into a highly engaging and entertaining unity is no small tribute to the skills of Luc Poret as a singer and guitarist, and to his vast personal charm.  The album is served up in the form of a night club appearance – although you’d obviously have to say for at least two shows and drink up much more than the minimum to get to hear this much of Luc’s repertoire in a club.  He opens by suggesting that you imagine yourself in a night club (a bit of fantasy made easier for you by Luc’s assurance that “while I am performing, the waiter will not bother you”).  Then, with what can be taken as a typical touch of bravado, he gets under way by tacking something as potentially hackneyed as Edith Piaf’s so-often-sung La Vie en Rose – and proceeds to demonstrate that he can breathe new life into it.

   The “in-person’ atmosphere is underlined by the spoken introductions to many of his selections.  This is part of Luc’s club format, designed in most cases to explain the meaning of the French number coming up; the extent to which he achieves this practical goal will depend entirely on how successfully you cope with Poret’s special approach to English.  But, at the very least, you will most assuredly not find it dull.

   This recording was made at the time of a Poret engagement at the Blue Angel, and on several selections he is supported by the smooth and helpful trio, led by pianist Jimmy Lyon, that has made its home at the Angel for the past half-dozen years.  On side 1, they assist Luc in extracting the utmost Gallic romantic spirit from La Vie en rose, When the World Was Young and Take My Love, and in unravelling the twisted heredity of A Shame and a Scandal.

   Side 2 begins in striking fashion with Poret, solo, swinging his guitar to achieve a unique “bell” effect and then surging into a most un-French flamenco.  Then Lyon’s trio rejoins him for the touching Canotage (written by Poret) and stays around for the selection that follows, which is something else again!  Turning to a medley of songs familiar to al French (and to many American) childhoods, Luc decided to press into service an invited studio audience who had thought they were on hand merely to be onlookers and lenders of moral support.  But, after all, Frere Jacques and Alouette are always cause for spirited group singing – and it usually comes out sounding about as it does here …

   Luc’s flair for the unusual actually goes back to the very beginning of his career, which, as it happens, had its start in a German prison camp!  Born in Haute-Isle, a small village about sixty miles from Paris, he was still at school when World War II broke out, but was drafted into the French Army.  Captured shortly after the Nazi invasion of France, he was sent to a prisoner of war camp in Germany.  A fellow prisoner taught young Luc to play the guitar, and he soon became a favorite entertainer at the camp; so much so that the German guards raised the money to buy him a new guitar.  This did not keep Luc from escaping shortly thereafter, but he was quickly recaptured and still recalls vividly the German’s failure to understand how he could run away “after they had been so considerate.”

   As punishment, he was shipped to a concentration camp – “no guitars there” – but once again escaped.  This time he made his way back to Paris.  The city was still under German occupation, but Luc had to make his living in the only way he knew: as a singer and guitarist.  Having no identification papers made this a more than normally precarious occupation.  Whenever he thought someone was looking at him strangely, or merely began to fear that he had stayed n one place too long, he would have to disappear from the job and find work somewhere else, usually under another name.  He spent the rest of the war working in this way in clubs and bistros in Paris, and later through the south of France.  It was no way to build a reputation, he recalls with mock sadness.  “I was six or seven different performers, but I could never play a return engagement anywhere.”

   After the war he settled down (literally) to a career as a successful club and theater performer in Paris, and also became noted as a writer of movie scripts and of numerous songs.  Many of his compositions were specifically written for, and popularized by, the leading French chanteuses, among them Genevieve, Edith Piaf, Juliette Greco, and Patachou, Genevieve is actually a Poret discovery; she was operating a club in Paris, but was not a professional singer until Luc convinced her to try it.  He coached her, wrote material for her, and served as her accompanist.  After her initial success in France, Genevieve came to America, with Poret going along as accompanist and advisor.  Later he began to work on his own, and has become well-known in Canada and in such American cities as New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, and Detroit.  In the latter city, where he has appeared frequently on TV, there is a flourishing Luc Poret Fan Club.

   Almost half the material on this album is, entirely or in part, Poret’s own work.  He wrote the music and French Lyrics for I’m So Glad (English lyrics are by Ruth Aaron); the words and music of Canotage, Ballad of the Ragpicker, and My Little Donkey (his first composition, written in his teens); created the French lyrics of A Shame and a Scandal; translated and put to music Lorca’s Lola; and wrote the musical setting for L’Ombre, Mauriac’s impression of the vineyards of Bordeaux at noon.  But whether he is offering his own work or his interpretations of the efforts of others, whether the moon is tender or spritely, Poret presents it in his own highly personal, wonderfully zestful and vivid fashion, should surely turn out to be completely irresistible to a great many people.

A HIGH FIDELITY Recording – Riverside-Reeves SPECTROSONIC High Fidelity Engineering (Audio Compensation: RIAA Curve)

Produced and notes written by ORRIN KEEPNEWS

Cover by PAUL WELLER (photography) and PAUL BACON (design)

Engineer: JACK HIGGINS (Reeves Sound Studios) 

 

RIVERSIDE RECORDS are released by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS

553 West 51st Street New York 19, New York


RLP 12-819
Have You Met INEZ JONES featuring OSCAR MOORE

 

Inez Jones (vcl) acc by Oscar Moore (g)  Carl Perkins (p)  Curtis Counce (b)  Bill Douglass (drs) 

(Tangerine and There’s a Small Hotel are instrumental selections; guitar solos by Oscar Moore, accompanied by Leroy Vinnegar, bass)

Hollywood, California; May 27, 1957

 

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